(FREDERICTON, NB) Former Dalhousie Tiger Matt McNeil, racing with the Halifax Road Hammers, won the men's 8 kilometre race at the UNB-STU Invitational on Saturday, the first event on the Atlantic University Sport men's cross country schedule.
McNeil won in a time of 26:38.
Alex Neuffer(Stratford, PE), of the St FX X-Men, was the first university athlete across the line, just nine seconds back of McNeil, finishing second overall.
"I went through a tough time this summer, I was hurt the majority of the summer, so I haven't really raced much, so getting back in was good," said Neuffer. "I wasn't used to working that hard, having not raced in so long."
UPEI's Lee Weselius(River Glade, NB) was third, in 27:00, second among AUS runners.
Michael Colford(New Maryland, NB) was the first Varsity Reds finisher, placing 4th in 27:06.
"It was a good first race of the season," said Colford. "I wanted to stay in a good spot in the front of the field, but stay comfortable as well, so I think I mostly met that goal today."
"No one really wanted to push it too hard, so we kind of stayed as a group for a bit," said race winner McNeil. "Then the pace gradually picked up and I made my move starting the last lap."
The Dalhousie Tigers captured the team event on the strength of four Top 10 finishes.
St FX was second in the team standings, while the Varsity Reds were third.
With Colford placing 3rd among AUS runners, UNB had three runners post Top 12 finishes.
New Varsity Reds head coach Chris Belof was pleased.
"Everybody worked hard," said Belof. "Michael had specific instructions to not go too early and he put himself in the right position to finish well and be competitive."
"We haven't done all the work that will allow him to really take off in those last two kilometres yet, that's what we're ramping up to."
RECAP AND PHOTOS BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics