The McMaster women’s cross-country team tied a course record to win the 36th annual Western International cross-country meet held Saturday at the Thames Valley Golf Course. McMaster’s Jessica Pearo won the women’s 5-km race with a time of 17 minutes and 15 seconds, tying Western’s Sandra Anschuetz with the second best time in course history, set in 1987.
Lindsay Carson of Guelph set the course record last year with a time of 17:02. Carson transferred to McMaster in the off season and she will be eligible to compete in a maroon uniform for the 2011 season.
Pearo caught Guelph’s Rachel Cliff (second overall, 17:26), who had been leading from the start, in the final kilometre and won by 11 seconds for victory. Her final push helped McMaster to overtake Guelph for the team title as the Marauders won with 28 points. The Gryphons placed second with 32 points.
With the team victory and 28-point showing, McMaster tied the course record set by Osaka University in 2002. It is the best-ever team finish for a Canadian Interuniversity Sports school on this course.
McMaster’s Stephanie MacNeill placed third with a time of 18:04, while teammate Katie Anderson (18:09) was fourth. Guelph teammates Emily Driedger (18:15) and Lindsay Furtado (18:16) placed fifth and sixth respectively. McMaster’s Victoria Coates (7th, 18:19), McGill’s Sarah McCuaig (8th, 18:25) and Guelph teammates Nadine Frost (9th, 18:25) and Jennifer Wynands (10th, 18:30) rounded out the Top 10.
The McMaster men placed sixth with a score of 173. Larry Abbott was the top individual finisher for the Marauder men placing ninth in a time of 32:23.
Eastern Michigan finished with the team title, but Guelph’s Ross Proudfoot made a move to come from behind to win the men’s title in 31 minutes and 50 seconds, beating runner-up Terefe Ejigu of Eastern Michigan (31:56), the leader for most of the race, by six seconds. Eastern Michigan’s Matt Hammersmith placed third with a time of 32:07.
The McMaster men’s and women’s cross country teams return to action on Saturday, Oct. 2 when they travel to Waterloo for the Waterloo Open.