This week’s flashback Friday features the 2003-04 AUS championship winning men’s cross country team! Back Row (L-R): Chris Algar, Louis Brill (Assistant Coach), Mike Wadel, Matt Sheffield, Al Yarr (Assistant Coach), Stanley Chaisson, Brian McLaughlin (Assistant Coach).
Front Row (L-R): Curtis Archibald, Nicholas McBride, Paul Chafe, Mihira Lakshman, Dan Hennigar (Head Coach).
The 2003-04 season started at StFX on September 13. Stanley Chaisson, running easily, cruised to a second-place finish behind national tea member Eric Gillis. Mihira Lakshman, Nicholas McBride, Mike Wedel and Chris Algar also scored for the Tigers giving them a nine-point victory over the host. The Tigers would place in the top three for the remaining conference competitions, finishing first at UNB, third at StFX and first again at Gorsebrook Field.
At the AUS championships the Dalhousie men’s team came away with a resounding victory from a championship many had been expecting to be close. Even after two of the five 2km loops had been completed, it looked like it could be a tight two-team race between the Tigers and Varsity Reds. In the final loops, however the rest of the field seemed to start noticing the hills, those in black and gold kept moving up through the field and by the 10km finish the Tigers had amassed an impressive 20-point lead. Chaisson led the Tigers finishing only 26 seconds behind the eventual CIS gold medalist. Sheffield and Chafe finished in the next two spots to give Dal three AUS All-Stars, and the overall AUS championship win.
The Dalhousie Tigers entered the CIS championship as underdogs. No one was expecting a team led by relative unknowns, to challenge the top ranked schools. By the end of the race on the cold and windy field at the University of Moncton the Tigers would be unknowns no longer. Paul Chafe had continued his tradition of dramatic annual improvements to finish eighth while Stanley Chaisson’s dropped from 80th in 2002 to thirteenth. Both earned CIS Second Team All-Canadian status. The Tigers would finish the CIS Championships in fourth place.