Spartans Legitimate Contenders at CIS Track & Field Nationals

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LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) 
– The Trinity Western men’s and women’s track and field teams will be competing in the CIS national championships for the first time since 2003 this weekend when the participate in the season-ending event in Winnipeg, which is hosted by the University of Manitoba at the Max Bell Fieldhouse Mar. 8-10.

The Spartans, who are in their second year back in the university fold after the program was dissolved in 2003, will have five athletes competing at nationals this year including high jumper Emma Nuttall, hurdlers Calum Innes and Hazel Ross, 1500m runner Fiona Benson and pentathlete Jake Powrie.

While Trinity Western is only in its second season, the Spartans, who didn’t have anyone qualify for the national championships last year, will certainly have some legitimate medal threats once the competition begins Thursday.

Led by Nuttall, who is the top-ranked high jumper going into the national championships, Innes, who is the fourth-ranked hurdler, and Benson, who is the fourth-ranked runner in the 1500m event, Trinity Western is on track for a potential medal haul. Add to the aforementioned trio both Powrie, who is ranked seventh in the CIS in pentathlon and Ross, who is ranked 14th in the 60m hurdles and Trinity Western has a formidable quintet heading to Winnipeg.

TRINITY WESTERN TRACK AND FIELD TEAM RESULTS

Men

2011-12 Canada West Championship: 7th
2010-11 CIS Championship: N/A
Last CW title: None
Last CIS title: None

Women
2011-12 Canada West Championship: 7th
2010-11 CIS Championship: N/A
Last CW title: None

ATHLETES COMPETING

EMMA NUTTALL – High Jump – Ranked 1st in CIS (1.81m) – PB: 1.83m (Scottish Senior Championships – Feb. 26, 2011)

Nuttall is in her first year with Trinity Western after she moved from Scotland to join former Scotland Athletics head coach Laurier Primeau at Trinity Western this past fall. The 6-foot Edinburgh native has a personal best clearance of 1.83m, doing so in 2011 en route to winning the Scottish Senior Championships. With Trinity Western, Nuttall has a season’s best 1.81m jump, which she cleared while taking top spot at the University of Washington Indoor Preview. Nuttall, who is studying history, tied for first at the Canada West Championships, clearing 1.79m, but settled for the silver medal after a countback. She was given honourable mention for Canada West Female Rookie of the Year and Female Field Event Athlete of the Year. Nuttall also possesses a share of her country’s native record, with Jayne Barnetson, at 1.83m.

CALUM INNES – 60m Hurdles – Ranked 4th in CIS (8.22) – PB: 8.22 (Canada West Championships – Feb. 24, 2012 and University of Washington Preview – Jan. 14, 2012)

Innes is in his first year at Trinity Western after he joined the Spartans after moving from Bearsden Glasgow, Scotland. The 5-foot-11 sprinter, who is studying human kinetics, has been impressive on the track this year as he has twice posted a personal best of 8.22 in the 60m hurdles, doing so at the Canada West Championships en route to winning the gold medal and the University of Washington Indoor Preview. Innes was given Canada West honourable mention for Male Rookie of the Year and Male Track Athlete of the Year.

FIONA BENSON – 1500m – Ranked 4th in CIS (4:27.76) – PB: 4:27.76 (Flotrack Husky Classic – Feb. 11, 2012)

Benson was the Spartans big winner at the Canada West Championships as she was the lone Trinity Western athlete to capture two medals – gold in the 3000m with a time of 4:34.09 and silver in the 100m with a time of 2:53.48. The second-year Benson, who is studying human kinetics, arrived at Trinity Western last fall after attending Grande Prairie Regional College, where she won gold at the 2010 CCAA Cross Country Championships and was a CCAA Academic All-Canadian. Benson was given Canada West honourable mention for the Female Community Service Student-Athlete of the Year and Female Track Athlete of the Year.

JAKE POWRIE – Pentathlon – Ranked 7th in CIS (3582 points) – PB: 3581 points (Canada West Championships – Feb. 24, 2012)

Powrie is in his first year at Trinity Western and enters the men’s pentathlon at the national championships as the seventh ranked athlete in the CIS and, after winning a bronze medal at the conference championships, third in Canada West. Powrie, who is studying philosophy, set a Spartans record at the Canada West championships as he posted a personal best score of 3581 points. The 6-foot-4 graduate of St. George’s School, was a B.C. High School Provincial Championships bronze medalist in both the decathlon and 400m hurdles in his senior year.

HAZEL ROSS – 60m Hurdles – Ranked 14th in CIS (8.90) – PB: 8.90 (Canada West Championships – Feb. 24, 2012)

Ross, is in her first year at the university level and, like Innes and Nuttall, joined the Spartans this past fall from Scotland. But while she’s only in her first season in Canada, she has already proven herself to be amongst the best in Canada West in the 60m hurdles. Ross, who is studying human kinetics, posted a personal best indoor time of 8.90 at the Canada West championships as she finished fourth.

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