Noth­ing breaks the stride of St. F.X. run­ners

The Casket - - Sports - SAM MAC­DON­ALD sam­mac­don­ald@the­cas­ket.ca

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.

Sam Mac­don­ald

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.

Sam Mac­don­ald

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.

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