Nothing breaks the stride of St. F.X. runners
The St. F.X. cross country team is hitting its stride with both the X-women and X-men securing first place finishes in the opening two meets of the AUS season.
Head coach Eric Gillis said he expected his runners to do well, going into the St. F.X. Invitational Sept. 22, which came after strong results at UPEI on Sept. 15.
Gillis noted both the X-men and X-women earned first place team victories at the previous cross country meet UPEI hosted in Charlottetown.
“We were shooting for the same type of result, going into it,” at Saturday’s meet.
Weather conditions on what was the first official day of autumn, did not serve as an impediment the runners, Gillis noted.
He added it was "good cross country weather," with a bit of rain, sun and wind mingled together, leading to the race involving “almost every condition that September can throw at us.”
Gillis said the periods of warmer, humid weather on Saturday were not a problem for his runners, since conditions were very warm at the previous meet in Charlottetown.
“We took some of the confidence from the meet with UPEI, running in warm weather,” Gillis said.
The X-men finished with 22 points, followed by Memorial (37), and the Université de Moncton (74).
Alex Neuffer and Paul Maclellan of the X-men took first and second-place finishes, respectively, followed by Michael Colford of UNB.
Although Katie Robinson of Acadia University took first place in the women’s race, Zoe Johnston of the X-women claimed second — and the X-women also had the fourth, fifth and sixth place finishes.
The first-place X-women finished with 25 points, followed by Acadia (42), followed by Université de Moncton (71).
Moving forward, Gillis said he hopes to work with his runners to get them “to dial it in a bit more,” and push harder in the first half of the race.
“We’re going to work on our tactics, so we’ll be sharper and we can take a bit more of a strategic approach to the next race,” Gillis said.
Gillis noted that in the couple of races so far in the season, St. F.X. has picked up momentum in the second half of those races, but “now we’re going into the interlock race, which means Quebec and AUS conference will race each other in Fredericton in two weeks.”
The meet in Fredericton promises to be more competitive than the meets St. F.X. has participated in thus far, since they will be running against more athletes, from more universities.
“That will increase the field of depth — it will be our biggest challenge of the season yet,” Gillis said.
Zoe Johnston strides across the finish line, securing a second-place finish, at the St. F.X. invitational, on Sept. 22. The X-women raced to first place.
Alex Neuffer finished first in the St. F.X. invitational Sept. 22, as the hometown X-men raced to top spot in the team competition.