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Clan Women Run to 7th Place Finish, Team of the Week
Jennifer Johnson was one of four runners to break the 30-year old meet record in the women's 3,000 meters.
Jennifer Johnson was one of four runners to break the 30-year old meet record in the women's 3,000 meters.
The Simon Fraser women's track & field team placed seventh at the Championships with three top-three finishes.
The Simon Fraser women's track & field team placed seventh at the Championships with three top-three finishes.

Monday, March 16, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Simon Fraser women’s indoor track & field team finished seventh at the Division II NCAA Indoor Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Alabama Friday and Saturday, earning the Clan the Red Lion Hotels Team of the Week.

This is the Clans first top 10 national indoor track & field finish since joining the NCAA in 2010.

In an event that saw 17 GNAC participants earn all-American honors, six athletes hailed from SFU. Among the six was Lindsey Butterworth who ended the meet as the Division II national champion in the women’s 800 meters.

Butterworth took the lead right before the last lap and finished with a time of 2:08.44, over a second ahead of the other finishers.

“She was super nervous to start the race,” Simon Fraser head coach Brit Townsend said. “The field started slower than the prelims and she got squeezed to the back early. A lot of athletes put a lot of pressure on themselves at that moment and panic, but she maintained her composure and control and worked her way back up. She made a strong move with 300 (meters) to go and held off another competitor that moved with her. She really wanted the title and I’m so proud that she achieved her goal.”

The senior from North Vancouver, British Columbia was also the anchor of the Clans distance medley relay team that finished in second on the first day of competition.

Jennifer Johnson, Chantel Desch, Paige Nock and Butterworth combined for a time of 11:28.28 in the event, breaking a five-year old GNAC record. They were one of only two teams to finish under the 11:30 mark.

Senior distance runner Johnson finished third in the 3,000 meters, breaking a 30-year meet record in the process. The two competitors ahead of her also broke the record as well. Her time of 9:26.82 was also the second fastest time in GNAC history.

“Jennifer is a super determined young lady,” Townsend said. “She is very smart and figures out a way to run each race while preparing for it with excitement. She ran a good, patient race and dug down to beat the NCAA record.”

The two seniors combined have earned all-American status in four events in their last year of eligibility. Butterworth earned honors in the 800 while Johnson was an all-American in cross country before her 3,000-meter performance. Both were a part of the second-place DMR team as well.

Butterworth, Johnson and the women’s DMR team helped the Clan earn 24 points at the championships for the seventh place finish - their best in school history. Central Missouri won the national title with 47 combined points.

Sophomore Rebecca Bassett came ever-so close to being named an all-American as well, finishing ninth in the 3,000 meters with a personal-best time of 9:41.68. She also finished 13th in the mile prelims.

“We had five women out there and we finished seventh,” Townsend said. “There were other schools that had twice as many competitors as we did and finished just ahead of us or even below us. We just have such a strong group of quality runners. All of them stayed on track and had great work ethic to achieve their goals. I’m so happy for all of them. There were no disappointments and they all performed to the best of their abilities.”

The Clan women were not the only student-athletes at Simon Fraser to make some noise at the event as redshirt-senior Travis Vugteveen earned SFU’s first-ever all-American honor on the men’s team. He placed sixth in the mile with a time of 4:12.49. His prelim time of 4:09.79 was the ninth-fastest run in GNAC history.

Other top five GNAC all-Americans included Western Washington’s Alex Donigian in the men’s 60 meter dash (2nd – 6.72), Western Oregon’s Badane Sultessa in the men’s 800 (4th – 1:51.36), Alaska Anchorage’s Cody Thomas in the heptathlon (2nd – 5,488 points), Saint Martin’s Mikel Smith in the men’s high jump (5th – 6-9 ½) and the Vikings Katelyn Steen in the women’s 5,000 (4th – 16.54.31).

The Clan women will start their outdoor track & field season March 28 with split squads competing at the University of British Columbia Open in Vancouver, BC and at the Northwest Spring Break Open in Seattle. 

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