Langley-based Spartan tracksters open season

The Trinity Western University cross country teams kicked off its 2014 season with an impressive showing at the University of Washington’s Sundodger Invitational.

TWU’s Sarah Inglis led the way on the women’s side with a second place showing in the invitational race and Joel De Schiffart finishing amongst the best in the men’s open race as he finished a team-leading eighth Saturday at Lincoln Park.

On the women’s side, Inglis led a Spartans contingent that had four athletes amongst the top 11 finishers in a race that featured four NCAA Division I schools, including No. 14 ranked Washington.

Inglis finished the six kilometre race in 20:30, while Alison Jackson in fourth (20:44), Fiona Benson in ninth (21:21), and Regan Yee in 11th (21:24), rounded out TWU’s leading foursome.

“We put our girls in the invitational section and I think the results proved that we were in the right competition,” said Spartans coach Laurier Primeau. “We were just two points behind Washington with our top four girls scoring. The difference is a little bit of depth, but we’re a program that is growing and maturing and we really believe that we’re going to get there.”

All five of the TWU women who also competed in the 2013 Sundodger Open – including the aforementioned foursome and Meg Harradine – bettered their previous times.

Inglis, who won the open event last year, was 42 seconds faster than her 2013 time.

On the men’s side, De Schiffart led TWU in the open race, finishing the eight kilometre race in 25:07 and helping the Spartans to a third place finish overall. Blair Johnston was the Spartans second fastest finisher, crossing the line 26th overall in 25:45 while Mihai Prajea rounded out TWU’s top three by finishing 37th in 26:10.

De Schiffart was 20 seconds faster than in 2013 while Prajea was 43 seconds quicker than last year’s race and Adam Marshall, who finished 57th in 26:27 this year, was 33 seconds faster.

“Our team is exactly who we thought they were,” Primeau said. “But I think it was good for our guys to learn a lot about racing. We were wearing our clunky trainers while a lot of other teams were wearing racing flats and spikes and we were missing two of our top five athletes [Declan White and Levi Neufeld]. Top to bottom, we had really good performances. It was nice to see Joel as our lead runner, but we also had some really good results from our freshmen.”


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