Kelowna products John Gay (left) and Sean Bergman won gold and silver, respectively, in the 3000m steeplechase at the NAIA national championships. -Image: UBC Thunderbirds

Kelowna products go 1-2 at NAIA nationals

UBC’s John Gay defends his title in the 3,000 metre steeplechase, with teammate Sean Bergman second

Two of B.C.’s top track athletes during their high school days, John Gay and Sean Bergman haven’t lost a step in transitioning to the university level.

Gay, a third-year member of the UBC Thunderbirds track team and OKM grad, successfully defended his 3,000 metre steeplechase title last weekend at NAIA National Championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Bergman, a freshman at UBC and KSS grad, came in as runner-up to Gay in the steeplechase, giving the Thunderbirds a 1-2 finish of Kelowna products.

Gay ran away from the field for his second consecutive title, finishing in 9:12.14. Bergman took second in 9:16.74.

“I’m pretty excited to come back with the opportunity to defend my title, and the only way we could improve on last year was by having another guy on that podium,” Gay said shortly after the win. “We did exactly that, we scored the maximum amount of team points, so I’m on top of the world right now, I couldn’t be happier and I couldn’t be more proud of Sean here.”

For Bergman, his first NAIA national medal was a matter of rising to his potential.

“I definitely felt like I had it in me, it was just a matter getting it done on the day and be sitting here with John,” said Bergman.

Gay and Bergman’s efforts were instrumental in helping the Thunderbirds win the overall men’s team title for the first time in school history. The two Kelowna runners combined for 18 of UBC’s 71 total points.

“We all knew coming in that if we were at our best, we could hopefully make a good case for ourselves,” said Gay.