The UBC Thunderbirds won the 62nd men’s and 38th women’s NAIA cross country titles at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash, and two Maple Ridge athletes and a coach shared in the accomplishment.
UBC coach Norm Tinkham, who also works with Maple Ridge’s Golden Ears Athletics, was one of the people singled out for his efforts.
“There are so many great stories out of today’s UBC cross country narrative,” said UBC head Laurier Primeau. “I know our endurance squad is incredibly appreciative of coaches Chris Johnson and Norm Tinkham, who run our endurance programs as volunteers. Their dedication and true concern for the athletes under their tutelage is felt by all who have the privilege to call them ‘coach.’”
He also mentioned rookie runner Madelyn Huston of Maple Ridge, and her Ridge teammate Jamie Hennessey also competed.
“In a team contest every athlete has an important role and our runners executed perfectly today,” said Primeau. “Two underclassmen, Kieran Lumb and Nicola Symonds, respectively, came through with bronze medals. Our seniors did a great job of keeping the squad focused but relaxed. Leadership from Nicole Lacis, John Gay and Jesse Hooton proved invaluable. Rookies stepped up with Tyler Dozzi and Maddy Huston rounding out our top five.”
The UBC women’s program claimed its fifth national title in the last six seasons. The team, which claimed banners in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016, scored 109 points, just squeaking by Wayland Baptist (Texas) (125), and Oklahoma City (137).
Huston was UBC’s final scoring runner, completing the race in 18:24 and in 41st place. Fellow first-year competitor Hennessey was 123rd (19:14), and Alison Pouw was 129th (19:18). Overall, UBC ran a combined five-kilometer time of 1:30:16 – an average of 18:04 per runner. With the title, the Thunderbirds now own the second-most team national titles in NAIA women’s cross country history.
It is the first-ever NAIA banner for the men’s team.