By Kirk Jessome
A young men’s cross country team started the 2018-19 season looking to defend their AUS championship title.
After graduating three of their top four finishers from the AUS championship last year, Angus MacIntosh was the only senior to return for his fifth and final season. He was joined by fourth-year runners Callum Drever and Michael Rogers.
Rookie Bryn Smith was the top finisher for the Tigers in their first meet of the season hosted by UPEI in mid-September. He placed seventh, followed by Hudson Grimshaw-Surette and James Cromack in eighth and ninth respectively, to give the Tigers a second-place finish.
Second-year runner James Cromack led the way for the Tigers at the AUS-RSEQ Interlock meet in Fredericton, with a 10th place finish. Smith crossed the line in 15th, followed by Trent Lynds in 16th to end the meet with a third-place finish overall.
At their biggest pre-championship meet of the season, the Tigers faced off against teams from across the country in Hamilton, Ontario at the Marauder Bayfront Open, hosted by McMaster in mid-October.
Cromack was the Tigers top finisher again, crossing the line in 11th behind a very competitive field. Three other Tigers finished in the top 20 with Smith, Lynds, and Drever finishing 16th through 18th, respectively. They finished the meet with a third-place overall team finish.
Mike Rogers led the pack at the Moncton Invitational two weeks before the AUS championship. The Tigers placed second in the meet with Rogers crossing the line in fifth, followed by McIntosh in sixth and Jacob in 10th.
Head coach Rich Lehman was excited to be hosting the AUS championship and expected very competitive racing.
“The point totals between us and StFX were close all season long,” he says. “It’s always nice to run a big meet on your home course, so we were hoping that would give us an edge.”
At the AUS championship, Cromack was once again the top finisher for the Tigers, crossing the line in sixth place. Smith finished behind just Cromack in eighth, followed by Drever in ninth. The rest of the team finished in the top 20 with Grimshaw-Surette, Rogers and McIntosh finishing 11th through 13th. Lynds rounded out the scoring finishing 15th.
The Tigers finished in second-place overall as a team at the AUS championship in a very close competition with StFX. As the top first-year finisher, Smith earned AUS rookie of the year honours.
At the U SPORTS championship, Cromack was once again the top finisher for the Tigers, crossing the line in 78th, while Smith was able to crack the top 100, coming in at 99th.
The team will look to Cromack to continue to develop and be a medal threat at next year’s AUS championship and lead the charge in their hunt for their next conference title.