The Trinity Western University cross country teams kicked off its 2014 season with an impressive showing at the University of Washingtonâ€™s Sundodger Invitational.
TWUâ€™s Sarah Inglis led the way on the womenâ€™s side with a second place showing in the invitational race and Joel De Schiffart finishing amongst the best in the menâ€™s open race as he finished a team-leading eighth Saturday at Lincoln Park.
On the womenâ€™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 TWUâ€™s leading foursome.
â€œWe put our girls in the invitational section and I think the results proved that we were in the right competition,â€ said Spartans coach Laurier Primeau. â€œWe were just two points behind Washington with our top four girls scoring. The difference is a little bit of depth, but weâ€™re a program that is growing and maturing and we really believe that weâ€™re going to get there.â€
All five of the TWU women who also competed in the 2013 Sundodger Open â€“ including the aforementioned foursome and Meg Harradine â€“ bettered their previous times.
Inglis, who won the open event last year, was 42 seconds faster than her 2013 time.
On the menâ€™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 TWUâ€™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 yearâ€™s race and Adam Marshall, who finished 57th in 26:27 this year, was 33 seconds faster.
â€œOur team is exactly who we thought they were,â€ Primeau said. â€œBut 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.â€