Edith Hooper – communications (Athletics Canada)
January 27, 2013, OTTAWA – Athletics Canada’s entry won three team titles today at the 2013 North America Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country Championships in Mandeville, Jamaica. The junior women, junior men, and senior women’s teams were all crowned 2013 NACAC champions.
Individually Canadian athletes registered six top three performances. Cameron Levins of Black Creek, B.C., and Kelly Wiebe of Regina, Sask., in the senior men’s 8-kilometre race, Natasha Fraser of Port Moody, B.C., and Rachel Cliff of Vancouver, B.C., in the senior women’s 6-kilometre race, Madeline Yungblut of Wroxeter, Ont., and Gabriela Stafford ofToronto, Ont., in the junior women’s 4-kilometre race.
“It was a terrific day for the Canadian team here in Mandeville, Jamaica; we could not be more thrilled. I’m especially pleased for our senior women, notably Natasha (Fraser) and Rachel (Cliff), who completely rocked the race,” said team head coach Dave Christiani. He adds, “All of our entries made us proud today. The NACAC Championships are always a valuable experience for juniors leading up to the World Champs.”
In an extremely tight race the senior men’s team finished second with 22 points behind the United States who took positions 1-4-6 and 7 for a total of 18 points for the victory. The senior men were led by Cameron Levins who crossed the line in second in 24:27 just ahead of Kelly Wiebe who was third in 25:04. Vancouver, B.C.’s Chris Winter crossed the finish line in 25:39 for eighth and Regina, Sask.’s Simon Bairu took ninth with 25:42.
The women’s senior team (18 points) won with a significant lead over the second place United States (26 points). Natasha Fraser and Rachel Cliff finished one-two in 21:07 and 21:35 respectively. “I am so happy to be part of the winning Canadian team; such an amazing experience”, says an excited Fraser.
Canada took the junior men’s title with 31 points over the United States who had a team total of 35. Ryan Sleiman of Kingsville, Ont., was the top Canadian finisher in fourth with 19:18. On his heels was Troy Smith of Grimsby, Ont., in fifth in 19:19.
The first race of the day was the junior women’s 4-kilometre race. Team Canada won with 17 points ahead of the United States who were second with 21. Leading the way for the Canadian junior women was Madeline Yungblut who was second in 14:18. “It was a challenging course but overall it felt really good.” Yungblut adds,” It was an awesome experience and we worked really well as a team”. Right behind her were a duo of Torontonians, Gabriela Stafford finished in third in 14:25 while Madeline McDonald was fourth in 14:28.
For the complete results visit: www.athletics.ca/page.asp?id=679.