Members of the Dinos cross country team are heading to London, Ontario for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships on Saturday, Nov. 9, where they will race against teams from across the country to compete for the Canada West and CIS titles.
The team will send seven men and seven women athletes to compete in London. The team participated in the Sled Dog Open in Saskatoon on Oct. 5, where the women took first place in the team standings. They also competed at meets in Idaho and Calgary in preparation for the CIS championships.
The Dinos cross country team has been training throughout the year, and second-year Dino Emma Cook-Clarke hopes that both the men’s and women’s teams move into top-10 positions nationally. She says that training as a group has helped the team perform at the highest possible level.
“It helps so much because you know that you’re not the only one going through it,” said Cook-Clarke. “You hear somebody else breathing really hard and you know that they’re in just as much pain as you are. Everybody holds each other accountable.”
Most cross country team members also compete on the track and field team. However, cross country provides the additional challenge of running outside on a course littered with terrain features.
Men run 10 kilometres in cross country and women run six, while the longest distance in track and field circuits is three kilometres.
The Dinos are lead on the women’s side by Alana Skocdopole, who also competes for the swim team. She recently posted a time of 22:55 on the six-kilometre course at the Stewart Cup in Calgary, which put her in ninth place out of 66 athletes.
On the men’s side, Brad Bickley won a bronze medal with a time of 31:36 on the 10-kilometre course at the Stewart Cup.
Cook-Clarke has been sidelined for the past few meets with a hip flexor injury and is eager to get back onto the course at the CIS championships.
“It turns into this routine that you realize helps you out so much,” said Cook-Clarke of her training regimen. “Especially having this little injury right now and not being able to run, I realized my appreciation for it so much. When we push ourselves and do more than we think we can, we can benefit in a lot of ways — not just when it comes to running but in other aspects of life.”