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Augustana runners are National Champions!

November 14, 2006

Source: Augustana University College

The Augustana Womenís Cross Country Running Team was marvelous on the weekend inwinning their second consecutive CCAA national school championship. Thirty-one schools werehosted by Institut de Technologie Agroalimentaire, Saint-Hyacinthe at the CCAA Cross CountryRunning Championships on a very challenging course that was mostly muddy single track, withroots, rocks, and numerous large pools of water. It was raining hard and cold, and the Augustanateam were significantly disadvantaged by their position in the race start to add to their epicobstacles. The Augustana Women proved more than up to the challenge, however, with a lowaggregate score of 31 points, holding off the very strong teams from SAIT (35 points) andMacEwan (64 points).

This yearís national championship was by far the most competitive in history, with elite runnersfrom Quebec trying to win the trophy on their home turf and the strongest Ontario presence ever.In this very high quality field of 89 runners, Augustana placed four runners in the top twenty.Marcia Birkigt was 4th (21:05), Nicole Badry finished 8th (21:27), Megan Bernes crossed the line10th (21:36), and Julianna Nusse rounded out the scoring with 17th (22:00), this despite every oneof them going down at some point in the course. Maggie McBride (29th - 23:10), RobinBraconnier (31st - 23:21), and Tamara Taerum (48th - 24:22) provided key support in displacingmany scoring runners from other teams.

In addition, Marcia and Megan led the ACAC Conference Team to a convincing win over theirOntario and Quebec competition. The ACAC women scored 23 points as compared with 48 forthe OCAA and 62 for the FSQE Conference Teams. Finally, Marcia was named to the All-Tournament Team (the equivalent of All-Canadians in other sports) of the seven top women inthe championship race.

Not to be forgotten in all of this was a fine showing by the menís team. The men finished 8th in afield of 15 schools behind Lethbridge, Fanshawe College (Ontario), and College Ahuntsic(Quebec). David Ball (11th, 30:10) led the way in the very tough field of 126 runners, followed byRyan Bray (41st, 32:24), Philip Eriksson (53rd, 33:07), Matt Sutherland (58th, 33:23), and RyanWebber (63rd, 33:41). The menís race went out very quickly as everyone wanted to be in the bestposition possible heading into the single file narrow trails after 800m. With so many runners onthe trail, there was quite a bit of jostling and many runners went down as the conditionsdeteriorated due to the rain and many feet softening up the trails even further. Ryan, Phil, Matt,and Ryan were severely disadvantaged by not having spikes, but navigated the course bravelynonetheless. David and Phil were part of the ACAC conference team, which came in 3rd after thehost province and Ontario.



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