SFU cross country have solid GNAC championships, look to improve further

SFU women placed second, while the men placed third

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Olivia Willet took the Freshman of the Year Award. (Photo courtesy of SFU Athletics)

By: Mateo De Dalmases

For the past two months, SFU’s cross country teams have shown extreme discipline.

Every member of both groups (men and women) has prioritized the team interests over any individual pleasure or decision. The discipline in hard workouts, food choices, and choosing sleep over partying has brought many successful results such as the undefeated streak on the women’s side and the prestigious wins on the men’s.

On October 21 at the Lake Padden course, this trend was interrupted abruptly. Both the women and men’s teams fought with all their hearts from start to end, but didn’t quite get the results they had hoped for.  

Lake Padden Park’s trails are known for being a tough running course to race on. Regardless of how one is feeling on the day of the event, it is always going to be a grind. Alaska Anchorage had a truly amazing race, placing first and taking the GNAC title, and our women, led once again by Julia Howley, placed second.

The outstanding performances of Howley, Miryam Bassett, and Olivia Willett (who took freshman of the year title) were definite highlights, but due to factors beyond their control, Chelsea Ribeiro and Addy Townsend could not compete at their full potential. Ribeiro has been battling illness for weeks and therefore has not been able to train properly, while Townsend faced unexpected breathing issues the day of the race. Because cross country is a team sport, and GNAC championships have such a deep field, if a few runners of a team do not perform at their best on that given day, the overall score is severely affected. Today, the women’s cross country team had to settle for second place. However, these high results, will surely further motivate them at the Regional Championships.

On the men’s side, there is one word to describe the result: frustration. From an insider’s perspective, the men gave everything they had on the course, but unfortunately the goal of winning championships will have to wait at least one more year.

Placing four guys in the top 11 wasn’t enough to take the win for the first time in SFU’s history, which shows the high level of today’s race. Oliver Jorgensen led the team for the second race in a row and placed fourth overall. He was closely followed by Sean Miller, fifth, and Rowan Doherty, seventh.

As a team, the men were third behind Western Oregon and Alaska Anchorage, a solid performance in ordinary circumstances, but truly unfortunate when you take into account that they just needed one more person in the top 20 of the race to have won the title.

Both the men and women have undoubtedly performed well throughout the season. They will be travelling to Monmouth for their most important race of the season at the West Region Championships on Saturday, November 4.  

Mateo De Dalmases is a member of the men’s cross country team.