Spartans’ Benson in good shape for spot on Canadian roster

Trinity Western's Fiona Benson sixth amongst Canadians at national cross-country championships

Trinity Western’s Fiona Benson put herself into a position to be named to Canada’s senior national cross country team after she finished sixth amongst Canadians and eighth overall at the Canadian cross country championships on Nov. 24 at Jericho Beach.

With her top six finish and a time of 24:07.34 over seven kilometres, it’s anticipated Benson will be amongst the seven Canadians who will be named to this year’s national squad. If she is selected to Team Canada, it’s likely Benson will compete at the 2013 NACAC (North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association) Championships Jan. 25 in Jamaica and possibly at the 2013 world championships March 24 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Benson, who was coming off a Canada West championship and fifth place finish nationally at the CIS championships two weeks ago,  was the top university and collegiate runner Saturday in a race that saw her beat the 2011 CIS cross country champion from Guelph, Genevieve Lalonde. This year’s university champion, Guelph’s Andrea Seccafien, did not race.

“Fiona was very successful in a deep field, which is great for her and great for us,” said Spartans coach Laurier Primeau.

After Benson, on the women’s side, TWU’s Alison Jackson finished 22nd overall with a time of 25:06.32.

On the men’s side, the Spartans Blair Johnston finished 21st overall in a 10 kilometre senior race that included Olympic finalists Cam Levins and Mohammed Ahmed, with a time of 31:26.31. Chris Voth finished 54th overall with a time of 33:26.50.

In the junior men’s race, Trinity Western’s Joel De Schiffart finished 13th with a time of 25:21.63 over eight kilometres while Levi Neufeld was 23rd with a time of 25:48.64.The Spartans Nathan Goodwin also ran in the junior men’s event.

“All in all, it was a very good day for Trinity Western,” Primeau said. “It was a great end to the cross country season for our athletes. Our programs are definitely moving in a great direction.”

The Spartans will now begin preparations for the track and field season. The first indoor meet of the year is the University of Washington Indoor Preview on Jan. 12.

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