Hamilton, Ont. (via McMaster Marauders) - Mitch Delange’s courageous gambit to open Saturday’s race threw the OUA Championship in disarray, but the Guelph Gryphons showed their experience and poise to ultimately come away with the title.
Setting a torrid early pace, the Queen’s Gael Delange snatched the lead through the first half of the men’s 10-kilometre event at Hamilton’s Bayfront Park while sending Western’s Isaiah Frielink and McMaster’s Alex Drover on a breakaway chase.
Frielink managed to maintain his pace, and break a Guelph stranglehold on the podium by winning silver, but Delange fell to ninth and watched as the Gryphons pack made their move in the last 10 minutes.
Working his way from the second chase group, Mitch Ubene surged into the lead and took gold by a 10-second margin in 31:00.6, while the Gryphons initial pack leader Mark Patton won bronze and Kalum Delaney followed in fourth.
That masterful bit of tactical running was enough to earn Guelph the team title in a tight, two-team contest between the U SPORTS no. 3-ranked Gryphons and the defending champions and meet hosts, the McMaster Marauders. Retaking the title they last won in 2017, the Gryphons 40-point performance edged the Marauders by eight, with the bronze-medal-winning Queen’s Gaels trailing another 35 points behind.
The trio of Ubene, Patton and Delaney earned OUA First Team All-Star honours, with John Perrier cracking the Second Team by scoring 12th and Nick Bannon completing the scoring for Guelph in 20th.
Dave Scott-Thomas added to his overflowing trophy case in the wake of his team’s victory, earning his 10th OUA Coach of the Year honour on the men’s side and his 17th overall.
Despite a strong group performance that saw their final scorer cross the line 15th, McMaster was punished for its inability to crack the individual podium.
Second-year racer Andrew Davies provided the Marauders low post by scoring fifth, with Drover following less than two seconds behind in sixth after his bid to chase down Delange. Defending individual champion Max Turek crossed the line eighth, while Dylan Alick joined him on the OUA Second Team by finishing 14th and Sergio Raez Villanueva completed the Marauders scoring in 15th.
Battling for the final spot on the team podium, the Gaels and Windsor Lancers needed to dip into the displacers to settle it, as the teams finished level on 83 points through five scorers. It fell to Matt Pardo, who scored sixth for Queen’s in 32nd place, to break the tie by beating Windsor’s own sixth scorer, Jonathan Rioux, by five spots.
Pardo’s effort eked out bronze for the Gaels, who were led by an OUA First Team-worthy performance from Rob Kanko (seventh) and Delange’s ninth-placed run that earned him a spot on the Second Team. Nathan Dehghan (11th), Miles Brackenbury (26th) and Mitch Kirby (30th) rounded out the scoring for Queen’s, which earned its spot as the nation’s no. 5 seed entering competition Saturday.
His team finished fifth, but Western’s Marcel Scheele came away from Bayfront Park with some hardware, as his 13th overall finish was the best among first-year racers and earned him the OUA Rookie of the Year nod.
2019 OUA Men’s Cross Country Championship Team Standings
1 Guelph Gryphons 40 points
2 McMaster Marauders 48 points
3 Queen's Gaels 83* points
4 Windsor Lancers 83* points
5 Western Mustangs 118 points
6 Laurentian Voyaguers 155 points
7 Toronto Varsity Blues 162 points
8 Waterloo Warriors 232 points
9 Laurier Golden Hawks 263 points
10 Nipissing Lakers 298 points
11 Brock Badgers 304 points
2019 OUA Men’s Cross Country Championship Major Awards
MVP: Mitch Ubene - Guelph
Rookie of the Year: Marcel Scheele - Western
Coach of the Year: Kyle Boorsma - Guelph
Community Service Award: Craig Klomp - Toronto
2019 OUA Men’s Cross Country All-Stars
Mitch Ubene - Guelph
Isaiah Frielink - Western
Mark Patton - Guelph
Kalum Delaney - Guelph
Andrew Davies - McMaster
Alex Drover - McMaster
Rob Kanko - Queen’s
Max Turek - McMaster
Mitch Delange - Queen’s
Josh Martin - Windsor
Nathan Dehghan - Queen’s
John Perrier - Guelph
Marcel Scheele - Western
Dylan Alick - McMaster