The AUS Cross Country Championships were held on Saturday at Odell Park in Fredericton bringing an end to the season for UNB runners. The championship meet was hosted by St. Thomas University, however, the course is used for training by both STU and Varsity Red runners so both teams enjoyed some familiarity when they ran.
Overall the Reds missed the mark with the women falling from a second place team finish last year to seventh place this year, and the men falling short of the podium by five points.
“We definitely didn’t perform at our absolute best today,” said Jason Reindl, Cross Country head coach.
Joshua Shanks finished the men’s 10 kilometre race first for UNB and 20th overall with a time of 35:47, finishing one place behind STU’s best, Paul Nozika, who he managed to fend off for most of the season before AUS.
Next came Trevor Morrison (21st, 35:57), Chris McNamara (23rd, 35:58), Jon Bunn (24th, 36:07), Scott McMullin (28th, 36:20), Marc-Andre Manuel (31st, 36:30), Clayton Holteen (33rd, 36:51).
The men as a team took fourth place out of eight teams with a total of 116 points. In cross country the runner who comes in first receives the fewest points and the runner to come in last receives the most so the winning team is the one with the fewest points after the total of their top five runners have been combined.
“Our goal on the men’s side was to reach the podium, but we were just five points from the third place team today. Five points in cross country isn’t much at all so the guys are definitely a little upset.” Said Reindl.
Last year the guys finished fourth as well, trailing the third place team by 14 points.
Nathalie Cecire crossed the line first for the UNB women in their six-kilometer race and 20th overall with a time of 25:15.
After Cecire came Priya Bhutani (25th, 25:35) Catherine Tremblay (40th, 28:02) Emma Wistaff (41st, 28:14) Christina Hubbard (42nd, 28:25). Two UNB women did not finish the race.
The women ranked seventh out of eight teams after their top five crossed the line, a sharp drop from second place at last year’s AUS Championship race. With a score of 168 points, they were 24 points from the sixth place team.
“I mean the girls fell five spots so clearly there are some things we need to work on. Last year we lost some good runners, but there’s nothing we can do about that so we have to focus on our training and recruiting before next season.” Said Reindl.
Roughly half of the members of the men’s and women’s cross country teams also run track and field so now that cross country has come to an end they have a short break until they resume training for the winter season.
The first Track and Field meet of the season will take place this Saturday in Saint John.