Queens place second at cross-country running championship

UBC Okanagan from Kelowna the strongest team of the day

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — The RDC Queens arrived at the Canadian College Athletic Association cross-country running championship on Saturday ranked No. 1.

They also knew that ranking in cross-country usually don’t mean much.

“It’s what we call a tentative No. 1,” said RDC head coach Kari Elliott, who was one of the four finalists for CCAA coach of the year.

“You never know about the other provinces and other teams.”

As it turned out UBC Okanagan from Kelowna proved to be the strongest team on this day, capturing the women’s title with 50 points.

But the Queens were an impressive second with 65 points, eight ahead of Lional-Groulx of Quebec.

“I knew we’d be competitive, and I’m very pleased with second,” added Elliott. “All the girls ran incredibly well.”

Fourth-year nursing student Jordanna Cota put the finishing touches on a solid season with a six-place finish in a time of 19 minutes, 21 seconds.

“Jordanna moved up 12 places from last year and made the All-Canadian team with her top 10 finish,” Elliott added.

Impressive rookie, Jill Stewart out of Hunting Hills, finished 14th at 19:41.

“She had a great year. She went in hoping to break 20 minutes and to set that mark and finish in the top 15 as a rookie in amazing.

“In fact the whole team ran one of their best races of the season. Going in ranked No. 1 and dealing with that made their performance even more impressive.”

Rookie Janaya Garbe, also out of Hunting Hills, was 29th at 20:35 with Amy Severtson 31st at 20:41. Brenna Berridge placed 52nd at 21:24, Samantha Debree 74th at 22:09 and Laura Szymanek 79th at 22:14.

Overall 115 runners started and 103 finished.

Jesse Lacourse of FX Garneau in Quebec won for the second straight year with a course record 18:11.

The course proved to be fast, but also hilly, something which suited RDC.

“It was an interesting course, and while some of the teams didn’t like the hills, we were used to them,” said Elliott, who will look to be even better next season.

“I can’t say for sure who will be back, but from all indications we’ll have enough solid returnees and some good recruits to make a run at top spot next year,” she said.

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