TWU cross-country Spartans crack top 10 at nationals

The Trinity Western cross country teams were well-represented at the Canadian national championships Saturday at Jericho Beach Park.

Fiona Benson finished seventh and Blair Johnston finished eighth in their respective junior (under 20) divisions while Alison Jackson finished 31st in the senior women’s race and endurance coach Mark Bomba was crowned champion in the masters (over 40) division.

In what was the Spartans final cross country race of the season, Benson, who also finished seventh at last year’s national junior championships, completed the five kilometre race in 18:59, 25 seconds behind the winner, and was as high as third place inside the final two kilometres. With her result, she was the top junior runner in B.C.

“Fiona had a really solid race,” said Spartans coach Laurier Primeau. “She faded a bit at the end but it was overall a great way to cap off her inaugural season at the university level.”

Johnston’s eighth place finish in the eight kilometre event was also an impressive performance as he, like Benson, finished as the top junior runner in the province. Johnston’s official time was not yet available. Check back on at for an update.

“For Blair, this is an outstanding achievement,” Primeau said. “To be in the top 10 in the nation is a very impressive performance and it bodes very well for his future.”

For Jackson, it was a tough day on the trails as she lost all but three of her spikes from her shoes and struggled to find footing on a muddy and windy course. She ended up finishing the seven kilometre senior race in 28:28.

Bomba’s title-winning time was 27:27 in the eight kilometre masters race.

Benson was the top junior runner in B.C.

Also in attendance were runners from the Walnut Grove Gators cross-country team.

Meg Harradine and Andrea Robinson were third and fourth, respectively, in the girls’ (13-19) 5 km race, while  Sam Gillis was eighth, Danica Matson was 10th and Julie Matson was 11th. Megan Notting came 13th.

In the boys’ (13-19) division, Walnut Grove’s Max Proske was sixth and Brandon Drake was seventh. Sean Burnett and Will Tsai were 11th and 13th, respectively.

Another Walnut Grove runner, 17-year-old Ashley Windsor, competed up an age level, running in the junior women’s (18/19) division. Windsor placed 24th in the 5 km race.

And in the boys’ 11-year-old 2 km race, Langley Mustangs’ Vaughn Taylor was second.

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