The UTM varsity cross-country team has accomplished incredible feats this year, gaining a ninth place national ranking. It’s the first time that a UTM team is ranked in the top 10 nationally in any sport.

The latest meet was at Seneca for the pre-provincials. Before this, a 10 km race was hosted in Waterloo, which differed from the usual eight km races. With plenty of schools in attendance, this was UTM’s first time competing at an OUA meet—so the competition was at its best for participating runners.

Led by Haseeb Malik and Kale Heino, the men’s team placed fourth at the Waterloo meet.

“Being ranked nationally is such a great feeling for both our athletes as well as the UTM Varsity Eagles program,” says Malik.

The team is making history as they are now ranked in the top ten nationally for the first time since the cross-country program was established. It’s a big team effort; every practice, they’re at UTM running even after the sun sets. It’s clear to see that their training has started to pay off.

“Everyone on the team knows their roles, and everyone takes pride and leadership in helping each other out,” says Malik.

At the Waterloo Don Mills Open on October 1, the women ran some exceptional times in their 6 km event. Andrea Ortiz led the pack with a 26-minute and 55-second time, while Katie Hill finished right behind her running only 16 seconds slower. Additionally, the men placed well.  Heino and Malik ran identical 35-minute and 54-seconds in the men’s 10 km race. Hamza Ali ran just 48 seconds slower.

Coaches Adam and Sarah Hassen have been pushing the runners hard this season, witnessing the payoff that is already happening and hoping to establish even more success. Both coaches dedicate a lot of time and effort into helping the runners reach their goals.

The teams provincial meet will take place October 29 at Seneca College King City Campus. As the weather gets colder, the running meets will take place in the last month of the competition, hoping to reach the CCAA Championships at Sault College on November 11.

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