Mac track, cross country recruits are in the starting blocks

McMaster Marauders announced their key recruits for the 2009-10 cross country and track and field season in the Ontario University Athletics program.

The recruiting class includes Victoria Coates (Newmarket), Lisa Giles (Ottawa) and Courtney Patterson (Dundas) on the women’s side and Taylor Reid (Brampton) and Ryan Thomas (Grimsby) on the men’s side.

“The team’s recent performances have established McMaster University as destination of choice for some our province’s best cross country and track athletes,” said McMaster head coach Rory Sneyd. “The quality of these recruits is testament to the work of associate coaches Paula Schnurr and Peter Self as well as the tremendous new David Braley Athletic Centre. This is definitely the strongest recruiting class we have had during my time at McMaster and Associate Coach Pete Self believes it is the best he has seen at McMaster in the last 15 years.”

The McMaster women’s team, led by All-Canadians Jessica Pearo (Richmond Hill) and Jillian Wyman (Dundas), placed fourth at the 2008 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Championship – the best-ever finish for the team. They captured the bronze medal at the OUA championship in 2008. It was the first medal for the Marauders since 1993 when the team placed third.

The McMaster men’s cross country team earned a fifth place finish at the OUA Championship, matching its finish from 2007, but shaving 60 points off its team total and placing three student-athletes in the top 25.

The McMaster cross country program begins training camp in September. The McMaster Track and Field program will begin training shortly after.

Coates is a graduate of Sacred Heart HS in Newmarket. She placed fifth in the senior girl’s 3000m event at the 2009 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations track and field championship. She earned a seventh in the event at 2009 Canadian Junior Track & Field Championship and a 14th at the 2008 OFSAA Cross Country Championship.

“Victoria is a late bloomer who has made tremendous gains in the late year,” said Sneyd. “She is a product of the powerhouse Sacred Heart high school (OFSAA team gold in cross country) and Hugh Cameron’s Newmarket Huskies club. I am hopeful that Victoria will help us recruit more of the Huskies’ club members in the future. Victoria will be one of the top rookies in the OUA and CIS next season.”

Giles is a graduate of Merivale high school, At the 2009 OFSAA track and field meet, Giles placed seventh in the senior girls 1500m event. She was 13th in the 800m at the 2009 Canadian Junior Track & Field Championship and ninth at the 2008 OFSAA Cross Country Championship.

“Lisa is another young woman who has saved her best running for her senior high school years,” said Sneyd. “She has tremendous range as evidenced by her 13th placing in the 800m at the Canadian Junior Championships and 9th place showing at the OFSAA cross country championship in 2008.

“We expect Lisa to fill the void on our women’s 4 x 800 left by the graduation of Erika Scott. We also expect Lisa to be one of the top rookies in the OUA and CIS.”

Patterson, a Highland high school, product, was 13th at the 2009 OFSAA Track & Field Championship’s open 1500m steeplechase.

“Courtney narrowly missed the OFSAA final in open girl’s steeplechase. She has gradually moved up in distance through her high school years and associate coach Paula Schnurr’s experience will help in determining Courtney’s ideal event,” observed Sneyd.

Reid, from Mayfield high school, is a National Level triathlete. He qualified for the 2009 OFSAA Track & Field Championship in the 3000m but could not compete due to a triathlon competition in Manitoba.

“I have been impressed by the toughness he has demonstrated. He ran 90% of the OFSAA South Regional meet with one shoe and still qualified for OFSAA in the 3000m. He has the potential to make an immediate contribution to the men’s team,” said Sneyd.

Thomas joins Mac from Grimsby high school. He placed 17th at the 2008 OFSAA Cross Country meet and was ninth at the 2008 Canadian Junior Championships in the 3000m steeplechase.

“Ryan is a consistent, high-level performer at OFSAA in both cross country and track,” Sneyd. “Unfortunately his 2009 high school track season was hampered by injury. He should make an immediate contribution to our men’s team and will likely be one of the top rookies in the conference.”