St. F.X. X-Man Angus Rawling crossed the finish line first at the 2017 Dal/SMU Cross Country Invitational meet, held Sept. 23, at Point Pleasant Park in Halifax.
Rawling’s time of 25:35, in the 8 km run, bettered second place finisher and former Dalhousie runner Matt McNeil’s (Halifax Road Hammers) 25:41, and the two were followed by a couple of former St. F.X. runners, Lee Wesselius (25:55) and Cal Dewolfe (26:05), running for UPEI and Dalhousie, respectively.
“It was good,” Rawling said of the race, a few seconds after crossing the line first.
“I just kind of went out and sat with the front pack and Matt (McNeil) made a big move going into the third lap. I just, kind of, sat on him, responded and waited to see how the legs felt. And the last kilometer, coming up the big hill, I made a big move and realized I was all alone.”
Rawlings, a third year runner for St. F.X. from Calgary, talked about mixed results in previous runs at the Point Pleasant course.
“It has been, kind of, up and down in the past,” he said.
“I’ve had some bad races here, last year especially; dropping out because of the heat and an injury. But, this year, obviously a lot better.”
His performance helped the X-Men to a second place finish at the event in behind co-host Dalhousie.
X-Man Paul MacLellan, from Antigonish, cracked the top 10, finishing 10th overall, with a time of 27:20.
Addison Derhak was the next runner in for the blue and white, finishing 13th overall with a time of 27:44.
On the women’s side, X-Women runners Zoe Johnston and Rachel MacDougall virtually crossed the finish line together with times of 24:23 and 24:24, respectively, for their 6 km course.
The finishes had them coming in 14th and 15th overall.
MacDougall, a third-year runner from Antigonish, talked about support from her teammates playing a big role in helping her achieve and also about enjoying the course.
“I have run here twice before,” she said. “I like that there are a lot of wooded areas; I like hiking a lot and running on trails.”
X-Women Paige Chisholm and Ashley Robson came in behind their teammates with times of 24:45 and 25:00, respectively, good for 17th and 18th place overall.
The top local runner was Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional Royal runner Siona Chisholm with a time of 24:14, good for 10th overall.
St. F.X. coach Bernie Chisholm said he was pleased with the day as a whole.
“I guess last week with scoring I would give them a 6.5, today maybe a 7.5 so, certainly, there were more positives today than negatives,” the veteran coach said, speaking to the Casket immediately following the men’s race.
“It’s another step forward; it’s a long season until the end of October and into November. So, for both [male and female], they’re coming away with a better feeling than last week and that is what you want.”
A few of St. F.X.’s top runners didn’t compete at the event and Chisholm noted it’s more a pacing practice for a long season.
“Three girls sat out today and then Alex Neuffer, who won last week, didn’t run today,” he said.
“They have a tough training schedule and with a time trail two weeks ago and then a meet in UNB last week, then we’re in Quebec in two weeks’ time, we have to be selective in what we do and, of course, we don’t have the depth we have in other years.
“But, overall, I’m pleased and it should make for two good weeks of practice looking for a better performance in Quebec.”
The Quebec event is the Laval Invitational this Saturday (Oct. 7).
The following Saturday (Oct. 14) is the St. F.X. Invitational.
While the cross country team will be heading to Quebec, the football X-Men made their trip Sept. 23 and came away with a 37-27 victory over the conference’s newest team, the Bishop Gaiters.
X-Men receiver Kaion Julien-Grant had a monster day for his team scoring three touchdowns. He had scored on a 72-yard pass play as well as a 20-yarder, and went 91 yards on a punt-return for another dramatic score.
The latter touchdown helped earn the second year player, from Toronto, U Sports special teamer of the week honours.
St. F.X. quarterback Josh Millar finished with 356 yards passing on 24 completions out of 38 attempts, including three touchdowns.
The X-Men hosted the conference-leading St. Mary’s Huskies Sept. 30, during Homecoming Weekend (results unavailable at press time) and are in action this weekend (Oct. 7) versus the Mount Allison Mounties, in Sackville, New Brunswick.
The X-Women rugby team won the battle of top teams in the conference, Sept. 23 at Oland Stadium, with a 57-14 victory over Acadia.
The U Sports number one ranked X-Women improved to 3-0 on the season while the Axewomen, ranked 10th in the nation, suffered their first loss.
Fourth-year prop Joanna Alphonso, from Ajax, Ontario, recorded three tries in the game which helped him earn Subway AUS female athlete of the week honours.
Also scoring for St. F.X. in the win were Miranda Sample and June Beals, with two tries each, and Sam Lake and Alison Blanchard with one apiece.
The X-Women hosted UPEI during Homecoming Weekend, are at St. Mary’s today (Oct. 4) and this weekend travel to Ontario and Quebec for exhibition matches versus the University of Ottawa (Oct. 6) and Concordia University (Oct. 7).
The X-Men soccer team, ranked fourth in U Sports, remained undefeated on the season after a 1-0 victory over the Memorial Sea-Hawks, Sept. 24, at Oland Stadium.
In their game at Dalhousie two days earlier, the 5-0-1 X-Men played to their first draw of the season – 1-1.
Versus Memorial, it was Alex Taylor’s goal in the 58th minute which proved to be the difference. Thomas Pieroway posted the shutout for the X-Men.
Versus the Tigers, Dan Hayfield was the St. F.X. scorer.
The X-Men lead the conference with 16 points in six games.
On the women’s side, St. F.X. played to consecutive 0-0 results versus their Memorial and Dalhousie counterparts.
Rookie keeper Emma Kuzmyk made 10 saves for St. F.X. in the home-field draw versus the Sea-Hawks Sept. 24, while teammate Erin Visser kept the Tigers at bay in recording a shutout, Sept. 22, in Halifax.
The ties see the X-Women sitting with a 3-0-3 record, good for 12 points and a third place standing.