Clan wins six GNAC championships
By Steve Frost
Simon Fraser University athletes turned in personal best times and top performances when it mattered most, winning six conference titles at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Indoor Track and Field Championships that concluded Feb. 20 in Idaho.
The Clan won titles in both 800-metres races, the men’s 200 metres and women’s 4x400 metres relay on Feb.20. They also won championships in the men’s long jump and women’s distance medley relay on Feb. 19.
In all, Simon Fraser had three repeat champions.
Joel Webster repeated in the 400 meters with a GNAC record of 47.80 seconds, surpassing the mark of 48.27 set by Simon Fraser’s Andrew Boss in 2011. Webster’s time is the 10th fastest in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) D2 this year.
Defending 800-meters champion Cameron Proceviat of Simon Fraser upset the top seed to win his second consecutive conference title. Proceviat ran a closely contested tactical race slower than his qualifying time on Friday but fast enough to edge Badane Sultessa of Western Oregon at the finish, 1:55.86 to 1:55.95.
On Feb. 19, the Clan’s Vladislav Tsygankov repeated in the long jump with a GNAC record of 24 feet, 2.5 inches.
“I’m so happy for our athletes because they gave everything they had and battled so well and we ended up winning some really close races,” says Clan head coach Brit Townsend. “They had amazing spirit throughout the competition and it will likely be the most athletes we have ever qualified for nationals.”
The Clan will compete in the final qualifier for nationals at Seattle Pacific on Feb. 27. The NCAA D2 national championships begin March 11.
Simon Fraser claimed its fourth straight conference championship in the women’s 800 when freshman Addy Townsend clocked her fastest time ever in the race, winning in 2:11.54. Townsend edged Lynelle Decker of Seattle Pacific (2:11.59) at the line. Townsend’s run is currently the 13th fastest this season. Decker ran the second fastest time in the event earlier this year.
SFU’s Alana Mussatto was fourth (2:12.73) and Sophie Dodd eighth (2:19.97) in the race.
In the women’s 400 metres Chantel Desch and Monique Lisek finished 3rd and 5th, respectively, with Desch clocking a personal best 56.01 to earn All-American honours. Lisek finished in 56.97.
The Clan used a lightning-fast anchor leg by Desch to win the 4x400-metres relay in a time of 3:46.41. Freshman Valda Kabia ran the first leg, Mussatto second, and Lisek third in the race. It is the ninth-fastest time in NCAA D2 and should earn the team a trip to nationals. Seattle Pacific was second in 3:46.40.
Earlier in the day, Kabia rose to the occasion in the 60 metres to claim second place, almost beating NCAA D2-ranked Jamie Ashcroft of Alaska Anchorage. Kabia lost by 2/100ths of a second, 7.61 to 7.63.
Kabia was third in the 200 metres in 24.91, taking home All-American honours in three events.
The top three finishers in each event are named All-American.
Ella Brown beat her personal best by 20 centimetres to finish second in the triple jump with a mark of 11.74, behind winner Jasmine McMullin of Western Washington University (12.22).
Rebecca Bassett was fourth in the 3,000 metres in 9:56.77.
Alaska Anchorage won both the men’s and women’s GNAC Championships.
MEN’S TEAM SCORES: Alaska Anchorage 164, Western Oregon 93, Western Washington 92, Northwest Nazarene 77, Concordia 64, Central Washington 63, Simon Fraser 46, Montana State Billings 30, Saint Martin’s 24, Seattle Pacific 12.
WOMEN’S TEAM SCORES: Alaska Anchorage 164, Seattle Pacific 136, Simon Fraser 82.5, Western Washington 64.5, Concordia 59, Central Washington 59, Northwest Nazarene 36, Western Oregon 29, Saint Martin’s 25, Montana State Billings 11.
Follow the SFU Clan track and field team on the team’s official Twitter account at Twitter.com/SFUTrack.