NACAC Cross Country Championships kick off 2014 Canadian national team season

athletics canada

February 17, 2014, OTTAWA (ISN) – Athletics Canada is sending a contingent of 23 athletes to race at the 2014 North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country Championships. The Championships take place Saturday February 22 in Mount Irvine, Tobago.

Jillian Forsey of Kippens, Nfld., leads the junior women’s entry. She competed at both the 2013 NACAC and IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Forsey won silver at the 2013 Canadian Cross Country Championships, which served as the selection trial for this team. Jaimie Phelan of Kitchener, Ont., finished third (bronze) at the selection trials.  

The junior men’s entry fields a strong list of contenders who will be in the hunt for a NACAC title. Justyn Knight of Vaughan, Ont., won the 2013 Canadian Junior Championships just ahead of Ben Flanagan of Kitchener, Ont., and Mike Tate of Heatherton, N.S. Ben and Mike will be able to draw on their previous international cross-country experience having competing at the 2013 NACAC and IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Watch for Jessica O’Connell of Calgary, Alta., in the senior women’s 6-kilometre race, she won bronze at the 2013 Canadian Cross Country Championships. Rachel Hannah of Toronto, Ont., finished fifth at that same event and returns to the NACAC Championships looking to improve on her sixth place finish from last year. Rachel also represented Canada at the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Leslie Sexton of London, Ont., finished fifth at the 2013 Canadian 10km Championships, Erin Burrett of Nanaimo, B.C., was seventh in that event.

2014 Canadian NACAC Cross Country Team

Junior Women

Katie Fisher

Uxbridge, ON

Edward Larocque

Jillian Forsey

Kippens, NL

Sean Cleary

Jessy Lacourse

Victoriaville, QC

Jacques Hince

Jaimie Phelan

Kitchener, ON

Mike McGuire / Tom Fitzgerald

Claire Smith

Ottawa, ON

Kirk Dillabaugh

Aurilla Wilson

Regina, SK

Dr. Steve Gersten

Junior Men

Issac Dobos

Oshawa, ON

Rob Grepe

Ben Flanagan

Kitchener, ON

Alex Gibby

Thomas Getty

Victoria, BC

Brent Fougner

Justyn Knight

Vaughan, ON

Terry Radchenko

Miles Matthews

Tecumesh, ON

Dave Scarrow

Mike Tate

Heatherton, NS

Eric Houle / Chris MacKinnon

Senior Women

Erin Burrett

Nanaimo, BC

Matt Clout

Rachel Hannah

Toronto, ON

Ross Ristuccia

Jodi Nesbitt

Red Deer, AB

Darren George / Brian Stackhouse

Jessica O’Connell

Calgary, AB

Mike Van Tighem

Leslie Sexton

London, ON

Steve Weiler

Sabrina Wilkie

Vancouver, BC

Richard Lee

Senior Men

Barry Britt

Hampton, NB

Wayne Phipps

Ryan Cassidy

Grande-Digue, NB

Brent Fougner

Theo Hunt

Vancouver, BC

Marek Jedrzejek

Saheed Khan

Toronto, ON

Dave Christiani

Kyle O’Neill

London, ON

Steve Weiler

A pair of New Brunswick athletes leads the senior men’s entry including Ryan Cassidy of Grande-Digue and Barry Britt of Hampton. Cassidy and Britt finished fourth and fifth respectively at the 2013 Canadian Cross Country Championships.

The team will be led by a pair of coaches including Lynn Kanuka, the 1984 Olympic Games bronze medalist in the 3000-metres. Coach Kanuka also won bronze at the 1984 World Cross Country Championships. She is currently the middle distance head coach with the Ocean Athletics Club in Surrey, B.C.

Joining Coach Kanuka in leading the team is Rob Grepe. Coach Grepe has coached numerous teams in Ontario over the past 13 years. He competed internationally in triathlons as an athlete.

At the 2013 NACAC Cross Country Championships Canada won three of the four gold team medals and added an individual gold by Natasha Fraser of Port Moody, B.C., in the senior women’s race.