The U.S. is the land of opportunity right now when it comes to track and running races, with events held across the country every week. A number of Canadians are south of the border taking advantage of these competitions, and over the weekend, we got to see a few huge performances from some of these Canucks. With career firsts from Marco Arop, Brogan MacDougall and Taryn O’Neill, Canada was well represented at several early-season meets.
Arop breaks four
Arop is one of Canada’s top 800m runners, not just now, but of all time. The Edmonton native is a former national champion, a Pan Am Games gold medallist and the indoor 800m national record holder with a PB of 1:45.90. On Sunday, he reached another milestone in his young career (he’s only 22) after breaking the four-minute barrier in the mile for the first time. At an indoor meet in Alabama, Arop grabbed the win in convincing fashion, smashing the barrier with a 3:57.50 performance. With the result, Arop showed that he is ready to have a big year, and everything seems to be clicking as he works toward the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
MacDougall’s debut race
After running for Queen’s University in her hometown of Kingston, Ont., for two years, MacDougall transferred to the University of Wisconsin in the NCAA in 2020. At Queen’s, MacDougall won the U Sports individual national title as a rookie in 2018, and she followed that up with a sixth-place finish in 2019, helping her team to the U Sports team title. On Saturday, she made her debut for Wisconsin, competing in Indiana at the Big Ten Championships in the NCAA’s condensed cross-country season. She led her team, completing the 6K race in 20:44 to finish in seventh place. Up next, MacDougall and the Wisconsin women will head to Oklahoma, where the NCAA Championships will be held on March 15.
O’Neill’s first win
On the other side of the country, O’Neill led the Northern Arizona University team, grabbing the win at a cross-country meet in Las Vegas. This is the first win of O’Neill’s collegiate career, and she had to work for it until the very end, winning by one second over BYU’s Anna Camp. O’Neill, who hails from Kelowna, B.C., crossed the line of the 6K race in 19:51, leading the NAU women to a third-place finish.