With the Bisons Time Trial last Tuesday, Sept. 12, the cross-country team’s 2023 season is officially off from the start line. Helmed by veteran coach Claude Berubé, here are Bisons to watch for in the long road to the CanWest and U Sports Championships.
Recording the best time of any Bison at last year’s U Sports Championships, veteran runner Hailee Morisseau’s numbers have constantly improved over her career. The 2021 CanWest Second Team All-Star and 2022 Bisons female Athlete of the Week last November for her fantastic finish at nationals, Morisseau climbed 12 spots higher than her 2021 finish on top of her best Bisons time at the 2022 U Sports race.
In fact, Morisseau’s 2022 season saw her finish one place higher at the Sled Dog Open, hosted by the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, and four places higher at the Stewart Cup, hosted by the University of Calgary Dinos, compared to her 2021 season.
Fellow veteran Danika Passler-Bates also improved her times the last two seasons. Passler-Bates finished one place higher from her 2021 Sled Dog Open race, moving from 35th to 34th place in 2022. At the Roy Griak Invitational, hosted by the University of Minnesota, she ran a time of 28:08.8.
Teammate Angela Kroeker had a big 2022. Kroeker climbed 15 spots higher in her 2022 Sled Dog Open finish compared to her 2021 finish, and climbed 17 spots higher in her Stewart Cup finish from 2021. Kroeker even finished two places ahead of Morisseau in the 2022 CanWest championships race and competed in the rain-soaked 2022 U Sports championships as well.
On the men’s side of the team, veteran Calvin Reimer improved his times in both the Stewart Cup and the U Sports championships. In the Stewart Cup, he leapt from 15th place in 2021 to third place in 2022. Reimer also bested his time from the 2021 Sled Dog Open in last year’s race, improving to 27:10.7 from 27:52.4, even though he ended up finishing 16th overall in the 2022 race compared to 15th in 2021. He also had the best time out of all Bisons at the CanWest championships last year.
Fellow runner Justin Kroeker also improved his times from the 2021 season, not only finishing higher in the 2022 Sled Dog Open and Stewart Cup, but lowering his overall run time in each race. In fact, in last year’s Sled Dog Open Kroeker took over a minute off his 2021 time, jumping from 19th place in 2021 to 11th place in the 2022 race, and took a whopping three minutes off his 2021 Stewart Cup time, leap-frogging from 16th place in 2021 to first place overall in 2022. Kroeker was honoured as Bison male Athlete of the Week for his personal best time and first place finish at the Stewart Cup last October.
Teammate Noah Fillion is also a Bison to watch for this season. Fillion leapt from 51st place in the 2021 Sled Dog Open to 24th place in 2022, improving his time by over three minutes. Fillion also managed to improve from his fantastic second place finish at the 2021 Chris McCubbins Provincial Championships to first place last year, beating his previous time by well over a minute.
The herd are off on the road this week, competing at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis on Friday.