By Mike Still
The women’s cross country team had a strong and consistent 2016 season.
Led by star performer Colleen Wilson, the team won every meet in the AUS conference, taking the championship title and placing 10th nationally.
The season began in September with the Acadia Invitational. Despite not sending all of his top performers, head coach Rich Lehman’s women opened the year with a decisive victory over second-place Moncton with a score of 25 to Moncton’s 62 points.
Wilson also won the individual title, kicking off the first of many number one finishes. She beat the next finisher by nearly 40 seconds and was followed by her teammates who finished fourth, fifth and tied for seventh to round out the scorers for Dalhousie.
Next up was the Moncton Invitational, where Wilson once again took top spot in the individual standings, followed closely by Sarah Myatt and Jenna MacDonald. Unsurprisingly, the Tigers won the team title by 20 points over StFX’s 40.
In October, the DAL/SMU Invitational saw the Tigers return to home turf, tackling a hilly six kilometre course in Point Pleasant Park.
Wilson led the charge for Dalhousie, coming across the line first with 41 seconds to spare before the next competitor crossed the line. Dalhousie’s MacDonald, Myatt, Shaylynn Tell and Michaela Walker were the team’s other scoring runners. The Tigers won the meet convincingly again, scoring 22 points to second-place StFX’s 37.
Later that month, the team travelled to Fredericton for the AUS-RSEQ Invitational. This was the first time in the season that the Tigers faced teams from outside their conference, and they took second place in the meet behind McGill.
The top Dalhousie finisher that day was Myatt, who covered the six kilometre distance in a time of 22:31, and was the fastest AUS runner. Wilson was in Ontario racing at the Queen’s Invitational, where both men and women ran the same eight kilometre course.
The Tigers closed out October with the AUS championships, hosted by StFX. The results were consistent with previous events, with both Wilson and the team placing first.
Dalhousie runners made up five of the top nine finishers, and Wilson beat her teammate, Myatt, by over a minute. MacDonald, Walker and Abby Llewellyn placed fourth, sixth and ninth, respectively.
Following the race, Wilson was named the female athlete of the year. MacDonald received the AUS student-athlete community service award, while coach Lehman was named coach of the year.
Finally, the women headed to Quebec for the U SPORTS championships. Wilson was the top Tiger for the last race of the season, with an 11th place finish individually. Myatt, Llewellyn, MacDonald and Tell were the other scoring runners for Dalhousie. The team placed 10th overall to round out the season, which was down from their fifth place finish in 2015, but still a strong result. Wilson was named a second team all-Canadian, while MacDonald earned the U SPORTS student-athlete community service award.