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Weekend recap: Canadian racing in B.C., NCAA Indoors and more

All eyes were on the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend, but Canadian results north of the border ended up stealing the show

Photo by: Maxine Gravina

This past weekend marked the biggest few days of the American collegiate indoor track season, as the NCAA Indoor Championships took place in Fayetteville, Ark. The event was exciting, and a number of athletes ran PBs on their way to national titles. More important than the NCAA Indoors (for Canadians, at least) was the fact that some of Canada’s best runners lined up to race north of the border over the weekend at a meet in Victoria. 

NCAA Indoors

For a more in-depth review of the NCAA Indoor Championships, click here, but for a few quick highlights, we’ve got you covered. One of the biggest stories of the weekend came from Athing Mu, the Texas A&M freshman who went into the championships undefeated in 2021.

Mu’s winning streak came to a sudden end when she lost in the 400m, finishing in second place behind USC’s Kaelin Roberts, who ran a PB of 50.84 seconds to win the national title. After the shocking defeat, Mu hit the track once again for the 4 x 400m. This time around, she didn’t falter, and she ran the fastest indoor 400m split in athletics history, posting a time of 49.54 to help Texas A&M to the win. 

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Another young star in action over the weekend was sprinting sensation Matthew Boling. He competed in three events (long jump, 4 x 400m and 200m), and he won the 200m to secure his first national title. He flew to the win in a PB and world-leading time of 20.19, just edging out the second-place runner by 0.01 seconds. 

Competing at their home track, the Arkansas women’s team won their second consecutive national championship. They finished the event with 68 points to beat Mu and the Texas A&M women who finished in second place with 57. LSU finished third in the women’s team standings with 39 points. On the men’s side, Oregon dominated, crushing the rest of the field with 79 points, which is the second-most in NCAA Indoors history. LSU placed second with 56 points and Georgia came in third with 35. 

Another win for Seccafien

On the other side of the world on Saturday, Canada’s Andrea Seccafien competed at the Sydney Track Classic in the Australian 5,000m national championships. Seccafien won the race in 15:25.62, beating second-place finisher and Australian champion Jenny Blundell to the line by less than half a second. 

Seccafien has spent more than a year focused on longer distances in the 10K and half-marathon, and on Instagram, she admitted that she wasn’t sure how she would fare in a race as short as the 5,000m. “I wasn’t feeling that confident about a championship 5,000m in a race full of ‘kickers,'” she wrote. “Winning in the last way I would have thought, in a 100m kick down, further proves that strength equals speed.” 

Victoria Twilight Meet 

Vic City Elite hosted the second Victoria Twilight Meet of the year on Saturday, and several big names showed up to race. Madeleine Kelly, the 2019 Canadian 800m champion, raced the 1,000m, running to the win in 2:40.19. Kelly has already raced a couple of times in 2021, but only at small indoor events organized by Athletics Ontario, and this was her first time racing more than two other people this year. 

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Lucia Stafford also raced in Victoria, competing in the 1,500m. She is coming off a great start to 2021 that saw her run the second-fastest results in Canadian history in both the indoor 1,000m and indoor 1,500m. Stafford continued her show of strong early-season form on Saturday, as she won the 1,500m in a PB of 4:06.86, which is just two seconds off the Olympic qualifying standard of 4:04.20. Melissa Bishop-Nriagu finished in second in 4:09.36, matching her PB from 2019, and Mariah Kelly placed third in 4:15.19.

In the men’s 1,500m, Nate Riech and Liam Stanley, two of Canada’s best Paralympic medal hopes, were the only finishers. Stanley finished in 4:08.31, placing second to Riech, who ran an incredible 3:52.56 result to beat his own 1,500m world record in the T38 classification (which is a para athletics division for athletes living with co-ordination impairment). Riech shattered his previous record of 3:57.00, and he has only given the world more reason to believe he will be the man to beat in the T38 1,500m in Tokyo this summer. 

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