January 17, 2020

Strong UBC Thunderbird Team Expected at Jerome Indoor Games on February 1 to Defend their Team Trophy

The entries for the 2020 Jerome Indoor Games will close in a week's time and Meet Director's Kim Young, Vincent Doyle and Chris Hancock are expecting a large UBC Thunderbird team of men and women to confirm their participation.

In 2019 UBC won the Pacific World Cup Trophy in a battle with Trinity Western University

The defending NAIA men's and women's Track & Field champions have added several new athletes to the Point Grey campus this fall. Many are likely to participate in the 10th edition of the Jerome Indoor Games.

The 20-strong recruiting class features athletes from across Canada as well as elite transfers from the United States and Scotland.

"This is a unique recruiting class in that we have a really cool blend of student-athletes who will either be completely new to collegiate sport (straight out of high school), or are veterans of university track and field," said UBC head coach Laurier Primeau who enters his fifth season in charge of the Thunderbirds program. "While all of them will be adapting to the Thunderbird culture, in many cases we have some built-in experience that we can all learn from."

Rebecca Dutchak - 2019 B.C. High School Track and Field Championships - Day 1
Rebecca Dutchak/Photo by Wilson Wong

While the T-Birds have established a winning pedigree, they're adding some proven winners in their own right at the high school level. Victoria's Rebecca Dutchak is fresh off winning gold in both the senior girls' long jump (5.70m PB) and triple jump (11.37m PB) at the 2019 BC High School Championships. The Claremont Secondary student will be joined at UBC by her counterpart on the boys' side, Lord Tweedsmuir's Ryan Pederson. The Surrey product took senior boys gold in long jump and boasts a personal best of 6.94 metres.

Among the incoming university transfers for the coming season is distance specialist Naomi Lang. From Aberdeen, Scotland, Lang heads to UBC from the University of Edinburgh. She has a 1500 metre personal best time of 4:20.92 along with a 9:34.03 at 3000 metres.

On the men's side, Vancouver's own Thomas Nobbs returns home from the University of Washington. The Point Grey Secondary graduate adds to an incredibly strong men's distance group with a 5000 metre personal best time of 14:20.94.

Matt Noseworthy - Oct. 14, 2017 - Vikes Invitational
Matt Noseworthy (right)/Photo by Wilson Wong

Matt Noseworthy rounds out the transfer students as he heads east across Georgia Strait from the University of Victoria. The St. John's, Newfoundland native specializes in both the 3000m (8:35.91 PB) and 5000m (15:07.77 PB).

The T-Birds are gaining another strong men's javelin thrower in Truro, Nova Scotia's Michael Adams. He won the senior boys Nova Scotia High School gold medal in May and is now a five-time provincial high school champion, currently boasting a personal best throw of 56.06 metres.

UBC is also adding a pair of local javelin throwers in Chilliwack Secondary's Jasmine Soltys (41.47m PB) and St. Thomas More's Mia Malinowski (36.90 PB).

Mia Malinowski - 2019 B.C. High School Track and Field Championships - Day 3
Mia Malinowski/Photo by Wilson Wong

A powerhouse in the high school race walking scene, Killarney Secondary is providing another two walkers to the Thunderbirds in Joanna Yu and Daniel Soliven. Yu earned silver at the 2019 BC High School Championships with a personal best time in the 1500 metre race walk of 7:20.71 while Soliven won bronze in 6:55.15.

North Vancouver's Sophie Konrad is UBC bound after making two podium appearances at the BCHS Championships, earning silver in both the 800 metre and 1500 metre events. Konrad boasts a 4:28.19 personal best in the 1500 and a 2:13.52 in the 800.

Surrey's Cayla Smith is a silver medalist in 2019 in the senior girls 400 metre. Her personal best at the distance is 57.20. The Southridge graduate also races the 400 metre hurdles with a PB of 1:08.42.

Cayla Smith - 2019 B.C. High School Track and Field Championships - Day 2
Cayla Smith/Photo by Wilson Wong

Another BC High School podium finisher is headed to Point Grey in Abbotsford's Rachel Mortimer. Running for WJ Mouat, Mortimer won bronze in both the 1500m (4:37.52 PB) and 3000m (10:19.45 PB).

Liam Dwyer will add a threat both on the track and cross country course. From Victoria, Dwyer earned silver at the 2018 BC High School cross country championships and picked up a bronze at the track and field championships finishing third in the 3000 metre steeplechase (6:12.27 PB).

Tamanawis Secondary grad Tyson Baker brings another distance expert into the fold. The Surrey product has a 1500 metre personal best time of 4:06.19 and a 3000 metre PB of 9:05.92.

Liam Dwyer (left) - steeplechase - 2019 BC High School Track and Field Championships - Day 2, May 31, 2019
Liam Dwyer (left)/Photo by Wilson Wong

UBC will have another sibling duo on the roster next season as Hannah Milic (Michael Milic's sister) joins the team from Delta's Seaquam Secondary. Milic has raced in both the 1500 metre (4:47.27 PB) and 1500 metre steeplechase (5:06.85 PB), as well as the 3000 metre (10:36.84 PB).

Kyla Becker is an American distance specialist from Portland, Oregon and brings some strong performance times with her. Becker has posted a personal best of 4:31.30 at 1500 metres and a 9:51.97 at 3000 metres.

Kamloops' Logan Hwang rounds out the distance component of the incoming class. The Westsyde High School product finished 24th at the 2018 BC High School Cross Country Championship.

Logan Hwang - 2018 BC High School Track & Field Championships - Day 1
Logan Hwang/Photo by Wilson Wong

Adam Vilio joins the T-Birds from Holy Cross in Surrey, making it four alumni from the school to don the blue and gold next year (Jero Abad, Riley Miller, Aiden Miller). Vilio's speciality comes at 800 metres where he has a personal best of 1:59.33.

Aaron Paynter is heading west from Etobicoke, Ontario, bringing his sprinting talents to the Rashpal Dhillon Oval. Paynter has a 10.89 personal best in the 100 metre dash and a 21.91 at 200 metres.

All told, the 2019-20 incoming class adds plenty of event diversity and all-around quality.

"Whatever their background, we hope to be able to provide an environment that enables each of them to thrive as athletes and in their academic pursuits," added Primeau.

The 'Birds will soon prepare for the start of the 2019 cross country season which culminates with the Canada West championships in Calgary on October 26th. The U SPORTS national championships will once again be in Kingston, Ontario on Saturday, November 9th.

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