EDMONTON – On the eve of the Canada West and CIS championship races, the University of Alberta Pandas cross country team scored a win at the annual Stewart Cup, which was held in Calgary and hosted by the U of C Dinos.
The Stewart Cup is an annual event hosted on an alternating schedule between the U of A and the University of Calgary, and the Golden Bears and Pandas hosted in 2015. The Stewart Cup honours and celebrates the memory of brothers Brian and Gerry Stewart who tragically passed away in 2002. Brian was a four-year member of the University of Alberta cross country and track teams, while Gerry also competed with the Golden Bears. After earning his undergrad degree at the U of A Gerry then transferred to the U of C where he competed with the Dinos. Both brothers earned Block ‘A’ sweaters while at the U of A as well, and are part of a Stewart family legacy of five siblings who all competed at the U of A and earned Block ‘A’ sweaters.
This year the Pandas took home the women’s title, while the Golden Bears finished third. Fifth-year Panda Morgan Lawley was the top finisher for the Pandas, crossing the finish line in fifth place. Nicole Soderberg, a fifth-year transfer from the Victoria Vikes program, finished 10th, while rookie Danae Keddie earned a 17th placing.
It is the second team title for the U of A women's team after also winning the Huskie Open at the University of Saskatchewan earlier this season.
The Pandas will next compete in the CIS championship race over the November 11-13 weekend at the University of Laval. Alberta will send Lawley, Soderberg and Keddie, as well as Lesley Koopman, Caitlin Vail, Freya Hik, Anushree Patel and Claire Dolphin to the national championship race.
Alberta finished eighth in the women’s race at the 2015-16 CIS cross country championship, and fourth in the Canada West championship.
On the men’s side, the Golden Bears finished third at the Stewart Cup, behind first place Calgary and second place Manitoba. Alberta did defeat Regina, Saskatchewan and MacEwan, and were led by team captain Kieran McDonald who finished fourth. Royden Radowits was Alberta’s next top finisher on the men’s side, crossing the line in 20th.
Both McDonald and Radowits will make up the entirety of the Golden Bears entourage for the men’s national championship race as well.