Canada West Runners take home first stars

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Calgary’s Stefan Daniel and UBC’s Nicola Symonds are the conference’s first stars after claiming individual and team gold at the Canada West Cross Country Championships this past weekend in Calgary.

The sport made its return as a standalone Canada West event Saturday, after nearly three decades of the national meet doubling as the conference championship.

Daniel and Symonds emerged as the men’s and women’s champions respectively, while also leading their schools to team titles.

The pair now move forward as the conference’s nominees for the U SPORTS Athletes of the Week.

MEN’S THREE STARS

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FIRST STAR: Stefan Daniel

  • Calgary Dinos / Cross country
  • 4th-year
  • Calgary, Alta.
  • Business
  • RACE LOG: Friday, Oct. 18 – Gold at Canada West Cross Country Championships (31:28:53)

After getting out quickly and extending his lead over the entire race, untouchable Stefan Daniel blew away the competition to secure gold by over 30 seconds at the 2019 Canada West Cross Country Championships with a time of 31:28:53.

Daniel, who captured his eighth World Paratriathlon Series title in Tokyo in August, helped the University of Calgary Dinos capture their third consecutive conference title in men’s cross country. Calgary finished the competition with a 47-point lead over second-place Alberta with four of the top six finishers.

Daniel’s inspired performance also landed him the title of Canada West Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

The Dinos cross country teams will begin to gear up for the 2019 U SPORTS Cross Country Championships Nov. 9 at Queen’s Universty in Kingston, Ont.

SECOND STAR: OH – Jordan Canham

  • Alberta Golden Bears / Volleyball
  • 2nd-year
  • Newington, Ont.
  • Kinesiology, Sport, & Rec.
  • GAME LOG: Friday, Oct. 25 – 17 kills, five blocks and 19.5 points in 3-0 win @ UBCO / Saturday, Oct. 26 – 19 kills, seven digs, two aces and 22.0 points in 3-1 win @ UBCO.

In the best weekend of his young Bears career, second-year outside hitter Jordan Canham was outstanding in leading Alberta to a two-game sweep over the UBC Okanagan Heat in Kelowna.

The sophomore outside hitter finished with 36 kills over seven sets, as Alberta stretched their win streak to three games with the series sweep.

Canham led the Bears with a team-high 17 kills in their 3-0 win on Friday, committing only four errors on 31 attempts, while also adding five block assists and one ace.

He followed that up with 19 kills on Saturday, also adding seven digs and two aces and a game-high 22.0 points.

Through four games, Canham’s 59 kills, 3.93 kill per set and 4.4 points per set average are each third in Canada West. After a ‘bye’ this weekend, the Golden Bears will travel to Kamloops to take on the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.

THIRD STAR: M – Pearson Eshenko

  • Trinity Western Spartans / Volleyball
  • 5th-year
  • Banff, Alta.
  • Business
  • GAME LOG: Friday, Oct. 25 – 10 blocks, eight kills, 13.0 pts in 3-0 win vs. Winnipeg / Saturday, Oct. 26 – three blocks, two aces, 8.0 pts in 3-0 win vs. Winnipeg.

Spartans fifth-year middle Pearson Eshenko had a historic weekend for TWU’s men’s volleyball team, helping guide the Spartans to a sweep over the visiting Winnipeg Wesmen.

In Friday’s three-set win, Eshenko tied TWU’s school record for blocks in a 3-set match with 10, to go along with his eight kills and 13.0 points. He followed it up with a three block and two ace performance in another straight sets win over the Wesmen, finishing the weekend averaging 2.0 blocks and 2.0 kills per set.

Eshenko and the Spartans are back in action this weekend as they host the MacEwan Griffins Friday (8 p.m. PT) and Saturday (7 p.m. PT) at the Langley Events Centre.

WOMEN’S THREE STARS

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FIRST STAR: Nicola Symonds

  • UBC Thunderbirds / Cross country
  • 5th-year
  • Calgary, Alta.
  • Science
  • RACE LOG: Friday, Oct. 18 – Gold at Canada West Cross Country Championships (30:35.49)

Running her final conference race in her hometown, Nicola Symonds crossed the finish line in first with a time of 30:35.49 on the eight-kilometre course.

Symonds’ gold medal saw her named a Canada West first team All-Star as well as the 2019 Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

Her tremendous conference finale helped the Thunderbirds secure the women’s team championship for the second straight year. It’s UBC’s ninth women’s conference championship and the first time the ‘Birds have won back-to-back Canada West titles since 1974-75.

Symonds and the T-Birds will now prepare for the upcoming U SPORTS national championships which take place in Kingston, Ontario on Saturday, November 9th.

SECOND STAR: OH – Hilary Howe

  • Trinity Western Spartans / Volleyball
  • 4th-year
  • Calgary, Alta.
  • Business
  • GAME LOG: Friday, Oct. 25 – 16 kills, 10 digs and three blocks in 3-0 win vs. Winnipeg / Saturday, Oct. 26 – 14 kills, nine digs, four blocks and two aces in 3-0 win vs. Winnipeg.

Spartans fourth-year outside hitter Hilary Howe picked up where she left off, helping TWU improve to 4-0 on the season after a pair of 3-0 wins over Winnipeg.

In Friday’s game, Howe had a game-high 16 kills, along with 10 digs and three blocks for the Spartans. She followed it up with another game-high 14 blocks, along with nine digs and two aces in Saturday’s win. Howe finished the weekend with an average of 5.0 kills, 3.17 digs and 1.17 blocks per set to go with a hitting percentage of .389.

Howe and the Spartans are once again at home this weekend, playing host to MacEwan Friday (6 p.m. PT) and Saturday (5 p.m. PT) at the Langley Events Centre.

THIRD STAR: F – Kate Scidmore

  • Mount Royal Cougars / Hockey
  • 3rd-year
  • Moose Jaw, Sask.
  • Health & Physical Education
  • GAME LOG: Friday, Oct. 25 – 3 shots in 2-1 win vs. Regina / Saturday, Oct. 26 – three goals in 6-1 win vs. Regina.

Last weekend was an offensive one for the Cougars women’s hockey team as they swept the Regina Cougars on home ice. Kate Scidmore was a huge part of the goal scoring getting her first U SPORTS hat trick Saturday night with two of the goals coming on the penalty kill.

Saturday was Scidmore’s night as she got the ladies going early, scoring her first at 1:49 of the first period with a beauty tip-in. Her second goal was a shorthanded one late in the second period off a rebound. The third was also on the kill as Scidmore received a great cross ice pass and buried it for the hat trick. Maddison Toppe had an assist on all three of Scidmores goals.

The Cougars are on a bye this week and will have a home-and-home series against the first-place Lethbridge Pronghorns November 8th and 9th.

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Scott Harrigan
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