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Athlete of the year Raez Villanueva named to Canada’s cross-country team at worlds

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His exceptional work during the Marauders fall cross country season earned Sergio Raez Villanueva (Mississauga, ON) a place on the Canadian national team at the World University Cross Country Championships in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

The McMaster standout, who won conference silver and was an All-Canadian in 2017, is one of six men on the 10-member Canadian team headed to the international race on April 7, following the announcement of the national roster by U SPORTS on April 3.

Raez Villanueva competed for the first time in maroon and grey in 2017, after transferring from McGill and sitting out the 2016-17 trail and indoor seasons.

He wasted no time in making his mark during the fall season, finishing fourth overall at the Marauders first meet in Buffalo, and leading the McMaster men to team gold at the Western Invitational, and finishing fourth overall and achieving another team gold at McMaster’s Bayfront Open.

Crossing the line second at the OUA Championships, Raez Villanueva was named as a First Team All-Star, and followed with an eighth-placed finish at the U SPORTS Championships to be included among the Second Team All-Canadians and help McMaster to a fourth-placed finish as a group.

Transitioning to the track, he won silver at the OUA Championships at 3000m after achieving the fourth-fastest time in McMaster’s program history at the Valentine’s Invitational in Boston in February. He backed up the conference medal with the same honour at the national level, climbing the podium at the U SPORTS Championship in Windsor in March.

On April 3, Raez Villanueva received the Ivor Wynne Award as McMaster’s Male Athlete of the Year at the 94th annual McMaster Athletics Awards Ceremony.

This article was initially published at dailynews.mcmaster

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