Saturday, November 21, 2015

Race Recap: CIS Championship and AO Championship

This past weekend marked the end, or the beginning of the end, for most of the Marauders cross country seasons. The racing got underway on Saturday at the Arboretum as the University of Guelph played host to the 2015 CIS XC Championships. The women got the Marauders off to a strong start with a 6th place showing, led by team captain Maddy McDonald in 29th place. Following Maddy in 38th place was veteran Chelsea Mackinnon, with PhD student Gabrielle Foran and Emily Nowak finishing side by side in 47th and 48th, and Maddie Benjamin rounded out the scoring with a 51st place finish. Acting as displacers, second year Lauren Locco finished in 68th and rookie Soren Meeuwisse in 97th. The 5 scorers were only separated by an impressive 54 second spread.

On the men's side, after a tight start that caused some falls, the Marauders ran to another strong 4th place finish. They were led by captain Blair Morgan finishing in 8th to earn his 2nd All-Canadian title, and Connor Darlington earned his first All-Canadian title in 12th. Following Connor, Taylor Forbes narrowly missed out on the top 14, finishing 15th. Austen Forbes in 42nd and Luke Charbonneau in 50th rounded out the top 5. Derek Van Schepen and Gabe Ghiglione took 66th and 70th as the displacers.

Full Results Write-Up

The next day, the championship season continued at Centennial Park in Etobicoke, where the AO XC Championships took place. 4 Marauders competed, as well as several alumni. In the junior men's race, rookies Jonathon Favero and Christian MacGillivray finish close together in 4th and 5th, respectively. 2nd year Matt Napier finished 16th. On the senior men's side, Paul Rochus was 11th. The Hamilton Bombers, a club composed of McMaster alumni, took second place with Andrew Yorke finishing 7th, Larry Abbott 13th, Jordan Bierema 15th, and Noah Fleming 17th. For the senior women, alumnus Megan Beverly finished 11th.

AO Results

Up next for many of the athletes is the Athletics Canada National XC Championships in Kingston on November 28th, and following that on December 5th the Bob Vigars Season Opener track meet in London. Also, congratulations to our triathletes on their 2015 Triathlon Ontario Awards: Taylor Forbes for being named Short Course Triathlete of the Year, Elise Bolger for being named Junior Triathlete of the Year, and alumnus Lionel Sanders as the Long Course Triathlete of the Year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015 CIS Top 7 Spotlight

CIS Top 7 Spotlight

With the 2015 CIS Championships just around the corner, our Media Guru Maxine Gravina made up a beautiful graphic visual to introduce the top seven runners. Without further delay, here are the Men and Women who sill be representing McMaster on Saturday in Guelph!

(Click to see in larger view)

Marauders in the Hamilton Spectator

Cecelia Carter Smith wrote a great piece on the McMaster team and their success at the OUA Championships. Carter Smith herself is a decorated athlete; former World Record holder in track, four-time Canadian Champion a member of the McMaster Sports Hall of Fame and the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction.

Read the Article Here

Cross Country Vignette by Leggat Care Foundation

As a sponsor of the McMaster Athletics, Leggat Auto Group has put together a series of vignettes featuring some of McMaster's CIS sports teams. Here is the one featuring Cross Country, take a look!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Double OUA Bronze: Making McMaster History

2015 OUA Cross Country Championships

This past Saturday October 31, 2015 will go down in the record books as the first time both the McMaster Men's and Women's Cross Country stood on the OUA Podium. Both teams finished with bronze medals, after great races at the Columbia Icefield in Waterloo, ON.

Men's Bronze, PC: M. Gravina

Women's Bronze, PC: M. Gravina

The article did a great job-recapping the races:

"Justifying their ever-improving places in the CIS rankings, the Marauder cross country teams each fulfilled their potential on Saturday to claim team bronze at the OUA Championships in Waterloo.

Three members of the no. 4-ranked Marauder men's team were named as OUA All-Stars in the wake of their 10km race, as Blair Morgan cracked the first team while Connor Darlington and Taylor Forbes were included in the second team. McMaster's low post on the women's side, Maddy McDonald missed inclusion in the all-star ranks by just two places, finishing 16th.

McMaster's men repeated as OUA bronze medallists -- and claimed their third straight podium position at the conference championships -- with a team total of 64 points. Morgan was the Marauders top finisher, crossing the line in sixth with Darlington following hot on his heels to finish
Sprint Finish with Darlington and Forbes, PC: M. Gravina
 eighth and Forbes shadowing his teammate for ninth. Taylor's brother Austen scored fourth for McMaster, placing 18th, while Gabriel Ghiglione completed the scoring by crossing the finish line 23rd.

Completing Mac's seven-man contingent were Derek Van Schepen, who placed 27th, and Luke Charbonneau, who placed 40th.

Meanwhile, the Marauder women provided something of an upset on Saturday, overtaking the higher
Women Off the Start, PC: C. Morgan
-ranked Toronto Varsity Blues to nab a podium position. McDonald, as she has been for years, was McMaster's leader on the day, finishing 16th to score first. A clutch performance from Emily Nowak saw the third-year racer cross the line just two places behind McDonald to finish 18th and score second.

Veteran Gabrielle Foran was McMaster's third scorer, placing 21st, and fellow vet Chelsea Mackinnon had a great recovery after falling early on, to cross the line 22nd. Completing the scoring for the Marauders, Maddie Benjamin finished 26th as McMaster sealed a total of 103 team points.

Lauren Locco and Soren Meeuwisse rounded out the group of seven, finishing 32nd and 43rd respectively."

Special congrats to Derek Van Schepen, Lauren Locco and Soren Meeuwisse who were running for the first time at an OUA Championship.


Read the full Article HERE

Read the Recap HERE

Cheerios, PC: M. Gravina
Another important contributing factor to Saturday's performance were the team members, friends and family who were there to support. The McMaster Cheerios had the most spirit, and were the only ones with flags and face paint. Thank you very much to everyone who were there supporting, and who sent their best wishes.
Face Painting, PC: M. Gravina

We are also lucky to have a number of fantastic photographers who were there to capture the day's events.  Below are the links to two Facebook Albums so you can relive Saturday's blood, sweat and tears.

Mac track's OUA Photo Album (Taken by Maxine Gravina)

Clive Morgan's OUA Photo Album

(Better late than never, right?)

2015 Queen's Open Recap

PC: M. Gravina
On October 17th, the McMaster Cross Country Teams raced at the Queen's Open at Fort Henry, Kingston. The Men took the Team title, with a very tight pack and 5 men finishing at 32:00 or under. Blair Morgan did his fair share of pulling the pack and gapped the field through the middle of the race. Connor Darlington had a very strong finish for 3rd place, 14 seconds behind the leader, and Captain Morgan finished close behind. Luke Charbonneau, Derek Van Schepen and Gabe Ghiglione finished 9th, 10th, and 12th respectively to round out the top 5. Jeff Tweedle had a great run despite two taped Achilles for 18th to bring the total to 6 Marauders of the top 20 finishers. The rest of the men rose to the occasion as well, representing McMaster well.
Rookie Alison Head PC: M. Gravina

On the women's side, the Marauders took home the Team silver, finishing behind the Queen's Gaels. Maddy McDonald finished 6th and Emily Nowak had a fantastic race to finish 14th as the 2nd McMaster lady. Gabrielle Foran, Chelsea Mackinnon and Maddie Benjamin were close behind, finishing 15th, 17th and 20th respectively. The other Lady Marauders also had a very strong showing, including the first University Cross Country race for rookies Soren Meeuwisse and Megan Black.

In both cases, the McMaster teams finished with the smallest spread (time between first and fifth scorer) which boded well going into the OUA Championships.

Full Results Here

See Maxine Gravina's great photos HERE

Read the article here

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