Redeemer, Mohawk runners return home with OCAA cross country bronze medals

Redeemer University College in Ancaster took home the team bronze medal in the women’s division of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association cross country championships, staged in Kingston on Saturday (Oct. 27). For the Redeemer Royals it was their fourth bronze medal in five years at the event.

Mohawk’s only women’s runner, Charlene Gibbons, finished in third place picking up the individual bronze medal. The Humber Hawks took gold in the women’s 5-kilometre event and Fanshawe Falcons ran for gold in the men’s 8K event.

The Humber women from Etobicoke won their second consecutive provincial title with three team members finishing in the top five in the 5K race. The team was made up of Lisa Lee, Cynthia Black and Amanda Pryde finishing second, fourth and fifth respectively. This season marks only third year that Humber College has fielded a cross country running program. The host St. Lawrence Vikings picked up a silver medal.

After a strong invitational season, Ingrid Golemiec-Stover of the St. Lawrence Vikings won the 5K women’s race. Golemiec-Stover ran with a time 20:08, 18 seconds ahead of Lisa Lee of Humber (2006 defending champion) who came in at second with a time of 20:26.

David Sharatt of the Conestoga Condors was the men’s individual winner. In the team competition, the Fanshawe Falcons (London) men’s team soared to their second team title in three years edging out the Conestoga Condors (Kitchener) by a single point. The Falcon’s team win marks Fanshawe’s seventh overall men’s title, the most by any college in the last 25 years. The second place finish for Conestoga is its first OCAA medal in the men’s team event. The defending champion Humber Hawks finished in third place, picking up the bronze medal.

In the men’s individual 8K race, David Sharatt won Conestoga’s first ever OCAA individual title in cross country running with a time of 27:05. Sharatt came into the provincial meet on a hot streak, finishing first and second at the final two OCAA invitational races of the season. Nelson Ndereva Njeru of the George Brown Huskies (Toronto) made his OCAA debut and did extremely well finishing in second place with a time of 27:28, just ahead of the 2006 defending champion Martin Labute of St. Clair. Labute won his second consecutive medal at the championship with a time of 27:28.

The course at Fort Henry was praised by all of the participants as was the St. Lawrence College hosting committee. The course is highly regarded by competitive cross country runners around the world as it will be the site for the 2010 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Cross Country Championship.

Runners will now advance to the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) National Open Championship which is being held from November 9-10 at Grand Prairie Regional College in Alberta. The top seven men and women make up the OCAA Conference Team at the nationals.