trinity western_spartans1

December 1, 2012, LANGLEY, BC (ISN) – Trinity Western third-year runner Fiona Benson (Dawson Creek, B.C.) was named the 2012 BC Athletics Senior Female Cross Country Runner of the Year while first-year Spartan Joel De Schiffart (Nanaimo, B.C.) was named the Junior Male Road Runner of the Year when the award recipients were announced earlier this year.

Benson and De Schiffart will be recognized Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Annual Awards Banquet held at the Hilton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond, B.C.

“It is always an honor to receive an award that recognizes outstanding achievement and the many hours of work that Fiona and Joel have put in, but what makes this recognition significant is that it is being bestowed by the wider governing body,” said Spartans coach Laurier Primeau. “Both Fiona’s and Joel’s running performances are bearing fruit in many ways right now. 

“For Joel, it is also important to recognize his high school coach Al Johnston, who is the person responsible for his road running prowess.  We have been blessed to inherit such great athletes, and great people, here at Trinity Western.”

Benson recently completed the most impressive individual season in Spartans history. In just her second year running at the CIS level – after transferring to TWU for the fall of 2011 following one year a Grande Prairie Regional College – Benson earned both Canada West Female Athlete of the Year and CIS First Team All-Canadian honours after finishing first amongst Canada West runners and fifth overall at the CIS national championships.

Benson finished the five kilometre race in 17:35 and, with that time, became just the second Spartans cross country athlete ever to be named an All-Canadian and the first to be named a First Team All-Canadian. Janine Moffet was the last Spartans cross country runner to be named an All-Canadians as she earned Second Team honours with an eighth place finish in 2000.

Two weeks after her effort at the national championships, Benson put together another strong performance at the Canadian Cross Country Championships where she finished sixth amongst Canadians and eighth overall in the senior women’s race with a time of 24:07 over seven kilometres. With the sixth place finish, it is anticipated that she will be named to Canada’s senior national cross country team that will compete at the 2013 NACAC (North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association) Championships in Jamaica Jan. 25 and possibly at the 2013 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland March 24.

In preparatory race for the CIS national championships, Benson also finished third at the B.C. Provincial Championships with a time of 22:36 over six kilometres.

De Schiffart put together a strong year both on the road and on the trails.

Prior to coming to TWU, De Schiffart competed in four events in the Island Road Race Series, finishing first in the Sooke River 10K with a time of 33:28 (Apr. 15), fifth in the Cobble Hill 10K with a time of 33:16 (Feb. 19), 15th in the Bazan Bay 5K with a time of 15:38 (Mar. 4) and 16th in the Harriers Pioneer 8K with a time of 27:17 (Jan. 8).

On the trails with TWU, De Schiffart was the Spartans second fastest runner at the CIS national championships as he finished 12th in Canada West and 45th overall with a time of 33:12 over the 10 kilometre course. With his result, De Schiffart earned Canada West Rookie of the Year honours and was named a Canada West Second Team All-Star.

Most recently, De Schiffart finished 13th in the junior men’s category at the Canadian national championships with a time of 25:22 over eight kilometres.

De Schiffart was also the top finishing B.C. junior male at this year’s provincial championships as he finished the seven kilometre race in 22:46. Winnipeg product and TWU runner Levi Neufeld edged De Schiffart at the line for top spot, while also finishing with a time of 22:46.