Second, third for Spartans’ runners

Trinity Western University’s Alison Jackson and Fiona Benson led the Spartans charge at the Sundodger Invitational as they finished second and third respectively in the women’s open competition while first-year Spartan Blair Johnston led the men as he was the first Canadian male to cross the finish line Saturday.

“It’s one of those things where the entire team is building blocks starting from the very beginning,” said Mark Bomba, the Spartans endurance director. “In some instances we had some really good results, especially from some individuals. On the girls side, Fiona and Alison just ran fantastic races and then on men’s side our freshman phenom Blair looked great running against some very good schools.”

Running in their first full-length event of the year, Jackson and Benson ran the six kilometre event side-by-side throughout the entire race with Jackson, who also competes on the Spartans swim team, winning the sprint to the finish line with a time of 21:59.48. While Jackson pulled away for second place, Benson did well to hold off a hard charge from eventual fourth place finisher Marlene Farrell as the the Dawson Creek product crossed the line less than a second before her challenger with an official time of 22:00.14.

With UBC’s Maria Bernard taking control of the race early and eventually wining with a time of 21:41.00, Jackson and Benson teamed up from the start and held second and third place for most of the race.

The Spartans Marissa Ratzlaff finished 54th overall with a time of 23:39.03 while Nikki Bell finished 94th with a time of 24:20.08, Katelynn Ramage finished 166th with a time of 27:16.75 and April Van Woerden finished 173rd with a time of 27:48.86.

The women’s team finished 10th out of 17 teams at the event.

On the men’s side it was Johnston leading the way for the Spartans in the eight kilometre event, followed by Jason Carwile, Chris Voth, Alex Pchenitchnikov, Andrew Ott and Christian Culp.

Johnston led the Spartans squad the whole way and was very strong throughout his first individual race in Spartans blue and yellow.

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