VANCOUVER – UBC Thunderbirds Maria Bernard and Joy Spear Chief-Morris were named to Athletics Canada’s team for the 2014 NACAC Under-23 Championship Aug. 8-10 in Kamloops, B.C. Former Thunderbird Ben Thorne was also named to the team. They are three of the 35 athletes named to this year’s team.

Bernard, a Calgarian who was the 2014 NAIA Champion in the 3000-metre steeplechase, is coming off a fifth-place finish at this past weekend’s Canadian Senior Track and Field Championships. She previously represented Canada at the World Junior Track and Field Championships and World Cross Country Championships.

From Lethbridge, Alta., Spear Chief-Morris had a breakout season in 2014, winning a silver medal in the 100m at the 2014 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She also finished sixth in the 200m at the NAIA’s. At this year’s Canadian Senior Track and Field Championships Spear Chief-Morris finished 10th in the 100m and 11th in the 200m. She will be part of Canada’s 4x100m relay team at the NACAC Championship in August.

Thorne, a former NAIA Champion in race walk, finished second in the 20km race walk at last weekend’s Canadian Senior Track and Field Championships. Earlier this year he was part of the Race Walk World Cup team that placed fourth. Last summer, the Kitimat, B.C. native represented Canada at the World Championships placing 20th in the 20 km event. 

“We selected our best eligible athletes to compete against one of the strongest regions within the IAAF,” said Carla Nicholls, head coach for the Canadian NACAC under-23 team. “The experience is intended to cultivate sustainable high performance success and prepare athletes for future international events, including World Championships and Olympic Games.”

NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association) last held an under-23 championship back in 2012. Canada won 18 medals: four gold, six silver and eight bronze.

For more information on the event, click here.