The Queen’s Gaels Men’s and Woman’s Cross-Country teams will host the U Sports national championships this Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. The women’s race starts at 1 p.m., while the men go at 2 p.m. Admission to the event is free. There will be approximately 360 athletes from across the country competing for a national championship.
The women’s team come into the meet ranked No. 1 in the country. With that comes the added pressure of finishing off a strong season with a win.
“Last year we came in second and didn’t finish where we wanted in 2017 either,” said Head Coach Steve Boyd. “Last year, we ran into a hot team from Laval, [and] many of their athletes having the best day of their competitive lives. The year before that it was U of T. Many of those athletes may never get results like that again in their lives. If all things are equal this Saturday, we will reach our goal of finishing first.”
Fourth year engineering student Branna MacDougal, who grew up in Kingston, feels that this year’s team is the best she’s been on at Queen’s since transferring from Iowa State.
“This is by far the best team that I have been a part of,” she said. “We’ve grown a lot this year and there are genuine strong relationships with one another.”
Boyd said that having the event on Fort Henry Hill does give Queen’s a decided advantage.
“We have a lot of locals on both teams. We have runners who first raced on this course back in grade 3. They know it better than they know their own back yards,” he said.
On the men’s side, Queen’s comes into the weekend ranked fifth in the country. Mitchell De Lange, a third year Commerce student from Utopia, Ontario, feels that the lower ranking is a positive for the men.
“We still haven’t had our best day as a team yet, so if we all run to our capabilities, we’re going to surprise a lot of people,” De Lange shares. “When other competitors see the Queen’s jersey near the front later in the race, they’ll start to press, which works to our advantage.”
Boyd said that both teams have very detailed strategy, so familiarity with the course and the expected weather conditions are tangibles that work in their favour.
“The wind is expected to be significant, but from the northwest. It’ll be in our back going uphill, so with our course knowledge we will be tough to beat,” he said.
More details on the event can be found here.