Preview: Cross-country

The men’s cross-country team will need to put forth an extra effort this year if they want to keep pace with last year’s fantastic season for the women’s team.

Promoted to help the men retain the top spot they lost—and to help the women keep their AUS crown—is Richard Lehman. The two-year assistant coach was recently assigned to Dalhousie’s head gig.

“This is the dream job. It’s why you work as an assistant coach,” Lehman says of his new job as coach. “I have a lot of faith in both the men’s and women’s sides.”

Leading the pack for the female Tigers are veteran runners Holly Van Gestel and Ashley Chisholm. Van Gestel placed 19th in nationals last season, and with a strict training regime to show for herself she will once again be a force to be reckoned with.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if she was in the head pack at the CIS final this year,” Lehman says.

Chisholm, meanwhile, is firmly established as the number two girl. The Antigonish resident is poised to follow up on her top 10 AUS finish.

On the men’s side, the squad is hoping to recover from an eye-opening year. After claiming the AUS title in 2010, the young team was left to rebuild after losing some key players to graduation. Now, the Tigers are looking to better their second place finish.

Names to watch out for on the men’s team include Matt McNeil and Bruce Russell. McNeil placed third in the AUS final last year in only his rookie season. He is expected to be a threat for years to come. Russell, a fifth-year runner, will lead by example. Over the summer he ran over 100 miles a week and has been highly influenced by the team’s assistant coach Lee McCarron.

The only time Dal’s runners will compete at home this season is on Oct. 27 when the AUS championships are held at Point Pleasant Park.

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Graeme Benjamin

Graeme is the Gazette's Sports Editor. He was the Assistant Sports Editor for Volume 145.