Bettina Boucher puts on a show at XC nationals

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The Wilfrid Laurier University varsity cross country team made a successful trip to British Columbia on Nov. 11 for the U Sports Cross Country Nationals.

Laurier finished 18th out of 22 teams; the best finish the school has ever had and an improvement on their 21st-place finish at last year’s nationals.

The top finisher overall for Laurier was third-year veteran Bettina Boucher, who finished number 22 out of 151 runners with a time of 29:49 on the eight kilometer course.

Boucher has been named the XC team MVP for both the 2015/2016 and the 2016/2017 seasons, as well as a 2017 OUA Cross Country Second Team All-Star.

On the male runners’ side of the Laurier team, fourth-year runner Joe Sheridan led the men of Laurier with a time of 33 minutes and 18 seconds, which gave him a 62nd place finish.

Finishing in the top 15 per cent of runners, Boucher had to find the perfect strategy on how to keep a steady pace and not tire herself out.

She reflected on how she achieved such a feat, stating, “The race was four laps of two kilometers, in such a long race of eight kilometers it is important to stay patient and relaxed at the beginning and to stay strong through the third and fourth laps where it is easy to lose focus.”

Boucher was also extremely proud of her Laurier teammates, as they were not only moral support for her doing so well, but they motivated her to do well for her team at large.

“I am so proud of Laurier as a whole because the entire team supports each other and everyone’s strength and determination is inspiring,” Boucher said.

“This led us to our best placing ever at a national event, which is an honour to be a part of.”

Though the team had a great showing at this year’s national competition, Boucher and the rest of the Laurier XC team are hungry to improve for next year.

“I am so excited for next year because we have such a solid group this year,” she said.

“A struggle for everyone is putting in work through the winter where the weather adds an obstacle and most importantly the summer where distractions may interfere with training.”

“By competing in races through the indoor track season — which starts Dec. 2 — I know our team will make progress over this year and make even greater achievements next cross-country season.”


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