THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2011



LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western University track and field and cross country coach Laurier Primeau is thrilled to announce the signing of three distance running recruits in Fiona Benson (Dawson Creek, B.C.) , Blair Johnston (White Rock, B.C.) and Katelynn Ramage (Nanaimo, B.C.).

The trio of B.C. born athletes will join the Spartans this fall as part of an emerging Spartans program that has already taken some huge steps forward since Primeau arrived in early April.

Benson comes to Trinity Western already one of the top women’s junior cross country runners in Canada. She represented Canada at both the 2011 NACAC (North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association) Cross Country Championships in Trinidad, where she won an individual silver medal and a team gold medal, and the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Spain, where she finished 64th in the junior race.

Benson, who is transferring from Grande Prairie Regional College, also won gold at the 2010 CCAA (Canadian Colleges Athletic Association) Cross Country Championships and was a CCAA Academic All-Canadian.

“Trinity Western just got a commitment from one of the most well-rounded individuals I have ever met,” Primeau said. “Fiona’s high school marks don’t know what the second letter in the alphabet looks like, and she earned similar grades at Grand Prairie Community College this year.   She comes to Trinity Western after only a single year of formal coaching under Bill Corcoran, who took her from a fifth place finish at the BC High School Cross Country Championships in 2009 to being a member of the World Junior Team and Canada’s top finisher at the NACAC Cross Country Championships. Furthermore, Fiona will spend part of her summer in Kolkata, India, where she will volunteer at an orphanage run by Mother Teresa’s Order.  Clearly, her actions speak louder than words.”

And for Benson, who graduated high school through the South Peace Distributed Learning School, coming to Trinity Western also seemed like a perfect situation.

“I’m looking for a place for personal growth and it seems like Trinity Western really fits that in every area,” Benson said. “I’ve heard great things about the education. I love the coaches and what I’ve heard about the community feel.

“I think the coaches will help me develop in my running and see where I can go there and the faith community here will really help me with my spiritual growth. I’m excited about this year just moving onto the university circuit, having the extra competition and extra resources and I’ve heard great things about both of the coaches I’ll be working with. It’ll also be great to be part of an education that’s not afraid of hard questions and uncommon challenges and aspiring to be like Christ.”

Blair Johnston, who graduated with honours in 2010 and was White Rock Christian Academy’s Athlete of the Year in his Grade 12 year, is the current WRCA record holder in the 3000m distance (indoor), with a time of 8:42, and has proven to be one of the top runners in the province in his age group.

“Blair is going to impact our program immediately,” Primeau said. “As a double medalist at the BC High School Track and Field Championships in 2010 (silver in the 1500m race and bronze in the 3000m event), and with an added year of training and maturity, he will be a central piece of our cross country team in his freshman year.  Further, Blair will impact our 4 x 800 team and compete for us in the 1000m and 3000m indoors.  

“These things speak to his running qualities, but there is much more to Blair than his athletic gifts. Trinity Western is getting a student–athlete who cares about team, community, giving back, and the welfare of others, and that is precisely the kind of person we want here.”

Along with the pair of medals he won at the 2010 BC High School Championships, the 5-foot-10 Johnston also won a bronze medal at the BC U19 Cross Country Championships and, in doing so, was the top U18 finisher at the event. He was also a member of the 2010 BC Athletics Junior Provincial Cross Country Team.

“Given the chance to work with Laurier Primeau I couldn't think of a better place to go,” Johnston said. “I'm extremely excited to be part of a new program that is clearly heading in the right direction.”

Katelynn Ramage, who will graduate this year from Nanaimo District Secondary, joins the Spartans as a gifted middle distance runner who will be a key member of what is quickly becoming a formidable stable of athletes at Trinity Western who can run both on the track and on the cross country trails.

In 2010, Ramage was a finalist for Pacific Sport’s Top Junior Female Athlete in the Nanaimo area as well as being named the Nanaimo Track and Field Club’s Most Improved Athlete. She was also given the 2010 Commission Award from the City of Nanaimo.

While Ramage will compete for the Spartans in cross country and middle distance track,  her most impressive accomplishments in athletics have actually come in the sport of race walking. She participated in the 2010 Canada vs USA Junior Race Walk Dual Meet.and has posted times of 7:00 in the 1500m event, 16:03 in the 3000m event and 26:01 in the 5000m event. Although race walking isn’t a CIS sport, her experience in high-level competition will no doubt be a huge boon to the Spartans program.

“Katelynn comes to us as the No. 1 junior race walker in British Columbia, and will contribute to the program by filling an important role on our cross country team,” Primeau said. “She has also earned significant academic scholarships as a result of her high standing at her secondary institution and we are very happy to welcome Katelynn to the Trinity Western team, and we know that her contributions will be invaluable.”

Ramage, who plans to study human kinetics, added: “Trinity Western really seemed to stand out more than other schools that I've been in contact with. There was just something about the school that was so much different and I felt like it was a place I could grow as an athlete and as an individual.

“The whole idea about me coming to Trinity Western this fall really excites me. It’s a new place with new people, in a whole different atmosphere and with brand new experiences to be had.”

Benson, Johnston and Ramage will join Scottish star recruits Calum Innes and Emma Nuttall as part Primeau’s first recruiting class that will build the foundation for what will be a new-look cross country team and track and field team in the fall of 2011.


Last Updated: 2013-08-22
Author: Mark Janzen