Sports

More national success for Trojans cross-country Men’s team wins CCAA silver; three Trojans named All-Canadian

(Photos courtesy of SAIT Trojans)

According to one star runner on the SAIT Trojans cross-country team, their phenomenal year-to-year success owes much to word-of-mouth recruitment.

The cross-country team upgraded from national bronze to silver this year, continuing their ascent as one of the best programs in Canada. 

At the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Cross Country Championships at Seneca College north of Toronto, the men’s team won silver with 58 points. This score was 53 points ahead of third-place Champlain Saint-Lambert.

Emilie Mann and Ann Danard competed as individuals on the women’s side, with Mann finishing fifth overall, improving on her ninth-place finish at last year’s nationals.

Emilie Mann (298) of the SAIT Trojans’ cross-country running team races against Samantha Flood (204) and Janelle Hanna (background, 223) at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Cross Country Championships in King City, Ont., Nov. 10, 2018. Flood, Mann and Hanna finished 4th, 5th, and 6th, respectively, in the women’s portion of the race. Mann competed as an individual.

Unlike other Trojans teams, the cross-country team is comprised entirely of tryouts.

Mann credited several factors for the Trojans drawing so many great runners, word-of-mouth being the first one. 

 “That hype definitely brings people in, but what keeps athletes returning to the team is definitely that sense of being part of a team, the friendships that are created within the team.”

“I didn’t know too much about our athletic department before I enrolled in this [respiratory therapy] program.”

But she added that “once you find” how supportive the Trojans’ athletics are, “that’s definitely what keeps athletes coming back.” 

Mann was named a CCAA All-Canadian alongside Matthew Travaglini (first overall) and Jacques Saayman (sixth overall). She admitted that last season her main goal was “trying not to finish in last” at nationals.

Mann had not run cross-country since high school, which she described as a “very different dynamic – moreso just participation.”

Ann Danard (foreground) of the SAIT Trojans cross-country team pulls through with a bloody leg during the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Cross-Country National Championships in King City, Ont. on Nov. 10, 2018. Danard, who competed as an individual on the women’s side with teammate Emilie Mann, finished 29th of 117 female runners.

While her background is in ultramarathon and trail running, she noted that “having coaches tell you what to do and having a set workout and a set schedule” has been important to her growth.

“I think just having coaches hold you to a certain expectation and knowing what you’re capable of also puts a healthy amount of pressure on you,” she added.

“For running [ultramarathons] I would just go out on a trail and run for a couple of hours; however, with this, it incorporates more integral training, and running hills and speedwork.”

While ultramarathons are more about pacing for up to 12-hour runs, Mann notes that cross-country is “about going fast, putting it all out there, and not holding back.”

The unique part of the cross-country team – blending an individual sport with an atmosphere of camaraderie – is another factor in their success. 

While Mann singled out the work of coaches Bre MacEachern and Ryan Edgar, she added that “seeing how dedicated other teammates are inspires you too.”

Mann and Danard competed as individuals in Ontario because the women’s team fell just short of a medal at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) championship on Oct. 27. 

The men’s team qualified for nationals after winning their third-straight ACAC title.

Emilie Mann (298) of the SAIT Trojans’ cross-country running team races against Samantha Flood (204) and Janelle Hanna (background, 223) at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Cross Country Championships in King City, Ont., Nov. 10, 2018. Flood, Mann and Hanna finished 4th, 5th, and 6th, respectively, in the women’s portion of the race. Mann competed as an individual.

While noting that the individual nature of the sport means that “you run your own race,” Mann still “missed most of the girls there.”

Matthew Travaglini (red) of the SAIT Trojans cross-country team races against Leonard Chesoo of Concordia University at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Cross-Country Championships in King City, Ont. on Nov. 10, 2018. Travaglini finished first overall with a 26:19 time, a minute and three seconds ahead of Chesoo.

Jacques Saayman of the SAIT Trojans cross-country running team pulls ahead of his competition during the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Cross-Country Championships in King City, Ont. on Nov. 10, 2018. Saayman finished eighth in the men’s race with a time of 28:33, helping lead the Trojans men’s team to silver.

“It doesn’t change how you race; you go out and do exactly the same thing, you run your own race.

“However, I missed having the rest of the girls there as a team, the experience of being in a different city, and also lining up all up together at the start line.”

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