VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds won the 62nd men’s and 38th women’s NAIA cross country titles today at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash.
“There are so many great stories out of today’s UBC cross country narrative,” said UBC head Laurier Primeau. “I know our endurance squad is incredibly appreciative of coaches Chris Johnson and Norm Tinkham, who run our endurance programs as volunteers. Their dedication and true concern for the athletes under their tutelage is felt by all who have the privilege to call them ‘coach.'”
It is the first-ever NAIA banner for the men’s team, which had all scoring runners place in the top 20, including top-five finishers Kieran Lumb and John Gay. Lumb, who finished 26th at the 2016 national championships, took third place with a time of 24:27, while Gay finished fourth in 24:41 – one spot better than his 2016 result.
With 41 points, the T-Birds were well ahead of the next closest school, Columbia (Mo.), which had 168. UBC’s score is also the best team total since Life (Ga.) tallied 41 points at the 1998 national meet. The Thunderbirds add the NAIA banner to the U SPORTS title they won in 1993. No school has earned cross country team titles in both the NAIA and U SPORTS.
Overall, the Thunderbirds ran a combined 8-kilometer time of 2:04:17 – an average of 24:52 per runner.
Jesse Hooton was ninth (24:50), junior Max Trummer was 17th with a time of 25:07, while rookie Tyler Dozzi was the final scoring runner for UBC in 19th (25:12). Sophomore Michael Milic was 81st (26:07), and freshman Nicolas Tralli was three spots back in 84th (26:09).
“In a team contest every athlete has an important role and our runners executed perfectly today,” said Primeau. “Two underclassmen, Kieran Lumb and Nicola Symonds, respectively, came through with bronze medals. Our seniors did a great job of keeping the squad focused but relaxed. Leadership from Nicole Lacis, John Gay and Jesse Hooton proved invaluable. Rookies stepped up with Tyler Dozzi and Maddy Huston rounding out our top 5. Most improved were Max Trummer, who was 125th last year and 17th today, and Enid Au, who didn’t make the National meet in 2016 and placed 33rd in a field of over 300.”
The UBC women’s program claimed its fifth national title in the last six seasons. The team, which claimed banners in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016, scored 109 points, just squeaking by Wayland Baptist (Texas) (125), and Oklahoma City (137).
Nicola Symonds, who took 14th at last year’s national championships, paced British Columbia with a third-place finish in a time of 17:26. Two other Thunderbirds earned All-America honours – Madelyn Brunt (11th – 17:53) and Enid Au (27th – 18:09).
Senior Nicole Lacis finished in 39th with a time of 18:24. Rookie Madelyn Huston was UBC’s final scoring runner, completing the race in 18:24 and in 41st place. Fellow first-year competitor Jamie Hennessey was 123rd (19:14), and Alison Pouw was 129th (19:18).
Overall, UBC ran a combined 5-kilometer time of 1:30:16 – an average of 18:04 per runner. With the title, the Thunderbirds now own the second-most team national titles in NAIA women’s cross country history.
HOMETOWNS OF UBC ATHLETES
Nicola Symonds (Calgary)
Madelyn Brunt (Victoria, B.C.)
Enid Au (Vancouver)
Nicole Lacis (White Rock, B.C.)
Madelyn Huston (Maple Ridge, B.C.)
Jamie Hennessey (Maple Ridge, B.C.)
Alison Pouw (Ottawa)
John Gay (Kelowna, B.C.)
Kieran Lumb (Vancouver)
Jesse Hooton (North Vancouver)
Max Trummer (Vancouver)
Tyler Dozzi (Terrace, B.C.)
Michael Milic (Delta, B.C.)
Nicolas Tralli (Toronto)