(By: Julie Mutis)
With just their second year in existence, the Ryerson Rams cross country teams will soon be competing in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) cross country championship.
The race is taking place tomorrow at Centennial Park in Etobicoke and is hosted by the University of Toronto. Ryerson’s top 17 runners, combined of seven males and seven females, will take on the course and face off against students from across the province. The women’s 6-kilometre race will begin at 11 a.m. and the men’s 10-kilometre race at noon.
“Our goal this year is to try to make the top 10… I think that is an attainable goal, but it will be a challenge to meet,” said head coach Tim Uuksulainen.
The Guelph Gryphons took home the OUA championship banner last year. The Ryerson women’s team placed 13th with 392 points and the men placed 15th with a score of 425 points, as stated on the OUA website.
Photo by: Ryerson Rams Sports Information Staff
Some Rams will be running in this race for a second time. Experienced Joel Perera-Satgunem, Michael Konstantopoulos, Aaron McQuaid, Matthew Wahl, and Valerian Gomes will be running for the men, along with rookies Ben Snider-McGrath and Selva Yogarajah. Rebecca Verlaan, Anna Cianni, Melinda Marghetis and Hailey Salvian will be in this race for a second time along with first-timers Megan Gaudette, Kaitlynn Sanger, and Aida Smlatic. The alternates are Kevin Malas, Macenzie Bauer, Jeff Lee, and Caroline Fischer.
Salvian ran in the OUA finals last year where she finished second on the team with an 84th place finish and a time of 22 minutes 55.8 seconds. She is getting in the right mindset in preparation for Sunday’s run.
“I’m hoping to get through the year without being too broken” she said. “I have quite a few injuries this season, but running is more mental than anything. I just want to get my head and my legs straight and perform the best I can for the team.”
Salvian noted that running is more of a team sport than one would think because “you are running by yourself, but you are doing it for others.” She went on to say that it is a difficult sport, but also very rewarding.
McQuaid also ran for the team at the OUA finals last season. He finished sixth on the team with a 107th place finish. He is looking forward to the OUA championship.
“Running is just a great way to stay fit, stay active, meet new people and experience the world in a different way,” said McQuaid. “I’d like to improve our team’s overall score from last year.”
The Cross Country team members are optimistic about Sunday’s race and excited to share the experience with each other. Both the men and women cross country teams have shown consistent improvement placing sixth and eighth at the University of Toronto Pre-OUA Invitational earlier this month. In September, they placed 13th and 12th at the Western Invitational.
Although this is an interscholastic competitive sport, Uuksulainen says he takes more pride in the improvement of his team as opposed to their ranking.
“At the end, we have to compare ourselves against other schools, but I think all we can really control is our own training, so that’s what we focus on,” he said.