With the first cross country competition a week away the UNB Varsity Reds are looking to open the season strong on September 14th, especially since they will be co-hosting the event with Saint Thomas University. In order to fully prepare for the first competition the team is headed off to Crabbe Mountain for the weekend to increase team unity and refine some technical skills. Here is a look at this year's squad.
Right away the women's team has a different look than 2012s AUS bronze medal team. Last year's conference MVP and champion, Frida Aspnaes (1st), has moved on from the team as well as Rachael McCarvill (8th) and Jill Seymour (11th). However, the team is excited to welcome a national junior medalist in Katie Robinson from Saint John to the program. When asked about her goals for the season Robinson said, "I want to continue to improve my strength and lower my times and I feel that being apart of UNB will give me that chance. " She added that helping the team succeed to achieve its goals is a priority. Joining Robinson as new additions to the squad are Laura Clark, Ashley Gallagher, Ailish Grieve, Paige Lewis, Andrea Mayo, and Ally Pickard-Tattrie. Returning for the REDS is team captain Sarah Myatt (17th), Nathalie Cecire (23rd), Katie Wallace (37th), and Courtney Barbour (43rd). Myatt who represented New Brunswick at the Canada Games is coming into the season with a lot of speed, fitness, and confidence after establishing new personal bests in the 400m and 800m, and helping establish a new provincial record in the 4x400m, "I would like to qualify as an individual for CIS but the main goal is for the team to try and finish second overall at AUS which will be a challenge given the fact that our team is much younger than last year but is still a realistic goal."
The men's team returns a greater portion of its team with all but two member of last years 4th place team from the AUS Championships returning. Alex Coffin (13th) has moved from on from the program and has taken over as the head coach for Saint Thomas University and Nicholas Larade (34th) has finished his studies. The returning members include James Murphy (12th), Taylor Lamarche (27th), Brent McCumber (28th), Chris McNamara (30th), and Colby Craig (36th). When asked about goals for the upcoming season Lamarche said, "I am looking forward to improving upon last years fourth place finish for the men's team". Team MVP and captain James Murphy fully agreed with Lamarche but added that 2013 has a more personal focus for him, "As for a specific goal, I have one for me and that is to finally earn myself a trip to the CIS. After dealing with my injury and missing runs last season and ended up just missing the cut I want it more now than ever before." Adding to the team will be new recruit Kyle Lefort from Cheticamp, Nova Scotia, "I am excited to get some much needed cross country competition experience and help the team score better than last year." Also joining Lefort will be Clayton Holteen, Jonathan Bunn, Adam Travis, and James Woods.
Head Coach Jason Reindl is very excited with the determination and the level of excitement within the team. "Our women's program definitely lost some star power but given the addition of a national medalist in Robinson, the outdoor season that Myatt had, and the hard work that many of the girls put in over the summer I believe that we can retain our podium position for the team and strive to move up." Switching to the men's team he said, "definitely having a healthy, driven, and focused Murphy is a plus and we only finished off the podium at AUS by 16 points. This group of guys knows that it is going to be a battle to earn a podium spot but myself and the fellow coaches (Tim Randall, Chris Gairns, and Bill Macmackin) are very confident in this group."
The University of New Brunswick and Saint Thomas University Invitational will be taking place at Odell Park on Saturday September 14th. The women's race of 5km will be starting at 12:00pm with the men's race of 8km starting at 12:45pm. All members of the UNB team will be competing and as there is no cost to attend the community is strongly encouraged to wear red and come out to support the VREDS in action. This event will feature many of Atlantic Canada's best runners, specifically noting that from the AUS conference will be Saint Thomas University, University de Moncton, Dalhousie University, Saint Francis Xavier University, and Saint Mary's University.
The cross-country season is quite short as after next weeks event there will be competitions in Antigonish on September 21st, Halifax on October 5th, Montreal on October 12th, and the conference championships in Moncton on October 26th. Athletes will be looking to finish 10th or better individually and place as one of the top 2 teams in order to earn a birth to the CIS National Championships that will be held in London, Ontario on