Odell Park played host to the 2014 edition of the UNB-STU Invitational on Saturday.
The cross country meet featured some of the best runners from Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and saw a solid outing from UNB’s teams.
The Varsity Reds took home first place in the women’s six-kilometer race, edging Dalhousie by 10 points. UNB cross country coach Jason Reindl was pleased with the team’s showing.
“The women performed great,” said Reindl. “They got the win and that’s what they came out here to do. They showed that they are a strong team in the conference and that they can contend this year in the AUS.”
Women’s team captain Sarah Myatt agreed.
“I think as a team we did awesome,” she said.
“Last week was our opening meet and we decided we were going to run together as a team just to see where we’re at. But this weekend we wanted to really push and see how we could do amongst the AUS ranks — and we killed it.”
After finishing ninth overall in the Acadia Invitational, Myatt finished third amongst AUS competitors on Saturday with a time of 23:14.
“I wish I had more of her,” said Reindl about Myatt. “Her performance was great and she knew what she needed to do.”
StFX’s Liz MacDonald finished first with a time of 22:48.
In the men’s eight-kilometer race, UNB finished second behind a dominant StFX team. The V-Reds finished third at the Acadia Invitational.
It was a respectable showing for the men’s team, especially considering highly-touted first-year runner Josh Shanks was unable to run due to sickness. Reindl noted that many of the team’s members are still learning their craft.
“It’s a different ball game. It’s an 8k and it’s a hard 8k.”
James Murphy was the top finishing male V-Red, finishing ninth amongst AUS competition with a time of 26:56. John Kuto of Saint Mary’s finished first with a time of 25:50.
It was the only home meet of the season for UNB. All agreed that having home course advantage has its perks.
“It’s big. You rise to the occasion and you run better,” said Reindl. “Everyone has a bit more bounce in their step. It’s always nice to be at home.”
“It’s awesome because you know the course so well, you train on it all the time, and you also have so many people here cheering you on the whole way,” said Myatt. “All that support makes it so much more fun to race.”
“We’re able to work with the course week in and week out. You know where all the twists and turns are and you know when you should be in front of somebody so you don’t get pushed out,” added men’s team captain Taylor Lamarche.
Up next for the team is the Moncton Invitational on Oct. 4.