The men’s half of the Stingers cross-country running team placed third overall Sept. 18 at the McGill Open. Team captain Ryan Noel-Hodge finished fourth and teammate Stephane Colle placed ninth.
The strategy for Noel-Hodge and Colle was to run the first two laps of the race in what could be described as a cruise control pace, in order to prevent the slower runners on the team from falling too far behind. In the last lap, they went all out, and attempted to pass as many runners as possible. The strategy paid off with Noel-Hodge and Colle’s rankings.
Four of the top seven members of the women’s team didn’t race Saturday for various reasons, including captain Kelly Hewitt, who had a cold.But Coralina Tse, a rookie out of Champlain College Saint-Lambert, shaved six seconds off her best time from last year and finished 13th overall.
The women’s team finished in seventh place. At each meet, the team score is tallied by adding the places of first five runners to finish. The team with the lowest score wins.
“It went well. On the women’s side, everybody ran as well or better than I expected them to,” head coach John Lofranco said after the meet. As for the men, some veteran runners didn’t post the times he had hoped for, but overall he was satisfied with everyone’s performance. “I think everyone ran well, everyone learned something, and everyone feels like they have more to give.” While cross-country running sounds like an individualistic, non-team sport, teammates and strategy are instrumental in winning a cross-country meet. At Concordia, cross-country is a club, not a varsity team. The distinction, Lofranco explained in an email, is internal to Concordia. “The runners are Stingers just like any other team,” he said.
The 30 members of the training group, which is split half-half down gender lines, run together four to six times a week. Both captains try to keep tabs on their respective halves of the team in order to ease Lofranco’s workload. But the only real time they separate is when they compete.
Last Saturday at the McGill Open, the first meet of the year, the men lined the sidelines and watched the women go by, encouraging them as they ran the four-kilometre race. And when it was the men’s turn to run, six kilometres this time, the women returned the favour. Even injured members came out to support their team.”There really aren’t two different teams,” Noel-Hodge explained after the race. “We’re one team.”
Next week’s meet in Laval is only an exhibition, so not many runners will compete.
The next competitive event will be held at UniversitÃ© de Laval, in Quebec City, on Oct. 9.