Redeemer's Cross Country team participated in the National Championships of the CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association) this past weekend, running very well, and gaining valuable experience for the future. The women's team finished 7th overall in the country while men's runner Taylor Kraayenbrink finished in an impressive 21st place in the men's race.
On the women's side, Redeemer's very young team gained valuable experience running against the top competition in the country. The Royals entered the race as the 3rd best team in Ontario and finished the race as the 7th best team (of 23 teams participating) in Canada. Overall it was a very strong race for the team in a very competitive field of 136 runners. The team will be able to use the experience to continue to prepare them over the off-season and into the 2013-2014 cross country season knowing what it takes to compete at the national level.
For a young team competing at a National Championships for the first time, the team was thrilled with their finish. Coach Jeff Summerhays summed up the day by saying, "Overall, I thought that everyone ran phenomenal races. I was really pleased with the effort and the results. We were so happy to have the opportunity to compete on the national stage."
Redeemer's top runner for the women's team was Julie Koopmans (Chatham, ON) who cracked the top 30 (29th) finishing with a fantastic time of 20:30. Koopmans came across the line as the 10th OCAA runner. She was only 20 seconds away from the 3rd place OCAA runner showing that the gap is so small and the competition is so tough. Jillian Marquardt (Pembroke, ON) finished with a time of 20:50, which was good enough for 42nd place. Marquardt was the 12th OCAA runner to finish. Next to finish for the Royals was Adrianna So (Toronto, ON) who completed the race in a time of 21:40 for a 64th place finish. Annie Stollery (Waterloo, ON) rounded out the Royals team scoring with an 81st finish in a time of 22:10.
Janae Vlaar-Philbrick (Vineland, ON) and Gina Van Haren (Lacombe, AB) finished in 97th and 103rd respectively to complete the Redeemer Women's Team. Janae ran the course in 22:49 while Gina finished it in 23:04.
Taylor Kraayenbrink (Port Lambton, ON) was the lone representative for the Redeemer men's team after qualifying by finishing 11th at the OCAA Provincial Championships. In his last race as a Royal, Taylor ran the race of his life, finishing in 21st place overall out of a field of 130 runners, the 8th runner across the line for the OCAA improving on his Provincial Championship finish by 3 spots.
This marked the first year that a cross country team had qualified for the Nationals, and the first time since 2008 that Redeemer had sent an individual runner to the national championships. Congratulations to all runners for an outstanding year.