New Faces lead the way for Lightning Cross Country Program

Cross Country Grand Prix

The St. Mary’s Lightning athletics year has begun with Cross Country hitting the course for the first ACAC Grand Prix of the year on Saturday Sept 9th. Thirteen of our student athletes travelled up to Edmonton to compete in the Concordia hosted race at Goldstick Park against approximately 60 other ACAC competitors. The St. Mary’s athletes put in a great team effort and had very solid early season performances considering the course was challenging and featured several hills in a repeating 2 km loop for the athletes to run during the women’s 6 KM race and the men’s 8 KM competitions.

First year runner Rebecca Johnson delivered a standout performance in her first competition in the Lightning yellow and blue and finished her race in second place. The best ever finish by a St. Mary’s runner in an ACAC Grand Prix leaving head Coach Dixon very impressed.

“She ran a smart, controlled race, moving up in the field on the last lap of the 6 km race,” explained Dixon. “She will be a medal contender at the Provincial Championships.”

Unfortunately our top male runner from last season, Karan Matusin, was unable to finish his race due to injury.

“With some treatment and rehab we hope to have him back on the course as soon as he is healthy,” said Sports Manager Nathan Ruff. “Karan is a big part of our team and we will take the necessary precautions to ensure that he’s back to 100 per cent before getting back on the course.”

With Karan unable to finish the top male runner was Donovan Miller who finished in 11th place for the men.

“Donovan ran a very well executed race on a challenging hilly course, finishing in 11th place for ACAC runners,” said Coach Dixon. “He has a lot of potential to continue to move up in the standings.”

Uniquely enough Donovan also is a first year student to St. Mary’s University and will be the first ever dual sport athlete in school history thanks to his participation on the men’s basketball team.

Next up for the Lightning Cross Country team is their own co-hosted grand prix with SAIT. The race runs on Saturday, September 16th at Confederation Park. The women’s race starts at 12 p.m. and the men’s at 1 p.m.

Come on out and support your Lightning as they look to improve on their times from last week and remember may the course be with you!