Cross country teams qualify for nationals after top 10 finishes at OUA championships

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Graphic by Alan Li

The annual cross country OUA championships took place in Windsor on Saturday, Oct. 28.

Both the men’s and women’s teams for the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks exceeded expectations.

The women’s team finished eighth in the eight kilometer race, led by an impressive showing from Bettina Boucher.

The Whitby native finished twelfth in the individual standings by finishing the course in 28 minutes and 51.1 seconds.

She received an OUA All-Star award for her efforts. Boucher made history as she became only the second Hawk ever to be named an OUA All-Star.

The team’s eighth place finish shows how hard they have worked this year as it is an improvement from last year’s ninth place finish.

The men’s team had an equally impressive showing, as they managed to finish seventh in the 10-kilometre race, which was a three-spot improvement from their tenth place finish last year.

Joe Sheridan led the Hawks as he put up a career best performance. The fourth-year Waterloo native was ranked number 25 in the individual standings, crossing the finish line in 31 minutes and 42.7 seconds.

“We have some unfinished business; one more race. I think both teams can still improve. Bettina [Boucher] finished twelfth. That was a huge finish for her and I know she’s looking forward to running well at the nationals too.”

“We wanted to come top 10 to qualify. Coming seventh was really big for us. We think that’s possibly the best finish ever for Laurier, so that’s exciting,” Sheridan said of the Hawks’ performance.

When asked about how he managed to set a personal career high, Sheridan gave all the credit to the non-stop, rigorous, year-round training.

“Continuous training,” he said. “Just working hard the entire year.”

“We train all year and we have a really good group this year, so it’s a strong training group and that helps.”

The training, however, does not stop here for the Hawks.

Now that both the men’s and women’s teams finished in the top 10 at the OUA championships, they have advanced to the U Sports National Championships.

Sheridan mentioned that although the Hawks are very excited due to their great finishes at the provincials, it’s important for them not to get ahead of themselves.

“It was real exciting for us. Both teams now get to go to Victoria in two weeks. We are very excited to race in the nationals. So, [we’re] looking forward to that,” he said.

“We have some unfinished business; one more race. I think both teams can still improve. Bettina [Boucher] finished twelfth. That was a huge finish for her and I know she’s looking forward to running well at the nationals too.”

At the nationals last year, the women’s team came twelfth, while the men’s team finished seventeenth.

The nationals are a completely different beast and it will take something special from the Hawks to repeat their top 10 finishes from the OUA championships.

But the Hawks have proven that they have improved from last year and are better teams overall this time around.

With the momentum firmly on their side, both of these Laurier teams have the ability to exceed expectations once again.

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