UBC track jet sets to California


Vancouver, BC – The UBC Thunderbirds track and field team is set to embark on its annual California trip this week to compete in a trio of competitions over a three-day span beginning Thursday. Seven UBC athletes are set to compete at the Mt. Sac Relays on Thursday and Friday, in addition to the Bryan Clay Invitational and Beach Invitational being host to the 27-athlete team set to represent the Thunderbirds.
Mt. Sac Relays – Hilmer Lodge Stadium
The Mt. Sac Relays has historically been a distance-dominated event, so it comes as no surprise that all seven confirmed UBC athletes are in events 800m or further. Historic Hilmer Lodge Stadium located at Mount San Antonio College (Mt. Sac) will act as host for the annual track and field festival, known as one of the most competitive meets in North America.   
Maria Bernard looks to display some Canadian magic in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, as the Calgary, AB native looks to threaten her 9:55.69 lifetime best. The Marilyn Pomfret Trophy winner as UBC’s Female Athlete of the Year, Bernard is the defending NAIA Champion in the steeplechase discipline, and is eligible for the World University Games after hitting standard in the event at the UBC Invitational. The women’s invitational section goes off at 7:10 p.m. on Friday evening.
Continuing the trend in the steeplechase, Justin Kent and John Gay are slated to toe the line in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, with sections split across Thursday and Friday. Kent is confirmed in the Invitational B section, going off at 7:22 p.m. on Friday, while Gay is the lone Thunderbird in action on Thursday as section C is set for 6 p.m. The top time in the NAIA this season in the steeplechase event is 8:47.60.
Both Jack Williams and Kirsten Lee are featured in the 1500m on Friday, with the women’s section beginning at 11:00 a.m., and the men’s at 11:45 a.m. Williams will be making his season debut, while Lee already has the national qualifying standard and will eye her 4:35.88 lifetime best, a mark set last season at this very meet.
In the women’s 800m, a 2:30 p.m. gun time on Friday is set for the Open portion of the event in which Devan Wiebe is slotted. The fourth-year senior and defending NAIA champion in the two-lap sprint will be making her season debut in the individual event and boasts a 2:05.23 lifetime best.
Under the Friday night lights, Amelie de Fenoyl is set to run in section C of the women’s open 5000m at 10:43 p.m. A fourth-year senior, de Fenoyl has gone three for three in attaining qualifying marks this season, earning NAIA leading times in the 10000m, half-marathon, and the fourth-leading time in the 5000m, all NAIA ‘A’ standards.
Bryan Clay Invitational
Over at Azusa Pacific University, 20 athletes will represent UBC on Friday at Cougar Athletic Stadium, where the competition will be ongoing in unison with the Mt. Sac Relays. The Bryan Clay Invitational is expected to be extremely deep with 2400 registered competitors, which bodes well for UBC athletes vying for national qualifying marks.
Notables in the sprint events include Stephen Abosi in the men’s 100m and 200m as well as Katherine Tourigny and Sarah Korpach in the women’s 400m hurdles. Abosi will need to improve on his personal best in the 100m (10.79s) if he has any shot at qualifying for NAIA nationals (NAIA B: 10.74s).
In the field, the duo of Connor Smith and Christine Ausman are set to compete in the javelin, both of who have already surpassed the NAIA ‘A’ standard this season. Smith’s season and lifetime best of 62.35 metres has him currently ranked second in the NAIA, after achieving that mark at the UBC Open on March 28.
Beach Invitational
With both the Bryan Clay Invitational and Mt. Sac Relays wrapping up on Friday, the majority of the team will finish the weekend at the Beach Invitational in Norwalk, California on Saturday. The meet, located at Cerritos College’s Falcon Stadium, begins with the men’s 3000m steeplechase, featuring Gay, and concludes with the men’s 5000m at 7:15 p.m., which includes Will Cliff, Evan Elder and Jesse Hooton.