The GPRC Wolves Women’s Cross Country running team completed an undefeated season on Saturday with a convincing win at the 2014 CCAA National Cross Country Running Championships in Calgary. Placing four runners in the top 11, the Wolves compiled the best women’s team score in the 13 year history of the event.
ACAC rival schools SAIT and Lethbridge College completed an Alberta sweep of the podium by placing second and third respectively. Ontario champion Humber College was fourth.
Rookie sensation Mirelle Martens led the way for the Wolves as she has all season. Martens took the lead from the gun and gradually pulled away from the entire field over the hilly 5 km course. She crossed the finish line first in a time of 18:29, 31 seconds better than Victoriaville’s Jessy Lacourse, the reigning Quebec college champion. Ontario college champion Lindsay Webster from Humber College placed third.
Close behind the leading three was Wolves runner Jamie Wigmore who ran a gutsy race finishing fourth. Jackie Benning and Amanda Patteson kept Wigmore in sight for the entire race and were rewarded with 8th and 11th place finishes respectively. Sisters Kristin (89th) and Karina Manz (105th) also represented the Wolves in the women’s race.
Based on their finishes, Martens and Wigmore were named First Team Tournament All Stars, while Benning and Patteson were named Second Team Tournament All Stars.
This was only the second time in history that a GPRC women’s team topped the standings at CCAA Nationals. The 2002 Wolves women were the best college team at the first CCAA meet. Martens’ win represented the third national individual title won by a Wolves athlete in cross country running. Kyle Reynolds took the gold in the men’s race in 2004, while Fiona Benson won the women’s event in 2010.
In the men’s 8 km race, the Wolves managed a 16th place finish. Third year runner Riley Wallace had the best GPRC finish placing 56th, two spots better than team mate Brandon Wladyko. Ian Keefe (83rd) and Josh Malmstem (104th) were the other Wolves finishers.
While CCAA Nationals marked the end of the cross country season for most of the Wolves runners, Martens and Wigmore still have some unfinished business. Both women will be in Vancouver at the end of the month contesting the Athletics Canada Cross Country Nationals and World Championship Team Trials.
Story and Full results are linked on the CCAA Website
And also on Saturday ….
Former Wolves standouts Fiona Benson and Hayden Hollowell were in St. John’s NL for the 2014 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Cross Country Running Nationals. Benson placed 10th in the 6 km women’s race and was part of the silver medal winning team from Trinity Western University. Hollowell, running for the University of Saskatchewan, placed 106th in the men’s 10 km race.