Kodiaks XC ready to Run for the Pumpkin

Kodiaks XC ready to Run for the Pumpkin

Sept. 20, 2018 – The Lethbridge College Kodiaks cross country team will get the benefit of a home course this weekend, as the team hosts the Run for the Pumpkin.

Running in conjunction with the annual community event, the ACAC Grand Prix marks the first time since 2015 that the Kodiaks will host a conference race. Teams from SAIT and St. Mary’s University will join the Kodiaks in the race on Saturday at Nicholas Sheran Park.

Even though the Kodiaks will be without some of their top runners this weekend due to other commitments, the team still expects to challenge for the meet championship.

Led by one of the top runners in the ACAC, the Kodiaks women’s team looks to be in a position to challenge for a conference title. At a season-opening meet in Calgary last weekend, reigning ACAC rookie of the year Sophia Nowicki (second year, Nursing, Bragg Creek, Alta.) won that event by a minute over her nearest competitor.

Teammates Emily Spencer (third year, Nursing, Calgary) and Salma Moreira (third year, General Studies, Lethbridge) finished fifth and seventh, and with Nowicki led the Kodiaks team to a first place finish. 

Comparing results across the ACAC can be an inexact measuring stick, but head coach Bertil Johansson, in his 32nd and final season as Kodiaks head coach, feels the results bode well for the team this season. 

“Our team is both skilled and experienced, as all of our female runners have ACAC experience,” says Johansson. “That competitive maturity will help us as we aim to win a banner at the conference championships.”

On the men’s side, the Kodiaks have just five runners this season, but boast some top-end talent that will make the team competitive this season.

Making their ACAC debuts in Calgary, both Timothy Kimaiyo (first year, General Studies, Eldoret, Kenya) and Connor Jackson (first year, General Studies, Surrey, B.C.) had strong showings. Kimaiyo finished sixth in Calgary, while Jackson was eighth. Those performances helped the Kodiaks to a third place finish.

“There are some powerhouse teams in the conference,” says Johansson. “But I think that our small but mighty squad has a chance to be right in the mix once again. Our goal is to finish top three in the conference and earn a spot in nationals.”

The Kodiaks host the Run for the Pumpkin on Saturday at Nicholas Sheran Park. The women’s 6 km event begins at 1 p.m., followed by the men’s 8 km race at 1:45 p.m.