By: Mateo De Dalmases
SFU’s cross country team enjoyed another dominating performance at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle over the weekend, taking first place on the women’s side and second place for the men.
On the women’s side, senior Julia Howley, freshman Olivia Willett, junior Addy Townsend, senior Miryam Bassett, and sophomore Chelsea Ribeiro were the top five runners of a team that demonstrated consistency and solidified their position as one the top-ranked teams in the nation.
Howley led the team once again and took the third overall position in a time of 21:22, behind winner Ruby Roberts (unattached) and Jessa Perkinson (Southern Oregon). Howley was in fifth overall position with four hundred metres to go, but an impressive final sprint earned her the podium spot in this prestigious race.
Commenting on her performance, Howley said, “It is good to get a [6 km course] under the belt, beating my personal best at this course, and being really close to my best ever [6 km] time, especially at this early point of the season.” She also had good words for the team effort, stating that, “Our one to five gap is really close, less than 30 seconds, which is really encouraging if we think about what is coming in the future.”
Olivia Willett was the second SFU woman to cross the line with a time of 21:44, earning ninth place overall and consolidating her status as a very promising freshman. Closely behind Willett, Townsend (12th), Bassett (13th), and Ribeiro (14th) completed the five scoring positions and wrapped up the second win of the season. Senior Paige Nock (30th), junior Sophie Dodd (42nd), and freshmen Calli Charlton (43rd) and Amy Morris (63rd), concluded the team’s great performance.
On the men’s side, Rowan Doherty led the team to a fantastic second overall position in the 8-kilometre course. Doherty had his second outstanding performance in a row after finishing second at the Ash Creek Invitational last weekend, and sealed his lead role for Simon Fraser. The junior ran a tactically smart race, with a conservative start and very strong middle and final sections of the 8-kilometre race, earning him a sixth place overall with a time of 24:45.
These were Doherty’s thoughts on the race: “It was our first 8 km race of the season so I wanted to go out conservatively, as I did not know if I was quite ready to perform at such distance. In the second quarter of the race, there was a big move in the front pack that I did not follow as I was too far back. That had me put a pretty good surge in order to chase them down and once I caught up to them, they made another move which I was unable to follow.”
When asked about his goal for next races, he said, “My goal is to be in the top positions of the race when the moves occur, so I do not waste energy trying to catch up with the leaders on my own.”
Behind Doherty, SFU’s second male athlete to cross the line was Sean Miller, who had a great second half of the race after being sick for the past week. The junior from Nanaimo ran a tactically simila
r race to Doherty, increasing the pace as the kilometres went by and finishing strong in a 10th overall position and a time of 25:04. Followed by Miller, senior Mateo De Dalmases (16th), junior Carlos Vargas (21st), and senior Oliver Jorgensen (34th) occupied the other three scoring spots for the men’s team.
Jorgensen’s comeback means a lot to the team, given that he has been struggling with injuries for the past year. The fact that he was able to race and perform well is a boost of confidence for both himself and the team.
The men’s team was completed by great performances from freshmen Chris Sobczak (38th) and Dawson Ribeiro (39th), sophomore Thomas Gallagher (47th), freshmen Jordan Wilson (52nd) and Aaron Ahl (78th), and senior Ephraim Tadesse (151st), sophomore Jalen Sekhon (153rd), and senior David Sawatzky (166th).
SFU’s cross country team will be back in action on September 23 at the Roy Griak Invitational in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.