Cougars Dominate Home Race

So damn fast/Haley Klassen

So damn fast/Haley Klassen

Cougars cross country starts season off with a bang

Author: matt wincherauk – sports editor

The University of Regina Cougars cross country team competed in their first race of the season right here in Regina last weekend at the annual Cougar Trot, and did they ever explode on to the scene.

            The Cougars cross country team might not always get a ton of attention from the rest of the student body, but they made a case for why everyone else should be put on notice thanks to a killer all-around team performance. Matt Johnson led the way for the men’s side of things, finishing the 8km race in first place overall with a time of 25:15, and his partner for most of the race, Adam Strueby, was not far behind with a time of 26:08; good enough for a second place finish. The rest of the men’s team dominated the remainder of the standings, rounding out the top five, with rookie Marc Turmel (27:00), Michael Middlemiss (27:04) and Sean Hooper (27:29) finishing third through fifth place.

            The women’s side of the team also had a pretty nice day, led by the eccentric Avery Westberg who was the first CIS women’s runner to cross the 5km finish line in a time of 18:55, followed closely by first-year runner Brynn Latimer (19:00), and Jesse Van Eaton (19:05).

            This is just step one in the cross country team’s season, as they have far bigger races coming up in the next few weeks, notably the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis next week, the Huskie Open in Saskatoon, the Stewart Cup in Calgary, and finally in St. Johns for the CIS Championships. I can personally vouch for the tough schedule that these athlete have to go through, as I went through part of this circuit in my grade 12 year, and the CIS races will only get progressively harder, and bigger.

           Marc Turmel talked a bit about what it was like being in his first race as a Cougar, and how they approached the race as a team. Turmel has competed in these races for a lot of his high school career as a runner, so they weren’t much different in terms of competition, but it was good to get the first race out of the way. He also spoke very highly when it came to the team first approach that the Cougars have. Guys like Middlemiss might have been around for longer, but they’re willing to sacrifice timing and maybe evening placing for the sake of helping the group.

This team has high expectations from coach Graeme “Doc” McMaster, but it doesn’t faze runners like Turmel and Strueby. The rigorous training regiments that they went through during the summer, something that was noted in a Carillon article done in the summer on Jesse Van Eaton, has done nothing but good save for maybe some soreness in the morning.

            I was unlucky in that I couldn’t attend the race myself thanks to a rather long and arduous road trip, but will be in person to watch them race in Saskatoon for the University of Saskatchewan Open, Oct. 4. Cross country might not be for everyone in terms of excitement, but there’s nothing like watching a pulse-pounding final stretch of a race, and I cannot wait to see what these guys bring with more experience under their belts, because they’re only getting better.

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