T-Birds track and field athletes headline UBC Open this weekend
VANCOUVER — Even a rainy day in Vancouver couldn’t dampen the mood at the Rashpal Dhillon Oval for day one of the UBC Open on Saturday, as it was the first meet held on campus for the UBC. ‘UBC to Point Gray in three years. The thrill of competition was back for the T-Birds track and field athletes and their NAIA counterparts.
“Being able to compete is so awesome for our athletes,” said the UBC head coach. Laurel Primeau. “It’s important to thank Western Washington (University) because they all had to take COVID-19 tests just to show up for this competition, so for them to take those extra steps just to be here to face us is super helpful. For seeing our athletes and the joy of competition has been really fulfilling and I think for them too.”
UBC race walkers put the entire NAIA on notice with incredible performances in the 5000m walk. Olivia Lundman worked his way into the NAIA record books, finishing first with a time of 23:12.53. The Nanaimo product adds another record to her collection as she recently broke a 35-year-old Canadian 10,000m record in February.
“She’s a phenomenal competitor,” Primeau added. “She’s world class on the steps, and we’re lucky she chose to come to UBC. It’s Year 1 for her, 3 left and I’m sure we’ll see tons of improvements on what is already a remarkable achievement.”
Joining her to exceed the “A” standard in the event are teammates Joean Lu, Cassidy Cardleand Joanna Yu.
The male side of the walkers also had an “unforgettable walk” as all of the T-Birds surpassed the “A” standard to earn their ticket to the NAIA Outdoor Athletics National Championships in Alabama. Former UBC athlete Algiers-Liang won the event with a time of 21:14.06, and the current T-Birds Tyler Wilson, Kenny Ho, Erik Thiesand Daniel Soliven finished successively.
Fourth year rowan hamilton certainly “successful” in the hammer throw as the 2019 NAIA first runner-up threw a jaw-dropping 72.22m. “He threw just over 63m to win as a freshman athlete. He’s now in his fourth year, this will be his next time back (at the nationals).” Primeau continued, “The second in the NAIA is probably around 61 or 62 yards. He leads the NAIA by 10m, that’s pretty incredible.”
Olympian and former T-Birds star Natalia Hawthorn dazzled the crowd with her speed in the women’s 1500m. Running alongside such an accomplished runner was exciting for the many young athletes who took part in the event. Hawthorn continues to train with the Vancouver Thunderbirds. “You can be successful internationally and stay in Canada, it’s not the only way, but it’s a viable way,” Primeau preached.
UBC continued its strong performance as Sage Stoyka Kay secured first place in the women’s pole vault by jumping over 3.40m. Emma Rastad finished second in the long jump with a distance of 5.65m. michelle dadson thrown 47.74m in the hammer throw, good for third place in the event, and Nanaki Sangha finished first in the 400 m hurdles with a time of 1:10.97.
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Chase Haagenson placed third in the men’s 100 with a time of 11.08 seconds. Liam Kramer finished just 0.14 seconds behind Western Washington’s Drew Weber, for fourth place and a time of 1:53.24.
Daniel Smart Reed achieved the “B” standard with a throw of 56.12m to finish third in the javelin and Theo Benedet reached 14.72m to finish first in the shot put.
Five T-Birds have achieved “A” standard in the 5000 m race; Zoe Doorenspleet and Holly MacGillivray finished just three seconds apart in third and fourth, while Rachel Mortimer, Jamie Hennessyand Katie Newlove rounded positions six through eight.
Allison MacDonald’s The 11m triple jump was good for second place.
The T-Birds dominated the women’s javelin as all three athletes achieved the “A” standard led by Hailey Kjaer (43.87m), followed by JV Patry-Smith (43.07m) and second Giovanna Janes (42.79m) taking third place.
Day one of the UBC Open Outdoor Track & Field competition was filled with exciting events and gives the T-Birds some meet experience as they prepare for more success at the NAIA National Championships in May.
“We consider ourselves defending champions,” explained Primeau. “There was NAIA last year, but we couldn’t cross the border, so we’ll be looking to defend what we left behind the last time we were able to compete there. Our goal is to get the best performance on the most important day and if we fail, but we did it, then we can look in the mirror and be proud.”
Day 2 of the UBC Open begins tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (PT), and results can be followed here http://results.tfmeetpro.com/TBird_Timing/UBCOpen/index.html.