Sophia Nowicki keeps padding her resume as one of the top runners to ever lace up in the ACAC. Nowicki won her second-straight ACAC championship on Saturday in Calgary, running her Canadian college winning streak to 10 races.
Nowicki’s triumph helped the Kodiaks women’s team repeat as ACAC champions, while Simon Schaerz was named ACAC coach of the year during an accolade-filled weekend for the Kodiaks at the meet hosted by the SAIT Trojans.
Nowicki (third year, Nursing, Bragg Creek) finished the snow-covered 6-km championship course in Calgary’s Confederation Park in 24:04, a full 24 seconds ahead of second place Emilie Mann of SAIT. Nowicki becomes just the eighth woman to ever repeat as ACAC champion and was also named ACAC runner of the year and earned a spot on the ACAC all-conference team. She will attempt to repeat as CCAA national champion on Nov. 9 in Grande Prairie.
The Kodiaks women’s team won its second consecutive ACAC championship by eight points over the University of Alberta – Augustana Vikings. Rookie Rosie Bouchard (first year, Renewable Resource Management, Okotoks) finished eighth in the race, while Vildana Rekic (fourth year, Ecosystem Management, Lethbridge) was 13th and Janelle Graham (fourth year, Justice Studies, Olds) was 14th. Graham edged out Red Deer College’s Caitlin Debree in a dramatic race to the finish line to earn valuable points for the Kodiaks, who head to Grande Prairie looking to improve on the national silver medal the team won last year.
On the men’s side, the Kodiaks were led by Connor Jackson (second year, Business Administration, Surrey, B.C.) who finished in fifth place in the 8-km race in a time of 27:51 and was named to the ACAC all-conference team. Cooper Cheshire (second year, Agriculture Enterprise Management, Trochu) also turned in a top-10 effort, finishing in ninth place in a time of 29:09, while Justin Fisher (first year, General Studies, Claresholm) was 11th.
As a team, the Kodiaks placed fourth, missing the podium by just eight points, which means the team missed out on qualifying for the CCAA national championship.
The excellent results by the Kodiaks earned Schaerz ACAC coach of the year honours in his first season as head coach of the cross country team. Schaerz joined the Kodiaks as an assistant coach in 2015 and was promoted to co-coach in 2017. He was named head coach of the Kodiaks cross country and indoor track teams in January. It is the third time a Kodiaks coach has been named ACAC coach of the year, following Bertil Johansson who earned the honour in both 2003 and 2015.