Nine Gee-Gees give their all at national U Sports competition
Nine University of Ottawa cross country athletes competed in the U Sports national championship on Nov. 12 in Quebec City.
This year’s championship saw a considerable uptick in participation from the Gee-Gees, with the University of Ottawa’s Alex Berhe and Katie Phillips being the only two to make nationals last year.
Third-year athletes Phillips and Sarya Ross competed in the women’s 6 km run.
When it came to the 10 km race, fourth-year runners Alex Berhe and Adrian Tsang, third-years Kevin Bates and Ziyad El Hankouri, second-years Tom Glassco and Ryan MacDonell, and first-year Nicolas Roberts all put their best foot forward.
Berhe proved to have the best result for the men, posting a time of 32:36.4, good for 62nd in the com- petition. Roberts had the next-best time for the Gees at 33:26.8, placing him 89th out of 162 male runners.
Last year Berhe finished 55th overall and the hope was that he would improve this year, so it is dis- appointing that he could not live up to that.
Still in his first year, Roberts showed a lot of promise, making nationals, and finishing ahead of his second and third-year teammates. He’s definitely an athlete worth keeping an eye on moving forward.
As a team, the men finished 14th out of the 21 universities that sent enough athletes to qualify.
Phillips posted the best time for the Gees on the women’s side at 22:45. This time placed her 25th overall out of 162 female runners, just over a minute behind first-place.
Last year Phillips finished 34th overall, despite posting a faster overall time. Still in her third year, it will be interesting to see if she can improve her showing next year.
As an added twist, next year the women will have to contend with a longer course. According to the U of O’s Sports Services, the coaches of the U Sports teams voted to increase the length of the women’s race to 8 km. The men’s race, how-ever, will remain at 10 km.
While the U of O’s finish may not have been stellar, having a number of young athletes make an appearance at nationals is certainly something the program can build off of going into next year.