By Lethbridge Herald on November 10, 2023.
By Justin Seward
Lethbridge College Kodiaks crosscountry runners are set to run the championship loop out in Truro,N.S, for the Canadian College Athletic Association nationals today.
The Kodiak men’s team have six representatives in the Maritimes including Owen Stewart, Ethan Grasmeyer, Justin Fisher, Conner Van Den Hoek, Keegan Hartery and Kaysan Mohamed.
The lone women’s team representative is Katrina Michel, who initially finished eighth at the ACAC championships in Lethbridge with a time of 25.56 and failed to qualify, but was able to earn a berth after shaving off under a minute and a half from her previous Grand Prix time to earn her trip to nationals.
“Yeah, I think a little bit different than from the (ACAC)championships,” said Simon Schaerz , head coach.
“I think (at) championships, there was a lot of pressure; pressure to perform, pressure to qualify. I think that pressure now perhaps isn’t quite as high. I think for many of them it’s been excitement most of the way through here, having qualified, being able to travel here and travel to a different part of the country and represent the college here.”
When asked about preparation, Schaerz says stay on course.
“I think most of the hard work was done,” he said.
“The proverbial hay was in the barn and it was just a matter now of seeing those last two weeks through and doing relatively minimal training, trying to keep everybody healthy, and ready to go and yeah, so it was pretty straight forward.”
Schaerz got some insight on the course from other coaches prior to teams getting a first look on Friday.
“And I’m getting some feedback from other coaches, it looks like there’s going to be quite a bit of hills and certainly we’re used to that,” said Schaerz
“I think the other advantage I think coming here is running closer to sea level versus running out on the prairies. There’s definitely a benefit there and so that typically means that you can run a little bit faster and so I think they’re going to draw from that and hopefully do quite well. But, yeah, as far as the course is concerned, I think we’re going to find out tomorrow (on Friday) but we’re certainly not expecting anything worse than what we would’ve seen at the ACAC Championships or the Grand Prix series beforehand.”
Runners will experience nearly a 1,000 metre difference from Lethbridge to Nova Scotia.
The runners success, from a coaching perspective, will be a balance between individually challenging themselves, the execution of a game plan and coming together as a team.
“I think being at a national meet, you don’t need to hype yourself up too much,” said Stewart.
“I think we all kind of feel the pressure a little bit but we’re excited to race and I think really something that’s cool about our team is that we feel very united.”
For Michel, she is proud to represent the Kodiaks.
“I didn’t think I would be able to go this season,” said Michel.
“But to be able to go is just such an honour and I was so excited to see what will happen.”
The women’s six-kilometre race is at 11:15 a.m. MST and the men’s eight-kilometre race is at 12:15 p.m. MST today.
Results can be found at http://www.ccaa.ca/sports/xc/championship/index.