Sheridan revives cross-country team

Photo by Spencer Luyben

Photo by Spencer Luyben


Sheridan’s Athletic Department has announced the reintroduction of cross-country running starting in the fall.

“We’re pretty much involved in all of the team sports right now that lead to national championships,” said Sheridan varsity coordinator Wayne Fish, who’s the primary organizer of the new team.

“We decided to look at an individual sport this time.”

The college shelved the sport in the early 1990s for reasons that were “strictly financial,” Fish said.

In 1995, annual government funding for post-secondary institutions plummeted by 21 per cent – or $1 billion – after then-premier Mike Harris implemented his Common Sense Revolution plan.

To compensate for the sudden disproportion of funds, colleges across Ontario had to cut several varsity sports, and Sheridan was no exception.

“There was only men’s basketball and women’s volleyball as varsity sports for a number of years,” said Fish.

But now Sheridan is in the process of “slowly building back up” its varsity sport portfolio, and currently offers men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, soccer, rugby and, now, cross-country running.

“We’re noticing students do a fair amount of running,” said Fish, who splits his time among the Athletic Centres across all three campuses.

“The regimented training of cross-country will benefit [students] physically, emotionally and mentally, and they’ll get the chance to represent the college,” Fish said.

Student inquiry has been “very little so far,” however interest in participation is very much there.

“I did cross-country in high school, so it would be nice to do that again,” said third-year Athletic Therapy student Cailea Davis, 23.

Davis feels people can benefit more from a cross-country event than they would from running on their own because “it’s a different atmosphere when competition drives you.”

Her friend, second-year Athletic Therapy student Sarah Smith, 26, agrees with the sentiment that running in a competition provides an edge that can’t be found anywhere else.

“It’s more of a challenge. Everyone can run, but [cross-country] takes a lot of mental and physical strength,” said Smith.

Even students who are beginner runners are optimistic.

Second-year Nursing student John Balbastro, 20, has been recently going to the gym in the hopes of building strong enough endurance to run a marathon one day.

“I don’t really have the physical ability right now, but even I am interested in joining a cross-country team, it’s a great opportunity” said Balbastro.

The team’s prevailing initiative is finding a head coach who has experience in distance running at a competitive level. The vacancy has been posted on the OCAA and Athletics Ontario websites, and is being promoted within the Halton District School Board.

Tryouts and training exercises are expected to occur in August.

Interested students are encouraged to contact, who is documenting applicants’ contact information to pass on to the head coach, once hired.