By Tim Huebsch (Sports Information Assistant)
January 18, 2014, SEATTLE (ISN) – The UBC Thunderbirds track and field team was up bright and early Saturday morning travelling to Seattle for the University of Washington Indoor Preview, the team’s first meet of the 2014 season.
Luc Bruchet, who set a new UBC record as well as bettering the previous meet record at the Dempsey Indoor Centre, highlighted the team’s performances on Saturday.
The final event of the evening for UBC turned out to be the most memorable. Bruchet won the top section of the men’s 3,000 metres in a blistering time of 7:54.57 breaking not only the 18-year-old UBC record but also the meet record (formerly 7:54.88 by Irish Olympian Alistair Cragg), edging out Minnesota’s first four-minute miler and Nike athlete Ben Blankenship in the process. Bruchet bettered the former school record of 7:59.29 by five seconds, which was set in 1996 by one of the program’s most decorated athletes, Jeff Schiebler, a former Canadian Olympian who holds multiple Canadian distance records. Interestingly, Bruchet’s time puts him second in the world as of January 18 per the IAAF website.
Bruchet joins Olympian Michael Mason as the two meet records currently held by UBC athletes, as Mason set the high jump record of 2.30m back in 2008. Bruchet currently sits only four seconds back of the IAAF World Indoor Championship standard of 7:50.00 to be held in Sopot, Poland. Bruchet would have to run the standard prior to February 24 with a meet in Boston in mid-February possibly in the cards.
The majority of UBC athletes competed earlier in the day with a trio of athletes kicking off the action in the mile. Travis Fraser was the fastest of the three Thunderbirds as the sophomore ran to a time 4:28.14, good for eighth in his heat. Michael Bourgeois and Jesse Hooton ran similar marks as they came through in 4:29.84, and 4:31.21, respectively.
Devin Rajala opened up the year by nearly breaking the 2-minute barrier, crossing the line in 2:00.24. In his debut as a Thunderbird, Lukas Jarron placed second in his section in the 600m with a time of 1:22.78, a solid opener for the 800m specialist.
In an event that saw the meet record eclipsed by eventual winner Aaron Brown, UBC’s Stephen Abosi ran a 7.04 in the 60m, which was good for second in his preliminary heat.
UBC was well represented in the women’s 3km, as Maria Bernard ran a personal best time of 9:35.85, which was good for fifth place overall in her section. Two of the four athletes who bettered Bernard were professional athletes in the United States as the T-Bird mixed it up with some of the best collegiate athletes in the Northwest.
Kirsten Lee was the lone UBC athlete in the mile, as she covered the 1,609m distance in 5:11.88. Tamara Harris ran to third place in the second section of the women’s 600m as she ran 1:37.67.
Joy Spear Chief-Morris was the class of the UBC sprint squad as she ran to a 7.60 mark in the women’s 60m dash, while doubling up for a 25.55 clocking in the 200m. Julia Hawkins was the sole UBC athlete competing in the field as she jumped to a 4.76m mark in the long jump
Next up on the track for the Thunderbirds will be the Vancouver Sun Jerome Indoor Games on February 1 at the Richmond Oval.