Marauders trot out x-country, indoor track recruits

On the heels of McMaster’s best-ever season in Cross Country, the Marauder program has attracted an outstanding group of student athletes who are expected to impact both the Cross Country and Indoor Track teams.

It is also expected the new recruits will maintain the exceptional academic performance that current and previous team members have achieved. “We are very lucky to benefit from the strong and unique academic programs at McMaster that have allowed us to attract the outstanding student-athletes in this 2011 class,” said Peter Self, McMaster’s Assistant Dean for Student Life and an assistant Cross Country and Track coach.

Highlighting the group of new runners coming to McMaster are four female and six male competitors, who, as an assemblage, bring a cumulative grade average of 91% in their final high school marks.

The new group includes Meg Inman, XC-IT, Westdale/Hamilton; Chelsea Mackinnon, XC-IT, Westdale/Hamilton; Laura Morrison, XC-IT, Catholic Central/ London; Sarah Wilson, XC-IT, St. Michael’s /Stratford; Zac Brown, XC-IT, Northern.Sarnia; Taylor Forbes, XC-IT, Highland/Ancaster; Taylor Fox, XC-IT, Collingwood CI/Collingwood; Brandon Huzevka, IT, Northern/Sarnia; Connor Mabbot, IT, Abbey Park/Oakville; Blair Morgan, XC-IT, Ernestown SS/Ernestown.

McMaster Track head coach Paula Schnurr is looking forward to working with the new blood.

“I am very excited about the group of track athletes who have chosen McMaster to further their academic careers and compete for the Marauders. They will be major contributors to our 4 x 400m and 4 x 800m relay teams as well as enhancing the overall quality of our track program.”

After winning national bronze and silver medals in Women’s Cross Country over the last two years, the Marauder coaching staff is expecting this year’s recruits will bolster the team’s quest for a national championship. According to Cross Country head coach Rory Sneyd, “Only four of the top-eight high school runners in Ontario stayed in Canada for their education and we got two of them. Sarah Wilson and Chelsea Mackinnon both might be able to make our championship squad (top 7 run + 2 alternates). We expect that they will be stalwarts on our championship teams for years to come.”

On the men’s side, the new recruits will be focusing on raising the program to elite status in Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Coach Sneyd explains: “Zac Brown and Blair Morgan may vie for spots on our championship squad. I am curious to see what kind of strength they have over the 10 km distance and how they stack up with other rookies in the conference. I think this is our strongest incoming group of men that we have had during my time with the program.”

Among some of the marvellous academic achievements from Cross Country and Indoor Track team members, a dozen McMaster student-athletes have gone on to obtain medical degrees, Jon Little won the Governor General’s Gold medal in the fall of 2010 as the top graduate student at McMaster, and 2010 women’s captain and CIS Cross Country Champion Jessica Pearo will attend graduate school in Physiotherapy in 2011 at the University of Toronto, while men’s captain Larry Abbott will begin his master’s degree at the University of Ottawa this fall.