Track North Athletic Club alumni and Lively native Ross Proudfoot added a national silver medal to his collection of achievements on the weekend.
Now competing for the University of Guelph Gryphons, the 20-year-old won his first individual medal at the Canadian University (CIS) Cross-Country Running Championships held in London.
Proudfoot broke away from the chase pack with about 800 metres left in the 10-kilometre race to claim the silver medal in a time of 31:05. Kelly Wiebe of the University of Regina won the individual gold medal with a new course record of 30:22.
Proudfoot and his University of Guelph teammates won the men's team title for an unprecedented seventh consecutive year. Proudfoot was crowned the Ontario University (OUA) Cross-Country champion two weeks ago.
"With Weibe taking off from the gun and nobody looking to chase him, I ended up settling in the pack," Proudfoot said. "There was a decent wind and it was evident nobody wanted to risk anything in the first five km of the race.
"Our team ended up doing most of the leading in the chase pack and we went through five km fairly comfortably in 15:45 so I knew the second half of the race was going to be fast."
Proudfoot said he "felt a little rough" through the sixth kilometre, dealing with a tightening diaphragm.
"Thankfully that passed and along with two of my teammates, I started to surge hard over the last two kilometers of the race. I was able to use my track speed to close really well over the last 800 metres and get a jump on the field to win the sliver medal.
"It is always great to run a really good team race and help win a CIS championship," he added. "Staying with the pack and working together instead of chasing Wiebe alone definitely played really well into dominating the team standings."
Two other Track North alums were also competing in the CIS championships.
Emma Tallman, 22 of Mindemoya, competing in her fifth and final year of CIS eligiblity at Western University, made her final cross-country race one to remember. Sitting around 25th place with less than a kilometre to go in the women's five-km race, Tallman surged hard and passed ten athletes over the final stretch to place 15th overall in a lifetime best time of 18:00. Tallman's incredible finish helped push her Western team into the bronze medal position in the team standings.
"Going into this race, I had a feeling something special was going to happen," she said. "It was my last cross-country race as a university athlete and I wanted to leave it all on the course.
I'm extremely happy with how this season has gone. To finish in the top 15 at CIS and drop over 45 seconds off my five-km time in the course of one season has been unbelievable. Winning a team bronze medal was definitely the cherry on top of an amazing season."
Jeremy Cooper, 19 of Manitowaning, a rookie on the University of Windsor's men's team and competing at his first CIS Championship, also walked away with hardware as his team won bronze in the team standings. Cooper finished 70th overall in the men's race in a time of 34:00.
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