Track team weathers storm

May 16, 2002, vol. 24, no. 2
By Marianne Meadahl

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While the unusually cold spring weather has been hard on the local flora and fauna, consider the poor athlete.

Members of SFU's track and field team have been struggling through the wet and windy season in a bid to qualify for the championships in Olathe, Kansas May 23-25.

Despite the obstacle, the small but strong contingent is on its way. “This has been the hardest year ever to prepare for competition, but despite the horrible weather, we've had some awesome performances,” says coach Brit Townsend, noting a number of those on the 15-member team have recently recorded personal bests. “We've had everything from hail to rain and wind, but the team has come through.”

While the team shone through the bad weather, Clan athletes did their best in sunny California, qualifying 11 athletes during meets in Pomona and Mount San Antonio College (MSAC) earlier this spring.

“Every one of our athletes is in a strong position to do extremely well at the nationals,” says Townsend. “Each of our female athletes has the chance at becoming an All-American.”

Among them is flying freshman Emilie Mondor (above). In April, the Quebec native ran her personal best in the 5,000-metre race at the MSAC relays, completing it with the second fastest time run by a Canadian this year. She also won the 1,500 metre invitational race held in Eugene, Oregon, with the fifth fastest time run this year by a Canadian.

Others to watch are Carlene Daniel in the 1500 metre, Luci Mcgregor in the 800 metre and freshman Caroline Hay in the hammer and discus.
On the men's side, freshman Graham Wells, ranked second in the1500 metre, recently shaved six seconds off his personal best. Townsend says the mens' 4X400 relay team has been consistently gaining in strength with Iain Mclellan leading the team of Neal Hurtubise, Chad Van Tongeren and Graeme Pitches. Mclellan is also looking for a great finish in the 400 metre to end his career at SFU.

On the field, hammer thrower Jennifer Padrinao is a definite top place contender. Currently ranked number one, she has been improving with every meet.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics track and field championships were hosted by SFU in Abbotsford for the past two years. While the shift south of the border promises warmer weather, it could be extremely hot in Kansas. “It gets up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Townsend. “That could make things difficult.”

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