A small but determined group of St. Mary’s athletes put their best foot forward at the ACAC XC Running Championships at Red Deer College on Saturday, October 28. The team, which has been depleted by injury and illness this season came together and had a strong showing at Provincials.
Rebecca Johnson led the women’s team by finishing a fine fourth place (25:03) in the 6 km race. She ran a smart tactical race, heading out with the lead pack and outkicking several runners in the final stages of a close race. Kim McEwan (39th, 32:30) stepped up as the 2nd scorer for St. Mary’s, Bronwen O’Connor (40th, 33:58) and Tanis Lefebvre (43rd, 39:03) finished strongly despite injuries. The St. Mary’s Women’s Lightning team placed 7th.
Rebecca’s fourth place finish marks the first time that St. Mary’s has had an athlete named to the All-Conference Team (top-seven) for cross-country running.
Coach Donna Dixon stated:
“We missed a few key runners today including Erin McQuitty, but the women all ran well, I’m very proud of everyone’s progress this season. Becca ran a great race, she started strongly to get in with the lead pack and had an excellent finish. She’s a motivated and talented athlete in her first year of competitive racing ever. I’m sure she will represent St. Mary’s well at Nationals in Quebec on November 11.”
In the Men’s 8 km race first year runners Isaac Amsing (32nd, 34:44), Tim Evans (33rd, 35:32) and Ico Beltran (40th, 39:50) all had seasonal best performances and improved their times by several minutes from the start of the season. Returning runner, Matt Holler (34th, 36:04) ran strongly in his final race in a Lightning singlet. The St. Mary’s men’s team also placed 7th.
Unfortunately, Karan Matusin, 8th at Provincials last year, was injured in the first Grand Prix event this season and did not have the opportunity to compete at Provincials this year. He came out to support the team on Saturday, even though it was bittersweet to cheer from the sidelines. The men’s team was also missing Donovan Miller and Luke Miller due to injury.
Coach Dixon noted “In the absence of our top 2 runners, the men really stepped up to run their best races at Provincials. We have several first year runners, Isaac, Tim, Ico and Luke who will be even stronger next year. They’ve shown that they are willing to put in the work needed to get fitter and faster. We’re looking forward to continuing to build the team at St. Mary’s.”