Trinity Western women's cross-country runner Fiona Benson is the Canada West cross-country champion.
The third-year Spartan from Dawson Creek finished first amongst runners in the Canada West conference and fifth nationally at the 2012 CIS championships Saturday at the Thames Valley Golf Course.
With her first place time of 17: 35 over the five kilometre race, Benson earned Canada West Female Athlete of the Year and CIS first team All-Canadian honours. She becomes just the second Spartans cross country athlete ever to be named an All-Canadian and the first to be named to the CIS first team.
Janine Moffet was the last Spartans cross country runner to do so as she earned second team All-Canadian honours with an eighth place finish in 2000.
Last year, Benson finished 14th amongst Canada West runners to earn Canada West second team all-star honours and was 48th overall.
Benson led the Spartans in what was an impressive day for both the TWU men and women.
Trinity Western's men's side finished fourth in Canada West out of six scoring schools and 14th out of 18 nationally, which was a tidy improvement over last year's seventh place finish in the conference and 16th in the CIS.
On the women's side, the Spartans finished fourth in the conference out of five scoring teams while coming 13th out of 17 scoring teams in the CIS. The women's performance saw them improve upon last year's seventh place finish in Canada West and 18th place finish nationally.
"On both the Canada West and CIS front, we're just so proud of our athletes," Spartans' coach Laurier Primeau said. "We had some exceptional individual results, but also we improved as a team dramatically in both men's and women's finishes. To do what we did today and with more to come in the future, I'm really proud of how we raced."
The Spartan men were led by Blair Johnston who finished fourth in Canada West and 13th overall with a time of 32: 15 over 10 kilometres. The result garnered him a Canada West first team all-star nod and CIS second team All-Canadian honours. Last year Johnston finished 10th among Canada West runners, and was named a Canada West second team all-star, while finishing 41st overall.
Following Johnston on the men's side was Joel De Schiffart finishing 12th in Canada West and 45th overall with a time of 33: 12.
With his result, De Schiffart earned Canada West Rookie of the Year honours and was named a Canada West second team all-star.
Also on the men's side, the Spartans' Chris Voth finished 22nd in Canada West and 86th overall with a time of 34: 30, Mihai Prajea was 40th in the conference and 97th overall with a time of 34: 36, and Ross Browne placed 42nd in Canada West and 131st in the country with a time of 40: 19. Trinity Western's Levi Neufeld and Nathan Goodwin did not finish.
After Benson on the women's side, Alison Jackson finished fifth in Canada West and 22nd in the CIS with a time of 18: 15. Her efforts earned her a Canada West first team all-star nod.
Following Benson and Jackson, Meg Harradine finished 29th in Canada West and 109th in the CIS with a time of 20: 35, Nicole Bell was 33rd in Canada West and 116th in the CIS with a time of 21: 02, Katelynn Ramage ended up 37th in the conference and 122nd nationally with a time of 22: 09 and Laura Merkel finished 38th in Canada West and 123rd in the CIS with a time of 24: 56.