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Golden times for ladies cross-country team

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | Sports | November 23rd, 2009



The Fanshawe women's cross-country team celebrated a second straight Canadian collegiate win last weekend.

The women's team brought home a gold medal national title on the hilly trails in Camrose, AB.

A year prior the women walked away with a gold in Kingston.

The team predicted a great outcome at nationals, yet head coach John Loney insists it was an “expectation that the (team) did not talk about.”

Nineteen-year-old Alysha Ggos and 18-year-old Erika Houde-Pearce are just two of the extraordinary cross-country athletes who competed over last weekend's race, and are thrilled with their team's overall victory.

To celebrate their triumph over other competitors the girls got dolled up and headed for an unforgettable banquet, which both girls described as being a very “formal” event.

The girls trained several times a week and had invitational or practice races, which were held every Saturday morning against other colleges to better help prepare the ladies for events like the nationals.

“Coaching the women's cross-country team has been a privilege,” a very proud Loney said.

Both girls mentioned the team is like a close-knit family.

The team has have a lot of fun together both on and off the track, they both stated.

Members of Fanshawe's cross-country team get ready to party after the men's team won bronze medals and the women took home national gold

Liliane Sparkes led the lady Falcons with a national best five-kilometer time of 19 minutes, 11 seconds.

Sophomore Becky Pieterson (19:43) finished fourth in Camrose. Erika Houde-Pearce was seventh (20:14), Ashley Killens (22:04), Melissa Linker finished 26th (22:06) and Alysha Ggos finished 42nd with a time of (23:09).

The Fanshawe men also came out on top by adding a bronze medal to their growing collection. Fifth year runner John Mason finished in 8th place at Nationals.

The girls' impressive times came from their rigorous training that helped them adapt to the race terrain.

“The team worked on things to help run better…really worked the hills,” said Loney, in preparation for the uneven trek in Camrose.

“I am unbelievably proud of my team…the team just clicks.”

The cross-country men and women's team's seasons have come to a close but both girls will continue their running.

Ggos leaves the season on a note of gratitude, thanking her women's cross-country team for all their devoted support and non-stop dedication they have provided her with throughout the cross-country season, she said.

Already looking towards a hopefully successful season in 2010, the team should be prepared to once again to tap into their potential and set high goals.

Loney had one final piece of advice to offer for his future runners.

“Push yourself to the limit and you'll be surprised at what's there.”
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