Cross Country Running
The 2017-18 season will be the fourth for the WolfPack men’s and women’s cross country (XC) running teams in U Sports and Canada West.
Carmin Mazzotta returns as Head Coach for a third year at the helm of the Wolfpack XC team. Carmin comes from a competitive running background, with provincial and national titles and medals in track and field and cross country in his youth, experience as a NCAA Division 1 athlete in university, and some strong results in cross country and on the roads since.
The Wolfpack XC team is fortunate to have a number of individuals acting in supporting roles:
- Greig Taylor, a local chiropractor and avid trail and mountain runner (www.greigtaylor.ca) oversees the team’s strength and conditioning program
- Natasha Frank, a level 2 coach in track and field and cross country with more than 3 years coaching experience and a background as a former university runner at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, will join the team as an Assistant Coach this fall
- Jon Shephard, a well-known local distance runner and TRU Athletics staffer, is the team’s manager and provides technical and administrative support
The Wolfpack squads continue to get stronger each year. On the women’s side, returning athletes include Rachel Lobay, two-time competitor at the U Sports National XC Championships, and 2016-17 winner of the Dr Roger H. Barnsley Award for TRU Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Zoe Painter and Emily Atherton will both return significantly improved following strong spring seasons building their speed and strength on the track. Dina Mueller, who was on the travel squad for the 2016 BC XC Championships, also returns, as does Erica Johnson, who will be seeking to contribute in her second season with the team. Finally, Faryn Brown, a talented local runner and member of the Kamloops Track and Field Club, returns to the Wolfpack after several years away from university competition.
The men’s Wolfpack XC team features several returning runners. Team Captain and 2016-17 winner of TRU’s Cliff Neufeld Leadership Award, Conlan Sprickerhoff will be aiming to make a fifth straight appearance representing the Wolfpack at a university national championship this fall. Tony Kiprop, who competed for the Wolfpack at CIS Nationals in 2015, will be back to contribute, as will Brennen Smith, an international level triathlete who attends TRU through the Open Learning program. Liam McGrath and Nik Rampen will be looking to build on their training and racing experiences from last year in their second seasons with the Wolfpack this fall.
Several other incoming and returning runners will be aiming for a top 5 spot on the men’s and women’s championship travel squads that will compete at a pre-nationals meet hosted by UVIC on October 14, at the BC XC Championships in Abbotsford on October 28, and at the U Sports National Championships at UVIC on November 11. The team will also participate in a number of local and regional races, including the TRU XC Invitational at McArthur Island on September 16 (www.tru.ca/__shared/assets/XC_Invitational_201740915.pdf).
Recruits for the 2017-18 campaign include:
Jaydin Haskins (Smithers, BC-Smithers Secondary), Samantha Loewen (Vernon, BC-Vernon Secondary/Vernon Amateur Athletics Association), April Read (Kamloops, BC-Sahali Secondary), and Josh Ogilvie (Kamloops, BC-South Kamloops Secondary).