T-Birds set to host UBC Invitational on 5 days rest


Vancouver, BC – This Friday’s UBC Invitational will mark a quick turnaround for the UBC Track and Field team as the team hosts the UBC invitational to kickoff Easter Weekend. The Thunderbirds will look to add to its team total of 15 NAIA standards, 13 of which were achieved last weekend at the UBC Open, in its second home meet in as many weeks on April 3.
Entering this weekend, a total of four athletes lead the NAIA in their respective disciplines, including Maria Bernard, Ben Thorne, Amelie de Fenoyl, and Will Cliff. Cumulatively, 12 standards were achieved on the first day of the UBC Open last weekend, while Michael Przystupa snuck under the radar achieving a ‘B’ standard on the second day of competition scoring 5371 points in the men’s decathlon.
Action kicks off at 1 p.m. on Good Friday, with the women’s 100m set to commence the meet, while the women and men’s 10000m events will bring the meet to a close at 4:35 p.m., and 5:10 p.m., respectively. All events will take place at the Rashpal Dhillon Oval, located on the southeast corner of Thunderbird Park.
In the first of the meet’s final two events, de Fenoyl, the NAIA silver medalist, will look to target her personal best of 36:01.97, and add a third NAIA ‘A’ standard to her ledger after eclipsing marks in both the 5000m and the half-marathon.
On the men’s side, 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships qualifier Jesse Hooton will look to replicate performances from his rookie season, where he achieved the NAIA ‘B’ standard thanks to a 31:24.92 clocking. Friday will mark Hooton’s debut at the 10000m this season, a week after running the 5000m at the UBC Open. 2014 NAIA All-American Evan Elder will join Cliff and Hooton competing the trio of T-Birds competing in the event.
Just over a year removed from her debut in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Maria Bernard will look to build on a strong 5000m personal best performance last weekend running in the steeplechase event this Friday. Now considered one her marquee events, Bernard burst onto the steeplechase scene by running 10:02.62 on March 30, 2014, which at the time ranked her as the sixth fastest Canadian all-time. The Calgary, AB native improved on that mark later in the 2014 season running 9:55.69, en route to a silver medal at the North American, Central American, and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 Championships.
Sarah Korpach will look to build on her personal best performance from last weekend in the 400m hurdles, in which she eclipsed the NAIA ‘B’ standard by running 63.29 seconds, once again competing in the event on Friday.
A particularly notable event should be be the men’s 110m hurdles, which features Mihailo Stefanovic making his T-Birds debut. A product of New Westminster, BC Stefanovic holds a personal best time of 13.98 seconds in the event, which at the time (2013) was a BC Youth Record. The winning time in the men’s 110m hurdles at the 2014 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships was 13.91 seconds.
The metric mile currently has five UBC athletes registered, and should prove to be one of the more competitive races of the afternoon. Justin Kent headlines the field and will look to add another NAIA standard to his repertoire after running a smooth 14:27.74 last Saturday, which ranks him third overall in the NAIA.
In the field events, Connor Smith and Christine Ausman look to build on their respective NAIA ‘A’ standards in the Javelin on Friday. Smith had a toss of 62.35 metes while Ausman threw for 42.90 metres, which ranks them second and third, respectively, in the NAIA.
Not only will athletes vie for national standards in their respective events, but also the Mt. Sac Relays in mid-April. The top 21 athletes on the team, based on their year-to-date performances, will earn a spot on the travelling squad, and will be joined by three coaches on the California trip.