Simon Fraser Garners Team Of The Week Honor
Simon Fraser finished the NCAA West Regional Championships in second place on Saturday.
Simon Fraser finished the NCAA West Regional Championships in second place on Saturday.

Monday, November 7, 2016

PORTLAND – Simon Fraser women’s cross country picked a great time for its best result of the 2016 season, finishing the West Region Championships hosted by Montana State Billings in second place to earn the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week honor.

With the second-place finish, the Clan earned a spot in the NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships for the second time in three years after taking first place in the West Regional in 2014.

Chico State took first place overall with a score of 70 points while Simon Fraser tallied 103 points. That score beat Alaska Anchorage’s 111 points two weeks after the Seawolves beat the Clan in Bellingham, Wash. at the GNAC Championships.

"I think this weekend was a huge breakthrough for all the girls in the fact that they are starting to really believe that they can be the best in the GNAC,” head coach Brit Townsend said. “We have never beaten Alaska Anchorage this year at all, so for them to go out and just make that happen against a really strong team is incredible and the girls have gained a lot of confidence as a result, going into Nationals."

Simon Fraser was the only team to place three runners inside the top 12, paced by senior Rebecca Bassett’s eighth-place time of 21:24.53 on the 6000-meter course. Junior Miryam Bassett grabbed 11th place with a time of 21:45.81, which was the fourth best time of any GNAC runner. Junior Julia Howley was less than a couple seconds behind her teammate at 21:47.40 for the best finish by any team’s third runner.

For Rebecca Bassett, it was her fourth top-10 finish this year and her third-best time this year on a 6000-meter course. Miryam Bassett, meanwhile, crushed her season-best by 31 seconds for 11th place.

"Making nationals has been a set goal for the team since way back in August,” Townsend added. “The girls made sure that they didn’t leave anything undone, as far as their training and just holding themselves accountable to each other and themselves throughout the season."

Sophomore Addy Townsend recorded the sixth-best time of any underclassman, finishing in 22:10.11 for 26th place with an average mile time under six minutes at 5:56. Junior Reta Dobie rounded out the scoring for the Clan with a time of 22:34.58 for 46th place, beating her season-best by 21 seconds. Simon Fraser was one of three schools to place all five runners in the top 50.

"My goal is to be top 10 and have at least one or two All-Americans,” Townsend said. “It is an aggressive and ambitious goal but I think we have to go in with those types of goals if we want to achieve something special."

The Clan will compete in the NCAA National Championships in two weeks on Nov. 19 at 7 a.m. (Pacific) in St. Leo, Florida.