Mac x-country program off and running

Additions to the McMaster Marauders Cross Country and Track programs are expected to impact results on trails and tracks across the country this coming season.

OFSAA champion Madeline McDonald

On the women’s side, coach Paula Schnurr says McMaster has added some top talent in Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations champion Madeline McDonald from Lawrence Park in Toronto, and Tiffany Cheung, out of Bill Crothers Secondary School in Unionville.

“We are extremely excited to have the OFSAA gold medalist (McDonald) over 3000m as our number one women’s recruit,” said Schnurr.

“Madeline’s strength over the 1500m and 3000m distances will enhance both the women’s cross country and track programs. Tiffany has a wonderful spirit and great work ethic, and will fit right in as a member of our team.

“Not only will these Marauders be teammates, but they are looking forward to being classmates as first-year Kinesiology students.” Cheung finished eighth in the 3000-metres at the recent provincial finals.

Rounding out the 2012 recruiting class are solid prospects Raquel Burgess from Uxbridge Secondary School and Madeleine Benjamin of Richview Collegiate in Etobicoke.

On the men’s side, McMaster will welcome five new recruits and one transfer, in a group described by coach Rory Sneyd as, “The best recruiting class McMaster has seen in over a decade.”

Connor Darlington

Highlighting the group is Connor Darlington from Oshawa, who returns to competition after taking last year off following his graduation from R.S. McLaughlin high school. Among his top results, Darlington placed fourth at the 2010 OFSAA Cross Country Championships and won silver in the 800-metres at the 2011 OFSAA Track finals

“Connor is a tremendous talent who has displayed impressive range from 800m to 8000m,” said Sneyd. “We think we have a pretty good idea of what has worked for him in the past and we will implement a similar program for Connor here. We are really looking forward to helping him reach his academic and athletic potential.”

Along with Darlington, McMaster will be adding four of the top 35 finishers from the 2011 OFSAA Cross Country finals: Austin Forbes (Highland), Luke Charbonneau (St. Thomas Aquinas), Nat Smith (Unionville), and Derek Van Schepen (Port Credit). In addition, Lionel Sanders, who transferred to McMaster from Windsor last year will be eligible to compete in 2012-13. Sanders came in 12th at the 2010 CIS Cross Country championships while competing for Windsor.
“This is a promising group of incoming men. We expect Connor and Lionel to make immediate contributions, and hopefully fill the void left by the graduations of our top two men from last year – Graham Bowes and Andrew Yorke,” said Sneyd.

With the Cross Country season on deck to start the year, McMaster will be looking to improve on its 2011 outdoor results that saw the women capture the team bronze medal and the men finish in sixth-place in overall team standings.