KELOWNA, B.C. – For the second-straight fall, the UBC Okanagan cross country hosted a dual meet between UBCO and Thompson Rivers University on Saturday at Quilchena Park in Kelowna. With strong team racing tactics the Heat won both the men's and women's team competitions over the eight-kilometre course.
This is year two for the Heat teams competing at the U SPORTS level in cross country, and the invitational race has turned into an annual competition between the interior schools with the winning side earning points towards the Presidents' Cup.
Starting their race at noon on Saturday, the women scored 13 points compared the WolfPack's 28. The men's race started at 1 p.m., followed the same course as the women and saw almost identical scores. UBCO raced to a team score of 14 and TRU totaled 24.
Owen Harris ran his best race as a member of the Heat and finished second overall (27:21), just 19 seconds of the pace.
"With our number one men's runner racing in Washington today it was nice to see Owen Harris step up and take charge of the race," said Machuga. "During the first half of the race he led a pack of five UBCO runners into the lead pack. During the second half of the race, he pursued the leader to try and contend for the win."
Calum Carrigan took advantage of the Michael Mitchell-less UBCO squad to win the individual race for TRU, he finished the eight-kilometre course in 27:02.
For university racers, the Heat finished in spots two through five and used that tight grouping mentality to win the team event. In third, it was Alex Santos, who handled the four-loop track in (27:49) with Connor Baerg on his heels at (27:54). Turner Woodruff finished fifth (28:01) to complete the scoring for UBCO. Austin White (28:59), Michael Denman (29:03) and Dayton Bath (31:06) were displacers.
"The instructions for both the teams were to run as a pack. It was nice to see them execute that today," explained Machuga.
A thankful Machuga made sure to add. "It was also very nice to see the support from the community including Kettle Valley Holdings allowing the use of their land for the race."
Camille Galloway, who is full of confidence after her Canada West win three weeks ago in Saskatoon, led the university runners from start to finish and impressed her coach with her race.
"Now that she believes she can win," said head coach John Machuga, "it was fun to watch Camille Galloway contend for the win the entire way."
Galloway timed in at 30:54, over three minutes ahead of the next university runner.
Zoe Painter, from TRU finished second (34:16), and UBCO first-year runner Kate Milne pulled in third at 34:30.
Nikki Chamberlain (35:28), Megan Braun (35:42), and Mia Knibbe (35:46) stayed together for most of the race finishing fourth through sixth. The tight grouping earned the Heat team the win. For UBCO, Mia Frieschem (40:01) and Julia Van Vliet (47:20) were displacers.
"The women's team was missing two of the top three runners," Machuga noted. "But I was happy to see three first years stepped up into scoring positions. Kate Milne, Megan Braun, Mia Knibbe." Both Eliyah Brawdy and Rachel Garrett were unable to participate due to injury.
This race was a tune-up for the upcoming Canada West championships, both of these teams will be in Calgary to run for conference hardware in Canmore Park on October 26.
With both the men's and women's cross country results going to UBCO the Cup is tied amongst both genders. Currently, the cup scoring is one win, one loss, and one draw for each school in both genders. The Cup will now be decided over the course of the volleyball and basketball games between the schools.
Basketball is next and in Kelowna, November 8-9. The cups will be handed out at the end of January (24-25), in Kamloops after the volleyball matches.