Mac women battle elements to finish third in CIS x-country

Quebec City – The McMaster women’s cross country team battled grueling conditions and came away with a bronze medal finish at the 2011 Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship.

Sarah Haliburton was the top individual finisher placing 18th overall in a time of 19:00.2. Close behind Haliburton were Lindsay Carson in 20th place and Victoria Coates in 23rd.

The McMaster men placed sixth, led by Graham Bowes in 21st position.

The University of Guelph Gryphons resumed their domination at the CIS cross country championships on the snow-covered Plains of Abraham in Quebec City as they once again claimed both the women’s and men’s team banners, while Geneviève Lalonde and Andrew Nixon won the individual gold medals, on Saturday afternoon.

It marked the seventh consecutive national title for the Guelph women and the sixth straight for their male teammates, both CIS records. The Gryphons have now captured 19 total team banners, also a CIS mark, six more than Victoria.

In the women’s five-kilometre event, the Gryphons placed five runners in the top 10 to finish with 31 points. Lalonde, who hails from Moncton, N.B., overtook Tamara Jewett of the Toronto Varsity Blues late in the race to cross the finish line in 18 minutes (18:00.04), seven seconds ahead of the Toronto native (18:07.09). Ellen Pennock of Calgary, running for the Victoria Vikes, rounded out the podium with a time of 18:14.02.

The Gryphons did even better on the men’s side with five runners among the seven fastest, including a 1-2 finish, for a championship-low 20 points. After capturing the Ontario University Athletics title two weeks ago, Andrew Nixon (Burlington) won the 10km CIS race in 31:42.8, six seconds faster than teammate Alex Genest (Lac-aux-Sables, Que.) (31:48.6). Matt Walters (North Bay) claimed bronze for the Windsor Lancers in 31:53.8.

Nixon was also named the CIS Athlete of the Year in cross country.

McMaster’s Cory McCurry received the Student-Athlete Community Service Award.

In the team standings, Windsor placed second with 49 points, ahead of Victoria (82).