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Gaels vie for national cross country titles

[MacDougall sisters]
Branna and Brogan MacDougall lead the Queen's Gaels into the  2018 U SPORTS Cross Country Championships being held Saturday at Fort Henry.

Canada’s best varsity cross country runners will assemble at Fort Henry's storied lawns and trails on Saturday for the 2018 U SPORTS Cross Country Championships.

Saturday, Nov. 10
• Women’s 8-km race, 1 pm
• Men’s 10-km race, 2 pm
• Awards Presentation, 3:15 pm
Full championship livestreamed at USPORTS.LIVE.

Both Queen’s teams are in the running with the women having a serious chance at winning the title after claiming the OUA crown two weeks ago and placing second at the 2017 USPORTS final.

The men surprised at the OUA championship with a silver medal performance and hope to maintain that momentum,

Here’s a look at what the Gaels need to do to win on home soil:

How Queen’s wins:
Sisters Branna and Brogan MacDougall may be relatively inexperienced in U SPORTS competition as third and first-years, but it’s races like this one that will contribute to their pedigree. Brogan’s masterful OUA victory has her as a serious contender, and while Branna dealt with injury earlier in the year, she seems like a strong contender for the top of the podium. A probable three points between two runners would be a huge feather in the Gaels’ hats. Rookie Makenna FitzGerald and second-year Kara Blair are also both U SPORTS All-Canadian threats.

Fact: The Gaels came 19 points shy of securing their first-ever U SPORTS championship last year.

How Queen’s wins:
The Gaels were flying under everyone’s radar until they upset Guelph and grabbed silver at the OUA championship, behind McMaster. Led by the standout duo of OUA first team all-stars Mitchell DeLange and Mitchell Kirby, the Steve Boyd-coached men seem to thrive on the 10k distance of championship season. However, the Gaels sport a young team, with a rookie, five second-years and one senior veteran and few of them have raced at a U SPORTS championship.

Fact: The highest U SPORTS placing by a current Gael is 35th (Rob Kanko, 2017).

Admission is free.