The Western Mustangs' cross country teams had a successful weekend at the Ontario University Athletics championships at Bayfront Park in Hamilton.
With the women’s team finishing fourth and the men’s team finishing fifth overall, both teams are looking to maintain their pace into November for the U Sports Championships.
The Mustangs had two athletes recognized as first-team OUA all-stars: team captains and upper year veterans Kate Current and Isaiah Frienlink.
Current ran strong in the 8 km race, finishing seventh with the time of 29:02, improving her standing six spots from last year.
The women's team reclaimed their fourth place position, leaving head coach Guy Schlutz impressed.
“We have a very young team,” said Schultz. “It is great to see them step up and run some of their best races at the provincial championships.”
As indicated by Schultz, cross country had a very successful year for recruiting. Although more than 25 members of the team were first year athletes, the team has been able to maintain a close-knit pack of runners, benefiting their team score.
On the men's side, team captain Frienlink posted excellent results. With a time of 31:10.1 in the 10km race, Frienlink was able to grab a silver medal for the Mustangs.
Following closely behind Frielink was Marcel Scheele, who secured 13th place and was a second-team all-star with the time of 31:58.8. Despite a slow start to the race, falling back into the pack, Scheele was able to regain focus and finish strong.
Though Schultz was pleased with Frienlink and Scheele's performance, he was underwhelmed with the men's team's overall performance.
“Four of our top seven runners did not have a good race,” said Schultz. “We were ranked fourth going into the race, but I thought we could have had a chance to win a medal.”
The teams set a goal to finish top six overall at the national championship. As for captains Kate Current and Isaiah Frielink, their goal was to finish in the top seven individually.
This year, there is an additional incentive to perform. Runners who place in the top seven at the U Sports championships will have the chance to be selected to attend the World University Cross-Country Championships hosted by the International University Sports Federation next March.
After provincials, the Mustangs headed to the nationals in Kingston, looking to realize their goals.