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2013-14 Women's Cross Country Season Recap

2013-14 Women's Cross Country Season Recap

Written by Duncan Forbes

Well, it was certainly quite the year for the Dalhousie Tigers women’s cross country team.

The Tigers 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.
The Tigers 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 placed third. The Tigers placed first as a team with 26 points.
The team 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 Interlock. This race marked the first time that the Tigers walked away without a team victory, as the Queen’s Gaels ran away with the win. They managed to grab second 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 favourite and looked poised to reclaim the title. Chappell paced the Tigers with a second-place finish, only 14 seconds off the lead. 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 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 12th place 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.

 “Our women’s team showed throughout their season this year that we are on the verge of being extremely competitive on the national level,” says head coach Rich Lehman. “A few minor adjustments will have us competing for a top five spot at the CIS championship next year.”