DCVI grad collects three rookie-of-the-year titles in cross-country running and track
By Pat Payton
LONDON – Marcel Scheele made a statement at Western University this past season.
Competing for the Mustangs, the former St. Marys DCVI star was named both OUA and national rookie-of-the-year in cross-country running. In the indoor track season that followed, Scheele claimed gold in the 3,000-metre race at the OUA championships in Toronto. He was also selected rookie-of-the-year in OUA track and field.
“I had a really good (2019-20) season,” Scheele told the Independent in a recent interview. “My goal was to get those rookie titles.”
In late October at Bayfront Park in Hamilton, Scheele finished 13th overall in the OUA cross-country championships to earn top freshman honours. His time was 31 minutes, 58.8 seconds. About 85 runners competed in the 10-kilometre race. Local runner Craig Klomp, of Toronto Blues, was 33rd.
In early November, Scheele didn’t have quite as good a race at the university nationals at Fort Henry in Kingston, placing 43rd overall in a field of just over 140 runners. His time was 32:22.1. But it was enough to give the 20-year-old St. Marys native the Canadian rookie-of-the-year title.
“We had actually left the venue, and Taylor Cornwall sent me a text and told me that it was announced that I had won it,” Scheele said. “Taylor picked up the award for me.” Cornwall, another DCVI grad, is a student-athlete at McMaster University in Hamilton.
Scheele also made everyone take notice at the OUA indoor track and field championships at York University in February. The freshman won the 3,000-metre race in 8:16.15, edging out a McMaster competitor by over a second.
“I was ranked eighth going in, and my personal best at the time was 8:25,” Scheele noted. “I had run that time in Boston earlier in the year. At the OUAs, I beat it by nine seconds to win the race.
“I wanted to make my mark. Even though I was a first year, I wanted everyone to know that I’m here to race and win races.”
Looking to the future, Scheele has set even loftier goals for himself. As a sophomore, he would like to win the national men’s cross-country race next season. “I want to go for it next year,” he said.
Great high school career
Marcel Scheele had a great high school career at DCVI as a long-distance runner.
In track and field, he competed at OFSAA three times — beginning as a Grade 9 student when he qualified for the 3,000-metre race. He competed in both the 2,000-metre Steeplechase and 3,000-metre races in Grade 12 and in his fifth year. He won back-to-back gold medals (2017 and 2018) in the Steeplechase, and seventh place was his best finish in the 3,000 metres.
In the spring of 2018, Scheele shared the prestigious Graduating Athlete of the Year award at DCVI with Maia Moore.
In the fall of 2018, he headed for Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but the experience was not a good one for Scheele. He suffered a stress fracture in his right leg, forcing him to miss the entire 2018-19 season.
“It was caused by over-training,” he says. “It put me out for seven months. I didn’t race at all at Saint Mary’s, but the team aspect wasn’t what I was looking for. That’s when I decided to transfer back here to Western.”
Since he didn’t compete at Saint Mary’s, Scheele didn’t lose a year of eligibility and was able to run for Western as a freshman this past season. “If you run less than three races, you don’t lose your eligibility and I didn’t race at all,” he explained.
Western right choice
Scheele, who now lives and trains in London, says it was “definitely” the right choice to come to Western.
“There’s a big group of guys, about 30 of us, and there’s always someone to train with and there’s always someone to kind of push you,” he says. “It’s what I wanted in a program.
“We have a big team and we go down to the United States for races. It gives you that university racing atmosphere that I wanted.”
Scheele says he trains six days a week at university.
“The training volume is definitely higher,” he says. “It’s longer runs and more workouts. In high school, you could get away with playing other sports and training a little bit, but once you get to university you really have to specialize.
“In a busy training week, I run 140 kilometres. I run around the city and on the university campus. If we go on a long run, we might run on the outskirts of town.”
Scheele also does weight training three times a week.
–Scheele competed in the 3,000 and 1,500-metre races at the Canadian university indoor track and field championships in early March at the University of Alberta. His best showing was in the 1,500 metres. “They were not the results I was hoping for, but it was a good learning experience racing at that calibre,” he said.
–At a home indoor meet at Western last fall, Scheele won the 1,500-metre race in a time of 3:50. It was a new personal best for him.
–Scheele is studying Kinesiology at Western. At the present time, due to the coronavirus pandemic, he is studying on-line with the university closed.
–Scheele is hoping to compete in the Steeplechase event at the FISU international university games in the summer of 2021. The games, which are held every two years, were in Italy in 2019. “It’s kind of like the Olympics for university athletes,” he says.