Strueby and Cougars Keep Rolling in Minneapolis

The calm before the storm/ Haley Klassen

The calm before the storm/ Haley Klassen

Canada or the U.S., it doesn’t matter where the Cougars race

Author: matt wincherauk – sports editor

Cross-country might not be the most popular sport at the University of Regina, but with the success that runners like Adam Strueby have been achieving, it’s tough not to give these guys and girls their due.

Strueby, a third-year athlete, is one of the leading runners for the Cougars very successful cross-country team. Along with the likes of Matt Johnson and Michael Middlemiss, they cleaned up nicely in their tune-up run at the annual Cougar Trot in mid-September.

“First race, goal wise, we just wanted to finish as close as we could together, so we had me and Matt and then the rest of the guys, and then the last lap was just every man for themselves,” Strueby told me. “It worked out for us, because we went one through five; it couldn’t have worked out better.”

The Cougar Trot was a warm up for seasoned runners like Strueby and Johnson. The real test this season was the looming Roy Griak Invitational Race in Minneapolis, a massive multi-divisional race that comprised hundreds of runners, 409 to be exact, from over 30 different schools.

I asked Adam to talk about the difference between Canadian and American races, and even the differences among divisions.

“My first year, we did Division 1; my second, we did Division 2, and the numbers aren’t very different, but the depth is. It’s not like any race you’ll do in Canada until you get to Nationals,“ Adam says.

The point is that despite a grueling 8km course, you’re most likely going to be stuck with someone the entire way.

For Strueby, it’s important to become a leader of the team. He is now in his third year and a veteran on the team. As for advice, here’s what he’d say to his younger teammates.

“What I’m going to tell them is the key is not to get into it too early because it’s a long race and a hard course.”

Strueby knows this advice all too well, as he speaks from personal experience.

“You’re going to be excited over the first little while, but if you go out too hard, and I’ve done it before, you’re going to suffer through a long course with tough hills. The key is to stick to your race plan, and stick with some of the older guys, because they know what it takes to do well.”

However, being a leader is more than just giving advice. It’s also about keeping team morale and chemistry high. Strueby and his teammates are big-time supporters of keeping things light and fun in order to get the best results.

“We’re all weird!” Adam says with a big grin on his face. “They’re a great group of people, and we all like to goof around, but when it comes time to work, that’s our time to work.”

The Cougars put forward an impressive performance in Minneapolis, finishing in sixth place of 33 teams. Matt Johnson (25:32) finished first on the men’s side of things, with Adam (26:23) not far behind in ninth place. As for the women’s race, both Brynn Latimer and Jesse Van Eaton finished with a time of 23:41, and placed 31st and 32nd overall. The women’s team also did well team-wise, finishing finished eighth of 36 teams.

The Cougars will travel to Saskatoon next weekend for the Huskie Open.

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