by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
Corey Bellemore’s individual gold medal run led the Windsor Lancers men’s cross country team to a silver medal finish at the 2016 OUA championships this past weekend in Toronto.
Bellemore, a fifth year senior, won the men’s ten kilometer race and was named the OUA MVP and a conference all-star when he crossed the finish line at Etobicoke Park in 30:35.8.
“I was really happy to finish off my last OUA race with a win,” said Bellemore. “I’ve wanted this since my first year so it’s nice to finally do it. ”
The men’s team finished second overall with 55 points thanks to strong finishes from Alex Ullman in 12th place (31:21.4), Andrew Nebel in 13th (31:21.9), Shawn Masters in 16th (31:27.5), Miles Matthews in 18th (31:34.9). Ullman and Nebel were selected as second-team conference all-stars.
Rounding out the top seven were Taylor McArthur in 29th and Jeremy Hick in 39th. At the U Sports championships in two weeks, all seven of Windsor’s runners will run the course on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City and will need to be at their best for the Lancers to be in contention for a team medal.
“I really want to get a medal at nationals and this was a pretty solid effort across the board from the boys,” said Bellemore. “It sets us up well going into nationals and leaves us feeling even hungrier.”
In the women’s race, senior Stefanie Smith was named an OUA all-star when she placed sixth in the women’s six kilometer course in a time of 20:28.4. After battling an illness in the weeks leading up to the provincial meet, Smith said it was nice to finish a race and feel like her old self again.
“It was cold, windy and wet but it was a good day, it was your typical cross country race,” said Smith. “I was up with the lead pack for most of the race and it didn’t unfold until the last kilometer. I wanted to be in medal contention and I was third with one kilometer to go but I just didn’t have that gear, just a little out of gas. I’ll definitely be thinking about that last kilometer a lot over the next two weeks.”
The lady Lancers finished tied for sixth place out of 14 teams with 189 points but were bumped from a spot at nationals by Laurentian University on displacement. Windsor’s top five scoring finishes went to Sydney Hawkins in 29th (22:18), Chelsea Viselli in 43rd (23:07.8), Rachel Crawley 52nd (23:25.7) and Alison Robinson in 59th (23:45.3). Fiona Rocheleau finished 72nd (24:38.1) and Lauren Fisico in 74th (24:45).
Hawkins will join Smith and the entire men’s team at the U Sports cross country championships hosted in Quebec City by the University of Laval Nov. 12. Hawkins is a third year runner and said adrenaline fueled her performance despite a nagging hip flexors.
“I have struggled the past two years with injuries and getting back into the groove so it was nice to have a good season finally,” said Hawkins.
In additional news, Malloy announced the University of Windsor will host the 2017 OUA cross country championships at Malden Park. It is the first time in since 1998 since the city and the Lancers have hosted the provincial meet.