BENSON LEADS STRONG SPARTANS CONTINGENT INTO OLYMPIC TRIALS

BENSON LEADS STRONG SPARTANS CONTINGENT INTO OLYMPIC TRIALS

LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western alumnus Fiona Benson (Dawson Creek, B.C.) will be aiming for Olympic qualification in the 800m this weekend as she leads a 14-athlete delegation of Spartans or former Spartans into the 2016 Canadian Championships and Rio Selection Trials in Edmonton July 7-10.

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Benson, who has already made the Olympic standard after clocking at time of 1:59.59 at the 2015 World Championships, will be looking for a top two placing in Edmonton, which would all but guarantee her a spot on Canada’s Olympic team.

The former Spartan, who graduated in 2015 as a four-time CIS medallist in track and cross country, is one of just three Canadian women who have the 800m Olympic standard. Melissa Bishop and Jessica Smith are the others.

While Benson is TWU’s leading candidate to earn Rio qualification, this year’s Canadian championships will feature 11 current Spartan athletes and two other former Spartans in competition.

Third-year Regan Yee (South Hazelton, B.C.) has had an exceptional summer of racing, having posted personal bests of 9:53.99 in the 3000m steeplechase and 4:09.88 in the 1500m, and will be looking to take yet another step forward. The defending CIS gold medallist in the 3000m will compete in the 3000m SC at the Canadian trials and will be aiming for the Olympic standard of 9:45.00.

Fourth-year Nathan George (Coquitlam, B.C.), who is the defending CIS gold medallist in the 300m, is the lone other Spartan who has an outside shot at an Olympic standard, as he will compete in the 400m. While George has a personal best of 46.45, he would need to shave off more than a second to meet the Olympic standard of 45.40.

In the junior field, the Spartans could well have a pair of podium finishers in the 3000m steeplechase as both Nick Colyn (Langley) and Joanna Williams (Campbell River, B.C.) will be aiming for medal positions in their respective events.

Amongst the other Spartans competing this weekend are Lisa Brooking (5000m, Orillia, Ont.), Deon Clifford (3000m SC, White Rock, B.C.), James Lam (800m, Langley), James Linde (100m/200m, Coquitlam), Adam Marshall (1500m, Langley), Mirelle Martens (5000m, Grande Prairie, Alta.) and Levi Neufeld (1500m, Winnipeg). Former Spartan Sabrina Nettey (long jump, Surrey, B.C.), who has a personal best of 6.32m, will also be competing but would need a mark of 6.70m to earn the Olympic standard.

Former TWU men's basketball player Tyrell Mara (White Rock, B.C.) will also be in Edmonton for the national championships, as he will compete in discus. Mara, who was a national level discus thrower in high school, started training last year with his sights set on qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games. He has a personal best of 48.83m. This year's Olympic standard is 65.00m.

-TW-

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