SPARTANS CROSS COUNTRY OPENS SEASON IN SEATTLE

Blair Johnston

CROSS COUNTRY
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2012
SEASON PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SPARTANS CROSS COUNTRY OPENS SEASON IN SEATTLE

LANGLEY, British Columbia – Starting their third season back in Canada West and the CIS, the Trinity Western cross country teams will open their 2012 campaign this Saturday at the annual University of Washington Sundodger Invitational in Seattle’s Lincoln Park and do so looking to launch what is setting up to be the school’s most promising season ever on the trails.

With head coach Laurier Primeau and endurance coach Mark Bomba each entering their second years leading the Trinity Western cross country teams, the Spartans young squads have once again taken major strides forward to becoming contenders in Canada West.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS

MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
2011 CIS: 16th
2011 CW: 7th
Last CIS title: N/A
Last CW title: N/A
CIS ranking: N/A

Key Additions: Joel De Schiffart, Nathan Goodwin, Levi Neufeld
Key Returnees: Blair Johnston, Chris Voth, Mihai Prajea, Andrew Ott
Key Departures: Jason Carwile

With first-year standout Blair Johnston (White Rock, B.C.) returning for his second season with the Spartans, there’s no doubt he’ll once again be the leader of this burgeoning group. In his first year at Trinity Western, Johnston was a Canada West Second Team All-Star after finishing 10th amongst conference runners and 41st overall at the CIS Championships. With a year of experience under his belt at the university level, this year he’ll be gunning for a Canada West First Team All-Star nod and a Top 25 finish overall at the national championships.

While Johhnston will lead the way for the Spartans men, there is plenty of talent behind him that should push Trinity Western up the CIS and Canada West rankings. With newcomers Joel De Schiffart (Nanaimo, B.C.), Levi Neufeld (Winnipeg) and Nathan Goodwin (Surrey, B.C.) joining an already strong Spartans side that includes the likes of Chris Voth (Abbotsford, B.C.), Mihai Prajea (Calgary), Andrew Ott (Abbotsford) and Ross Browne (Surrey, B.C.), Trinity Western will be a much improved group this fall.

After a 16th place finish at last year’s national championships, a Top 12 finish this season is well within reach for the Spartans men.

WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
2011 CIS: 16th
2010 CW: 7th
Last CIS title: N/A
Last CW title: N/A
CIS ranking: N/A

Key Additions: Meg Harradine
Key Returnees: Fiona Benson, Alison Jackson
Key Departures: Marissa Ratzlaff

Much like last year, the Spartans will rely on now third-year Fiona Benson (Dawson Creek, B.C.) to carry the load for the women’s team. The long-distance guru was named a Canada West Second Team All-Star last year after finishing 13th amongst conference runners and 48th overall. But for Benson, those results are certain to improve this season as, like Johnston on the men’s side, she’ll be aiming for a Top 25 finish overall and a Canada West First Team All-Star nod.

Benson’s running mate for much of last year, Alison Jackson (Vermillion, Alta.), will once again be a key member of the Spartans team this year but will do so in something of a limited role. While Jackson does plan to compete at the national championships, her main focus this fall will be on her triathlon endeavours as the Spartans runner and swimmer prepares to represent Canada at the Age-Group World Triathlon Championships in Auckland, New Zealand Oct. 22.

After finishing 16th as a team at last year’s national championships, the Spartans will be looking to at least jump into the Top 15 this season. With newcomers Meg Harradine (Langley), Rachelle Briscoe (Kelowna, B.C.) – formerly of the Spartans women’s basketball team – and Laura Merkel (Langley) joining veterans Nikki Bell (La Salle, Man.), Katelynn Ramage (Nanaimo) and April Van Woerden (Salmon Arm, B.C.), the Spartans will be once again be a competitive and ever-improving group.

-TW-


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

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