Laurentian ladies re-stock for run at nationals
by Randy Pascal
Key graduations aside, the Laurentian Voyageurs women's cross-country team still have their sights set on a return trip to nationals.
Coming off a 2015 season that ranked as "by far the best year we ever had, in terms of team" (coach Dick Moss), the Laurentian ladies knew full
well that trying to replace the likes of Katie Wismer, Michelle Kennedy and Samantha Edwards would be no easy feat.
Signs of promise, however, emerged from the Voyageurs annual trek to the Western International in London, as the girls placed fifth in a field of
14 teams. Fourth year veteran Marissa Lobert showed the way, finishing 30th in a personal best time of 18:41 over the five kilometer course.
The strength of the team was evident in the balance across the top end of their lineup, as the L.U. crew were separated by only 56 seconds from their
#1 runner down to number five.
That grouping included Jessie Nusselder (40th - 19:06), Nicole Rich (48th - 19:19), Megan Crocker (52nd - 19:26) and Nicole
Hessels (56th - 19:37). "We've lost four of seven women from last year's CIS squad - three to graduation and one to a summer injury," noted Moss.
"We weren't sure what to expect this year. We put in a lot of miles over the summer and it's paying off. I do believe we'll be in the hunt for a CIS
spot again." The top five average time of 19:13 is the second best in school history on this particular course.
And yet it wasn't just the ladies gaining notoriety. In just their second year since re-introducing the program, the Voyageurs men's cross-country team
moved up to 10th place, from the gathering of 15 schools that were competing.
Leading the charge were Ewan Craig (81st - 27:01), freshman Jerryd McLeod Maenpaa (82nd - 27:03) and transfer addition Dylan McKevitt
(93rd - 27:21), with Sam Delage (109th - 27:48) and Bishop Carter Secondary School product Caleb Beland (114th - 27:53) hot on their heels.
The top-five average time of 27:25 over the eight kilometer course was more than a minute faster than in 2015. "That's excellent improvement, and it
shows that our target of a top-ten finish at the OUA championships is realistic," stated L.U. men's coach Darren Jermyn.
Following is a complete listing of results for all remaining athletes who representing Laurentian in London:
Women's Race - 5 kms
67 - Jenny Bottomley - 19:56
81 - Breanne Steven - 20:19
106 - Lyndsay Greasley - 21:03
113 - Jenna Whitney - 21:47
122 - Kelsey Lefebvre - 21:40
126 - Jacob Dupuis-Labour - 28:22
128 - Luke Mackrell - 28:28
142 - Gordie Chown - 29:07
162 - Mika Muinonen - 30:04
167 - Matteo Reich - 30:33
172 - Jarod Milford - 31:58
The race also contained a number of other familiar faces, including Laurentian alumni Emma Tallman (19th - 18:21), now a physiotherapist in
London, as well as Katie Wismer (27th - 18:36), currently studying at the Northern Ontario School of Medecine.
Western Mustangs' rookie and Track North product Brendan Costello (Lo-Ellen) placed 71st (26:53), St Benedict graduate Brandon Belan
(York Lions) was 115th (27:54), while the Espanola tandem of Colton Lafrance (York Lions) and Justin Leale (Nipissing Lakers) were 144th
(29:11) and 169th (31:31) respectively.
Team Laurentian is back on the road this coming weekend, competing at the Mike Woods/Geneseo Invitational at Letchworth State Park (New
York), located some 35 miles south of Rochester.