Women’s cross country team ends season with record-breaking finish

By Kyle Kelley, for the Lambda

Two months have passed since the beginning of the Voyageurs women’s cross-country climb to CIS Championships, and after a long and prosperous season for the Voyageurs, the women finished in fourth place among all teams in Ontario, and achieved a record-breaking 10th place among all Canadian teams.

The championship competition, which took place on Nov. 14 in Guelph, brought pride to the team, as they finished with the highest ranking the women’s cross-country team has achieved in the history of the school.

“I’m really proud of how they raced and how they handled themselves all through the year,” said cross-country coach Dick Moss. “This is a really good team.”

Prior to attending the championships, the women had to hike through OUA qualifications, which took the team to Guelph in October, where the team won first place. The team also travelled to compete in Quebec and Buffalo.

Their success at the CIS championship also reaffirmed the team’s top-10 ranking, which they’ve successfully held through six weeks of the regular season.

The Voyageurs scored 265 for their national 10th place spot.

This season also notably marks the end of three varsity athletes’ careers in cross-country: the CIS championship marked the last race for Sam Edwards (who finished 92nd over the 6 km course), Michelle Kennedy (who finished 53rd over the same course), and Katie Wismer (who finished 32nd).

“We have an amazing coaching staff, and I’ve been really lucky to have the teammates I have had for the past three years,” said Edwards.

Wismer, who’s been a household name of the team this season and broke many personal records, noted one of the most difficult challenges she faced was staying motivated during the “very long season.”

“I learned how to race this season,” said Wismer, “I think that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Not just to go into a run, be tired, and give up at various points in the race.”

The finality of Wismer’s career also added some extra pressure, although Wismer noted it’s okay to feel uncomfortable at times.

“(I) just enjoy the discomfort and recognize that it’s allowing (me) to become something better… Enjoy it while you have it and make the most of it,” she added.

As the cross-country season comes to a close, the indoor track season gains nearer, in which several rookies will make their debut in the coming weeks in the 60-meter to 3,000-meter races begin.

Moss noted that many of the women who will compete in these indoor races are coming from high school teams where the training is not as intense.

“Varsity is a different level,” said Moss, who notes that the new runners will have an increase in their training.

“The team left behind a culture of expectation,” said Moss of his team’s performance this year. With veterans like Wismer and Edwards as role models, Moss noted the rookies have a lot to look forward to next season, and some serious shoes to fill.

-Photo by Dick Moss