The Redeemer’s women’s cross country team earned a bronze medal with a third place finish at Saturday’s Ontario Colleges Athletic Association championships.
The Lady Royals finished the day with 75 points, 16 behind second place Sault College (59 points) and 35 points behind first place Humber College (40 points).
In the race, hosted by Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, the one-two punch of Julie Koopmans (Chatham) and Jillian Marquardt (Pembroke) once again led the Royals for the fourth consecutive meet. First across the line for Redeemer was Koopmans with a time of 19:25 to finish in 12th place overall.
Right behind her in 13th was teammate Marquardt in a time of 19:30. The third and fourth scorers for Redeemer were Adrianna So (Toronto) and Annie (Waterloo) with respective times of 20:29 and 21:16 in 26th and 35th place. Rounding out the women’s team was Gina Van Haren (Lacombe, AB) in 42nd place with a time of 21:44; Janae Vlaar-Philbrick (Vineland) who finished 44th with a time of 22:13; and finishing in 49th place for Redeemer was Tracey Ubbens (Toronto) in a time of 22:50.
The Women’s Cross Country team adds another medal to an already decorated program. Five times in the past 10 years, the women’s team has found the podium at the cross country provincial finals and each time it has captured Bronze. From 2003-04 to 2008-09, Redeemer won a bronze medal.
Redeemer came into the championships as a favorite to medal. The team was ranked No. 13 in the country heading into the weekend. The team had been battling back and forth with the Fanshawe Falcons all season: Both teams finishing beside each other whenever they raced.
The Falcons finished ahead of the Royals in the Fanshawe Invitational and Redeemer finished above Fanshawe in the Seneca Invitational. However, it was the surprise Sault College team that took second place at the championships, bumping the Royals into third and Fanshawe into fourth.
The team just missed out on qualifying for the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association national meet. A Royals team or individual can qualify for an out-of-province national championships in one of two ways: By capturing Gold or Silver as a team or by finishing in the top seven as an individual and becoming one of seven members of Team Ontario.
Redeemer has never captured silver as a team in an OCAA championship but Redeemer runners have qualified in the past. The last time an individual runner qualified was in 2008-09 when Christine DeBrouwer finished fifth at the provincial finals. Only one other member of the Royal’ women’s X-country team qualified for the nationals and that was Elissa Wildeboer in 2003-04. She finished third overall. This year’s national championship will take place Nov. 8-10 in St. Lambert, Quebec.
A number of key new runners for Redeemer in Marquardt, So, Van Haren, and Vlaar-Philbrick combined with second-year runners Koopmans, Ubbens, and Thomsen, and veteran Stollery have given the Royals great depth as a team. With such a talented group of women, the sky is the limit for the Lady Royals as they move forward into next season.
On the men’s side, Redeemer finished eighth out of 16 teams with a score of 133. Taylor Kraayenbrink (Port Lambton) ran a fantastic race for the Royals with a time of 26:19 to finish 11th in a field of 102 runners. This season he finished each meet with a time better than the previous race.
Redeemer’s Nathan Verbaan (Bowmanville) finished in 40th place for the Royals in a time of 29:17. Alexandre Drouin (Quebec) came across the line next for Redeemer in 42nd place with a time of 29:47.
Rounding out the Royals team scoring was Zac Duguay (Mississauga, ON) who cracked the top 50 with a 47th place finish and a time of 29:56. Other Royals runners were Colten Gowan (Forest) who finished in 53rd place in 30:13,David Prins (Bowmanville) who came across in 77th in 32:25, and Hayden Regeling (Thornton) with an 80th place finish in a time of 32:56.