By Kirk Jessome
It was another successful season for the Tigers women’s cross country team, who claimed their sixth-consecutive AUS championship banner.
In their first meet of the season, Reddy and Jordan were first and second at the UPEI Invitational, with Ellen Chappell placing fourth.
It was Reddy and Jordan leading the way again at the AUS-RSEQ Interlock meet three weeks later, placing fifth and sixth respectively, followed by fifth-year transfer student Sophie Watts in seventh.
After earning second-place team finishes in their first two meets, the Tigers raced in the Marauder Bayfront Open in Hamilton, Ontario to challenge the runners of the OUA.
The Tigers had a great meet, earning a first-place team finish with Reddy and Jordan finishing in second and third, respectively. Watts also had a great race, crossing the line in seventh place.
The win gave the team a No. 4 ranking on the U SPORTS Top 10.
Head coach Rich Lehman sees meets like the McMaster Open as a crucial part of preparing for the conference and national championships.
“Meets like this reconfirm that we have the ability to race with any team in the country,” he says. “Our front-end runners will do their job, and after that it depends on who shows up.”
At the AUS championship, the Tigers continued to shine. Reddy and Jordan were able to cross the line first and second respectively, with Watts just off the podium in fourth place. First-year runner Georgia Waller had a strong race finishing in 13th, followed by fifth-year Ellen Chappell in 16th, and Jessica Needham and Olivia Ross who finished in 19th and 21st, respectively.
The Tigers claimed their sixth-consecutive AUS championship banner, with Reddy earning AUS athlete of the year honours.
Moving on to the U SPORTS championship, the Tigers got exactly what was expected from both Reddy and Jordan, going stride for stride to finish 19th and 20th.
Also putting together a strong performance was Watts who was 41st in the last cross country race of her career. Chappell crossed the line at 101st, followed by Waller (103rd), Needham (131st) and Ross (141st)
Lehman stressed the importance of the addition of Watts to the performance of the team this season.
“Having Sophie here was a big addition for us. Coming from a program like Guelph, her experience at national-level competitions allowed her to quickly become a leader on this team.”
The Tigers finished in ninth place at the U SPORTS Championship, falling just short of their goal of a top-five performance.
The team will have a much different look next season without fifth-year runners Reddy, Watts and Chappell on the start line, but the future is still bright with Jordan and Waller leading the way.