Cold weather couldn’t cool off the Lethbridge College cross country team, as the Kodiaks earned multiple medals at the ACAC championships in Grande Prairie on October 29, 2016.
Rachel McKenzie (Nursing – Nelson, B.C.) was the standout individual star of the entire meet, as the fourth-year Kodiaks runner claimed gold in the women’s 5k event. It’s the first-ever ACAC medal for McKenzie, who has won every conference race she has competed in this season. Her time of 20:20 was five seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Jordanna Cota of Red Deer College. McKenzie is the first Kodiaks woman to win the ACAC gold medal since Purity Kandie earned the win in 2009.
“This is such a great accomplishment for Rachel, who is in her final season as a Kodiaks runner before she graduates from the Nursing program,” says Bertil Johansson, Kodiaks cross country coach. “In addition to her on-course accomplishments, she’s also an academic all-Canadian, making her a true Kodiaks ambassador of excellence academically and athletically.”
Emily Spencer (Nursing – Calgary) also had a tremendous event, finishing in third place in a time of 20:56. She also earned more hardware, being named ACAC rookie of the year. Spencer and McKenzie were both named ACAC all stars. Kirstyn Janzen finished 10th, while Janelle Graham was 18th, helping the Kodiaks claim the women’s team silver medal.
On the men’s side, Boaz Korir (Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology – Kenya) won a silver medal, finishing the 8k race in a time of 28:23, 34 seconds behind the winner, Jacques Saayman of SAIT. It was a big improvement for Korir as the second-year runner finished fourth at last year’s ACAC championships.
Just missing out on an individual medal was third-year runner Alex Andres (Criminal Justice – Policing – Wetaskiwin, Alta.) who finished in a season-best fourth place. Andres’ time of 28:45 was just seven seconds out of the bronze medal position. Andres and Korir both earned ACAC all-star selections. Former-ACAC champion Edwin Kaitany overcame injuries to finish 12th, while Dayton Jans was 22nd, pushing the Kodiaks to an ACAC men’s team silver medal.
“What a great championships for our cross country teams,” says Todd Caughlin, manager of Kodiaks Athletics. “Having the men’s and women’s teams earn silver medals, combined with all the individual accolades made for a proud weekend for Kodiaks Athletics.”
The Kodiaks’ efforts earned them the prize as top combined men’s and women’s team at the championships. McKenzie, Spencer, Korir and Andres have all earned the right to represent the ACAC at the CCAA national championships on Nov. 11 and 12 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.