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LANGLEY, British Columbia – This is the year the Spartans men's cross country team has been waiting for. With all but the now-graduated Blair Johnston (White Rock, B.C.) returning, Trinity Western could well be as strong as ever and, with a burgeoning group of largely third and fourth-year athletes, the group looks primed to take the next step forward.

While Johnston will certainly be missed, with Declan White (South Surrey, B.C.) and Joel De Schiffart (Nanaimo, B.C.) leading the way, there is reason for optimism. The duo finished 16th and 18th at last year's CIS championships respectively, but this year should see them both battling for top 10 positions. If healthy, White can compete with almost anyone in the country, while De Schiffart, who is the team's lone fifth-year athlete, has proven his mettle time and again and will push White every step of the way.

After TWU's leading pair, third-year Caleb De Jong (Winnipeg) and second-year Nick Colyn (Langley) are expected to take big strides forward this fall, while Levi Neufeld (Winnipeg) will once again be a major contributor and Deon Clifford (White Rock, B.C.), when in form, can be amongst TWU's best. Then there's the local quartet of fourth-year Adam Marshall (Langley) and third-year athletes Tyler DeJong (Langley), James Lam (Langley) and Jordan Gin (Surrey, B.C.), who are all aiming to become key pieces in TWU's aspirations at the national championships.     

Endurance Director Mark Bomba said: "We lose Blair on the guys' side, but most of our team will be much-improved this year. I think last year was a disappointment for many of the guys at nationals and they definitely want to turn that around. The men's team is deep for us and I think we have a shot at a top three finish at nationals. Can we stay healthy? That'll dictate a lot for us, but if we do, I think we can make a run at a Canada West championship."

The team opens its season this Saturday at the University of Washington's Sundodger Invitational in Seattle.

2015 Canada West Team Result: 2nd  
2015 CIS Team Result: 6th

Last CW championship / total CW championships: NA / 0
Last CIS championship / total CIS championships: NA / 0

Key addition: Daniel Wilkinson

Key losses: Blair Johnston