’Birds back in action as they take home Jerome Indoor Games' Pacific World Cup

With the start of the new year comes a new track season.

The UBC track and field athletes finally returned to the public eye here in Vancouver on Saturday, February 3, as they took part in the Harry Jerome Indoor Games at the Richmond Oval.

For the ’Birds, the event was a chance to compete on home turf, while putting themselves back in the competitive mindset as the season picks back up. Together, the team took home the Pacific World Cup as the top university program of the competition.

“Our team just doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to compete in Vancouver ... And so, it’s a good opportunity for us to be local, to perform in front of families and friends, but also to be a presence in the community,” said UBC head coach Laurier Primeau. “A lot of these kids who are in high school at this meet are kids that we'd like to have on our team in future years. To be a presence here and to show what university track is all about I think is equally important.”

In the men’s 300 metres, Philip Ireri finished third with a time of 37.42 seconds. For the women's side, Sarah Oancia won the women’s 300-metre category with a time of 43.85 seconds. Jade Duncanson also earned herself a seat in the top ten, taking seventh place with 1:04.29 seconds.

The women’s team also impressed in the 60 metres event. Kira Pederson placed fourth with a time of 8.03 seconds, followed by Oancia and Emily Russell who finished in sixth and seventh respectively.

Jake Hanna also represented the 'Birds well in the 60 metres, finishing in fourth place at 7.16 seconds. In the 60 metre hurdles, Bogdan Pavel took home silver for UBC with a time of 8.33 seconds, and Kenneth Schultze took home bronze at 8.35 seconds.

UBC trio Jamie Hennessey, Mikayla Tinkham and Madelyn Huston break away from the pack in the 1,500 metre race.
UBC trio Jamie Hennessey, Mikayla Tinkham and Madelyn Huston break away from the pack in the 1,500 metre race. Elizabeth Wang

In the relay events, Kenneth Schultze, Bogdan Pavel, Tanner Carnegie and Jake Hanna won the men's 4 x 200 metres, clocking in at 1:33.71 minutes. The women’s team won their relay with runners Oancia, Hayley Madden, Russell and Pederson crossing the finish line at 1:52.53 minutes.

All things considered, it was the 1,500 metres where UBC really took over the field. In the women's race, the T-Birds completed the medal sweep for the event: Mikayla Tinkham took home gold with a time of 4:49.72 minutes, followed by Jamie Hennessey at 4:55.62 minutes and Madelyn Huston at 4:57.22 minutes.

On the men's side, Thomas Broatch and Stefan Biro claimed first and second place in the race with times of 4:13.35 minutes and 4:16.17 minutes respectively.

In the field events, Jero Abad finished second at the 1.80 meters mark for men’s high jump. Heather Betz completed the event in third place for the women, with a final height of 1.55 meters.

Betz also participated in women’s 60-metre hurdle and finished in third place with a time of 9.94 seconds.

These results show promise for an exciting season ahead for the T-Birds. For Primeau, the Jerome Indoor Games are just a stepping stone towards the end goal for the team.

"Our men are coming off of winning the national championship last year in track and field, and I think that remains a goal this year — to repeat. And we'd like to see if our women can do that too. They were fourth last year, and we're much stronger on the women's side then we were last year," he said.

Up next, the T-Birds will travel to Seattle for the Husky Classic on Saturday, February 10, followed by the University of Washington Indoor Open on Sunday, February 11.