The Université Laval Rouge et Or men’s and women’s cross-country teams completed a national sweep as both captured the top spot at the U Sports national championships on Nov. 16.
The events, held on the Plains of Abraham, were hosted by the Rouge et Or. Not only did the Rouge et Or teams win both banners, but it was the first time in the history of Canadian university athletics that the host team swept both events.
The women’s team placed four of their runners in the top 10, for an incredible 35 points, ahead of the Western University Mustangs (106) and the Guelph University Gryphons (116). (In cross-country, team points are calculated based on runners’ positions in the individual race; if a team’s runners finish first, second, third and fourth, that team gets 10 points. i.e. The team with the lowest score is the winner.)
Jessy Lacourse, who finished first in the individual race, led her Rouge et Or team. Lacourse completed the eight-kilometre course in 28 minutes 25.5 seconds, three seconds faster than runner-up Lauren McNeil of the University of British Columbia Okanagan.
Catherine Beauchemin, also from the Rouge et Or, joined Lacourse on the podium, winning the bronze medal with a time of 28:41.
Laval’s Anne-Marie Comeau finished fourth, two seconds behind Beauchemin, while Jade Bérubé came in ninth, 47 seconds behind the winner.
It was the second U Sports championship title for the women’s team; they won their first one in 2018 in Kingston, Ont.
Lacourse, who won all three races she participated in this fall, was named the U Sports athlete of the year, while her coach, Félix-Antoine Lapointe, was named the Fox 40 Coach of the Year.
Meanwhile, the men’s cross-country team also won its second-ever U Sports banner by finishing first with 62 points, edging the Guelph Gryphons (67) and the McMaster University Marauders (79).
The individual race was won by Guelph’s Mitchell Ubene, who led from start to finish. Ubene completed the eight km race with a time of 24:27.5, just ahead of Thomas Fafard of Laval, who captured the silver medal with a time of 24:28.6. Jean-Simon Desgagnés, also from the Rouge et Or, finished third, 2.8 seconds behind the winner.
Jonathan Tedeschi (11th), Philippe Morneau-Cartier (21st) and Alexis Lepage (25th) were also part of the championship team for Laval. Lepage, who was a reserve on the team, got to race after his teammate Félix Lapointe-Pilote was injured in practice.