After coming off the most dominate performance in CIS Cross Country history, the 2009 Gryphon Men's Cross Country will be looking to add to their growing legacy. At stake this year will be an attempt to tie the record for most consecutive CIS team titles, an achievement the University of Guelph currently shares with Victoria at four titles. The men will also aim to equal the University of Toronto for most overall team titles at nine and, along with the Gryphon women, break their tie with the University of Victoria for most successful cross country program of all time, which currently sits at 13 team titles.
This year's team will have many familiar faces from the 2008 squad that recorded a mind-boggling 27 points at the CIS Championships, a score which equalled the lowest score since 1978 when only 6 teams competed. Returning for his final year will be last year's CIS Champion Matt Brunsting. Brunsting is coming off an outstanding summer which culminated in a gold medal at the Canada Summer Games in Charlotttetown, PEI. He will be joined by team captain Kyle Boorsma, last year's runner-up. Boorsma became the University of Guelph's first active sub four minute miler this summer with his 3:59 posting in Toronto. Rounding out the Gryphons' top three is last year's OUA Champion Allan Brett. Brett was fourth at the 2008 CIS Championships and will give the Gryphons the top three returning individuals in the country. A repeat of the Windsor Lancers' incredible sweep of the podium in 2004 is a possibility for the Gryphons.
Backing up the Gryphons lead three will be 2009 OUA Rookie of The Year Rob Jackson and OUA All-Star John Parrott. Both will be looking to fill the void left by graduating All-Canadians Derek Snider, Josh Roundell and Joe Brunsting. Also looking to make an impact on the national scene will be fourth year veterans Cody Murray and Rob Koziarski, who both came into camp in the best shape of their lives.
With only seven returning athletes Head Coach Dave Scott-Thomas knew he needed to bring in a strong class of new faces to the program. This fall the Gryphons will boast an incredible 13 rookies on their roster. A strong and deep class is led by Alex Hinton, Benoit Boulay, Stephen Holmes and David Quinn. All of whom have previous top 10 OFSAA (Ontario High School) finishes to their credit and will all be looking to make an immediate impact in their debut seasons.
"This has to the potential to be a very, very good team.", says Scott-Thomas. "Our composition is a bit different than during our first string of CIS titles. Those teams had incredible depth - we could go back 14- or 15 guys and have lots of bodies to pull in. Right now, our front end is exceptional and we're trying to grow some athletes into that depth role. If we're healthy and focused the guys will be tough to beat, but we have the potential to yield a lot of points quickly if any of our lead men are off. We're really looking for our 5-9 men to step up."
The team will make their debut Saturday September 19th at home at the New Balance Vic Matthews Open. The OUA Championships will be held at Brock University October 31st, with the CIS Championships two weeks later at Queen's University.
Stay tuned tomorrow for a preview of the University of Gueph Women's Cross Country team, who will be seeking their record fifth consecutive CIS team title.
University of Guelph
Track and Field