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Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019
Laurentian X-C men looking to nationals
by Randy Pascal

Just four years into the re-launch of the men's varsity cross-country program at Laurentian University, the Voyageurs appear poised to leap forward.

"Ever since I arrived here, our goal has been to get to nationals as a team," noted Kingston native Paul Sagriff, not long after finishing second overall in the Ramsey Tour 5 km, trailing only race winner Eric Leishman (15:27) with a rock solid time of 15:36.

"That's the number one goal. Everyone just stay healthy, make sure the training is going well, and run well at OUA and qualify as a team." The reason for Sagriff's current optimism goes well beyond in own performance last Sunday morning in Sudbury.

Laurentian racers would secure spots two through five in the finish, demonstrating some depth with teammates in eighth, 11th, 17th and 18th. "Our top four were all really close to each other, within 25 seconds or so," noted Sagriff.

In fact, Liam Passi (15:49), Eric Gareau (16:02) and Caleb Beland (16:05) all crossed the finish line before Sagriff had much of an opportunity to catch but a breath or two after his dash.

Entering his second year with the team, Sagriff is understandably anxious to get into the meat of the team's fall schedule. "The training went well this summer," he said. "I was injured for most of the winter season. May and June were just about getting back into it, in July and August the mileage went up, and I've been feeling good. The body has been feeling good."

"I wasn't expecting to run this well today," Sagriff suggested. "I think having Eric Leishman pushing the pace really helped the result, so I'm happy with that. He was checking his splits on his watch. I think at 3 kms, he said we were through in 9:11, so I knew we were moving pretty well and I just wanted to hang on as long as I can and see how I do."

That type of friendly competitive banter between a varsity runner at Laurentian and the cross-country coach at Cambrian College is somewhat emblematic of events hosted in these parts. It's just part of the reason why Track North Athletic Club alumnus and long-time Nipissing Lakers varsity coach Donna Mae Robins keeps coming back, year after year.

"We compete against each other, but we really are something of a northern running community," said Robins, who at age 41, posted the third fastest women's time in the 5 km, covering the traditional course in a time of 19:27.

"It wasn't a bad race," she said. "I've had better, but I'm also not getting any younger." Having played a little soccer in her youth and competing in the cross-country circuit while in high-school, Robins really gravitated to the sport during her post-secondary days in St Catharines, studying at Brock University.

"My first year was a learning process, moving away from home, but also getting involved with the whole running community down there," she recalled. "There was a track team there too, so I ran with them in the winter."

"When I finished university, I just stuck with it, and after a couple of years, I started coaching at Nipissing, and I've been doing it since 2003." This year, however, she would have her attention divided, providing support both for the contingent of Lakers' athletes, but also keeping an eye on the progress of her son, Emmitt Reid.

"He's seven and this is just the second 5 km he's ever done. That was fun." Following are results for some of the top finishers in both of the day's events:

Top 20 Men - Five Kms
2nd - Paul Sagriff - 15:36
3rd - Liam Passi - 15:49
4th - Eric Gareau - 16:02
5th - Caleb Beland - 16:05
6th - Teagan Retty (NIP) - 16:45
7th - Thomas Steele (NIP) - 16:54
8th - Alex Fishbein-Ouimette (LU) - 17:04
9th - Keon Wallingford (WID) - 17:11
10th - Alex Lambert (EL) - 17:26
11th - Jarod Milford (LU) - 17:32
12th - Nicholas Lambert (EL) - 17:33
13th - Malcolm McCubbin (NIP) - 17:34
14th - Connor Jermyn (LOE) - 17:42
15th - Travis Mann (NIP) - 17:44
16th - Ian Mackenzie (CFD) - 17:45
17th - Jordan Burkitt (LU) - 17:59
18th - Mika Muinonen (LU) - 18:07
19th - Erich Mundt (CAMB) - 18:08
20th - Kendyn Mashinter (LOE) - 18:11

Top 10 Women - Five Kms
1st - Jenny Bottomley (LU) - 18:24
2nd - Megan Crocker (LU) - 19:17
3rd - Donna Mae Robins (NIP) - 19:27
4th - Nicole Rich (LU) - 19:29
5th - Jessie Nusselder (LU) - 19:46
6th - Breanne Steven (LU) - 19:53
7th - Katie Gibson (NIP) - 19:56
8th - Emily Gibson (NIP) - 19:58
9th - Jennifer Leroy (NIP) - 20:46
10th - Meghan Sippel (LU) - 20:56

Top 10 Men - Half Marathon
1st - Ryan Marsaw - 1:28:13
2nd - Mike Banks - 1:31:01
3rd - Ewan Craig - 1:31:40
4th - Robert Schinke - 1:33:32
5th - Steve Matusch - 1:45:21
6th - J-P Butler - 1:45:55
7th - Mathieu Legault - 1:47:28
8th - Konrad Wiltmann - 1:54:11
9th - Robert Marcolini - 1:54:30
10th - Bernie Smith - 1:54:39

Top 5 Women - Half Marathon
1st - Erin DeVeber - 1:36:18
2nd - Mitchell White - 1:51:48
3rd - Tricia Grynspan - 1:53:32
4th - Michelle Brunette - 1:57:17
5th - Jamie Brunette - 1:57:18

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