Recent SFU grad ahead of the pack

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WEB-Helen Crofts-SFU PAMR

On May 25, Helen Crofts, an SFU cross country and track runner, was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Female Co-Athlete of the Year, a title shared with Seattle Pacific University’s Ali Worthen, and the GNAC Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. The titles come at the end of her time at SFU, as well as after a host of her wins and records in 2013.

“I was obviously very excited to win the championship,” said Crofts. “It was a great way to finish my collegiate career and it is always nice to see all your hard work pay off.” She was invited to speak at her ceremony during spring convocation about her university experience.

While working towards her bachelor’s degree and running with the SFU track and field team, Crofts also volunteered with the SFU’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and coached track and field at Burnaby elementary schools.

Though she divided her time, Crofts’ stats show that those other activities didn’t detract from her athletics. Crofts won many awards and events in the NCAA indoor and outdoor national championships, including finishing in first place in the 800-metre event at 2:05.96, the 400-metre in a meet-record time of 54.46, and the 1500 in 4:26.85. She also came in first in Pueblo, Colorado, for the NCAA Division II 800m running title with a time of 2:08.18.

Earlier in the year, she finished ninth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s USA Track & Field High Performance Distance Classic at Occidental College in Los Angeles, with her time of 2:02.10 breaking a GNAC record, and being this spring’s third fastest time of a collegiate athlete on any level.

Crofts, who majored in biological science, sees the fruits of her hard work at the events. She trains six days a week throughout the year for both cross country and track, and has been a part of the SFU track and field team for the last five years. Crofts said that it is important to her “to be able to represent SFU and Canada in the NCAA and to show just how strong our middle-distance program at SFU is.”

Her Female Co-Athlete of the Year title was awarded to her and Worthen after each athlete received 18 points submitted by the conference’s 10 athletic directors. Her most recent title of Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year requires a cumulative GPA of at least 3.85.

The title makes her eligible for the 2013 Conference Commissioners Scholar-Athlete of the year award, the winner of which will be selected in the summer. Crofts achieved a 4.14 GPA during her academic career, and was awarded the Bill DeVries Award for academics and athletics for having the highest GPA among Clan athletes in 2012-13.

Amongst her accomplishments, she was also named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association West Region Athlete of the Year, and led the Clan’s second-place finish in their 4×400 metre relay with a time of 3:46.04.

In the immediate future, Crofts plans to take a year off of academics, continue training at SFU, and to continue racing. This summer, she will be heading to Russia with Team Canada to compete in the World University Games. After that, she plans to work towards a master’s degree in science, or to attend medical school.

For anyone else pursuing athletic success, Crofts advice is simple: “Be consistent. There isn’t any secret to improvement other than being committed and believing that you will get better.”