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Trojans cap off ACAC Indoor Track Championships with impressive medal haul

SAIT's Ricki Christopher finished her post-secondary athletics career Saturday with a win in the 1,500m.
(Robert Antoniuk for MacEwan Athletics)

EDMONTON, ALTA., (March 10, 2018) - The SAIT Trojans men's indoor track team simply dominated the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Championships.

The men's team collected gold medals in each of the six events scheduled this weekend - 300-metre; 600m; 1,000m; 1,500m; 3,000m and the 4x400m relay - as they ran away with the team title at the two-day event hosted by the MacEwan Griffins in Edmonton, Alta.

"All credit goes to the guys; they put in the effort all year," said Trojans co-head coach Ryan Edgar, whose men's team wins their second-straight ACAC title. "We can't ask for anything more than what we got from them this weekend."

Their combined 96 points was 55 points better than second place MacEwan University (41) and 61 points better than third place Red Deer College (35).

Leading the men's team was Matthew Travaglini (3rd year, London, Ont., Geographic Information Systems), who won every race he entered, starting Friday night with wins in both the 3,000-and 1,000m races.

Travaglini's third individual gold medal of the weekend came Saturday morning when he set a new ACAC Championship record in the 1,500m event, winning in a time of 4:04.01 - beating the mark of Kirk Sundt set in the 2015/16 season by over eight seconds (4:12.31).

"We train together three to four times a week and it's good having each other to push," Travaglini told MacEwan Sports Information Officer Jefferson Hagen about the team's success. "The results speak for themselves. We're a good team and I think team is important to all of us, moreso than the individual (awards)."

And similar to Friday's 3,000m race, it was teammate Alex Howells (2nd year, Cochrane, Alta., Civil Engineering Technology) who placed second in 4:14.02. Jacques Saayman (2nd year, Fort McMurray, Alta., Bachelor of Business Administration) nearly gave SAIT a sweep of the podium by finishing fourth (4:20.21).

In all, Travaglini's three individual gold medals came as a result of setting two new ACAC Championship records and one new ACAC record.

"Matt is my hero," joked Edgar. "He's improved since we started talking to him before he came to SAIT, he's improved through cross-country season, he's improved through the indoor track season. It's really exciting, and almost scary, to think there's still room for him to improve, but he pushes himself more than anyone I've ever known."

Brent Stephen (2nd year, Calgary, New Media Production and Design) grabbed two individual gold medals, picking up a photo-finish victory in the 300m race on Friday, and leading a Trojans sweep of the podium on Saturday in the 600m.

"Brent is another guy that has really impressed us," Edgar stated. "Even in his year away from school last season, we watched him grow and mature and work extremely hard. We were fortunate to have that pay off here."

Brant Lauweryssen (1st year, Calgary, Business Administration) placed second, while Chris Karg (2nd year, Canmore, Alta., Carpenter) took third.

The team of Stephen, Karg, Travaglini and Lauweryssen later combined efforts to win the men's 4x400 relay in a time of 3:31.12, which again broke an ACAC record, this one set by Concordia University of Edmonton in the 2015/16 season when they ran to a 3:32.67 finish.

Christopher, bested the field in both the 3,000-and 1,000m races on Friday night, capped off her weekend by winning Saturday's 1,500m race in a time of 4:58.95 to earn three individual gold medals for the weekend.

"It means so much to me. It's incredible. I definitely did not expect that going into this weekend. That was not what my goal was," she told Hagen. "My goal was to get one gold, that's what I wanted. Last year, I got silver in everything and I was 'I just want to feel it once.'"

She teared up talking to Hagen following what is her last meet as a student-athlete.

"It was my last season, so I just wanted to go out and give it everything that I had. Being in varsity sports for four years, having it come to an end is really tough," she said. "This is my last one. It's been my life every day for four years. It's tough, but it's incredible. This is the top I've ever been. I have my team and my coaches and my family and everyone to thank for that."

The women's 4x400m relay team of Gallup, Danard, Stockton and Christopher later tied for the bronze medal with Lethbridge College after recording the exact same time - 4:22.06.

The women's team earned 57.50 points over the course of the weekend, good enough for second place behind a strong MacEwan Griffins (74) team and ahead of third place Lethbridge College (42.50).

It is the first team medal for the women's side since indoor track began back in the 2013/14 season.

"We're very happy with the silver on the women's side," said Edgar. "Hopefully, we can use these results this year to help us build into next season. . . Overall, they were all awesome and worked hard to get the results that they did."