St. Thomas University hosted the 2015 Atlantic University Cross-Country Championships last Saturday at ODell Park.
According to assistant coach Jeff Amos the race went great.
“Individually everyone has done what they wanted. Paul had an amazing last cross-country race for STU,” he said.
STU’s Paul Nozicka who finished ‘19th says he finished better than expected. “Everyone finished really strong.”
“Everyone has been committed to working hard, I think it’s a successful day for the team,” said Nozicka.
STU’s team finished eighth place in both women’s and men’s, but Nozicka contributes that partly to a lot of racers being rookies.
For STU to improve is time and practice said Nozicka. “Continued practice, continued experience will improve everyone.”
“I hope everyone will stick with it,” he said.
Nozicka is in his fourth and final year at STU and Amos is sad to see him go.
Although Nozicka won’t be running for STU next year, Amos is expecting a good next-year.
“Everyone improved. We still have a lot of way to go to catch these other universities, but it was a positive experience.”
Amos feels everyone did well despite coming in last. “We put in practice but could have improved during off season.”
For Amos, the best STU did during the race was keep a positive team spirit.
Nozicka said STU did best during the championship was, “staying motivated and pacing themselves.”
Head Coach Alex Coffin said, “We at St. Thomas know we have a lot of beginning runners as well as advanced runners. Our first big event is actually usually a road race, and we went up to an event in Miramachi. It’s nice to go to the birth place of St. Thomas.”
Coffin said he is really pleased to host this year’s AUS championships.
“All the kids were really pleased. A lot of them had a personal best today. The weather was perfect I think people really enjoyed the cold,” said Coffin.
“A crisp-beautiful course, it was a little muddy in spots but I mean that’s cross-country.”
Coffin is excited about a few new recruits for next year. “Some of them were here today and ran in the junior race just before the university races.”
“Yeah hopefully everyone who ran this year will return next year and that will improve as well.”
The race was held on a permanent track that previous cross-country coach Scott Davis designed in 2009 and was used on 2010 when STU hosted the National Championships.
“It’s a well-defined course. It has a really good mix of terrain, a couple good hills,” said Davis.
The course is not known as being easy, but both men and women ran record times last Saturday.
An awards ceremony was held at the St. Thomas University banquet hall on Forest hill after the race. Female athlete of the year was Colleen Wilson of Dalhousie University. Female rookie of the year was Hana Marmura. Women’s team coach of the year was Rich Lehman. Male rookie of the year was Angus Rawling and male athlete of the year was Matt McNeil. Male team coach of the year was Bernie Chisholm.