Thunderbirds sweep individual, team titles at Sundodger Invitational

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Jack Williams 2012 NAIA Cross Country Championships

Seattle, WA – A pair of individual victories helped lead the UBC Thunderbirds to both team titles in the men and women’s open races in its cross country season opener at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle, Washington. Jack Williams took the men’s 8km race in 24:34 while Maria Bernard took the women’s 6km race in 20:37, each with record-breaking runs as the two produced the fastest times ever run by T-Birds in their respective races in Seattle.
 
With the team victory, the women have now won in consecutive years at the Sundodger Invitational as well as winning three out of the past four editions of the race, posting 44 points in 2014. With a team score of 36 points, the men’s squad has had similar success now winning two out of the past three editions of the open race at the University of Washington’s home course.
 
Both teams had some stellar running from rookie Thunderbirds including Sandra Kilmartin and Madelyn Brunt on the women’s side, who placed third and fourth on the team, respectively. On the men’s side Evan Elder was the third scoring Thunderbird in his debut placing seventh overall in a time just shy of 25 minutes, clocking in at 25:03. His time is the fastest ever by a Thunderbird in his Sundodger debut and ranks him fifth all-time.
 
To go along with strong rookie performances, the fourth-year pool of athletes had equally impressive races and helped complete the team scoring. On the women’s side, this included Amelie de Fenoyl who placed fourth overall in a time of 21:39 and Kirsten Lee, who placed 20th in a time of 22:49. On the men’s side Will Cliff was the second scoring Thunderbird running 25 minutes flat while Bilal Shamsi and Matt Galea produced great races running 25:12 and 25:36, for 10th and 18th overall, respectively,
 
“With both teams winning and Maria and Jack placing first overall individually, we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season, especially against some strong competition from down south as well as Canadian competition in SFU,” remarked head coach Marek Jedrzejek following Saturday morning’s race.
 
The team now sets its sights on the Charles Bowles Invitational in two weeks time, which will be taking place in Salem, Oregon hosted by Willamette University. 

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