SFU track and field impress at two events in California

Multiple athletes boost their times to top 10 nationally

Ally Ginther ran her first 5,000 metre race for the Clan after transferring from Washington State. (Photo courtesy of SFU Athletics)

This past weekend, the SFU track and field team travelled down to sunny California to compete in the San Francisco Distance Carnival and the Stanford Invitational. The trip would prove to be very successful for a handful of the SFU distance runners, as Aaron Ahl, Reta Dobie, Ally Ginther, Oliver Jorgensen, and Addy Townsend all recorded top times.

The feel-good story of the weekend was certainly that of Jorgensen’s. He has battled leg injuries for the past two years and was awarded the Rick Jones Award for Courage at the SFU Athletics Awards Show earlier this week. Saturday, then, was his first 3,000 metre steeplechase race since injuring his ankle last summer. As if that wasn’t enough, he blew everybody away by running seven seconds better than his previous personal best time with a time of 8:58.72.

In what was a tight race for first spot in the heat, Jorgensen finished third, just one second behind heat winner Ricardo Estremera from Puerto Rico. He finished fifth out of the 82 total competitors in the event. Perhaps most importantly, however, Jorgensen placed himself in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) II top ten, as his time was the sixth best time ran in the nation this season.

In the same event, Ahl finished with a time of 9:15.28. This time now has him ranked 14th nationally, although he finished 20th in the event. This is due to the event being an “invitational,” meaning that runners from both Division I and outside the NCAA were also competing.

On the women’s side, Dobie also ran a personal best in the event. She won her heat comfortably, leading the pack of runners for the final three laps of the race. With a time of 10:40.12, she is now ranked seventh in the NCAA II for the 3,000 metre steeplechase.

Ginther, a redshirt senior who transferred from Washington State, ran in her first 5,000 metre race for SFU this weekend. She finished 14th in the event with a time of 17:10.90, which gets her barely inside the top 10 in the nation at tenth.

As can be expected, Townsend continued to impress in a SFU uniform as she competed in the 1,500 metre. Her time of 4:26.94 placed her fourth in the heat, but more importantly, sixth in the event nationally. Her best event is still the 800 metre, in which she is ranked fifth nationally.

SFU’s next event will be next weekend, as they host the Emilie Mondor Invitational. Catch all the action on Terry Fox Field on Saturday, April 7.