Lady Royals advance to national cross country meet

royalsFor Ontario Colleges Athletic Association cross country runners, the provincial championship is a grueling test of endurance and skill. Redeemer was host to 200 of these determined racers on Saturday (Oct. 26) at the 2013 OCAA finale on one of the most difficult courses of the season at the Dundas Valley Conservation Area in Ancaster.

And on Saturday runners were greeted with torrential downpours and wind gusts up to 70km/hr, making the tough Ancaster course even more difficult. The rain and wind lasted the entire championship event, making for a very memorable event.

The Redeemer Royals looked to capitalize with their home course advantage and both men’s and women’s teams ran well despite the difficult conditions. The Lady Royals took sixth place overall as a team while the men’s team clocked in 10th place.

Julie Koopmans covered the course in a time of 24:39 which was good enough for 27th place as she was the first Royals runner across the line. The next three runners for the Royals were Adrianna So (25:08 and 34th), Shelby Cramer (26:03 and 40th), Gina VanHaren (43rd in 26:09), Melissa Payne (47th in 26:29), Melissa Borgdorff (58th in 27:56), and Danica Thomsen (59th in 27:58).

For the second year in a row, the Lady Royals have qualified for the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association national championships. This year’s championships are will be hosted by Humber College.

The Redeemer Royals Women's Cross Country team (Photo: Redeemer Athletics)

Pictured in nicer weather from earlier this season, the Redeemer Royals Women’s Cross Country team (Photo: Redeemer Athletics)

There were 88 women’s runners from 20 different colleges on Saturday.

St. Clair College won the overall women’s team title while Courtney Brohart took home the Individual Gold.

The Royals men’s team had one of its best races of the season. In a huge field of 109 runners, the Royals finished 10th as a team.

First-year runner Aaron Hesman completed the race in a time of 32:56 and was Redeemer’s first runner across the line. Hesman finished in 35th place.

Caleb Heerema and Nathan Verbaan were close behind Hesman, finishing in 38th and 42nd. Heerema had a time of 33:15 while Verbaan finished in 33:49. Colten Gown was Redeemer’s final scorer finishing 57th with a time of 35:16.

Jonathan Thiessen and Zach Duguay completed the race in times of 36:19 and 36:32 for 64th and 66th place. Rounding out the men’s team was Keith Williams who finished in 82nd (38:11).

The men’s team does not advance.

Fanshawe College won the men’s title while Clint Smith from Fanshawe won the Individual Gold.