2013 Canada West cross country preview

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November 8, 2013, EDMONTON (ISN) – The 2013 CIS cross country championships take place on Saturday, Nov. 9, hosted in London, Ontario by Western University.

Victoria was the Canada West champion in both men’s and women’s events last year, while graduated Regina Cougars runner Kelly Wiebe won the 2012 men’s overall gold medal.

ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS & PANDAS

  • 2012 men’s CIS: N/A
  • 2012 men’s CW: N/A
  • Last CIS men’s title: 1980
  • Last CW men’s title: 2004
  • CIS men’s ranking: #7t
  • 2012 women’s CIS: N/A
  • 2012 women’s CW: N/A
  • Last CIS women’s title: N/A
  • Last CW women’s title: 1997
  • CIS women’s ranking: #10t

Key additions: Amy Buzikievich, Isabella Englert, Freya Hik, Morgan Lawley, Megan Pinkoski, Will Madsen, Kieran McDonald, Tom Wunsch

Key returnee: Tom Fleming

EDMONTON – The University of Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas cross country teams enter the 2013-14 championship season with a chance for top 10 finishes at the CIS level, and top 3 finishes at the conference level. One season removed from a complete overhaul of the program, the Pandas and Golden Bears appear to be on the right track.

Wes Moerman, now in his second year leading the program, will take 11 student-athletes to the CIS championship, which is being held for the second year in a row in London, Ontario and by Western University. The CIS men’s and women’s championship runs will be held on Thames Valley course on November 9th. Last year, the first in the rebuild under Moerman, Alberta took just four runners to the national championship, and now in year two, they have tripled the amount that will compete.

Leading the charge will be freshman Amy Buzikievich and sophomore Will Madsen.

Madsen, an engineering student, comes to the U of A after one season with Grant MacEwan in the CCAA, while Buzikievich joins from the program after a high school career in Summerland, B.C. Thomas Fleming, one of the four to compete last year, is back for the Bears this season, his final CIS year, while Adrian Christ, Jason Jama, Kieran McDonald and Tom Wunsch round out Alberta’s men’s team. The team recently captured first place at the Stewart Cup race, which featured all of the Canada West teams, and Madsen was Alberta’s top runner in that event.

Buzikievich helped the Pandas to a first place in the women’s race at the Stewart Cup, and represents a strong candidate for Alberta at nationals. Joining her, and adding to the Pandas’ depth, are Isabella Englert, a transfer from the CCAA champion Grant MacEwan Griffins, Freya Hik, Morgan Lawley and Megan Pinkoski.

Both U of A teams have a shot at top 10 finishes at the CIS championship, while a third-place finish within Canada West, in both men’s and women’s is reasonable.

http://athletics.ualberta.ca/ 

CALGARY DINOS

  • 2012 men’s CIS: 8th
  • 2012 men’s CW: 3rd
  • Last CIS men’s title: N/A
  • Last CW men’s title: 2008
  • CIS men’s ranking: #9
  • 2012 women’s CIS: 5th
  • 2012 women’s CW: 2nd
  • Last CIS women’s title: 2003
  • Last CW women’s title: 2010
  • CIS women’s ranking: N/A

CALGARY – The Calgary Dinos cross country teams will head out to London, Ont., for Saturday’s CIS championships, with conference team and individual honours also to be handed out.

For the women, the season began with a win of the Sled Dog Open in Saskatoon. They won the title with 14 more points than the next closest team. Captain Emma Cook-Clarke had a fantastic run taking second place overall and leading the Dinos. Second-year Alana Skocdopole finished sixth. In Idaho, the Dinos finished fifth overall against a broad range of competitors. Skocdopole led the way for Calgary finishing in the top 20. In their final tune-up before nationals, the Dinos headed north to Edmonton in hopes of defending their Stewart Cup win from last year. Despite finishing second, Skocdopole came in ninth with a time of 22:55 on the six kilometre course.

Along with Cook-Clarke and Skocdopole, Ariana Dirk, Gloria Kanuka, Sydney Banister, Maryse L’Heureux and Katherine Girgulis all competed for the Dinos in the preseason.

The men’s team also opened their season in Saskatoon at the Sled Dog Open. With a fourth-place team finish, the troops were led by Garth Hadfield who took eleventh overall. At the Inland Classic in Idaho, Brad Bickley returned for Calgary with an eighth place finish with a time of 23:53 on the eight kilometer course and the Dinos finished sixth as a team. Finally, at the Stewart Cup, Calgary took second overall and were once again led by Bickley.

Fifth-year Bickley and third-year Hadfield competed with Roman Justinen, Rahman Ismail, Adbel Dib and Doug and Mike Kondro throughout the season.

The women’s team will be looking to win their ninth Canada West banner while the men have captured just three in Dinos history. Only the women’s team has ever won a CIS championship, in 1992, 1993 and 2003.

http://www.godinos.com/ 

MANITOBA BISONS

  • 2012 men’s CIS: 18th
  • 2012 men’s CW: 6th
  • Last CIS men’s title: 1989
  • Last CW men’s title: 1990
  • CIS men’s ranking: N/A
  • 2012 women’s CIS: 17th
  • 2012 women’s CW: 5th
  • Last CIS women’s title: N/A
  • Last CW women’s title: 2002
  • CIS women’s ranking: N/A

WINNIPEG – The Manitoba Bisons women’s cross country team has two of seven returning members from last season’s team who competed at the CIS championships. The young squad is aiming for more individual results than team goals.

This season, there has not been a leader in rookie Rebekah Sass as she has been the top Bison runner in all races she has competed in this season (Stewart Cup, Ron Pynn, U of Sask. Open) and has a potential to finish in the Top 20 and opportunity to be named conference rookie of the year. Team captain and fifth year Nicole Dubois was top Bison in the Roy Griak meet and second to Sass all season and has numerous CIS experience and expected to be battle in the Top 40. Second year Taylor Sprague ran in last season CIS and has been Top 3 runner for the Bisons all season. Third year Emilie Ford, second years Amy Gelhorn and Carlynne Millns will all run for the first time at the CIS Championship and gain valuable experience at this level.

The Bison men’s cross country team have three of seven members from last season’s squad who ran at the CIS Championships. The team is a mix of experience and youth and should push for a Top 10 team result.

Second-year Abduselam Yussuf had a breakout season as he led the team in both races he ran in (Stewart Cup and U of Sask. Open) while team captain and fourth year Thomas Miller has been close to Yussuf throughout the season and was top Bison at Ron Pynn and Roy Griak meets. Miller was top Bison in last season’s CIS Championship and Yussuf and him seek to finish in Top 30-40 range to end the season. Rookie Jean-Baptiste Ajua should be the third Bison runner as he has been consistent in this position during 2013 season. Fourth year Eric Thacher and third year Patrick Naylor both ran CIS last season while second years Joshua Dyck and Brett Friesen will participate in their first CIS Championship.

http://www.gobisons.ca/ 

REGINA COUGARS

  • 2012 men’s CIS: 7th
  • 2012 men’s CW: 2nd
  • Last CIS men’s title: N/A
  • Last CW men’s title: 2009
  • CIS men’s ranking: N/A
  • 2012 women’s CIS: N/A
  • 2012 women’s CW: N/A
  • Last CIS women’s title: N/A
  • Last CW women’s title: N/A
  • CIS women’s ranking: N/A

REGINA – It’ll be a different look for the University of Regina men’s team and a rare appearance by a full women’s team at the 2013 CIS championships in London, Ont.

The men lose cornerstones Kelly Wiebe and Iain Fyfe from last year’s squad, but return a trio of fourth-year veterans in Wyatt Baiton, Matt Johnson, and Michael Middlemiss that will lead the way. Johnson is a three-time Canada West cross country all-star and has been the U of R’s top finisher in all three meets he’s ran in this year, while Baiton looks to be returning to the form that he showed back in 2009 when he was named the CIS Rookie of the Year.

Middlemiss, second-year runner Adam Strueby, and rookie harrier Alex Eiswerth round out the five-man team for the Cougars.

The women enter a full team in the national meet for the first time since 2011 and for just the second time in program history. The Cougars are led by third-year runner Avery Westberg, the only member of the squad with experience running at the CIS Championships. Jesse Van Eaton has enjoyed a fine first season for the U of R, while fellow rookies Lindsay Fish and Erin Strueby and second-year runner Anneliese Davis will also suit up for the Cougars.

The teams are guided by cross country coach Graeme McMaster and track & field and cross country head coach Bruce McCannel.

http://www.reginacougars.com/ 

SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES

  • 2012 men’s CIS: 17th
  • 2012 men’s CW: 5th
  • Last CIS men’s title: 1968
  • Last CW men’s title: 1979
  • CIS men’s ranking: N/A
  • 2012 women’s CIS: 15th
  • 2012 women’s CW: 3rd
  • Last CIS women’s title: N/A
  • Last CW women’s title: N/A
  • CIS women’s ranking: N/A

SASKATOON – The Saskatchewan Huskie men’s and women’s cross country rosters will feature youth at the 2013 CIS championships.

Among the 10 athletes competing at the championship, just five have experience on the national stage and just two are in fourth and fifth-year eligibility. The women’s roster is full of entirely new athletes to the event.

As a team, the Huskies will strive for a Top 10 finish in the CIS men’s and women’s races. In 2012, the Huskie women’s team finished 15th, while the men finished 17th in the CIS Championship. The women were third in the Canada West and the men fifth one year ago.

Leading the women’s team will be second-year athletes Tye Buettner and Sonia Rees. Also competing for the women’s squad will be rookies Brandey Blahut, Anne Charles and Shannon Del Bigio. Buettner has had the top placing for the Huskies in all three prep races this season including fourth at the Stewart Cup.

On the men’s side, all five athletes have experience at the Canada West/CIS Championship including fifth-year Riley Magee and fourth-year Eric Mueller. Magee finished 35th in the conference and 123rd in the nation one year ago, while Mueller was 125th in the CIS and 37th in the conference. Magee has had the top placing for the Huskies in all three races this season.

Second-year athletes Robert Bigsby, Taryn Heidecker and Reid Balezantis all had successful races in their rookie campaigns in 2012. Bigsby had the best finish of the trio in 25th place (60th, CIS), while Heidecker was 33rd (119th, CIS) and Balezantis 41st (130th, CIS).

http://huskies.usask.ca/ 

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS

  • 2012 men’s CIS: 14th
  • 2012 men’s CW: 4th
  • Last CIS men’s title: N/A
  • Last CW men’s title: N/A
  • CIS men’s ranking: N/A
  • 2012 women’s CIS: 13th
  • 2012 women’s CW: 4th
  • Last CIS women’s title: N/A
  • Last CW women’s title: N/A
  • CIS women’s ranking: #6

Key additions: Sarah Inglis, Regan Yee, Adam Marshall, Declan White

Key returnees: Alison Jackson, Fiona Benson, Meg Harradine, Chris Voth, Levi Neufeld, Nathan Goodwin, Mihai Prajea, Joel De Schiffart, Blair Johnston

LANGLEY, BC – In their third year running under the guidance of endurance coach Mark Bomba and Spartans head coach Laurier Primeau, the Trinity Western Spartans women’s team looks like its setting up for a major breakthrough as a team.

Last year the Spartans Fiona Benson put TWU on the cross country map when she finished first amongst Canada West runners and fifth overall at the CIS national championships. This year, with the addition of Scottish runner Sarah Inglis and the B.C.-born Regan Yee, the Spartans have all the tools to make a push up the team standings.

With the return of fourth-year Alison Jackson, who finished 22nd at the CIS championships, and second-year Meg Harradine, who finished 109th last year but is ever improving, combined with the third-year Benson, the Spartans have a quintet that could compete with most teams in both the conference and nationally. The incoming Inglis might prove to be fastest of the whole lot and Yee is coming off a summer in which she won the 2000m steeplechase at the Canadian Junior Championships and then finished sixth in the 3000m steeplechase at the Pan American Junior Championships.

Similar to that of the Spartans women’s team, the men’s cross country side is teeming with potential and has the depth to run with some of the best schools in the country.

Having returned their full complement of runners from last year and with the addition of Declan White and Adam Marshall, there’s no doubt the Spartans are a team on the rise and one surely to improve on its 2012 results. After a 14th place finish at last year’s national championships, the improvements to this team has experts predicting, at the very least, a top 10 result this year.

And with only Chris Voth and Mihai Prajea beyond their third year of eligibility, this could be just the beginning.

While health issues have continued to plague Blair Johnston, the rest of the team – one that includes the likes of Nathan Goodwin, Levi Neufeld and Joel De Schiffart, the latter of which finished fifth in the 3000m steeplechase and seventh in the 5000m at this past summer’s Canadian Junior Championships – has only bettered itself since last year.

http://www.twu.ca/athletics/ 

VICTORIA VIKES

  • 2012 men’s CIS: 4th
  • 2012 men’s CW: 1st
  • Last CIS men’s title: 1997
  • Last CW men’s title: 2013
  • CIS men’s ranking: #5
  • 2012 women’s CIS: 4th
  • 2012 women’s CW: 1st
  • Last CIS women’s title: 2001
  • Last CW women’s title: 2013
  • CIS women’s ranking: #5

Key returnees: Ryan Cassidy, Dylan Haight, Josh Clouthier, Kyle Irvine, Patrick Psotka, Forrest Simpson, Shauna McInnis, Grace Annear, Rachel Francois, Madeline MacDonald, Jenna Van Vliet, Kendra Pomfret

Key additions: Benjamin Weir, Oliver Colin, Brittany King

Key departures: Deidre Moran, Riley McQueen, Brittany Therrien

VICTORIA – The Victoria Vikes men’s and women’s cross-country teams are aiming to defend their Canada West title and made good strides in their season opener. At the Charles Bowl Invitational the men and women finished first and second, respectively. Third year Ryan Cassidy picked up his first of two top-3 finishes this season winning the event in 24:15.81, while nine other Vikes made up the event’s top-20. The Vikes women finished second overall thanks to second-year Shauna McInnis who finished seventh overall in 17:59.40.

The women’s team also competed at the 40th Annual Western Washington Classic, placing fourth overall. McInnis was again at the forefront for the Vikes, finishing fourth, while track specialists Rachel Francois and Kendra Pomfret placed 19th and 23rd, respectively, in their opening cross-country event of the season.

The Vikes went on to dominate the field at the Bronco Invitational, Oct. 19, with both the men’s and women’s teams finishing second. Cassidy finished third individually, while McInnis was again the top Vike on the women’s side finishing 22nd.

The men’s squad posted their second first-place finish of the year at the Bronco Invitational, Oct. 19, while McInnis guided the women to another strong result, finishing second behind UBC. The Vikes boast a strong contingency with Grace Annear, Alison Hooper, Madeline MacDonald and Jenna Van Vliet returning to the fold for the women, while retrunees Josh Clouthier, Dylan Haight, Kyle Irvine, Patrick Psotka, Forrest Simpson, Cody Therrien and recruit Benjamin Weir join Cassidy for the men’s team.

http://www.govikesgo.com/ 

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