Martlets finish fifth at CIS cross-country championship

McGill Cross Country, 2011
Spotlight Athletics:
Martlets finish fifth at CIS cross-country championship
Nov. 12, 2011 Cross Country

QUEBEC CITY- The McGill women's cross-country battled the competition and snowy conditions to finish fifth of 19 teams at the CIS championships in Quebec City, Saturday.

Going into this year’s CIS championships, head coach Dennis Barrett felt the recently crowned RESQ champion Martlets were a top 5 squad with the potential to battle for a place on the podium. "I was pleased with our Martlets 5th place finish improving from 11th last year," explained Barrett.

The slushy, slippery conditions along with hilly terrain made it a challenge to stay upright around Laval’s 2.5 kilometer loop. McGill’s team effort was led by Charlene Puel, who finished 25th overall. "I was also not really expecting that it was going to be so slippery. Running downhill was a big challenge," said the 4th year runner. "I had a relatively good race..I fell once during a downhill but I think I went faster on my butt than on my feet," said Puel.

The Martlets finished the race with a tight pack and a 1-5 split of only 21 seconds. "I think the main thing about our women this year is the depth and addition of some terrific runners to our line-up," said Barrett. Martlets scoring runners crossed the line with Jessica Porfillio (27th), Maleline Cummings (30th), Jullien Flynn (41st) and Sarah McCuaig (42nd). Catherine Drouin-Audet and Madeleine Williams finished a respectable 67th and 90th to round out the day for McGill.

For Puel, Saturday was her last cross country race in a McGill jersey. "Running for McGill and being part of this varsity team has been one of the best experiences in my life. Even though running is supposed to be an individual sport, we are a real team. When we run, we not only run for ourselves but also for our teammates and for McGill," said Puel.

With five of the seven runners from the championships returning next year, the future looks bright for the Martlets. Barrett and his staff also look to rebuild the Redmen after a bit of dissapointing season. "Our goal is to get the program back to the national level while making a good run at the RSEQ Conference title."

The University of Guelph Gryphons claimed both the women's and men's team banners, while Geneviève Lalonde and Andrew Nixon won the individual gold medals.