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Break records, win medals: Day 1 of ACAC Championships a success for Trojans

SAIT's Brent Stephen needed a photo finish to edge MacEwan's Thomas Cross-Trush
in the men's 300m race Friday night at the ACAC Indoor Track Championships.
(Robert Antoniuk for MacEwan Athletics)
EDMONTON, ALTA., (March 9, 2018) - The SAIT Trojans took an eraser to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) indoor track record book Friday night.

Competing in Day 1 of the ACAC's Indoor Track Championships hosted by the MacEwan Griffins in Edmonton, the Trojans broke three records on their way to an impressive seven individual medals.

"We were hoping for success on the first day, but that absolutely exceeded our expectations," said Trojans co-head coach Bre MacEachern in a phone interview following the day.

Matthew Travaglini (3rd year, London, Ont., Geographic Information Systems) kicked off the meet Friday evening with a win in the 3,000-metre event in a time of 8:41.62 (minutes:seconds), smashing the previous ACAC Championship mark of 8:58.15 recorded by Lethbridge College's Alex Harding in the 2014/15 season.

Teammate Alex Howells (2nd year, Cochrane, Alta., Civil Engineering Technology) finished with the silver medal in a time of 9:08.76.

Travaglini added to his medal collection later in the night by winning the 1,000m race in an ACAC record time of 2:31.27, edging the result of 2:32.35 set by former Trojan Kenton Sportak in 2014/15.

"I think it's the championship atmosphere," he told MacEwan Griffins Sports Information Officer Jefferson Hagen when asked about putting together his fastest 1,000m time of the season. "You know there's more people here. They like seeing a good show and wanting to put on a good show with the sidebar of chasing good times. It's fun to do."

Finishing second in the 1,000m race was teammate Jacques Saayman (2nd year, Fort McMurray, Alta., Bachelor of Business Administration) in a time of 2:40.38.

Brent Stephen (2nd year, Calgary, New Media Production and Design) needed a photo finish to be declared the winner in the men's 300m race, finishing in a time of 35.609, just ahead of MacEwan's Thomas Cross-Trush, who was clocked at 35.619.

Both times broke the previous ACAC record of 36.15 set by Cross-Trush last season.

It came at a bit of cost, however, as Stephen's lean at the finish line caused him to tumble to the track afterwards, leaving burn marks on his shoulders and knees.

"He came back on me really well on the front straight, so I just had to pull it together and push a little harder," Stephen explained to Hagen. "I came into the line and I was either dipping or I was losing. It was about the hardest dip I've ever had and it was hard to recover. I went straight to the ground and hit my face pretty hard."

Women's star Ricki Christopher (3rd year, Herbert, Sask., Medical Radiologic Technology) mirrored Travaglini all night, earning gold medals in both the 3,000-and 1,000m events.

She finished the 3,000m event in a time of 10:36.97, and added her second gold medal of the night later in the 1,000m event with a time of 3:05.40.

"I PB'd in the 3,000 today. That was a personal best for me, so I'm feeling really good about that. It was a tougher race mentally than I think I've ever ran," Christopher shared with Hagen. "For my second one, it was definitely a mental battle. You know you're tired, but you can push. You think you know your limits but you can always push past them. It's good to see when it happens."

Both times were personal bests for Christopher, which amazed her coach.

"You wouldn't expect to get PB's like that back-to-back, but that shows that she really wanted it," MacEachern stated. "It was awesome that she found that success at the end of the day."

The weekend isn't over for Travaglini and Christopher, as they will both run in Saturday's 1,500m event to try secure valuable points they will put towards the team standings.

"Our typical way of doing it is to have people run two races, but both Ricki and Matt wanted to do all three to not only better their times, but to help the team out," MacEachern explained. "Getting those wins tonight obviously put a lot of points on the board, so we're hoping for similar results tomorrow."

After Day 1, the Trojans men's team have opened up a wide margin with 50 points. Second place MacEwan sits at 20, and Red Deer College are in third with 19.

The women have some work to do, as they sit in second place with 33 points, just three points back of first place MacEwan, and 10 points up on third place Lethbridge College.

Tomorrow's events feature the 1,500m, 600m and 4x400m relay.

"It's nice that the guys have such a big gap, but anything can happen on Day 2; look what happened on Day 1," MacEachern finished. "We're telling the girls the same thing - yeah, we're three points back, but you never know what can happen. We'll see how it goes."

Other notable finishes from Day 1
Women's 3,000m

Emilie Mann, fifth place, 10:52.09
Melanie McCann, seventh place, 10:55.56

Men's 3,000m
Daryl Ross, sixth place, 9:52.12
Matthew Vandegriff, eighth place, 10:01.60

Women's 1,000m
Alea Stockton, fourth place, 3:12.85
Ann Danard, sixth place, 3:15.19
Amanda Vocke, eighth place, 3:18.99

Men's 1,000m
Cole Dunlop, fourth place, 2:42.58

Women's 300m
Anna Gallup, sixth place, 44.84

Men's 300m
Brant Lauweryssen, fifth place, 37.20
Chris Karg, eighth place, 38.46