Dylan Armstrong photo by Brian Cliff
December 2, 2013, Vancouver
One of Canada’s most prominent athletes, Dylan Armstrong, was honoured Monday night with the International Lions Club’s Medal of Merit, an award that recognizes outstanding contributions to the community.
“This comes as a big surprise I’m shocked,” Armstrong said at a reception at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, just after receiving the award. “It’s a very special situation for me as my mother, Judy Armstrong came as well.”
Armstrong whose hometown is Kamloops, British Columbia trains under the guidance of Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk, who suggested in 2004, he switch from the hammer throw to the shot put. Since then Dylan has vaulted to international prominence. He is the bronze medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, silver medalist in the 2011 world Championship in Daegu, Korea and bronze medalist in the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. This Canadian record holder at 22.21m won the gold medals at the Pan American Games in 2007 in Rio de Janeiro and in 2011 in Guadalajara plus the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010.
In 2013, Canada ranks second to the United States in the All-Athletics list of shot put nations. Dylan anchors the team of 3 throwers, which includes his teammates, Tim Nedow and Justin Rodhe who also train in Kamloops. In Dylan’s career he has been ranked number one in the shot put for a total of 48 weeks.
Dylan Armstrong photo by Reese Raybon
This 6 foot 4 inch athlete weighs in at a mere 345 pounds. Dylan has said,
“I need anywhere from 6,500 to 9,000 calories per day. It’s up there. But it’s easy to eat a lot of calories. I like a lot of salmon. Obviously, beef and chicken. I’m on a high-protein, low-carb diet. I’ll eat five or six times a day..”
Dylan is clearly is the best shot putter in Canadian history and this honour by the International Lions Club was presented by Linda Wong of the Vancouver Evergreen Lions Club at the 2013 Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic Recognition Dinner organized by the Achilles International Track Society.
The 2014 Jerome Classic will be held July 10th at Swangard Stadium. It is hoped that Dylan Armstrong will compete once again.
Soaking wet and splattered face-to-feet in mud, Natasha Wodak still had reason to smile Saturday at Jericho Beach Park.
The diminutive 31-year-old from Port Moody wrapped up a strong 2013 running campaign by winning the women’s sevenkilometre race at the Athletics Canada national cross-country championships in Vancouver.
A member of the newly established B.C. Endurance Project, Wodak earlier this season won The Vancouver Sun Run 10K, a half-marathon in San Jose, Calif., and an 8K in Victoria in which she clocked a Canadian record time. And last month, she ran a B.C. record two hours, 35 minutes, 11 seconds in her first marathon in Toronto.
“This was just like a cherry on my cake or my sundae,” said Wodak after getting a race volunteer to wipe mud off her mouth and cheek. “I wasn’t sure what I’d have left after the marathon. Now, I take six weeks of just training and mileage and then in January the season starts all over again.”
Through wooded trails and across a grass field that was a muddy mess in some places thanks to a steady rain, Wodak won the race in 24 minutes, 30.8 seconds, sprinting away from Rachel Cliff of Vancouver over the final 100 metres. Cliff was clocked in 24:34.0
“I know I have a good kick, so with 100 metres to go, I just went for it,” said Wodak as she accepted congratulatory hugs from family and friends.
“I’m so happy. I was surprised though after the marathon that my legs could go that fast,” she added with a big laugh.
Lucas Bruchet, a White Rock native out of UBC, won the men’s 10K event at Jericho, pulling away from Chris Winter of Vancouver in the final lap to claim victory in 31:38.39. Winter crossed in 31:47.91, with Aaron Hendrikx of Parkhill, Ont., third in 31:50.97.
One of the pre-race favourites, Saskatchewan native Kelly Wiebe now running out of Vancouver, pulled out after 1½ laps because of bothersome hip pain.
Bruchet, also a member of the B.C. Endurance Project – a select training group of highperformance distance runners – said the conditions were typical West Coast.
“We’re used to this kind of stuff,” he said. “The muddier it was, the better it was. Winning this was kind of a goal this year.”
Despite the slippery, uncertain footing in places, Winter said it wasn’t a day for exercising caution.
“It’s hard core. If you don’t take the risk, you won’t win. That hill, that’s intense. You’ve just got to let it go. There’s rocks underneath your feet. You have no idea what’s going to happen. But I’m happy to finish the race safe and sound.”
Media Release | November 26, 2013
The University of British Columbia needs to act now to ensure the future strength of its varsity programs, says Prof. Stephen J. Toope, president and vice chancellor.
Toope announced today the creation of two new alumni positions on the University’s sport review advisory team, and that UBC would work to expedite decisions about confirmed teams. He also announced a renewed commitment to match funding of $300,000 per year for UBC’s annual Millennium Breakfast for student athlete scholarships.
“The University has tremendous supporters who have invested tirelessly in our sports,” said Toope. “Early consultation indicated their strong support for a new model, but that has recently been undermined by incorrect information.”
Following a difficult decision not to join the NCAA, an external review of UBC’s Department of Athletics and Recreation in 2012 recommended the development of criteria for setting priorities among high performance teams. An expert think tank, with community consultation, found support for a new model, which is now being implemented.
“I recognize that some valued supporters have felt left out,” said Toope. “But the fundamental process is solid and essential for our future.”
Toope said claims that there are pre-determined outcomes, or that the budget will be cut for varsity athletics, are not true.
However he did confirm that the current varsity budget cannot sustain UBC’s high standard of excellence for its 29 teams. The sport review will use criteria to guide the placement of teams in either the top varsity strand (category) of the model, or a new competitive club strand. Toope pointed out that all teams can work with their supporters to put forward new partnerships and funding models.
Toope said he recognized the review was difficult for coaches, athletes and supporters, and said UBC would aim to inform them of initial decisions by late this year or early next year.
- To review how teams will be assessed, click here (pdf)
- Click here to review the proposed criteria, weighting and measures
- Click here for comprehensive information about the sport review
- Click here for a transcript of Pres. Toope’s full remarks about the sport review
Below are excerpts from a statement today where Prof. Stephen Toope addressed five misperceptions about the sport review.
1. Misunderstanding about the decision-making process
“In 2011, after much consultation, I made a difficult decision not to pursue competition in the NCAA. Based on feedback I received at the time, I announced a review of UBC’s Athletics and Recreation department. That was completed in 2012. One of the recommendations of the review was to develop criteria to determine which sports should qualify as varsity. An expert think tank was appointed to work on this.”
“What has not been widely reported is that during consultations for the development of the model, alumni overall indicated a high level of support.”
2. The sport review and placement of teams
“A second misapprehension is about where teams might be placed. UBC’s varsity teams will be assessed and placed in one of two streams— the most competitive UBC Thunderbird varsity level, or a new competitive club level, which still receives UBC support, although on a lesser scale. AMS clubs will also have the opportunity to come forward for assessment into one of these two categories.
“So in the next steps of the review, UBC will help teams collect input and submit plans against criteria developed by experts and community input. The sport review advisory team, which will now include the two additional alumni representatives, will then make an assessment on the placement of teams in two stages, hear appeals, and eventually proceed to final recommendations.”
3. The fix is not in
“A third set of misguided suspicions is that ‘the fix was in’ from the start. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that no decisions have been made, either as to how many sports may remain at the varsity level, nor as to which sports will be at the varsity level. There is no secret agenda, and there are no pre-determined outcomes.”
4. It’s not about cost cutting
“Some people have said that this is all a cost-cutting exercise that is diverting money from Varsity athletics to a broader wellness agenda for UBC. Wrong. I am telling you categorically: No funds are being cut from the Athletics Department budget. No money will be taken from varsity towards recreation or well-being programs. We are talking about using these funds in a more effective way so our student athletes benefit fully from their experience here.
- And while the budget will not be cut, we have had open discussions about new partnerships and funding models for teams less able to deliver initially against the criteria, so teams and supporters can know how they might get to where they want to be. So this is not a zero-sum game pitting teams against each other; rather we are committed to working with teams and supporters, and we hope to expand the range of partnerships and support over time.
5. The need for a new vision
“To put this all in perspective, let’s consider the example of University of Washington Huskies, our nearest big-time NCAA neighbour to the south. With all the support of athletic endowments and revenues from media contracts and filling massive stadiums and arenas on a regular basis, Washington supports 19 Varsity teams – we currently support 29 on a much smaller budget.
“This review is vital to re-focus our future efforts to take our sports to a new level of excellence. In the end, this is all about our students: a commitment to fairly determining what it takes to provide, on a sustainable basis, the proper supports for the very best university sport experience in the country with our most successful teams.”
Click to download pdf of infographic
2013 NAIA Women’s Cross Country
British Columbia earns 12th-straight No. 1 selection after winning second-straight national title
November 27, 2013
By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — British Columbia, which has held the No. 1 position throughout the 2013 season, remains atop the rankings in the NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 poll, the national office announced Wednesday. With its 12th-straight selection—with 21 first-place votes and 591 total points—the Thunderbirds become just the third program in NAIA history to begin the season ranked No. 1 and then go on to win the National Championships. The Thunderbirds are also the third team to hold the No. 1 ranking for an entire season.
Prior to its current streak, British Columbia had been ranked No. 1 on just two occasions—both during the 2012 season. Six Thunderbirds earned All-America honors after helping the team to a combined 5-kilometer time of 1:30:37, with 56 total points, to best the 32-team field at the National Championships at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan., on Nov. 23: Maria Bernard (3rd), Catharine Farish (11th), Amelie de Fenoyl (12th), Jackie Regan (19th), Micha Gutmanis (28th), Natalia Hawthorn (29th), Heather Slinn (42th)
College of Idaho accumulated 572 points en route to the No. 2 ranking after a runner-up finish at the Women’s Cross Country National Championships with a combined 5k time of 1:30:35 and 97 total points. Hillary Holt led the Yotes, defending her individual national title with a 5k time of 16:48, 10 seconds faster than runner-up Hannah Helker of Oklahoma Baptist (16:58).
Biola (Calif.) compiled 553 points to hold the No. 3 spot. The Eagles, led by Carrie Soholt’s 14th-place finish, placed third with 174 points and a combined team time of 1:33:36 in Lawrence, Kan.
No. 4 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), with 534 points, and No. 5 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), with 515 points, round out the top five. The teams finished fourth and fifth, respectively, at the Women’s Cross Country National Championships.
No. 23 St. Ambrose (Iowa) and No. 25 William Woods (Mo.) were the newcomers to this week’s poll. This is the first Top 25 ranking of 2013 for both programs. For St. Ambrose it is the first mention since Nov. 22, 2012. For William Woods, it is the first Top 25 nod since Nov. 6, 2006.
Indiana Wesleyan and SCAD Savannah (Ga.) fell out of the Top 25.
Within the poll, No. 17 Baker (Kan.) made the largest jump, moving up eight spots, while The Master’s (Calif.) fell seven positions, landing at No. 14.
Fourteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the Postseason Top 25, led by the Frontier Conference, Golden State Athletic Conference and Sooner Athletic Conference, with each boasting three ranked teams.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. For the entire 2013 Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 1999) No. 1 British Columbia becomes just the third school in NAIA history to begin the season ranked No. 1 and go on to win the national championship… Former-member Simon Fraser (B.C.) accomplished this in 2004, 05, 06 and 07 and No. 8 Cal State San Marcos did so in 2011… The Thunderbirds are also the third program to have been ranked No. 1 for an entire season… Simon Fraser accomplished this in 2005, 06, and 07 and Northwest (Wash.) do so in 2003 … No. 4 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) has been ranked among the Top 25 in 124 consecutive polls, dating back to Sept. 21, 2001… This is the first top five ranking for Lewis-Clark State during that streak… This season, Columbia (Mo.), Oklahoma City and Texas Wesleyan each earned its first Top 25 ranking… Former-member Simon Fraser has the most all-time No. 1 rankings with 40… Following Simon Fraser are former-members Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and Cedarville (Ohio) with 18 each… Overall, 11 different programs have claimed the No. 1 spot in the poll… Two teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2012: British Columbia and Cal State San Marcos… British Columbia was the only program to be ranked No. 1 in 2013.
Bruchet Reminiscences On Breakthrough Year
Tim Huebsch, Sports Information
With another year of training and experience under his belt, and a taste of international competition, Luc Bruchet is eyeing a number of benchmarks in 2014, his fourth and final year of eligibility with the UBC Thunderbirds. Bruchet returns as the NAIA champion in the 1,500m and hopes to build on a fifth place finish in the 5,000m this spring.
Though Luc had a number of impressive performances earlier in his university stint, including All-American honours on a handful of occasions, along with a fourth place finish at the 2011 NAIA Championships, things never seemed to come full circle. A number of injuries prevented him from getting in consistent training, only managing periods of three to four months at a time.
“Coming into last year’s season, I seemed to finally figure everything out and was able to build the fitness through consistency logging heavy mileage week in and week out,” said Bruchet. “Being consistent with strength work, stretching, and sleep are the minor things that help you become a better athlete.”
In the midst of a successful fall season, having represented the Point Grey Track Club, Bruchet plans on improving on his fifth-place finish from last year at the Canadian Cross Country Championships November 30. Luc is one of a handful of competitors favored for a podium spot next weekend at the Canadian XC Championships at Jericho Park.
His fifth-place result from 2012 earned him a spot on the IAAF World Cross-Country Championship team where he represented Canada in Bydgoszcz, Poland in late March. UBC Coach Marek Jedrzejek accompanied Luc on the trip as the Head Coach for Team Canada. Bruchet would end up 65th over the 12km distance.
Less than a month removed from his trip to Poland, Bruchet would use the strength and fitness gained during the buildup to have a breakthrough performance at the Mt. Sac Relays in mid-April. In hopes of achieving the standard for the 2013 FISU Summer Universiade, Bruchet booked his ticket to Kazan, Russia running 13:54.59 for 5,000m, which held up as the third fastest mark of the year by a Canadian.
As Bruchet prepared for the July trip to Russia, he added an NAIA title in the 1,500m to go along with a lifetimes best over that distance, and a fourth-place finish at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in the longer of his two races. At the Summer Universiade in Russia, Luc would end up ninth in the 5,000m final in just his seventh race over that distance.
“It was a pretty amazing experience,” noted Bruchet. “Making the FISU team was a huge goal of mine from the start of cross-country last year, and to follow through and make the team was extremely pleasing. It was my first ‘larger games’ team, and competing in the 5,000m final in front of 40,000 people was something I’ll never forget.”
Following his stay in Russia, his European stint continued in Finland, Sweden, and Belgium among others, racing in the notorious European circuit, a hotspot for athletes during the summer months. Often times, these races attract top-notch athletes trying to hit certain times to qualify for championship competitions, creating the perfect racing opportunity for lifetime bests.
“It was my first taste of the European racing experience and was much different than your typical Canadian track meets,” said Bruchet, a fifth-year Kinesiology student. “Athletics in Europe is huge where the combination of competition and big fan turnouts makes for a great atmosphere.”
Now nearing the fall season, Bruchet is in the process of preparing for his final meet of the season, the Canadian Cross Country Championships, where he was fifth in 2012 and really jump-started the success he’s had in the previous 12 months. Thanks to wins at the Western Washington Invitational and the BC Club Championships in October, Bruchet remains unbeaten this fall season.
So, what changes can be attributed to the renewed success this past season? For Bruchet, it’s the mindset that he can be competitive on any given day.
“The mentality has definitely shifted over the last few months,” noted Bruchet, adding, “I think I deserve to be mentioned along with the rest of Canada’s top runners. I know I’m still on my way up and have lots to prove, but to be the best you have to the mindset that you’re just that.”
It doesn’t hurt that Bruchet now lives with training partner and competitor Kelly Wiebe, who made the move to Vancouver seven months ago, from Regina. Wiebe was the 2012 Vancouver Sun Run Champion and CIS Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
“He keeps me in check,” said Bruchet. “Seeing him do all the small things (stretching, rolling, core) motivates me to do the same thing on a regular basis.”
No longer having cross-country eligibility, hence his absence on the results sheet for the Thunderbirds, Bruchet red-shirted a year of track in his second year, giving him another shot at an NAIA title in late spring. Already a 1,500m title under his belt, he will to target the 5,000m this time around.
“It will be nice to be back racing in the UBC singlet in the spring,” added Bruchet. It would be fun to take a shot at a few of the school records, possibly the indoor 3,000m, the outdoor 1,500m, maybe the 5,000m. I would like to win another NAIA national title at the outdoor championships, this time in the 5,000m.”
If all goes to plan, Bruchet will look to try and knock off the Commonwealth Games standard, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland next summer.
Keep an eye out for Bruchet in the Point Grey singlet and a number of other UBC athletes running for their respective clubs in the Canadian XC Championships on November 30.
By: Tim Huebsch
For the third consecutive year, Vancouver will play host to the Canadian Cross Country Championships November 30 at Jericho Beach. The defending team champions, Point Grey Track and Field Club, will be gunning for their second championships in as many years with the addition of a number of athletes to the team. First and foremost, the team has added DYLAN WYKES, originally from Kingston, Ontario who trains in Vancouver, BC under the tutelage of coach Richard Lee.
Wykes needs little introduction as a well-known figure on the Canadian running scene, having represented Canada at a number of a international competitions including the 2007 World Cross Country Championships, the 2008 and 2009 NACAC Cross Country Championships, and most recently, the 2012 London Olympics.
November will mark the first time since ‘09 that Wykes has thrown down on the cross-country course, as the marathon has been his primary focus, highlighted by a 20th place finish in London in addition to becoming Canada’s second fastest marathoner to date. The choice to run was an easy one, however, as Jericho is one’s best bet to catch a glimpse of Wykes doing a workout or out for an easy ten.
“I do live about 500m from the course and since I run there nearly everyday, it seemed like a good idea when I committed to doing it,” added Dylan. “Cross country is a great sport and I think it’ll be a fun day plus it’s good to support running events in the local community whenever possible.”
Wykes has split his time between Ottawa and Vancouver for the better part of the past year battling both the Ontario winters and summer humidity. While in Ottawa, the marathoner took advantage of Gatineau Park and the endless gravel trails along the Ottawa River Parkways.
Now back in Vancouver, easy runs in Pacific Spirit Park and tempo runs on the Palmer Loop in Stanley Park are among Wykes’ go-to favorites. UBC, home to the Rashpal Dhillon Track and Field facility, one of the premier facilities in the lower mainland, plays host to much of Wykes’ track workouts along with the rest of the Point Grey squad.
After succumbing to injury earlier this year, Wykes has regained form this fall winning the Vancouver eastside 10km, placing 4th at the Canadian 10km Championships, and taking 3rd at the San Jose half-mary.
“Training has been a bit up and down the past few weeks,” said Wykes, who is coming off a difficult race in Portsmouth, England at the Great South Run. “This sport is getting more and more difficult the older I get! But hopefully I’ll pull my socks up for the race in Japan.”
Dylan is off to Japan where he’ll represent Canada in the Chiba International Ekiden, a road race consisting of six-legs that covers the marathon distance of 42.2 km, on November 23.
Since a mere six days separate travel-time to the Canadian Cross Country Championships November 30, following the Chiba-Ekiden, Wykes plans to beat the jet lag with a few gravol, a glass of red wine, some ear plugs, and an eye mask, in hopes of catching some shut-eye for a few hours. “If that fails” adds Wykes “I’ll be sure to have a good book for entertainment.”
Newcomers to Point Grey at the upcoming Canadian Champs, in addition to Wykes, include Rob Watson and Kelly Wiebe, both of whom have made the transition in making Vancouver their home base.
“The group forming here in Vancouver, called the BC Endurance Project and funded by BC Athletics, is definitely both refreshing and exciting for me and others as well as the sport in general in Canada,” added Dylan when asked about the recent influx of elite athletes making the move to Vancouver.
“I’ve done a lot of training on my own over the years and am looking forward to the group setting. I think the more guys and gals we get working together here in Vancouver the better off we will all be. Kudos to Brian McCalder at BC Athletics for spearheading the project and of course Richard Lee for his coaching expertise.”
What’s another added incentive for Wykes to hit the cross-country course this fall?
“I wanted to give the young bucks Luc [Bruchet] and Kelly a chance to kick my butt!” joked Wykes. Whether or not that will come to fruition will be determined in a few weeks time when Canada’s best toe the line at Jericho Park.
The race will conclude Wykes’ fall season, but look for him to be back on the roads in early winter as he hopes to tackle a few half-marathons with a spring marathon perhaps in the cards.
Toss Dylan a follow on the twitter-sphere @DylanWykes or check out his blog here http://www.time-to-run.com/dylanwykes
The 2014 Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic is set for July 10th at Swangard Stadium and this 31st edition will be memorial in many ways.
This historic event 60 years ago marked the first time two runners dipped under the 4 minute barrier in the mile event.
Dr Roger Bannister of England met John Landy of Australia at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games here in Vancouver at Empire Stadium
”With only 90 yards to go in one of the world’s most memorable races, John Landy glanced over his left shoulder to check his opponent’s position. At that instant Bannister streaked by him to victory in a Commonwealth record time of 3:58.8. Landy’s second place finish in 3:59.6 marked the first time the four minute mile had been broken by two men in the same race.”
Plans for 2014 include a recreation of the Miracle Mile with the goal of current athletes breaking the 4 minute barrier once again.
The IAAF World Junior Championships will be held July 22-27 in Eugene, Oregon. Athletes, who will be potential stars at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, will be traveling from all corners of the globe to the Pacific Northwest this coming summer.
Athletics Canada is in contact with several countries, which have an interest in their National Teams competing and holding training camps in the Vancouver area. These countries include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China and Great Britain at this time. Local competitions could include the UBC July 6, Victoria Track Classic July 8 and the Jerome Classic July 10. This could provide for a great opportunity for the U-20 nationals teams to compete over both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
The Greater Vancouver region provides several potential sites for training camps, which include UBC, SFU, Fortius Sport and Health, Abbotsford, Langley and Coquitlam.
Keep posted for further developments
Christa Bortignon named WMA Best Masters of the Year
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
OTTAWA – Athletics Canada congratulates Christa Bortignon of West Vancouver, B.C., who was named the 2013 World Masters Athletics’ (WMA) female Best Masters of the Year. This is one of the highest awards in Masters Athletics.
Christa competes in the women’s 75 age category in almost all events, including the 100-metres, high jump, javelin and heptathlon. She has set numerous World Records, among them in the 100-metres, 400-metres, 80-metre hurdles and heptathlon. Christa just returned from Porto Alegre, Brazil where she won eight gold medals at the World Masters Athletics World Championship.
The men’s award was won by Charles Allie of the United States in the men’s 65 age category. Both will be awarded at a Gala held in Monaco on Saturday November 16.