Fresh from an exceptional rookie season as a Marauder, which saw him score for McMaster at a pair of NCAA meets south of the border, Sarnia, Ont. native Andrew Davies will swap his maroon and grey for red and white in the New Year.
After finishing eighth overall in the U20 race at the Athletics Canada Canadian Cross Country Championships in Kingston, Davies was announced as a member of Canada’s U20 delegation to the NACAC and IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Trinidad & Tobago and Denmark respectively.
“There’s no doubt that going to the World Championships and being able to represent your country, and face the best competition the world has to offer, is really exciting,” said Davies of the selection.
“The competition will be incredibly tough, but both individually and as a team, improving on the Canadian junior men’s finishes from two years ago would indicate a strong performance from us.”
Davies and the Canadians will open their international schedule at the NACAC (North and Central America and Caribbean) Championships at Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on February 16, before moving on to the IAAF World Championships at Aarhus, Denmark on March 30.
The decorated junior runner had a successful rookie season at McMaster, placing ninth overall at the University of Buffalo Stampede and scoring fifth for the Marauders in 37th place at the Loyola Lakefront Invitational in Chicago, before wrapping up his cross country season at the Marauders Bayfront Open, where he placed 11th and was Mac’s fourth scorer.
Competing at the same Fort Henry course in Kingston where his Marauders teammates secured U SPORTS bronze two weeks earlier, Davies and the field at the Canadian Championships had to contend with a classically wet late-November day on the 24th.
“While the course at Fort Henry can be difficult due to the constantly rolling hills, the bigger challenge is the muddy conditions that are always present at this meet in late November,” said Davies. “I was very careful on the turns and made sure not to expend too much energy early, because the hills and the mud can really tire you out by the last few laps if you’re not careful.”
His strategy paid dividends, as the young Marauder completed the 8km course in 25:21.5, trailing his second-year McMaster teammate Alex Drover by just two seconds and crossing the line ninth overall.
Rewarded with a spot among the world’s best come March, Davies faces the challenge of balancing his indoor track training and competition in the coming months with the looming outdoor races at the NACAC and IAAF World Championships.
“The most difficult part of training will likely be the weather,” said Davies. “It will be difficult to get any specific preparation on grass if there’s snow on the ground.”
“I’ll do some track training and races in order to have people to train with, to build some speed and get some practice in a race environment, but I’ll work with (McMaster head coach) Paula (Schnurr) toward a plan for being as prepared as I can be to compete at Denmark’s very tough course at the end of March.”
Davies’ McMaster teammates opened the indoor track season at Western’s Bob Vigars Open on December 1, sweeping the podium in the 3000m event with a distance-focused split squad.
Source: Fraser Caldwell