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WINNIPEG, Manitoba
– Trinity Western’s Emma Nuttall (Edinburgh, Scotland) earned the Spartans first CIS national championship gold medal since 2002 as she claimed top spot in the high jump while the Spartans Fiona Benson (Dawson Creek, B.C.) captured a bronze in the 1500m event on the final day of competition at the Max Bell Fieldhouse on the University of Manitoba campus.

Full Results:

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The first-year Nuttall cleared a season’s best and Spartans record 1.82m – bettering her previous season’s best of 1.81m – as she improved on the silver medal she earned at the Canada West championships two weeks ago. The last Spartans athlete to earn a gold medal at the national championships was Laura Wilson who won the 60m dash in 2002, although the Trinity Western’s track and field team just returned to the varsity level two years ago after it had dissolved in 2003.

Nuttall entered the competition attempting 1.70m and cleared it on her first try. She passed at 1.73m and then again cleared both 1.76m and 1.79m on her first attempts. At 1.82m, she missed her first attempt but then cleared it on her second attempt. Nuttall then went for a personal best 1.85m – which would have bettered her PB of 1.83m – but on three tries, was unable to earn a clearance.

For her efforts, Nuttall was given honourable mention for Female Athlete of the Meet.

“I was a little shaky coming in after getting silver at Canada West, so o get gold here, I’m just so pleased,” Nuttall said. “It’s the first time I felt spring in my jump this year and everything fell into place.”

While Nuttall was representing Trinity Western well in the field, the second-year Benson was impressing on the track. Benson, who came into the event ranked fourth amongst CIS competitors, earned a third place finish with a personal best and Spartans record time of 4:29.35. And she wasn’t far off second as, battling with McMaster’s Katie Anderson, she missed out on a silver medal by just 0.11.

“I thought it was a pretty solid race,” Benson said. “I’m still getting used to the whole racing dynamic and running with that many girls. There’s a learning curve but I’m pretty happy with how it went.”

For both Nuttall and Benson, it was their first appearances at the CIS national championships.

The gold and bronze medals capped off an impressive competition for the Spartans at the national championships as on Friday first-year Calum Innes posted a personal best and Spartans record 8.19 in finishing fourth in the 60m hurdles and first-year Hazel Ross improved on a 12th place pre-competition ranking to finish ninth in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.94 while on Thursday first-year Jake Powrie finished fifth – although he was tied for fourth but dropped on a tiebreaker – in the pentathlon with a personal best and Spartans record 3650 points.

“It was a highly unusual event in that all of our athletes exceeded expectations,” said Spartans coach Laurier Primeau. “I feel blessed to be working with these kids because I feel they make me look a lot better than I am. It was a really good meet for us.

“One of the ways we judge our performances is, ‘Can you illicit the best performance of the season at the most important competition of the season?’ and all five of our athletes did that.”