It was a dream start for Redeemer’s women’s cross country team on Saturday (Sept. 22) at the Fanshawe Invitational in London. The team finished third in its first meet of the season.
Rookie Jillian Marquardt was the first Redeemer runner to hit the finish line with an 11th place finish, just one second shy of hitting the top ten in her first Ontario Colleges Athletic Association race ever. Second-year runner Julie Koopmans crossed the line in 14th place just eight seconds behind Marquardt. And 19 seconds behind Koopmans was Adrianna So, another first year runner for the Royals.
So claimed 17th place Gina Van Haren finished 35th with Danica Thomsen and Tracey Ubbens right behind in 37th and 38th.
The final team results saw cross country powerhouses Humber and Fanshawe colleges capture gold and silver but it was the young Redeemer team that surprised everyone with the bronze medal performance. The Royals were just six points off second place and were 11 points ahead of 4th place Cambrian College.
Cross country coach Jeff Summerhays said, “I was really pleased with where everyone was at today and I felt that everyone ran really well for the first race of the season. I knew our women’s team was going to be strong but I was pleasantly surprised by where they finished up.
“We were without two quality runners today but the girls were able to secure a third place finish. All the big schools were there so this is encouraging and our first year runners did awesome”.
On the men’s side, Redeemer’s veteran runner, Taylor Kraayenbrink, was in fine form finishing in a time of 28:16, good enough for 16th place overall to lead the Royals.
“Taylor ran a very strong race from start to finish”, said Summerhays, “He almost matched his time that he finished the OCAA championships with last year. He’s in great shape and he’s very focused”.
Next across the line for Redeemer was Nathan Verbaan in 44th place with a time of 31:28. Right behind him was Hayden Regeling. Making his OCAA debut, Regeling finished in 45th place at 31:44. Clocking in at 31:47, was Alexandre Drouin, who finished the team scoring for the Royals in 47th place. Drouin was also running in his first race for the Royals.
Rounding out the rest of the field for Redeemer was Colten Gowan (51st – 32:06) and David Prins (59th- 33:53).
The Royals will now move on to Seneca College for their second meet of the season this coming weekend.