EDMONTON, Alta. (from Canada West) – Several key changes are coming to Canada West cross country following approval this week, as the conference’s 17 members met for their annual regular meeting in Richmond, BC.
Over the next two seasons, the conference will add a pair of new cross country members, along with the establishment of a standalone conference championship.
Both the UBC Thunderbirds and UBCO Heat will compete in Canada West cross country beginning this fall, as the conference’s existing nine members unanimously approved the pair’s sport applications.
UBC previously competed in the U.S. as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). They will continue to compete in NAIA outdoor track.
Meanwhile, UBCO joins CW cross country after competing at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) level.
In addition to the conference growing its cross-country members, support was expressed for the establishment of Canada West championship events in men’s and women’s cross country, beginning with the 2019 competitive season.
The current Canada West champions in cross country are crowned based on standing at the U Sports national championship meets, with no standalone conference event.
An ad hoc group has been tasked with developing a model for the event, exploring areas including where the event would fall on the competition schedule, the event’s qualification ramifications for the U SPORTS national championships, as well as a hosting rotation.
In addition to major changes in the sport of cross country, this week’s regular meeting in Richmond also featured a first for the conference in the area of advancement, as staff members from all 17 institutions attended a full-day of meetings. The group – which featured staff from university advancement departments, as well as athletics staff – explored the state of advancement activity in Canada West.
Advancement has been flagged as a significant area for cooperation among conference members, as they look to enhance their programs through the sharing of best practices and new ideas for engaging with alumni, supporters, and sponsors.
The conference has committed to further advancement discussions, as additional meetings in the area are planned for the 2018 Canada West Annual General Meeting in Kelowna, BC in May.