It has the makings of the best team in University of Guelph history and possibly one of the best in CIS history and for the 2009 University of Guelph Women's Cross Country team there could be a great deal of history to be written. The team has won the past four CIS titles and this fall will look to break their current tie with Universities of Victoria and Western Ontario for most consecutive CIS victories. At the OUA level they be looking to capture their sixth consecutive title breaking their tie for most consecutive titles that they share with Western.
Once again leading the charge for the Gryphons will be 2007 CIS MVP and two time University of Guelph Athlete of The Year Lindsay Carson. Carson finished third at last year's championships and will be looking to get her individual title back and join former Gryphon Sylvia Rugger as a two time individual champion . Joining Carson up front will be newcomer Genevieve Lalonde. One of the top recruiters in North America, Lalonde who hails from Moncton, New Brunswick, brings a wealth of international experience to the Gryphons and will enter the season as the favourite for CIS Rookie of The Year honors. Lalonde and Carson will be supported by a pair of stellar fourth year athletes, Courtney Laurie and Rachel Cliff. Laurie had a breakthrough race at last year's CIS Track and Field Championships with a surprise silver medal in the 3000 metres, she carried her momentum through the outdoor season, capturing the Ontario Championship in the 5000 metres and lowering her personal best to 16 minutes and 29 seconds. This fall she will look to transfer her track prowess to the cross course and garner her first All-Canadian honours in cross country after placing 15th last season. Three time All-Canadian Rachel Cliff, the 2006 CIS Rookie of The Year, will be looking for her second first team All-Canadian honours after placing seventh in 2007. The Gryphons have boasted an individual medalist in each of the past five season but have never had more than one athlete on the women's podium in their history, that could change after this season.
Backing up the Gryphons incredible top four is one of the deepest supporting casts in CIS history. Lead by All-Canadian Jess Vanhie (10th in 07), along with Lindsay Furtado (24th in 08), Karoline Hoy (27th in 08) and Laura McIvor (30th in 08) as well as a quartet of second year athletes who are looking to build on impressive rookie campaigns, Head Coach Dave Scott-Thomas will have his hands full with selecting which seven athletes to put on the line at the OUA and CIS Championships.
"Our depth is fantastic and our front end is tough and experienced." says Scott-Thomas. "It would have been understandable if some of the girls had taken it a bit easier in the summer, but in fact they've trained harder than ever, are fit, focused and ready too roll. We're looking at our 6-9 athletes as 17-low 5km runners and I'd expect it'll take around 9:45 3000m skill to make our top 7. Getting on the line at CI's will be tough."
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.
University of Guelph
Track and Field