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XCR Teams Looking Good in Final GP Before Championships

Posted on: Oct 15, 2013

The Thunder Men's and Women's XC teams made the trip down to Camrose for the ACAC Grand Prix #4, the final stop before the Championships.  The women were up first as always and Coach Matt Norminton was happy to have his top 4 ladies all on the start line for the first time. "It was really nice to have Marriya, Bev, Shelby and Steph all starting this one and to have 2 girls as back up as well was a real bonus with Barbara and Teaghan both also present!"
The ladies race was an exciting one with Jenkins mixing it up the first 3.5km with the UofA's top runner, her old rival Alex Gordichuk (now running as an open athlete) and her training partner and open athlete Jennifer Norminton.  MacEwan's top 2 girls were lurking just 20m back and last weekend's top ACAC runner (Vanessa Trofimenkoff) was able to close the gap with 400m to go and the race to the finish was on.  In an exciting battle over the last 100m, Jenkins finished an impressive 6th overall but was beat out by her MacEwan rival Trofimenkoff.  "What a great race," said Norminton.  "Those girls were really flying over the last km!  Marriya did great, she has gotten faster every race this season and she is looking fantastic heading into the ACAC Championships."  Next across the line for the Thunder ladies was rookie Steph Mahar, who ran a new personal best and just missed out on the top 20 ACAC runners.  After Mahar it was rookie Shelby Edgar crossing the line as the 30th ACAC runner followed closely by team veteran Beverly Kaine in 35th out of the ACAC runners (also a new personal best time).  The Thunder women were an impressive 5th on the day.  Veteran Barbara Jackson ran her fastest time of the season and finished as the 53rd ACAC runner and rookie Teaghan Brophy finished in 56th in a new personal best time.
The men were up next and had to do 2 laps of the hilly course which includes one big hill each lap.  Coach Norminton felt it was a good final tune-up for the teams as it's a similar course to Goldbar Park (where Concordia will host the 2013 ACAC Championships) in terms of difficulty.  The men were without 2nd year standout Kevin Chambers who was resting his foot but saw the edition of 4th year team member and soccer-player-turned-runner-turned-soccer-player Cody Hogberg.  As it turned out, Hogberg ended up leading the boys on this day, finishing a solid 17th place out of the ACAC runners.  After Hogberg it was an exciting finish between 2nd year runner Ben Thomas and team Captain Joel Perren with Thomas getting the better of his captain, running another personal best to finish as the 19th ACAC runner.  "Ben just keeps getting faster, that was an impressive run," said Norminton.  Perren ended up in 20th which marks the first time in Norminton's tenure as Head Coach that the men have put 3 guys in to the top 20 in an ACAC race.  "If those 3 guys all get into the top 20 at the ACAC Champs and we have a healthy Kevin running, we could end up with 4 guys in the top 20 and give ourselves an outside chance at medaling!" said an excited Coach Norminton.   Next across the line for the men was 2nd year runner Chris Gaertner, running a new personal best as well and crossing the line as the 35th ACAC runner.  Gaertner would really like to crack the top 30 at the ACAC Champs.
The Thunder Men's and Women's teams will next take a weekend off before hosting the 2013 ACAC XC Championships on October 26th at Goldbar Park.  Come out and cheer your Thunder XC runners on as they tackle the hills of Goldbar and their ACAC competition.

XCR Women's Team Shot

XCR Men's Team Shot