Saturday, October 3, 2015

Western Invitational and Triathlon Update

2015 Western International Recap

Written by Alex Green

Determined to test their preparations against fellow Canadian competitors, Saturday September 26th the McMaster Marauders travelled to the Western International Cross Country Invitational at Thames Valley Golf Course in London, Ontario. Hosted by the Western University (formerly UWO), this meet is a fixture on the OUA Cross Country circuit and was the perfect location for the Marauders to compare themselves against some of the very teams that they will be competing against at championships in October and November. 
Women's start, PC: M. Gravina

The Women of McMaster began the beautiful sunny day in triumphant fashion winning the team competition with a score of 74 points over the Laurentian Voyageurs (78 points). Leading the team was captain Maddy McDonald who finished one second off the podium, placing 4th for the second year in a row at this race in a time of 17:42. Throughout the race McDonald challenged for the lead in a group of runners that included eventual winner Stefanie Smith of the University of Windsor. McDonald’s performance earned her McMaster Athlete of the Week (

Chelsea Mackinnon, PC: M. Gravina
Supporting McDonald’s strong effort up front, Chelsea Mackinnon had a fantastic race to finish 12th in 18:36, bettering her time on this course from last year by a minute and a half. She is in great shape and will be one to watch throughout the season. PhD student Gabrielle Foran demonstrated her tenacity and strength by finishing in 18:51 for 21st, a personal best on this course, overcoming a fall in the starting chute. Shortly afterward, Maddie Benjamin came in as the 4th McMaster runner in a time of 18:54 and 23rd overall. Rounding out the scorers was third year Emily Nowak in29th in 19:04. In quick succession, Lauren Locco and Alison Head crossed the finish placing 34th (19:10) and 36th (19:13), respectively. Locco and Head are out to prove that they are ready for the big dance and are having fantastic sophomore and rookie seasons, respectively. Next Erin Mawhinney crossed the finish line in a tough fought 51st place in a time of 19:42. In their first race as marauders Kristen Kuhn and Elise Bolger opened their university careers with strong 60th (19:59) and 62nd (20:06) finishes, respectively. Veteran Alannah Kelly battled hard to an 85th place finish in 21:00.

This performance is a big confidence boost for the Marauder Women’s program as all the ladies had great performances and this was reflected in the winning team score. The team looks to continue its upward climb as the championship season nears. Furthermore, the younger members showed their tenacity and a toughness that will allow them to further improve as this season progresses and future seasons come. The future is bright for the Marauders. Watch out OUA teams, the Marauder Women are coming. 

After the great individual performances and fantastic team placing of the women, the Men of McMaster hoped to replicate the women’s success in the 8 km Men’s race. They tied with the University of Windsor for the men’s team title. The cumulative placings of the top 5 runners (58 points) and the average time of the top 5 (25:32) were indistinguishable between the two teams. Only the second tie-breaker could separate the teams as Windsor’s 6th man placed ahead of McMaster’s. 
Gabe G. and Blair M. in the early pack, PC: M.Gravina

The race went out hard with University of Windsor runner, Paul Janikowski, pulling the field along to incredibly fast times. Following shortly behind was a lead pack that included McMaster Marauder veterans Blair Morgan, Connor Darlington, and Gabe Ghiglione. Both Janikowski and eventual winner, Alex Wilkie of Queen’s University, shattered the course record of 24:56.Leading the team in both his role as captain and as the top McMaster finisher, Blair Morgan placed 4th overall in a time of 25:01, good for a position in the top 10 fastest times ever at the Western International. Following immediately was fast-starting and faster-finishing Connor Darlington in 25:11 for 5th place overall. Battling fatigue from the fast early place, Ghiglione showed his resolve and finished in a time of 25:40 for 14th overall. Sporting a new look that struck fear into his competitors, Jeff Tweedle used his grizzly-like strength to achieve a 20th place (25:53). Following closely behind, Derek Van Schepen calmly moved up the field throughout the race and place 23rd overall in 25:54 in his first race of the 2015 season. The Marauders were coming fast and furious across the line at this point. Nick Kondrat and Frank Sorbara crossed the line in 30th and 31st overall in times of 26:07 and 26:10, respectively. Showing that his performance at the Buffalo Stampede earlier this month was no fluke, rookie Christian MacGillivray of placed 35th overall in 26:22. Next came veteran Patrick Deane in 26:27 (39th) who has found his stride and will be one to watch come Queen’s Open in October. Evan Ubene and Jonathon Favero completed the Men’s team placing in 44th (26:44) and 77th (28:01).
Jeff "Grizzly" Tweedle, PC: M. Gravina

In spite of the close loss to the Windsor Lancers, the Marauder Men were ecstatic about their performances. Many set new personal bests and are eager to build on this early season race. The team will be excited to see how the team performance as OUA and CIS veterans Taylor Forbes, Austen Forbes and Paul Rochus, and second year athletes Keaton Smee and Zack Hannon will be added to the racing roster in the remaining weeks of the season.

The Marauders next race will be on Saturday October 17th at the Queen’s Open and the last regular-season race. Come watch and support the Marauders at Fort Henry Heights in Kingston, Ontario. 

The success of the McMaster Marauders Cross-Country and Track teams are built upon the work of previous generations of athletes that made McMaster their home. The team is a product of its history and the current determination of dedicated student-athletes that seek nothing more than to represent McMaster at its highest levels both in the classroom and on the race course. If you are an alumni or other party that would like to support these student-athletes in their quest for success please consider a donation to the Marauder Cross-Country and Track teams by contacting Paula Schnurr ( or donating online at (please specify McMaster Cross-Country or Track Fund).    

McMaster Competitors 
Maddy McDonald 4th 17:42 
Chelsea Mackinnon 12th 18:36 
Gabrielle Foran 21st 18:51 
Maddie Benjamin 23rd 18:54 
Emily Nowak 29th 19:04 
Lauren Locco 34th 19:10 
Alison Head 36th 19:13 
Erin Mawhinney 51st 19:42 
Kristen Kuhn 60th 19:59 
Elise Bolger 62nd 20:06 
Alannah Kelly 85th 21:00 

Blair Morgan 4th 25:01 
Connor Darlington 5th 25:11 
Gabe Ghiglione 14th 25:40 
Jeff Tweedle 20th 25:53 
Derek Van Schepen 23rd 25:54 
Nick Kondrat 30th 26:07 
Frank Sorbara 31st 26:10 
Christian MacGillivray 35th 26:22 
Patrick Deane 39th 26:27 
Evan Ubene 44th 26:44 
Jonathan Favero 77th 28:01 

Story at

Photos: Maxine Gravina (MacTrack)

Queen’s Track Photos:

An Update from the World of Triathlon

2015 ITU World Triathlon Grand Finale

From Left: T. Forbes, A. Forbes and D. Hopton, Photo Credits: M.McMillan
While most of the team was preparing for the season opener in Buffalo in early September, the Forbes duo and Mac Alum David Hopton were down in Chicago, preparing for the final race of their 2015 Triathlon season. The Forbes were part of the Canadian team competing at the World Triathlon Championships in the U23 Elite Men's Race. Among the field of world-class athletes, Taylor finished 17th and Austen finished 42nd, the 3rd and 4th Canadians respectively. Hopton raced in the Age-Group Sprint Race, placing 25th among Men 20-24, the 2nd Canadian.

For full results, see the link below:

2015 ITU Chicago U23 Elite Men Results

2015 ITU Chicago Age-Group Sprint Men 20-24

Andrew Yorke's Accident on the Bike

Mac Alum and Professional Triathlete Andrew Yorke was unfortunately hit by a car last weekend while riding his bike. Thankfully he is doing well aside a cracked rib, and decided to end his season early, but will be taking time to recover before resuming the 'Road to Rio 2016'. To support him on his quest and follow his progress, visit the Facebook page below.

On the Road to Rio 2016 Andrew Yorke

Lionel Sanders racing for Mac in 2012
Photo Credit:

IRONMAN Kona for Lionel Sanders

On October 10th, 2015,  Mac Alum and Professional Triathlete Lionel Sanders will compete in the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. This is the oldest and most iconic IRONMAN race of all, and will see the top distance triathletes in the world battle it out.

To get live coverage on race day, visit the IRONMAN Live Coverage link below.

IRONMAN Live Coverage Link