Concordia Hosts Successful Cross Country Running ChampionshipsPosted on: Oct 28, 2013
On Saturday, October 26th the Concordia Thunder hosted the 2013 ACAC Cross Country Running Championships and put on a great show for all the competitors and spectators in Edmonton`s Goldbar Park. The conditions were perfect for the day's events and the Thunder Women's team entered the contest with a shot at the top 5 if all things went to plan according to Coach Matt Norminton. Defending ACAC champion Marriya Jenkins went straight to the front and pushed the pace hard right from the firing of the starter`s gun. She had a 20m lead heading into the final kilometer but unfortunately couldn`t hold off a few fast closing challengers and ended up in 5th place for the day. “Even with her totally crashing in the final half km, she was only 10 seconds off her time from 3 weeks ago. She`s super fit right now," commented Norminton. “Hindsight is always 20/20 but perhaps she took the lead a touch too early but I can`t fault her for that. She was excited and wanted to go for it and when you leave it all out on there on the course like that, I as her coach can`t ask her for much more than that. She`s tough, she`ll bounce back at Nationals in 2 weeks.“ After Jenkins, the Thunder Women were well represented by rookies Stephanie Mahar and Shelby Edgar. Both runners ran new personal bests on the tough 5k course with Mahar finishing 25th and Edgar finishing 35th. “Steph will be top 20 next year and Shelby won`t be far off that. If we can find one more girl to replace Bev (Kaine) with, we`ll be a contender for a medal next year. I`m excited to have our top 3 girls returning. We haven`t had that happen since I took over this program!“ Next through the line was 2nd year runner Bev Kaine in 49th place and rounding out the Thunder finishers was Barbara Jackson in 74th spot. “That was a season best for Barbara and Bev ran a minute faster than the same time last year. I can`t expect much more of the girls when they all pretty much showed some sort of improvement over the season.“ The Thunder ladies ended the day in 6th spot with the SAIT Trojans taking top team honours on the day.
Next up were the Thunder Men and they started the race with an outside chance of a top 3 finish. The plan was to go after SAIT however SAIT had other plans and ran their best race of the season. “I think I underestimated the SAIT guys and perhaps sent the guys out a touch quick,“ said Norminton. The men were led by 2nd year runner Kevin Chambers, who went out in the top 15 and ended up placing in the top 20 despite missing some training the past few weeks due to a foot injury. Team Captain Joel Perren figures he may have gone out a touch hard and was hoping for a top 20 finish but faded in the last half of the race to 34th, just ahead of 4th year team vet Cody Hogberg who ended up in 35th. “Cody was tired and a bit banged up from his soccer game the day before, but both he and Joel had decent runs. This program has come a long way from when I took over 5 years ago. That first year our only 2 guys were last and 2nd last. Now I am being hard on myself about having 4 guys in the top 35,“ reflected Norminton. “Unfortunately we need to replace Joel and Cody next year but the good news is that even without those 2, we still have 4 capable guys coming back next year.“ Second year runner Ben Thomas actually ended up being the number 2 Thunder man on the day finishing in 31st, an improvement of 3 spots from last year`s Championship. Race of the day went to the #5 Thunder finisher, Cody Krantz. “Both Ben and Cody improved huge this year. Cody ran a personal best at the Champs and Ben almost cracked the top 30. Cody moved up 12 spots from last year when he competed for Grande Prairie,“ said Norminton. Krantz finished in 50th spot overall, just ahead of 2nd year runner Chris Gaertner who ended up in 55th spot, an improvement of 9 spots compared to last year. The Thunder men ended up in 7th for the 3rd year in a row with MacEwan University taking top honours on the men`s side of the competition.
With the exception of Jenkins who will now get ready for the National Championships in Toronto, the bulk of the team will take some time off before getting ready for the indoor season where both teams will look to improve upon their 3rd place finishes from last year`s ACAC Indoor Championships with the big difference being that this season, Indoor Track will now be an official ACAC sport.
The Thunder Cross Country Running team and would like to thank everyone who came down to help out and support the teams at Gold Bar Park. The Concordia Athletics Department would also like to extend a HUGE thank you to our hosting partners at MacEwan University who did an incredible job hosting the post-race banquet. WELL DONE ALL!