September 26, 2020

BY SCOTT DIETRICH
Mother Nature was the main adversary of Conestoga College’s cross-country team when they took to the course at the 2013 OCAA championship meet.
To say that the weather was bad would be the understatementof the century; the weather conditions were so terrible that people who are old enough may have
had flashbacks to Hurricane Hazel.
Redeemer College hosted the event which was held in Ancaster in the beautiful Dundas Valley Conservation Area, a scenic rolling landscape that on Oct. 26 looked like a runners’ worst nightmare.
Temperatures held firm at just above freezing all morning and the rain never ceased from the time the first race started to the end of the last race. Also a factor was the wind which blew at a steady 25 km/h.
“This is definitely the worst race I’ve ever done,” said Conestoga’s Rob Brouillette. “Lots of rain, really muddy, people slipping all over the place and very, very cold. I’ve run marathons before but this was 100 times worse than any marathon. Running up the hill was like running up a water slide.”
Through the rain and the cold 14 runners from Conestoga ran hard, but neither the men’s or women’s team was able to finish in the top five, failing to qualify for a spot at the national meet.
The women’s side finished in 8th place overall in the team standings of their 5K run while the men’s squad finished in 7th place overall in their 8K event and missed a top 5 finish by just three minutes.
In OCAA track meets even one minute can make a difference between qualifying or not. The team was well prepared for the meet because they had raced the course once before in the regular season.
“When the team went down there earlier we got a real good idea of what provincials would look like,” Brouillette said.
The women’s team had high expectations of qualifying for the national meet. They had three top five finishes under their belt during the regular season, including a fifth place finish when they raced the course earlier in the year. The men had a strong finish in their first run at Dundas Valley as well, earning a bronze medal, the first of their two bronze medal finishes in the regular season.
A notable absence from the men’s team was team captain Brendan Hancock, who suffered a foot injury just a week before the race took place. “I felt pain in my foot starting in September but it wasn’t anything serious that needed time off, it wasn’t painful,”
Hancock said. “I just kept going and started seeing the athletic therapist as I felt more pain. I was getting taped up, I bought arch supports, and my times weren’t far off in practice or the races.”
It was last Thursday (Oct.17), I was running in practice and I felt something snap in my foot and I wasn’t sure if it was something popping back into place or something going out of place, so I gave it a few minutes rest but then I realized later that my season was over.”
Head coach Dave Sharratt said that had Hancock been able to race the outcome would have been more favourable.
“It’s definitely a big blow, because we were banking on finishing second or third.” He had the team’s second fastest time on the men’s side in most of the regular season races.
Brouillette echoed that statement before the race. “Before going to provincials I think we were definitely a top three team with Brandon.”
Even though their season is over runners from Conestoga said they will continue to race in independent events, and continue to train and work hard to prepare for next
year.