September 13, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia – With a number of elite-level recruits arriving this fall and an abundance of upper echelon returnees, the Trinity Western men's and women's cross country teams are gearing up for what will likely be their best season in school history.
With their first official meet this Saturday at the University of Washington Sundodger Invitational at Seattle's Lincoln Park, the Spartans will have an opportunity to prove themselves early on against both CIS and NCAA competition.
2013 SEASON PREVIEWS
In their third year running under the guidance of endurance coach Mark Bomba and Spartans head coach Laurier Primeau, the Spartans women's team looks like its setting up for a major breakthrough as a team.
Last year the Spartans Fiona Benson put TWU on the cross country map when she finished first amongst Canada West runners and fifth overall at the CIS national championships. This year, with the addition of Scottish runner Sarah Inglis and the B.C.-born Regan Yee, the Spartans have all the tools to make a push up the team standings.
With the return of fourth-year Alison Jackson, who finished 22nd at the CIS championships, and second-year Meg Harradine, who finished 109th last year but is ever improving, combined with the third-year Benson, the Spartans have a quintet that could compete with most teams in both the conference and nationally. The incoming Inglis might prove to be fastest of the whole lot and Yee is coming off a summer in which she won the 2000m steeplechase at the Canadian Junior Championships and then finished sixth in the 3000m steeplechase at the Pan American Junior Championships.
If the Spartans can stay healthy and they continue to maintain what has been an impressive developmental trajectory, the optimism surrounding this year's team seems bound to come to fruition in the very near future.
Similar to that of the Spartans women's team, the men's cross country side is teeming with potential and has the depth to run with some of the best schools in the country.
Having returned their full complement of runners from last year and with the addition of Declan White and Adam Marshall, there's no doubt the Spartans are a team on the rise and one surely to improve on its 2012 results. After a 14th place finish at last year's national championships, the improvements to this team has experts predicting, at the very least, a top 10 result this year.
And with only Chris Voth and Mihai Prajea beyond their third year of eligibility, this could be just the beginning.
While health issues have continued to plague Blair Johnston, the rest of the team – one that includes the likes of Nathan Goodwin, Levi Neufeld and Joel De Schiffart, the latter of which finished fifth in the 3000m steeplechase and seventh in the 5000m at this past summer's Canadian Junior Championships – has only bettered itself since last year.
In just their fourth year competing in cross country the CIS, the Spartans name is certainly out there, but this year, the much talked about potential looks primed to be realized.