By Alan Martin
Last week, the University of Calgary Cross Country team competed against varsity squads and clubs from all over western Canada in the Golden Bear open at the University of Alberta. The women’s team came in second, just behind the hosts, while the men placed fifth.
Kristen Brennand led the U of C athletes, placing first among university runners at the meet, second overall behind Jenny van Kempen of Leduc Track Club. Aaron Swanson led the U of C men, placing seventh among university athletes (11th overall). Other placings for the women were Nicole Topic (10th overall), Kristine Chambers (13th overall), Orianan Rollo (15th overall) and Chris Curr-Myschuk (16th overall).
Head Coach Doug Lamont was cautiously optimistic about the team’s performance and their chances in the upcoming Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union nationals in Toronto on Nov. 11.
"When we look at the men’s program, we obviously had an extremely strong team last year, perhaps the best in the country," said Lamont. "We’re rebuilding, and the good news is that we have a lot of young talent and we’ll be strong in a couple year’s time. We have a promising future.
"The women’s program is just the opposite," added Lamont. "We had girls who were running [last year], but we didn’t have a lot of strength. [This year] they’ve shown they can compete at the national level. What they may do this year is very promising, and we’ll get [the athletes] back for the future."
Representing the U of C at the CIAU tourney will be Aaron Swanson along with the entire women’s squad. Both Swanson and Brennand will be counted on to lead the Dinos to success.
"We may surprise some people who have not seen us compete this year," said Lamont. "If our athletes have a good day, we have a chance for a couple of top-20 placings."
After the national tourney, cross country athletes will take a short break before starting to train indoors for the upcoming track and field season.
Lamont also feels a couple of Dinos athletes might be competing further than the CIAU nationals.
"Aaron [Swanson] and Kristen [Brennand] might go on to the Senior National Cross Country championships on Nov. 25."
The Dinos may not be the same championship calibre team they were last year, but time will tell if this season’s edition will live up to their modest expectations and succeed in the CIAU.