By Ryan Laverty
For most people, the month of November is a time to put away the lawnmower and break out the snowblower. But for others, it’s a time to shed the sweatpants and get on down to the skivvies. For those lucky few, there is nothing better than dressing down in a pair of paper-thin shorts, a singlet and simply running their asses off.
On Sat., Nov. 10, the University of Calgary cross-country team took off for the frigid confines of Sherbrooke, P.Q., the home of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport finals. The course, lined with steep inclines and quick switchbacks, was made even tougher by the viscous mixture of fresh snow and mud covering the ground–a combination so fierce it managed to suck the shoe right off Guelph Gryphons runner Reid Coolsaet.
"It was a truly classic cross country course," said Dinos runner Nathan Kendrick. "I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way."
The mens team finished an outstanding 10th in the nation led by Kendrick’s inspired 11th place finish.
On the women’s side, Kristen Brennand capped a great season with the right to call herself the eighth best women’s runner in Canada. The women’s team managed ninth in the CIS, not bad for a unit that hasn’t really seen the white stuff at all this year.
"I think both teams did a lot more than we ever expected at the start of the year," explained Coach Doug Lamont. "For the women to finish the way they did despite losing two key athletes from last year’s squad and two more side-lined by injury, I couldn’t be happier with the way this young group stepped up.
"As for the men, Nathan was a catalyst. When he came back it seemed like the whole strength of the team shot up. He’s a guy you can always count on in a big race."
Kendrick spent the first half the season out of competition as he recovered from a series of broken legs. His determination to remain fit coupled with a sadomasochistic need to run in small shorts in brutal conditions must have been infectious because the rest of the team seemed to feed off of the wily veteran. Teles Kananga, a Red Deer College transfer, surpassed everyone’s expectations by finishing 15th in the country. Aaron Swanson was another high note for the men’s side finishing 22nd.
The Dinos will now return to the friendly confines of a roof and four walls to continue their training for the upcoming indoor track and field season. It begins in January.
"After the championships I gave them all an easy week of training," smirked Lamont. "But now it’s time to get back at it. We’ve got our work cut out for us this year."