Kingston, Ont. - In her first U SPORTS national championships Veronika Fagan raced fast enough to earn a Canada West All-Star, but in what is her last race for UBC Okanagan Fagan was still left feeling she had more in the tank.
Fagan would finish in 18th spot out of 157 female runners in her first and last U SPORTS National Championship, just missing out on an All-Canadian, but still finishing in the top-20 amongst the top university runners in Canada.
"I am not disappointed in the race but I am not thrilled in my race," Fagan commented after reflecting on the championship. "I believe I could've done better on a great day for me but unfortunately today was my best day. This was my one and only chance at the U SPORTS level and I am grateful for the experience to race the best in Canada and come away with a top 20 finish."
The defending CCAA individual champion would finish with a time 29:18 over the 8-kilometre course at Saturday's national championship hosted by Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.
The cold and extremely windy conditions made it tough for all runners as they dealt with the frigid temperatures.
Fagan's comments on the race:
"It was a tough race with the wind. I started near the front with the top runners and after a 1km it split into two top packs and I was in the second pack near the middle/back. Then at 1.5 kilometre my pack broke into two different ones. Unfortunately I didn't go with the pack and that was the move I should've taken. I also continued to get colder as the race went on."
Head coach John Machuga on Fagan's performance:
"Veronika [Fagan] started things off with a solid 18th place. She battled back and forth with a couple of runners and slowly moved up in the pack. Picking up runners that were falling off of the early leaders. Two UBC runners passed her in the final few hundred meters so she moved from fourth to sixth in the Canada West portion. The cold wind was playing a factor in the race."
The individual national champion was from the host Queen's Gaels, as Brogan MacDougall ran a 27:48.6 to claim the gold medal.
Brogan not only finished as the Athlete of the Year but was also the top rookie for the women.
The Laval Rouge et Or claimed their first U SPORTS Women's Cross Country Championship – becoming the first RSEQ school to capture the banner - on Saturday afternoon at Fort Henry Hill in Kingston, Ont.
Laval finished with two individual medalists as Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie and Catherine Beauchemin claimed the silver and bronze medals individually.
On the Canada West women's side, the UBC Thunderbirds earned the conference banner in their return to U SPORTS competition, after running south of the border for the last two decades in NAIA.
UBC finished as the top CW team at the national event, which also doubled as the conference championship for the final time, as 2019 will mark the start of a standalone CW championship each season.
In terms of individual results on the women's side, Calgary's Melissa Jones (5th - 28:28.7) was the top conference finisher, while Victoria's Alison Irvine (8th – 28:34.0) also cracked the U SPORTS top 10.
WOMEN'S FIRST TEAM CONFERENCE ALL-STARS
CW FINISH / NAME (U SPORTS PLACE) / SCHOOL / TIME
1 / Melissa Jones (5th) / Calgary Dinos / 28:28.7
2 / Alison Irvine (8th) / Victoria Vikes / 28:34.0
3 / Courtney Hufsmith (11th) / Saskatchewan Huskies / 29:00.4
4 / Nicola Symonds (14th) / UBC Thunderbirds / 29:09.6
5 / Sarah MacArthur (16th) / UBC Thunderbirds / 29:15.1
6 / Veronika Fagan (18th) / UBCO Heat / 29:18.8
7 / Chloe Hegland (22nd) / Victoria Vikes / 29:41.6