This past weekend, the Mustangs cross-country teams competed at the 49th annual Bill Salter Invitational hosted at the Thames Valley Golf Club.
Both teams showed enthusiasm, prepared to levy the home course advantage and came out with much success.
Women's team take top spots
The women’s team had a very strong showing, capturing the third-place position in a pool of some of the most competitive schools in Ontario University Athletics.
There were 133 runners who participated in the race, with Western University seeing five athletes finish in the top 25.
Of the top scoring runners, first-year Mustang Remy Cattell had an exceptional race: she clinched the 14th place spot with a matter of one second between herself and the runner backing her.
Another outstanding performance came from none other than the women’s team captain, Kate Current. A known top runner for this season, Current had intentions of finishing in the top five and perfectly matched her intentions by securing the fourth place spot.
“At three kilometres to go, Guelph [University's] rookie, Cameron Ormond, took off with two Queen’s [University] girls. It was myself and another girl from Laurier [University] kind of leap frogging for the rest of the race,” said Current. “We were together up until a kilometre to go, and I knew It was time to get my legs rolling."
Beyond the excitement Current expressed for her own success, she described the high hopes she has for the women’s team this year.
“We have a really good group of girls who are able to work together not only in workouts but in the race too,” said Current.
Though the team is quite a young group, it seems like they are developing impressive coherence especially in races. Which as indicated by Current, is important in gaining a better average score, and in turn, team titles.
Needless to say, with just a few meets left, the women’s team will certainly be a group to watch as they head into the most competitive weeks of their season.
Men's finish fifth
Bested by the women, the men’s cross-country team finished fifth overall in their division.
Of the 163 participants in the race, the Mustangs' scoring runners all finished in the top 40. A top performance came from newcomer to the team, Marcel Scheele. Scheele was the first Mustang to come across the finish line, securing the 15th place position.
Second-year athlete Ethan Loucks also ran a strong race, coming in 21st place and besting his results from this meet last year by a mighty 71 places.
Additionally, Isaiah Frielink, team captain and expected top runner this season, showed tenacious determination throughout the race. Despite feeling somewhat groggy around the five-kilometre mark and eventually succumbing to his nausea. Still with three kilometres to go, Frielink just kept running.
“I said I was going to finish it up,” said Frielink. “I have never dropped out of a race before and I wasn’t going to change that.”
This is the level of determination that Frielink sees among many athletes on the men’s team, and because of this, he is confident in their potential this season.
“We have a really quick group of guys,” said Frielink. “Last year we were fifth as a team, and I think we could really improve on that as long as everyone stays injury free and races well.”
In the U Sports national standings, the men’s team is currently ranked ninth and the women ranked sixth.
Though their season is far from over, both teams have displayed remarkable promise. The team will head to McMaster University to compete at the Marauder Bayfront Open on Oct. 11.