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Both Men’s and Women’s XCR teams Finish in the Medals in GP

Posted on: Sep 21, 2015

The Thunder Cross Country Running teams made the long trek up to Grande Prairie on Saturday to take part in the 2nd ACAC Grand Prix of the season.  The teams kept one good streak alive while thankfully ending another not-so-good streak.  "This is the first ACAC/CCAA XC race for the teams in 3 races where someone has not gone to the hospital after the races," Head Coach Matt Norminton happily remarked.  "On the positive side, the ladies were 2nd for the 2nd meet in a row while the men were 1st for the 2nd meet in a row."
In a somewhat different format from the norm, both the men's and women's races started together with the men running an extra lap of the course.  Kirk Sundt picked up his first ACAC XC victory while Captains Kevin Chambers and Ben Thomas placed 3rd and 4th respectively, out of the ACAC runners.  Ben Thomas also completed a lifetime goal of beating both of his coaches over the course of the season. "I got Matt last week at our race and Tom this week.  My lifetime cross country goals are almost complete," said Thomas.  "I knew I would get Tom after I beat Matt last week," added Chambers, who can also tick off both accomplishments from his bucket list.  Kenton Sportak was the 4th scorer for the Thunder, limping home after hurting his calf muscle, in 9th place.  Rookies Riley Bowker and Qasim Valj both completed the tough course in a time similar to Thomas' rookie debuts.  "I hope these two know that if they give it another 2 or 3 years, they can be top 20 guys at the ACAC champs like Ben is now," said Norminton.  The men defeated Augustana and Grande Prairie by significant margins.
The ladies finished 2nd for the day, losing to defending national champions Grande Prairie but defeating Augustana.  Captain Marriya Jenkins led the way, finishing in 2nd place and closing the gap on rival Jamie Wigmore from GPRC.  Rachael Smillie was the 2nd Thunder lady home in 5th place while rookie Elise Nawrocki had another outstanding run in what was her 2nd cross country race, finishing in 7th spot.  Another rookie, Bailey Troccoli-Hughes completed the Thunder scoring with another excellent run, finishing in 10th spot.  Ana Zulic made her return for the ladies after missing the first race due to injury, finishing in 14th place while another rookie, Baylee Frissell finished in 16th place.  5th year runner Kristina Dong, making her return to racing after illness finished in 19th place.  "I love that we have some serious depth on the women's team this year," said Norminton.  "This is by far the best women's team I have coached here at Concordia and man can these ladies sing!"
The Thunder teams will take next weekend off before heading to Calgary for the SAIT open on October 3rd.