Women’s Cross Country
Well, it was certainly quite the year for the Dalhousie Tigers women’s cross country team.
They won all three of their AUS meets by an average of over 15 points and racked up 15 top-ten finishes. In fact, one half of all top ten finishers in the three AUS meets were Tigers.
Although no Tiger had a first-place finish in 2013, the depth of the team and numerous podium finishes led to their success.
They opened their season at the UNB/STU Open on September 14. Natalie Sachrajda led the way for the Tigers with a second place finish, while Meggie Soehl finished just three second behind her and placed third. The Tigers placed first as a team with 26 points.
The Tigers then headed to Antigonish for the StFX Invitational on September 21. Ellen Chappell was the lone Tiger on the podium with a third-place finish. Anna von Maltzahn came away with a fourth-place finish in her first race of the year. The Tigers finished first once again, narrowly beating out StFX by six points.
The Tigers then hosted the Dalhousie/Saint Mary’s Invitational at Point Pleasant Park on October 5. The Tigers had their best showing on the warm autumn day, claiming six spots in the top 10. Chappell ran another strong race, finishing second, while a contingent of Tigers runners were close behind. von Maltzahn, Sachrajda, Britany MacArthur and Emily Clarke finished one after another, placing third through sixth, respectively. Emily Ferguson was less than 15 seconds behind the pack of Tigers and finished eighth.
The next weekend, the Tigers packed their bags for Montreal to compete in the AUS-RSEQ Invitational. This race marked the first time that the Tigers walked away without a victory, as the Queen’s Gaels ran away with the win. They managed to grab the second-place finish as three runners finished in the top 10. Chappell once again led the charge for the Tigers with a sixth place finish, while Sachrajda and von Maltzahn finished seventh and tenth, respectively.
The Tigers headed into the AUS championship in Moncton as the pre-emptive favorite and looked poised to reclaim the title. Chappell paced the Tigers with a second-place finish, only 14 seconds off the lead. Natalie Sachrajda was hot on her heals, finishing just eight seconds later to finish third. Von Maltzahn, MacArthur and Clarke finished fifth, seventh and tenth, respectively, to round out the top ten.
Those five top-ten finishes helped the Tigers run away with the title with only 27 points, 24 ahead of second-place StFX.
Chappell, Sachrajda, von Maltzahn and MacArthur were all named AUS all-stars, while head coach Rich Lehman was named the AUS coach of the year, in only his second year with the team.
At the 2013 CIS championship at Western University, the Tigers came away with a 12thplace finish. Chappell once again was the top-finisher for the Tigers with a 48th place finish, while MacArthur finished just outside the top 50 with a 54th place finish.
Men’s Cross Country
Rich Lehman’s men’s cross country team came into the 2013 season with hopes of de-throning the two-time defending AUS champion StFX X-Men to capture their first title since 2010.
They got things started at the UNB/STU Open in Fredericton on September 14. Although no runner could crack the top ten, the Tigers still had five runners in the top 20, which was good for a second-place finish on the day. Matthias Mueller led the charge for the Tigers with an 11th place finish, while Adam McGregor and Will Russell were right behind him, finishing 12th and 13th, respectively.
The team travelled to Antigonish to compete in the StFX Invitational the next weekend. Matt McNeil powered his way to a second-place finish in his first race of the season, finshing only eight seconds back of the lead. Mueller and Oliver Hatheway also came away with top-ten finishes, placing eighth and ninth, respectively. It simply wasn’t enough to get the victory, however, as an impressive performance by StFX handed Dal another second-place finish.
Their final tune up race of the season came on October 5 when they hosted the Dalhousie/Saint Mary’s Invitational at Point Pleasant Park. McNeil made a late push that nearly gave him the first-place finish, but he finished a half-second behind John Kuto, and settled for second-place once again. The Tigers had three more top-ten finishers on the day, with Hatheway, Bruce Russell and Mueller placing seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.
The Tigers again missed out on a first-place finish as the X-Men edged them by a mere seven points.
It was another nail biter at the AUS champion for the Tigers, as the X-Men again came away with the win, this time by a margin of only eight points. McNeil had yet another second-place finish, while Hatheway cracked the top-five for a fifth-place finish. Matthias Mueller rounded out the top ten for the Tigers, finishing in eighth.
McNeil and Hatheway would go on to be named AUS all-stars, which would mark the third time in as many years that McNeil was awarded the honour.
The trio of McNeil, Hatheway and Mueller would make the trek to the 2013 CIS championship in London, Ontario the next week. Hatheway lead the Tigers with a 43rdplace finish, while Mueller and McNeil finished 84th and 105th, respectively.