McKenzie finishes fifth; Kodiaks teams in top-10 at cross country nationals

Nov. 14, 2016 – The ACAC cross country champion and runner of the year did not disappoint at the CCAA national championships in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, as Lethbridge College’s Rachel McKenzie finished fifth in the women’s 5K event.

McKenzie, a fourth-year Nursing student from Nelson, B.C., had a season to remember in her final campaign as a Kodiaks runner. She won every ACAC competition she entered this season, and was once again the top ACAC finisher in the 5K race at nationals, improving from a 15th place finish last year.

“Rachel has been progressing steadily over these last four years to run an undefeated ACAC season in her graduating year,” says Bertil Johansson, Kodiaks head coach. “She topped it off by clawing to a fifth place showing at nationals, which is an inspiration to a young Kodiaks team on how an athlete can improve with strong determination and dedication to her goals and a willingness to aim for excellence. She’s a true champion on and off the trails.”

McKenzie’s teammate Emily Spencer also had a stellar showing as she crossed the finish line in eighth place. Spencer, a first-year Nursing student from Calgary, showed great resilience, climbing up from 15th in the pack earlier in the race. Spencer won a bronze medal at the ACAC championships and was also named ACAC rookie of the year. Both McKenzie and Spencer were named CCAA All-Canadians as they helped the Kodiaks women’s team finish fifth in the CCAA and first among ACAC competitors.

On the men’s side, the Kodiaks were led by Alex Andres, a third year Criminal Justice – Policing student from Wetaskiwin, Alta., who finished in 14th place in the 8K race. ACAC silver medalist Boaz Korir, a second year Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology student from Kenya, was hampered by back spasms but still finished in 20th place. As a team, the Kodiaks men finished in 7th place, and second among ACAC competitors.

This is the fourth straight year that the Kodiaks women’s team has finished in the top five at nationals, while the men’s team has finished in the top ten at the CCAA championships an incredible 12 years in a row.