GULF SHORES, Ala. – For the first time in UBC Thunderbirds history, both the men’s and women’s teams are the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field national champions.
The men’s team amassed an impressive championship total of 80 points, 27 ahead of runners-up William Carey, for UBC’s second men’s NAIA title in the last three years.
UBC’s women’s team was in a battle down to the wire against Southern-New Orleans with the T-Birds coming out on top by three points, thanks to a pair of clutch performances in the 5000 metre final. It’s the first NAIA championship for the T-Bird women following a second place finish in 2018.
With Southern-New Orleans pushing UBC as Saturday afternoon progressed, eventually taking the overall points lead, the ‘Birds responded in the women’s 5000 metre final, taking the lead back for good at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium. Enid Au’s (Vancouver) second place finish gave UBC a huge eight points while Sarah MacArthur (Calgary) finished fourth for another five points, more than enough to secure the historic victory. Au crossed the line in 17:28.88 while MacArthur wasn’t far behind in 17.33.75.
The men had already clinched their second NAIA title in team history earlier in the afternoon but the 5000 metre final put an exclamation mark on it when Kieran Lumb (Vancouver) finished as champion in a time of 14:29.94. Joining Lumb on the podium was sophomore Tyler Dozzi (Terrace, B.C.) who crossed the line in seventh.
One of the most impressive Thunderbird performances on the final day of the meet came from freshman Trinity Hansma (Armstrong, B.C.) who set an outdoor personal best in women’s high jump when she cleared 1.73 metres to take the silver medal while earning a huge eight points for the team’s total.
Senior Nicola Symonds (Calgary) had herself a tremendous final day of her last meet as a Thunderbird, placing second in both the women’s 800 and 1500 metre. Symonds ran a 4:29.81 in the 1500 earlier in the afternoon and was back on the track less than two hours later for the 800 where she crossed the line with a time of 2:11.24.
Junior Mikayla Tinkham (Maple Ridge, B.C.) was just as busy in the extreme heat which reached as high as 38 degrees Celsius with the humidex. The Maple Ridge native finished the 1500 in 4:29.81, good for fourth place. Tinkham also made All-American status in the 800 when she crossed in third in 2:11.24. Sophomore
Madelyn Huston (Maple Ridge, B.C.) joined her fellow ‘Birds on the podium with a seventh place finish in the 800 metre final.
On the men’s side, Rhys Kramer (Calgary) had a late push to edge in front in the 1500 metre final with a time of 3:54.13, capturing first place and earning himself national champion status. Teammate Kieran Lumb finished with the bronze in 3:54.52 and sophomore Tanner Geary (Chilliwack, B.C.) made the podium with an eighth place time of 3:57.50.
While the ‘Birds were awarded their historic championship trophies, UBC head coach Laurier Primeau was named NAIA Coach of the Year for both the men’s and women’s teams. Finishing his fourth season at the helm, Primeau has now made it three straight years of top five finishes for both squads.