St. F.X. runner Angus Rawling finished 10th in the men’s 10k race during the recent U Sports cross country championships.
“It was pretty good – certainly much better than last year,” the third-year runner from Calgary said, with a laugh, noting his 68th place finish in 2016.
Rawling – the 2017 Atlantic University Sport (AUS) champion – stayed with the lead pack throughout the race, reaching as high as third place while on the course.
“I focussed on staying positive, knowing that I belonged [with the lead pack],” he said, when asked about the keys to his strong performance.
“There was a lot of jostling and, when the moves were made, I was able to stay with them.”
As for the Beacon Hill Park course in Victoria, B.C., Rawling described it as “flat and fast,” while noting rain on race day (Nov. 12) made for muddy conditions.
“It made the hills more challenging,” he explained, adding runners were slipping a lot in one “bad corner.”
Rawling’s time of 31:46, which garnered him second-team All-Canadian honours, positioned him only five seconds out of sixth place.
“I am pretty happy,” he said, noting one of his personal goals this season was garnering All-Canadian status.
Rawling should find out in the next couple weeks if his performance has secured him a spot with Team Canada for the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) Games.
The St. F.X. student-athlete credited first-year assistant coach Eric Gillis for his contributions to his success, along with veteran mentor Bernie Chisholm, who has wrapped up his final campaign with the cross country program.
“Bernie stayed with the plan and helped me with that consistent build-up, and I hope to continue that moving forward,” Rawling said.
Chisholm said he was “very pleased” with Rawling’s performance.
“Angus ran a great race – he was in the mix [with the leaders] throughout,” he added, noting his runner was third with one kilometre remaining.
“He showed he could run with the best in Canada.”
Describing his season as “fantastic,” Chisholm said Rawling improved steadily, and has become a leader on and off the field.
Teammates Alex Neuffer finished 28th (32:09) in the field of 138 racers, while fellow junior and Antigonish native Paul MacLellan came in 63rd (32:55).
“Alex stayed with the leaders for the first six [kilometres],” Chisholm said, noting Neuffer was only 15 seconds or so short of earning All-Canadian status.
He added MacLellan ran “an aggressive race.”
“Paul showed his ability to take that next step,” Chisholm noted.
On the women’s side, in a field of 148 runners, fifth-year X-Woman Liz MacDonald placed 75th (31:21), while teammate Rachel MacDougall, an Antigonish native, came 76th (31:27).
“I am really pleased with everyone’s performance,” Chisholm said, noting each runner clocked faster times than the ones they recorded in the conference championships.
“They were not intimidated, which augers well for the program.
“The results reflected the hard work that they did throughout the season,” he added.