The UBC Okanagan Heat Cross Country team travelled to Seattle last weekend for Sundodger Invitational, marking the largest and most competitive race the program has ever attended. For their first time facing dominant B.C. universities, the Heat women realized the strength of fellow Canadian runners when the top eight out of 10 individual spots and top three team spots went to BC universities in the women’s race of 209 runners.
Leading the way for the Heat was first-year student-athlete Sandra Kilmartin, who completed her first collegiate race in 23:43.82 for six kilometres (87th place overall). Not far behind was second-year runner Michelle Blackburne in 23:53.05 (93rd place overall). The women finished against strong NAIA, CIS and NCAA programs 13th out of 17 teams overall, with an average time of 24:45.44. Rounding out the scorers were Alea Stockton in 25:13.74 (148th), Trisha Metro in 25:26.78 (152nd) and Julianna Neudorf in 25:30.28 (155th).
In a similarly strong race of 197 runners, the men finished 16th out of 18 teams, with an average time of 28:22.78 for eight kilometres. Jared Kesteven led the men’s team in 27:39.33 (115th place overall). Following his lead were Cailin Libby in 27:57.77 (130th), Alex Hansen in 28:20.23 (145th), Nick MacLean in 28:55.49 (166th) and Mackenzie Wong 29:01.07 (168th).
Next up for the Heat cross country team and the newly formed Heat Running Club will be an informal dual meet with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack squad on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Kelowna.