It could have been anyone’s race on Saturday, but in the end, it was Genevieve Lalonde who would defend her title at the 2019 Canadian Cross Country Championships.
Coming into this year’s Canadian Championships as the reigning champion, Lalonde went to the front of the pack, running in the lead pack that included Sarah Inglis and Maria Bernard-Galea, the trio didn’t look back.
Lalonde would break away from the group as they approached the final stretch, stopping the clock at 33:22.35 to win her second consecutive Canadian cross country championships
“It felt really great, it was a really tough race today. Our Canadian women are so great and to have Sarah Inglis jump into the race as well, it definitely pushed the pace,” said Lalonde. “What a great test it was for the legs and to have an event like this to run well is always so much fun.”
“It is so fun to have an event where all the distance athletes can come and join and try to run a fast 10-kilometres,” Lalonde added.
Coming in behind Lalonde were Inglis (33:31.98) and Bernard-Galea (33:46.69) to complete the podium finishers, followed by Natasha Wodak and Reagan Yee in fourth and fifth respectively.
The men’s side was just as exciting as it saw a battle between the defending champion Lucas Bruchet, last year’s silver medallist Mike Tate and 2018 U Sports cross country champion Connor Black.
The trio formed the lead pack of the race, each taking turns leading the race, but as they approached the final hill, it was Tate who pulled away from Bruchet and Black, raising his arms in celebration as the 2019 Canadian men’s cross country champion.
“It was really big to get the win,” said Tate. “Luc is and Connor are incredible competitors and I knew Ben Preisner would be up there too, so I’m really happy and glad to come out with the win.”
“The first two laps I felt really good, had a short little kick up the hill and each loop I was able to get a couple steps, so going into the final laps, I was thinking about trying to save, trying to get ready for that last big move, knowing I wanted to make that big move on the final hill.”
Bruchet (29:12.09) and Black (29:18.82) would wrap up podium spots, while Ben Preisner (29:41.79) and John Gay (29:51.07) rounded out the top five finishers.
The top six finishers of each race also achieved the selection criteria for the 2020 Pan American Cross Country Cup Canadian team in February, making their cross country season a little bit longer if they choose to represent Canada.
For Lalonde, she’s excited to get 2020 started off by representing Canada. “It will be a great event heading into 2020 and looking forward to working with the Canadian women there and see what we can do and bring home the title,” said the Moncton-native Lalonde.
Getting the day started were a number of Championship races including the Masters eight- and six-kilometre races as well as the U18 and U20 categories.
Andrew Russell became the first athlete to cross the finish line at Clearbrook Park today when he stopped the clock at 25:52.75 minutes to win the Masters men’s race, while Maria Zambrano claimed the Masters women’s title with a time of 29:21.27.
The U18 races saw the athletes from British Columbia dominate as Madelyn Bonikowsky (14:08.26) led a BC podium sweep with last year’s champion Kendra Lewis (14:18.95) and Maya Kobylanksi (14:20.18). On the boy’s side, Jaiveer Tiwana (18:42.52) was crowned the winner as he was greeted by his family at the finish line to celebrate his victory, adding to his special moment.
“It’s not very often that we get to race in a huge event like nationals so close to home so it was nice to have all the family,” said Tiwana.
Andrew Davies (24:38.01) from Windsor Legion put on a show in the U20 race, as he pushed his lead with each lap of the 8-kilometre course. Taryn O’Neill (20:45.76) came out victorious in the U20 girls 6-kilometre race, after battling it out with Naomi Lang (20:49.33) and Sadie Sigfstead (20:52.59).
Top 3 finishers
Masters women’s 8-kilmotre race
- Maria Zambrano (29:21.27)
- Jen Millar (29:30.20)
- Robyn Poulin (29:37.01)
Masters men’s 8-kilometre race
- Andrew Russell (25:52.75)
- Graham Cocksedge (26:26.54)
- Aaron Holmgren (26:28.39)
U16 girl’s 4-kilomtre race
- Erin Vringer (13:57.07)
- Christina Peet Williams (14:17.63)
- Mandeep Sangha (14:21.42)
U16 boy’s 4-kilometre race
- Tion McLeish (12:58.93)
- Devon Meadows (12:58.94)
- Abraham Makaby (13:05.47)
U18 boy’s 6-kilmotre race
- Jaiveer Tiwana (18:42.52)
- Max Davies (18:46.78)
- Ben Miske (18:48.05)
U18 girl’s 4-kilometre race
- Madelyn Bonikowsky (14:08.26)
- Kendra Lewis (14:18.95)
- Maya Kobylanksi (14:20.18)
U20 girl’s 6-kilometre race
- Taryn O’Neill (20:45.76)
- Naomi Lang (20:49.33)
- Sadie Sigfstead (20:52.59)
U20 boy’s 8-kilometre race
- Andrew Davies (24:38.01)
- Marc-Andre Trudeau Perron (24:59.99)
- Kevin Robertson (25:00.87)
Senior women’s 10-kilometre race
- Genevieve Lalonde (33:22.35)
- Sarah Inglis (33:31.98)
- Maria Bernard-Galea (33:46.69)
Senior men’s 10-kilometre race
- Mike Tate (29:10.34)
- Lucas Bruchet (29:12.09)
- Connor Black (29:18.82)