A consummate team effort led the UBC Okanagan Heat women to a silver medal performance at the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association national cross country championships in Brockville, Ont.
The Heat’s four runners who scored in the race finished 19th, 23rd, 32nd and 36th overall in the 5 km event for a total of 82 points, placing second behind College Lionel-Groulx from Quebec.
First-year Heat coach Colin Wallace said his team’s strategy led to a podium finish.
“Every other team was so spread out,” Wallace explained, “so I told the women to pack up and run as a team.”
The Heat runners were successful in this regard, as only 33 seconds separated their first and fourth finisher.
The top runner for UBC Okanagan was Veronika Fagan, the first-year nursing student from West Kelowna who was the 19th female to cross the finish line in 20 minutes 6.7 seconds.
Another nursing student, Camille Galloway was the second Heat runner to cross (23rd, 20:13.3), followed by Alison Gill (32nd, 20:33.4) and Julianna Neudorf (36th, 20:39.1) to round out the scoring runners for UBC Okanagan.
“We executed our race plan to perfection. The ladies all ran a smart race, and incredible performances by Ali Gill and Julianna Neudorf locked up the team silver medal, ” finished Wallace.
Displacers for the Heat were Anna Merino (50th, 20:58) and Rachel Garrett (58th, 21:09).
Cael Warner, for the second year in a row, was once again the top finisher on the men’s side for UBC Okanagan as the Heat placed 10th in the team event.
The Penticton runner finished 22nd overall in a field of more than 100 runners in the 8 km run with a time of 27:45.
A trio of newcomers to the team were the remaining scorers for the Heat.
Neils De Vries (29:09), Michael Mitchell (29:13) and Sam Goodrich (29:14) finished 57th, 59th, and 60th respectively, as the Heat finished with 167 points.
Displacers on the men’s side were Alex Hansen who was just one second behind Goodrich, (61st, 29:15) and Mackenzie Wong who crossed the line in 72nd place.