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Northern Chill Volleyball Club
Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018
L.U. cross country qualifies both teams for nationals
2018-11-01
by Randy Pascal

For the first time since the re-introduction of the men's team at Laurentian University, both groupings of the Voyageurs cross-country family will make the trek to the U Sports Championships.

Overcoming the rain, mud and high winds on London's Thames Valley Golf Course last weekend, the women's team placed fourth, a new team-record showing, while the men secured the seventh and final qualifying berth for nationals in two weeks in Kingston.

Individually, there were notable accolades garnered as well. Megan Crocker (14th - 30:16) and Paul Sagriff (10th - 32:16) were both recognized as second team OUA All-Stars, becoming the first L.U. runners to receive all-star status since Collège Notre-Dame graduate Leila Angrand turned the trick in 2006. This was also the first time that Laurentian has had an All-OUA runner from both the men's and women's squads.

Crocker led the women's team over the 8km course, with teammate Jenny Bottomley (15th - 30:19) right on her heels, and Nicole Rich (22nd - 30:59) well within striking distance. "Our top five all beat runners who had been ahead of them all year, but that was especially true of Megan, Jenny and Nicole," noted Laurentian head coach Dick Moss.

Given the absence of top-tier veteran Heidi Tuszkiewicz to injury, the tempered prospects seemed to point to a 6th or 7th place finish for the women's team, who managed to slide ahead of the University of Toronto Blues and McMaster Marauders by six and eight points respectively.

Also scoring nicely for the Voyageurs were Jessie Nusselder (37th - 32:04) and rookie Pascale Gendron (38th - 32:14), while displacers consisted of Breanne Steven (45th - 32:41) and Sarah Thackeray (60th - 33:43).

"I'm incredibly proud of this team," said Moss. "Every one of them competed like crazy and fought through the tough patches that happen in every distance race. Four of them will graduate this year and they did this for each other. It was exciting to watch."

Team Scores - Women
1. Queen's - 34 (points)
2. Guelph - 40
3. Western - 105
4. Laurentian - 126
5. Toronto - 132
6. McMaster - 134
7. Lakehead - 182
8. Laurier - 204
9. Waterloo - 256
10. Windsor - 264
11. Nipissing - 303
12. Ryerson - 324

The men, meanwhile, were led by Sagriff's 10-place performance, a substantial improvement over last year's 28th place finish in just his second year at Laurentian. He was followed by Liam Passi (29th - 33:07), Caleb Beland (39th - 33:40), Eric Gareau (40th - 33:44) and Dylan McKevitt (51st - 34:10), while Jarod Milford (74th - 36:09) and Alexandre Fishbein-Ouimette (85th - 37:04) serving as displacers.

"I was confident they could qualify for nationals," said men's coach Darren Jermyn. "Right from their first goal-setting session, our guys committed themselves to coming 7th at this race so they could compete at the U Sport championships, and they dug incredibly deep to make that happen. Our next goal is to perform well at the national level."

Team Scores - Men
1. McMaster - 45 (points)
2. Queen's - 59
3. Guelph - 65
4. Toronto - 129
5. Western - 141
6. Windsor - 146
7. Laurentian - 169
8. Lakehead - 175
9. Waterloo - 226
10. Laurier - 298
11. Nipissing - 355
12. Brock - 371
13. Ryerson - 403
14. Trent - 438

The 2018 U Sports Cross Country Championships are scheduled for Saturday, November 10th, on the grounds of Old Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario.

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