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Tigers take cross-country meet

By Ian Froese, Staff Contributor

 

The Dalhousie Invitational Cross Country Meet was hosted on familiar ground for the home side and it showed as both the men’s and women’s teams won their respective divisions on Sept. 25 at Point Pleasant Park.

Gina Stewart won another race to give her victories in both of the AUS 5 km women’s exhibition runs this season, whereas Dan Gorman moved ahead of the pack to win the men’s 7.5 km race after spending the first of three laps nestled within the top 20 grouping.

“It felt very good,” Stewart said responding to her convincing victory with a time of 18:24. “We ran real well as a group. Cara and I only pulled away towards the end.”

Teammate Cara Groves was seven seconds behind Stewart and came in second place.

The results of the top five runners per school were averaged together to accumulate the team score. Dal was first with the lowest tally of 24 points. St. Francis Xavier and Memorial University filled in the rest of the top three.

The Tigers got ahead early in the race and refused to let go. Stewart, Groves, Caroline Schlosser and Jessica Belliveau portrayed a united front as they remained neck-and-neck in the top five through a majority of the first lap. In the gruelling stages of the second, the gap between the competitors widened but the Tigers ignored the pressure and kept four of their athletes in the top six.

St. FX’s Natalie Kannenberg crossed the finish in third with a time of 18:51. Dal’s Jessica Belliveau was fourth and Stephanie Bennett was sixth overall.

“I wanted them to tap into some discomfort (in the second half),” said head coach Heather Hennigar after witnessing both her men’s and women’s teams improving as the race wore on. “We want them to get some momentum from each other.”

Schlosser was in the leading pack until complications from a previous hernia surgery required her to bow out of the event.

“I’ve never dropped out of a race before,” she said dishearteningly to the *Gazette*. “It’s disappointing because I knew I could have been up there with my teammates.” She will recover in time for the next race.

In the afternoon’s latter race, Dan Gorman took advantage in the second lap of an opportunity to gain traction on his opponents to coast his way to an individual victory and direct his team to top spot with 22 points above St. FX and Saint Mary’s University.

“This is the first race where we kind of put down to see what everyone’s got,” Gorman said, remarking about the previous exhibition race where the Tigers did not push themselves to the level they are capable of. He placed second in the Moncton Invitational.

Unlike the ladies’ dominating performance in the beginning of their race, it took their male counterparts some time before their presence was felt in the front of the crowd. Josh Coyle completed the first lap in fourth place, and only dropped a spot to fifth after the second lap. Focus on the Tigers’ side however was shifted to Gorman who suddenly held an estimated six second lead with a lap to go.

Gorman and Coyle preserved their first and fifth positions at the finish line, respectively. The winner’s time was 24:35. Three more Tigers belonged in the top 10: Bruce Russell in sixth, Ryan Kiros holding the eight spot and ninth place for Adam McGregor.

“We’ve got a lot of depth,” Gorman said about the young, developing team. “We have lots of room for improvement, but we have good rookies.”

The Tigers race again on Oct. 9 for the third and final exhibition meet of the season. The University of New Brunswick will be hosting. Both Dal squads have high hopes for the AUS championship at St. FX at the end of October.

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