Ron MacLean leads Cougars Cross-Country at Can West Championship
Canada West Rookie of the Year helps men to a fifth-place finish
University of Regina’s cross-country team was in action Saturday, Oct, 26 at the first annual Canada West Championships for cross country. This is the first year in history that the sport has held a Canada West championship separate from U Sports, so teams were out to enter the record books in Calgary, Alberta. The Cougars fielded men’s and women’s teams at the competition, who finished fifth and eighth, respectively. The hometown Dinos won the men’s competition, while the UBC women took the inaugural title.
Top finisher for the men was rookie Ron Maclean. Maclean came into his Cougar career as a 18 and under national champion in cross-country, so expectations were high for his debut, and he delivered. MacLean earned Canada West Rookie of the Year honours. He was joined in scoring by teammates Brayden Mytopher, Kaelan Kolb, Matthew Johnson, and Jacob Smith.
Kaila Neigum and Kaylee Tymo led the women, coming in at 30th and 32nd, respectively. Sarah Novakowski, Darbi Edwards, and Tiana Dodds rounded out the women’s team. For Edwards, the team’s performance was a positive sign heading towards the indoor season.
“I think our overall performance [was] really good, the weather wasn’t the best, so I think we did well despite [it] being cold and windy. Everyone went out and gave their all for one last race.”
The conditions were indeed less than ideal, with a low of -3oC and winds upwards of 30 kilometers per hour. These conditions were a first for Edwards, who found the conditions to be challenging but manageable.
“The snow wasn’t super heavy, but I found the wind worse than the snow.”
Another challenge for the team was the roster size. The Cougars fielded near the minimum roster size of 10, sending only 11 athletes to Calgary. Other teams such as the hosting Dinos fielded upwards of 20 runners. For Edwards, that was just another part of the challenge.
“It’s a little intimidating obviously going against the larger teams, but you just need to be confident with your abilities and get your team pumped up even if you are smaller than the other teams.”
Edwards also spoke to rookie Ron Maclean’s great performance, one that buoyed the rest of the Cougars through the competition.
“Ron ran a great race. He went out there and had fun, he gave it his all for sure. He’s had a really good season in cross-country and I am looking forward to seeing what he does on the track as well.
The track is the next stop for most of the Cougars cross-country team, except for the select few who will head to Kingston for the U SPORTS championship, a decision that will be made prior to the meet. The U SPORTS Championships run on Nov. 9.