The UBC Okanagan women’s cross country team narrowly missed a podium finish at the CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association) Cross Country Championships.
The Heat women turned in a solid performance last weekend in Parc Michel-Chartrand in Longueuil, Que., finishing fourth in team scoring in the 5 km race, just five points shy of a bronze medal.
Nikki Reiter, head coach of the UBC Okanagan women’s team, was extremely happy with the squad’s performance, but had to confess that it would have been really nice to medal with such an inexperienced group.
“This year the women’s team put UBC Okanagan on the map,” the elated Reiter remarked. “Although it stings to miss a medal by so little, the women’s team has made an incredible progression on their 13th place finish in 2011.”
The first Heat women runner to cross the finish line was a 2012 rookie from West Kelowna, Michelle Blackburne, who placed 16th overall in a time of 20:04. Other scorers for the Heat were Alea Stockton (20:36 – 34th), Trisha Metro (20:45 – 38th), and Kelsey Robson (20:56 – 45th).
The Heat men, competing in the 8 km run, finished a respectable 10th in the team scoring.
Mohawk College, the eighth place team, finished with an average time of 28:21, the Heat clocked in at 28:22, and the school that finished 14th was 28:32, as seven schools placed within 11 seconds of one another.
“The guys showed spirit and heart, fighting for every position in the last few kilometers of the race,” a proud Reiter said. “This opportunity allowed our team to see how close the team scoring can be and sets the stage for where we want to be next year.”
Front runner Colin Wallace led the Heat finishing 23rd overall in a time of 27:07. Chemistry majors Jeff Kerkovius (28:33 – 55th) and Roger Sherwood (28:52 – 64th) moved through the race in the second half of the field. Rounding out the scoring was senior Garrett Anstett who ran 28:57, which was over a minute faster than his finish in the 2011 CCAA Championships.
Prior to the race, four UBC Okanagan Heat runners were recognized as CCAA All-Canadians. Michelle Blackburne (West Kelowna) and team captain Shayla Millan (Nelson) received the award for being the top two PACWEST finishers at the provincial championships. On the men’s side, Colin Wallace (Kelowna) and Roger Sherwood (St. Catherines, ON) were given the honour.
In addition, women’s coach Nikki Reiter was recognized at the event, receiving the PACWEST nomination for CCAA coach of the year.