Crossing to Nationals

After Successful Season, ConU’s X-Country Teams to Vie for Top Spot

  • Photos by Jennie Mae Roy

  • Sophiane Guend of Concordia’s men’s cross country team

With the season dwindling down to its last few weeks, Concordia Stingers cross-country head coach John Lofranco has been pleased with the overall performance from both the men’s and the women’s squads this year.

In the last race of the season before nationals, both the men’s and women’s teams finished fourth out of seven schools at the Quebec Cross-Country Championships in Chicoutimi Oct. 29.

On the men’s side, Sofiane Guend produced the Stingers’ best time of the weekend with a solid time of 35:09, finishing in eighth place overall in the 10 km event. His teammate, Ryan Noel-Hodge, came in right behind him, finishing a second later.

On the women’s side, Dominique Roy nearly out-ran the entire competition, finishing third overall with an excellent time of 19:40 in the five km event.

Lofranco spoke glowingly of the three runners, noting all had made steady progress leading up to this weekend.

“Sofiane is in his last year of eligibility. He’s been with us for a little longer than six years. He’s just been getting a little bit faster and a little stronger each year. He’s had a really good year for us.”

Both Roy and Noel-Hodge had tremendous seasons also, but faced hurdles along the way. Roy faced an upper body injury while Noel-Hodge was plagued with illness in October, costing him a victory in Chicoutimi.

With the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Nationals coming up Nov. 12 in Quebec City, Lofranco has high hopes for several of his runners, some of which have aspirations to finish with All-Canadian honours.

“Ryan [Noel-Hodge] definitely has a shot at All-Canadian, so hopefully he’ll regain his health a bit here and we’ll have a more conservative race-plan for him going into the weekend.”

While looking back on the season as a whole, Lofranco spoke about the impact of the new runners on both of ConU’s cross-country teams.

“The women’s side was interesting because we had a lot of new people, but the new people did very well,” he said. Lofranco also credits the women’s success to the fact that some of its rookies were transferring from other sports.

Yet the men’s side fell a bit short for the Provincials, seeing how they were missing members. Even still, Lofranco spoke well of his team. “Everyone pretty much met their expectations, and the season isn’t quite over yet so hopefully there is more to come,” said Lofranco.

Going forward, Lofranco is excited about the future of not only his team, but for the sport itself going forward.

“We have a few good young runners coming in next season, so I’m definitely looking forward to that,” said Lofranco. “Overall it’s about getting a little better with each passing year, and I think we’ll definitely be seeing some progress next season. We’ve got a good foundation and we’re slowly growing, so that’s good.”

The cross-country teams will be hitting the Plains of Abraham this Saturday in Quebec City. The women’s race gets underway at 1:00 p.m, while the men’s starts at 1:40 p.m.

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