By Tim Huebsch
Sept 20,2014(ISN) – VANCOUVER – A pair of individual victories helped lead the UBC Thunderbirds to both team titles in the men and women’s open races at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle.
The event was the season opener for both UBC cross country teams.
Jack Williams took the men’s 8-kilometre race in 24:34 while Maria Bernard took the women’s 6-km 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 two consecutive years at the Sundodger Invitational as well as in three out of the past four editions, posting 44 points in 2014. With a team score of 36 points, the men’s squad has had similar success, now claiming the top prize in two 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 of 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 pool of fourth-year pool 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, Ore., hosted by Willamette University.