This Thursday is the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Payton Jordan is the season opener for many of Canada’s top track athletes. This week a large Canadian contingent will head to sunny California to race some of North America’s best and get their seasons started.
Here’s a list of Canadian talent to watch Thursday night.
The 800m is a developing event in Canada. With Melissa Bishop leading the charge, Canadian women have become very competitive on the international stage. This Thursday’s event includes a strong Canadian lineup with Jenna Westaway and Lindsey Butterworth in the mix. Ashley Taylor, former 400m hurdler, has moved up to the 800m and will be running as well as Addy Townsend of SFU.
The 5,000m is going to be a fast one. Kate Van Buskirk is coming off her strongest indoor season ever. This winter she ran the Canadian record in the indoor mile and was signed by Nike. Jessica O’Connell is a 2016 Olympian and is coming off of a training camp at altitude with Van Buskirk. Expect big things from these Canadian women as they come down to sea level to race Thursday night.
The unofficial Canadian half-marathon record holder and the Canadian 10,000m record holder will go head to head in the 10,000m. Rachel Cliff and Natasha Wodak will race Thursday night, both women have already competed on the road this season but Payton Jordan is their first race on the track.
The 3,000m Steeplechase has two of Canada’s best young runners on the start list, Erin Teschuk of Furman Elite and Charlotte Prouse of the University of New Mexico. Both women have already been on the track this season and are looking to run fast.
Scott Buttinger and Cameron Proceviat are the Canadian entries in the 800m. Buttinger is a Stanford University alumn and will return to his alma mater to race both the 800m and 1500m. These races will likely serve as a workout effort for Buttinger. Proceviat has made huge strides over the past few years. The Simon Fraser University student entered into school with a PB of 2:05.69 and now runs a 1:49 800m. A massive 17 second improvement has shifted Proceviat’s goals from running for fun to representing Canada at the next Olympics.
The 5,000m boasts some big Canadian names. Luc Bruchet, Justyn Knight, Charles Philibert-Thiboutot and Mike Tate will line up together Thursday night. The favourite of this group is Justyn Knight coming off an NCAA number seven all-time result two weeks ago at the Bryan Clay Invite. But Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, the Canadian 1,500m champion and Luc Bruchet, third in the 5,000m at the Canadian National Championships last summer are in the mix as well.
The 10,000m has Rory Linkletter as its only Canadian entry, but Rory is an impressive one man show. Linkletter, a BYU student, ran a blazing 5,000m at the Bryan Clay Invitational two weekends ago in 13:37.98. That time will likely qualify him for the upcoming NCAA outdoor championships.