XC: Victoria, Calgary claim CW titles at U SPORTS championships

XC: Victoria, Calgary claim CW titles at U SPORTS championships

Canada West Communications

With files from Cameron Doherty, Victoria Vikes

VICTORIA – The 2017 Canadian university cross country season came to a close Sunday in Victoria, as the U SPORTS national championships were staged at Beacon Hill Park.

The event, which doubles as the Canada West conference championship, returned to Western Canada for the first time in a decade, as the University of Victoria welcomed the nation’s top university runners for the men’s 10 km race and the women’s 8 km race.

Topping the national team standings on the men’s side were the Guelph Gryphons with 57 points, while the Toronto Varsity Blues captured the women’s national title with 73 points.

Guelph’s victory marked the first for the men’s program since 2014, while Toronto’s win on the women’s side snapped a 12-year run by Guelph as national champs.

In terms of Canada West content, the host Victoria Vikes are the 2017 women’s conference champions. Led by Alison Hooper, who finished fourth in CW with a time of 29:02.18, the Vikes earned their first CW title since 2012 and finished fourth nationally. 

On the men’s side, it was the Calgary Dinos coming out on top, with Russell Pennock playing a major role for his team, as the third-year runner posted a time of 31:36.35 – tops in CW, and fourth nationally. The win is Calgary’s first conference title since 2008, as the Dinos finished second overall in the U SPORTS team standings. 

“It’s pretty cool, I am just thankful that I can race because last year I got a stress fracture and missed out on nationals and it was gut-wrenching so just to be out here competing was awesome,” said Pennock. 

“At the start, I was 30th or so and then moved up to the front in the next 500 metres.  I was up at the front the whole race and then on the second to last lap Yves Sikubwabo and Connor Black made a really strong move, it was really hard to respond and I had to fight for my (U SPORTS) fourth-place. All in all I’m fairly happy.”

Thanks to his CW best time, Pennock is the 2017 CW Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

For the women, no CW runner was better than Trinity Western’s Regan Yee, who is the 2017 CW Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year after her time of 27:54.95, which was good for fourth nationally.

“I took it out hard and had a fast pace to start with. There were four or five of us working together and at the 6 km mark I got dropped and then I was just hanging on until the end,” said Yee.

“Last year I came fifth, so I was hoping for better than that and I hit my goal.”

Also earning CW awards thanks to their performances were Victoria's Brandon Vail (men’s - 32:01.79) and TWU's Jouen Chang (women’s – 30:58.42) as the conference’s top rookies. 

The conference’s gold medal winning coaches were also named as Canada West award winners, with Calgary’s Doug Lamont earning the men’s award, and Victoria’s Brent Fougner taking home the women’s award. 

“It went pretty well as we planned. We knew what we had to do and knew that on any given day we were capable of taking home a trophy,” said Lamont.

“Both Russell and Alex (James) ran the way we knew they could run. Actually the whole team ran the way we were hoping they would on the day. It was a great day for us.”

For Fougner, Sunday also went as planned for his Vikes, who just missed out on a U SPORTS team medal. 

“It was exactly how we wanted it to go. The girls did exactly what we wanted them too, they all had a great second half of the race and moved up around seven points in the last lap,” said Fougner.

“We fell a little short of our dream goal of getting on the podium but finishing fourth and beating Guelph who has won this for a million years now was awesome. We are really proud of the girls.”

Rounding out the CW major award winners were Regina’s Adam Strueby and Alberta’s Danae Keddie, as the 2017 Student-Athlete Community Service Award winners (athlete bios/accomplishments below).




ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - Russell Pennock

Calgary Dinos

Calgary, Alta.



Time: 31:36.35


ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Brandon Vail             

Victoria Vikes

Edmonton, Alta.


Time: 32:01.79



Calgary Dinos



Regina Cougars

Regina, Sask.


Kinesiology and Health Studies

The 2017 Canada West Men’s Cross Country Student-Athlete Community Service award winner is Regina’s Adam Strueby.

A two-time Academic All-Canadian, Strueby has been involved in the community through his work at extended care facilities in Regina, where he’s assisted with functional mobility games, as well as aquatic exercises for those with mobility issues. Over the past semester, the Regina native also spent time working at the University of Regina’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre, as well as working several hours a week in the pediatrics ward at Regina General Hospital. 

Strueby posted a strong senior season, finishing first at Regina’s Cougar Trot, second at Saskatchewan’s Sled Dog Open, second at Victoria’s UVic Invitational, third at Alberta’s Stewart Cup, and finally 22nd at the U SPORTS national championship.




First Team All-Stars Men:


Russell Pennock / University of Calgary / 3 / 31:36.35

Alexander James / University of Calgary / 3 / 31:37.41

Declan White / Trinity Western University / 5 / 31:50.24

Stefan Daniel / University of Calgary / 2 / 31:51.67

Brandon Vail / University of Victoria / 1 / 32:01.79

Adam Strueby / University of Regina / 5 / 32:03.42

Caleb De Jong / Trinity Western University / 4 / 32:03.71


Second Team All-Stars Men:


Benjamin Weir / University of Victoria / 4 / 32:05.51

Eric Lutz / University of Calgary / 1 / 32:05.55

Ryan Grieco / University of Calgary / 4 / 32:10.61

Joshua Kozelj / University of Victoria / 2 / 32:18.07

Alexander Eiswerth / University of Regina / 3 / 32:22.25

Kieran McDonald / University of Alberta / 5 / 32:23.02

Marc Turmel / University of Regina / 4 / 32:25.49





Trinity Western Spartans

South Hazelton, B.C.


Time: 27:54.95


ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Jouen Chang       

Trinity Western 

Langley, B.C.


Time: 30:25.68


COACH OF THE YEAR - Brent Fougner

Victoria Vikes



Alberta Pandas

Whitecourt, Alta.



The 2017 Canada West Women’s Cross Country Student-Athlete Community Service award winner is Danae Keddie. The Whitecourt, Alta. native has been volunteering weekly at the University of Alberta Stollery Childrens Hospital within the Technology Program – where the goal is to help maintain technology devices such as laptops, tablets, gaming systems, and teaching devices used by patients. 

Keddie is also involved with the McKernan Elementary School Study-Buddy program – where she works weekly with Grade 6 students in the French immersion language program – spending one-on-one time with students who require extra help to read, write, and conjugate in French.

The second-year runner finished fifth at Alberta’s Stewart Cup race earlier this fall, and capped off her season with a 74th-place finish at the U SPORTS national championship.




First Team All-Stars Women:


Regan Yee / Trinity Western University / 5 / 27:54.95

Melissa Jones / University of Calgary / 3 / 28:24.69

Courtney Hufsmith / University of Saskatchewan / 2 / 28:52.88

Alison Hooper / University of Victoria / 3 / 29:02.18

Paula Findlay / University of Alberta / 3 / 29:07.85

Chloe Hegland / University of Victoria / 4 / 29:14.37

Emma Edmonds / University of Victoria / 2 / 30:13.27


Second Team All-Stars Women:


Chloe Hewitt / University of Victoria / 2 / 30:18.38

Hannah Leggatt / MacEwan University / 3 / 30:19.33

Jouen Chang / Trinity Western University / 1 / 30:25.68

Emma Bibault / University of Victoria / 4 / 30:27.96

Mikaela Smart / Trinity Western University / 3 / 30:30.06

Anushree Patel / University of Alberta / 3 / 30:32.10

Joanna Williams / Trinity Western University / 3 / 30:41.91