Clan impress at GNAC Championships


While Burnaby Mountain was hit hard with snow last weekend, the Clan track and field teams were hard at work in Nampa, ID representing Simon Fraser at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Indoor Championships.

The Clan would come home with two GNAC titles after the two-day competition, as well as a fifth-place team finish for the men, and a seventh-place finish for the women.

The men’s distance medley relay (DMR) team got things started for SFU, as Travis Vugteveen, Daniel Kelloway, Cameron Proceviat and James Young ran for the event title, in just 10:07.79.

On the women’s side, Rebecca Bassett, Kayla Leanna, Sarah Sawatzky and Kirstin Allen’s combined time of 12:16.58 was good enough for second place.

On the field, Dkay Ayivor was the Clan men’s next top finisher on day one as the sophomore finished third in the long jump with a season’s best of 6.77m, while senior Mercedes Rhode came in sixth in the women’s long jump competition.

Day two yielded even better results, highlighted by Sawatzky, who maintained her first-place seed in the 800m event, coming out on top in a time of 2:08.57. Sawatzky’s winning time also improved her ranking in the NCAA Division II to second place, where she still sits two weekends away from the NCAA Championships.

Natasha Kianipour had a top finish in her first GNAC appearance with a third place finish in the women’s 60m dash, while sophomore Emma Chadsey had her first podium finish for the Clan with a third place run in the 3,000m in a time of 10:25.40. In the mile, SFU’s Kirstin Allen and Rebecca Bassett finished fourth and seventh respectively.

SFU’s male sprinters also had an excellent weekend at the championships.  Kelloway followed up his DMR title with a third-place finish in the 400m in 49.10 seconds. Fellow freshman Joel Webster had success in his first conference championship with fourth- and sixth-place finishes in the 200m and the 400m.

Vugteveen and Proceviat earned more all-conference honours after their DMR victory: Proceviat finished fourth in the 800m final while Vugteveen earned a fifth-place finish in the mile. James Young followed his teammate finishing eighth in the mile and freshman Oliver Jorgensen nabbed the eighth spot in the men’s 3,000m final.

The Clan women also had three athletes earn all-conference honours in the triple jump, a first in program history. Freshman Ella Brown was SFU’s top finisher in second place, followed by Kye Fedor in fourth and Robyn Broomfield in fifth.

Luca Molinari placed sixth in the weight throw competition as the Clan’s sole thrower attending the championships.

The Clan have one more weekend of indoor competitions as they hope to qualify for the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships held in early March.