Adventures in the centre of the universe

By Kris Kotarski

This has not been an easy season for the University of Calgary’s cross country teams. The 1999 men’s team was decimated by injuries and athletes who transferred to other universities. This year’s edition had no chance to emerge from the shadows of their predecessors, and Aaron Swanson was the sole representative at the National Championships two weeks ago in Toronto.

The women didn’t send a team to nationals last year, but this season they went to the meet hoping for a pleasant surprise.

The Dinos came in 10th on the women’s side; their performance at the meet was a success. They edged out the University of Alberta to claim third spot among Canada West teams, a nice accomplishment considering the level of competition. Second-year runner Kristin Brennand had an outstanding run and finished in the top 20, placing 16th overall, and only narrowly missed being named a second team All Canadian. She paced the Dinos, who also got great efforts from Oriana Rolle and Nicole Topic.

Aside from the obvious praise for Brennand, Head Coach Doug Lamont also had kind words for the rest of the team.

"Oriana Rolle really came through big to be our second runner," said Lamont. "Nicole Topic was our third runner and she ran a solid race, but she’s run better."

On the men’s side the results were slightly less peachy as Aaron Swanson ran a poor race by his standards and crossed the finish line 57th. It wasn’t the best day of Swanson’s career, but he has three years of eligibility left and the future looks bright for the program.

"I don’t think even Aaron would be pleased with what he did; it was just one of those days," said Lamont.

The Dinos rookie-laden squad performed up to their coach’s goals and expectations.

"It sets us up great for next year," said the enthusiastic Lamont. "I think they dealt with [the pressure] really well."

Coach Lamont also has some lofty goals for next season. Aside from getting the men’s program back on track, he has high hopes for his young women’s team.

"With the athletes returning next year, we hope to get a top five-finish."


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