Members of the St. Thomas University's Tommies cross country team are pictured in this file photo. (Shannon Cornelius/AQ)

St. Thomas University’s cross country team had their final race of the season on Oct. 30. For fourth-year STU student Lars Schwarz, this race was the final meet of his university career.

“This week has been sort of a tapering off week,” he said. “We’ve been training a little less hard because in the last two weeks, nothing you do will really make you better, it can only make you worse.”

Schwarz spent the season preparing for their final race where schools in the Atlantic University Sports division compete. He placed 31st, finishing the eight kilometre event in 29:15 minutes.

His goal before the race was for their team to conserve their energy for the last race of the season and finish strong.

The team consists of Schwarz, Ethan Nylen, Tristan Eisnor, Jonathan DesRoches and the only woman on the team, Ruby Pfeifle.

Nylen finished in 32:48 minutes and Eisnor in 35:46 minutes.

The STU team met with other AUS teams to compete in Fredericton at a meet organized by the University of New Brunswick on Oct. 16. For Schwarz, it was his first race back this year, but for the newcomers who were unable to compete last year, it was their first university race.

“It was definitely a learning experience for me, my first race back in almost two years, and then all these other people their first real race,” he said.

For fourth-year St. Thomas University student Lars Schwarz, the cross country race on Oct. 30, 2021, was the last meet of his university career. (Submitted: STU Athletics)

Schwarz said despite competing against UNB, there’s no rivalry. He said there is all-around sportsmanship between all of the racers.

“I wouldn’t say there’s too much of a rivalry, but I’d say it’s more of like a friendship. They’ll always cheer us on and we’re cheering on with them.”

A full team needs seven members, but the Tommies team only has four runners. This means that STU will need to get more individuals involved if they want to compete at the larger competitions in the coming years. Schwarz said they’re well on their way.

“We’re sort of in a building phase,” he said.

Schwarz said it’s nice to see new people join the team who are committed to training and he’s seen them improve significantly just over the last month and a half.

“It’s exciting to see that getting rebuilt and seeing new athletes coming in.”