LANGLEY, B.C. – The Trinity Western track and field teams will compete in the season-culminating U SPORTS championship, starting Thursday and running through Saturday at the University of Manitoba's Max Bell Centre in Winnipeg.
The Spartans, whose men's and women's teams are both ranked 11th in the country, enter the U SPORTS championships with four athletes and a relay team ranked amongst the top three in their respective events.
TWU's men's 4x800m team has a chance for a repeat podium performance as they are back on the national stage as TWU's only returning medallists from last year. With an entirely homegrown quartet – Nick Colyn, Tyler de Jong, Aidan Kits and James Lam all hail from Langley – the Spartans won a silver medal at the Canada West championships and enter the weekend ranked second in U SPORTS. With all but Colyn competing in their fifth years of eligibility, this will be the last go-round with a group of veterans who are primed for one final run at a medal.
In the triple jump pit, both Mowa Adeleye (Calgary) and Denzel Brown (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) are coming off gold-medal winning performances at the conference championships and will be in the mix to medal at nationals. Adeleye's personal best 12.13m she posted at the Canada West championships has her ranked second in the country, while Brown's season's best 14.51m has him third in the U SPORTS rankings. Last year, Adeleye finished fifth at nationals (11.78m) and Brown was sixth (14.43m).
Similar to triple jump, the Spartans have medal hopefuls in both the men's and women's pole vault competitions.
On the men's side, David Boyd (Victoria) is ranked second in U SPORTS, having cleared a TWU record and personal best 5.02m earlier this season. Boyd no-heighted at the conference meet, so it's likely he'll be extra motivated to put together a strong showing at nationals. Last year, Boyd finished fourth at the U SPORTS championships after clearing 4.85m. Zach Augenstein (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) is also in the pole vault competition and comes in ranked 12th (4.57m).
On the men's side, Madison Evans (Calgary) is ranked third with a personal best vault of 4.00m. Evans finished sixth at the Canada West championships (3.70m) but, given her strong season-long form, expect a bounce-back performance this weekend. Emma Li (Markham, Ont.), who was injured for the conference meet, rejoins Evans in the pole vault competition and is ranked ninth (3.71m).
In the women's 300m, Canada West gold medallist Grace Konrad (Edmonton) will look to continue her record-breaking season as the TWU record holder is ranked fifth in U SPORTS with a converted time of 38.83.
Chris Weiss (West Vancouver, B.C.) comes into the national meet ranked sixth in the heptathlon (4,572), while Rachel Jerome (Ladysmith, B.C.) is eighth in long jump (5.78m).
Kenny Blackman Jr. (Surrey, B.C.), who was named the Canada West Male Rookie of the Year after winning 60m gold at the conference championships is joined by fellow first-year Praise Olatoke (Glasgow, Scotland) in a tie for ninth in the U SPORTS rankings, having both run 6.92 earlier in the season.
In his final race as a Spartan, Caleb de Jong (Winnipeg) will compete in the 3000m in his hometown. He earned a silver medal at the Canada West championships and is ranked ninth in U SPORTS (8:15.07).
2018 U SPORTS Finish: 11th
Current U SPORTS Ranking: 10th
Returning U SPORTS Medallists: Bronze – Men's 4x800m
Caleb de Jong – 8:15.07 (9)
Denzel Brown – 14.51m (3)
Chris Weiss – 4572 (6)
4x800m – 7:38.28 (2)
2018 Canada West Finish: 11th
Current U SPORTS Ranking: 11th
Returning U SPORTS Medallists: None
SPARTAN ATHLETES (U SPORTS Ranking)
Grace Konrad – 38.83 (5)
Rachel Jerome – 5.78m (8)
Mowa Adeleye – 12.13 (2)
Madison Evans – 4.00m (3)
Emma Li – 3.71m (9)
Recognized for quality, TWU has received seven consecutive A+ rankings for Quality of Teaching and Learning, holds three Canada Research Chairs, and wins national championships in CIS sports. More importantly, lives are changed at TWU through its whole-person, Christ-centred approach to education. With a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree-completion programs, TWU equips leaders of character and competence to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women's and men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men's hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.