Simon Fraser enjoyed a successful weekend at the NCAA Division II Championship in Birmingham, Alabama over this past weekend. They left the competition with a total of four all-American honours from Addy Townsend and Vladislav Tsygankov, with Paige Nock and Ella Brown both coming very close to adding to the total. Competitors are given all-American honours when they finish top eight in a Championship event.
“[I’m] really happy with the team’s performance,” said coach Brit Townsend regarding her thoughts on how they performed, “We had a pretty young team, and they were there focused and ready to compete.”
In the 800m, Townsend had a career-best time of 2:08.38 and finished fourth. This was the highest place for any Simon Fraser athlete at the competition. She also was part of the Clan’s 1200m distance medley relay team in which they placed sixth with a time of 3:29.45. Joining her on the team were Paige Nock, Chantel Desch, and Alana Mussatto.
When asked about how she felt about her daughter’s performance, coach Townsend responded with, “Obviously I’m proud of her, but she really earns it, she works day in, day out.” She continued, “She does all the little things she needs to do to be able to perform: she watches what she eats, she recovers properly, [and she never misses a run]. For her to run personal-best performances in all three days was really special.”
Nock just barely missed grabbing all-American honours individually as she ran 4:48.31 (the exact same time as her personal best) in the women’s 1600m. This placed her at ninth in the event, just one spot away from all-American.
Also coming close was Ella Brown, who placed 13th in the triple jump with a distance of 12.02m. This distance was a bit under the 12.14m she jumped at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships a few weeks ago.
For the men, Tsygankov, a junior, became the first Simon Fraser male to ever take home double all-American honours. The way he did it, however, was even more impressive. Between competing in the long jump, Tsygankov crossed the track to compete in the 400m and raced his way to the final.
He would finish the 400m with a personal-best time of 48.39, taking seventh place and all-American honours, after similarly taking seventh place and an all-American finish in the long jump.
With only one senior on the roster, the experience the track and field teamed gained at this competition is valuable going forward.
Coach Townsend is positive about that future, and said, “I’m excited because we had a lot of people on the bubble [. . .] so it just shows we are raising our level of performance to be able to compete in NCAA. [. . .] Our next step is, those who are very close, we need to make sure that they get there.”
She also added, “The experience they get at an event like this, just learning to be composed and be able to get everything out of yourself that you’ve been training for [. . .] can be a challenge in your first time there, but now they’ve had the experience.”
The track and field team will next compete in the dual meet with UBC starting March 25 on Terry Fox Field in Burnaby. Coach Townsend and the team are also focused on the Stanford Invitational and San Francisco State Distance Carnival, which will both be taking place March 31–April 1. The Simon Fraser track and field team will be trying to reach national standards at these meets.