StFX track athletes have strong showings at McGill Last Chance, Boston Invite & AUS Relays
These last few weekends have been busy with home and away games for all StFX winter sports teams. Students, alumni and community fans have been flocking to the Keating Centre to watch home games since the beginning of the second semester. Little do we know of the competitive indoor varsity team that must compete solely away from home, all the while doing a large part of their training on the track – outside.
The other evening, the X-Men and Women sprinter groups were outside bearing the elements. While music blasted through the stadium speakers, sprinters blew down the straightaway under the field lights in the pouring rain. By this time, the track was virtually clear of the week’s worth of snow that had accumulated across its eight lanes. The women’s team captain, Allie Flower, and fifth-year Tim Brennan, can attest to the ice-free lanes one and two. “[Coach Eric Gillis] clears the track… and we make do with what we have” they both said. When the teams cannot have workouts outside, the men and the women take to the rubberized walking track around the Auxiliary Rink.
During the last weekend in January, the men and the women competed at the McGill Team Challenge where they raced against some of the most competitive individuals and teams across Canada. For many of StFX’s runners, this is the one weekend to go for broke and try to clock a personal best while keeping up with big names and teams outside of the AUS. For the two-time AUS Cross Country Champion and 2018 USports 3000m Gold Medalist Angus Rawling, this weekend in Montreal was just what he needed to propel himself into the latter part of his season. Rawling has his sights set on maintaining his unwavering presence in the distance events this winter.
This past weekend, Rawling and secnd year X-Woman Jane Hergett ran at the Boston University David Hemery Invitation Meet. Gunning for a solid tune-up and a PB in the 3k before his big test at USports, Rawling smashed his previous PB with a time of 8:03.34. Poised and confident in his speed endurance, Rawling says he wants “to run the 1500m to see what happens – because anything can happen on the 3rd day of the finals, everyone’s tired.” His goal is to run a sub 8 3k and also focus on both of his distances using one to help with the other.
Hergett has also shaken the field and has put up some of her best times to date. Along with many of her teammates Hergett has seen drastic improvements and has contributed to the ever-changing school record board in the Oland Centre. Finishing first in her heat in Boston, Hergett clocked in at a new best time of 2:48.45. Only gaining momentum and confidence with her performances thus far, Hergett comments, “I’m anticipating even more PBs this season for the women’s team, everyone is in really great physical and mental shape right now.”
With several strong individual performances, both the men and women are seeing their respective teams come together. The cohesive synergy is apparent – both the Women’s 4x800m and 4x200m teams had their best showings. Both teams have currently set themselves up to be able to compete at USports on the national stage. With several veterans, including Hana Marmura, Zoe Johnston, Allie Flower, Paige Chisholm, Catherine Kennedy, Samantha Taylor and Megan Graham as well as rookie Aidan MacDonald, the women have made a collective statement across the AUS and are a focused unit.
On the men’s side, 600m specialist Tim Brennan is also finding the balance between individual and team performances. Coming out of Montreal with a new PB of 1:20.05 in the 6, Brennan also has a few goals in mind for the rest of the season. As he trains with teammate and high school confidant, Adrian Kinney, Brennan’s goal is to medal in the 6 at AUS and compete with the best at USports in his event. On top of this, the 4x400m relay team comprising of Brennan, Kinney plus Brad Barclay and Eric Sutton are also preparing to capitalize on the momentum they’ve accrued this season and make a move on the fastest teams across Canada. Having just beat their previous record with a 3:22.10 this past weekend, the men are ranked 4th in USports.
Both the women and the men continue to fine-tune their training as AUS approaches on the 22 and 23 of February in Moncton. Many of the runners are confident that there will be a larger showing at nationals this year. As the 12 year-old team gains provincial and national traction, it is clear that these track athletes have a tremendous amount of respect for the team aspect of the sport. Supporting one another during workouts in the cold, pushing each other through their intervals, and holding each other accountable for every lap, second and millisecond on the track. Time, as Rawling stated, is what defines you in the track world – which is both the rewarding and terrifying aspect of the sport. Everyone is out to make a move, size themselves up versus the clock and surge ahead of their competitors. It can be anyone’s day, but the little moments count.