WolfPack cross country team preparing for nationals

TRU cross country getting ready for nationals by competing in B.C. championships

The WolfPack cross country team has been going through an evolution this season.

The team has increased the size of their women’s roster and have introduced a new part-time assistant coach, former team captain Conlan Sprickerhoff, the team is now be preparing for the U Sports nationals.

The U Sports nationals will serve as a big test for the program and changes head coach Carmin Mazzotta has implemented.

Growing is not just about showing character but learning to get results too. The ’Pack team will be hoping to take a step forward heading into nationals.

The team began its preparation by competing at the B.C. championships in Abbotsford on Oct. 27.

The men competed in the 10 km run whilst the women did the 8 km.

The ’Pack had six runners in the men’s category.

“Our guys had a great race overall as a group,” said Mazzotta to TRU athletics.

The race featured runners from several different age groups such as juniors, seniors, Olympians and masters.

First-year student Calum Carrigan was the top finisher for TRU, which impressed Mazzotta.

“Calum led the way,” Mazzotta said. “He ran a 25.03, which was good for 42nd place.”

Carrigan was seventh amongst 18 and 19-year-old runners.

Mazzotta also expressed his excitement in seeing how Carrigan performs on the national stage. He also praised other runners in the team for their strong will and determination in finishing the race.

“Liam Mcgrath had one of the standout performances of the day; he had an incredible kick at the end. No giving up from him,” Mazzotta said, “I was really pleased with what the guys did today.”

The final results found the team finishing close to each other, Troy Morgan finished 57th in a time of 26 minutes and 8 seconds, Dyck was 66th in 26 minutes 37 seconds.

McGrath was 69th in 26 minutes 53 seconds, Lavigne was 77th in a time of 27 minutes and 15 seconds and Martin was 78th in 27 minutes 18 seconds.

The fastest time in the men’s category was 22 minutes and 3 seconds.

Mazzotta was equally happy with the women’s performances.

“Zoe Painter had a great race,” he said.

Mazzotta told TRU athletics that he was most impressed with her consistency throughout the season.

He also expressed Kendra Murray’s importance to his women’s roster and described her as the best runner on the team.

He explained that TRU had to pull her out of the provincial championships due to ongoing hamstring problems and to make sure she can compete at the nationals.

Mazzotta was also effusive about the performances of Erika Johnson and Brooklyn Higgs, who he felt displayed tremendous character.

Painter ended up finishing 43rd in a time of 31 minutes 27 seconds, Johnson was 51st in a time of 33 minutes and 54 seconds whilst Higgs finished 52nd in a time of 36 minutes 3 seconds.

Fastest time overall was 25 minutes and 20 seconds. There were 56 competitors in the women’s race.

The competition served as good preparation for the team as they prepare for nationals which take place on Nov. 10 at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

The ’Pack will be hoping to take a massive step in their evolution as they compete on the national stage.