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Mark Janzen

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western cross country and track & field teams took a major step forward Thursday with the official signing of Nanaimo, B.C.’s Joel De Schiffart, who won bronze medals in both the 2011 B.C. High School Cross Country Provincial Championships and in the 2000m steeplechase at the 2011 B.C. High School Track and Field Championships.

De Schiffart’s third place finish at the cross country provincials saw him finish the 6.5 kilometre course in 23:49.35 and cross the line less than 13 seconds behind the winner. In his bronze medal winning steeplechase effort he, as a Grade 11 student, finished with a time of 6:11.39 and was less than five seconds behind the winner.

He was also 44th at the 2011 Canadian Junior Cross Country Championships, finishing the eight kilometre race in 28:26 and 13th at the Canadian Junior Track and Field Championships in the 3000m steeplechase with a personal best time of 9:47.86.

To go along with his 3000m steeplechase personal best, De Schiffart also has personal best times of 6:08.97 in the 2000m steeplechase and 9:00.19 in the 3000m.

“The news of Joel’s signing with Trinity Western University is a great Christmas gift to our cross country and track and field programs,” said Spartans coach Laurier Primeau. “As a medalist at the BC High Schools, both as a harrier and a steeplechaser, we know we are getting a versatile young athlete. More importantly, we are looking forward to a great cultural fit to our team. Joel understands that while running may be a big part of his life, it is not the only part. Fostering the academic and spiritual aspects of his life is equally as important, and it is with this mindset that we are excited to welcome him to the Spartan family.”

The 5-foot-8, Nanaimo Christian student, who also trains with the Nanaimo Track and Field Club, was the BC Athletics 2011 Youth Cross Country Runner of the Year as he finished fourth in the junior men’s seven kilometre race – one in which Trinity Western’s Blair Johnston finished first – with a time of 24:10.3.

This past year, De Schiffart was part of both the 2011 BC Junior Track and Field team and the 2011 BC Junior Cross Country team. He has also been named the Nanaimo Track and Field Club’s Outstanding Off-Track Male each year from 2007 to 2011 as well as the Nanaimo Track and Field Club’s Outstanding Youth Male in 2011.

“I look forward to attending Trinity Western because there is a great sense of community and I like its small class sizes,” said De Schiffart, who plans to study human kinetics. “Trinity Western’s running program is relatively new and I’m excited to be a part of it. I believe that Trinity Western will challenge me to develop the talents I have and how I can further use them.”

De Schiffart will join former Nanaimo Track and Field Club teammates Dylan Kelso and Katelynn Ramage at Trinity Western.