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Port Coqutilam runner leads the way for SFU women’s cross country team

Riverside Secondary grad Olivia Willett is leading the women's cross-country team at Simon Fraser University.
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Port Coquitlam's Olivia Willett speeds to a second-place finish at the Bill Roe Classic last Saturday in Bellingham, Wash.

Port Coquitlam’s Olivia Willett is turning heads for the women’s cross country team at Simon Fraser University.

As she blazes past her competition.

The Riverside Secondary grad finished second at the Bill Roe Classic last Saturday at the Sudden Valley golf course in Bellingham, Wash., to help SFU remain unbeaten in three races so far this season.

Willett led a contingent of five SFU runners who all placed in the top 15 at the event that was hosted by Western Washington University (WWU). She completed the six kilometre course in 21:48.6, just nine seconds behind winner Amelia Keyser-Gibson, an independent. Also crossing the finish line with top performances for SFU were: Alison Andrews-Paul, who finished 10th; Kate Cameron, 11th; Megan Roxby, 12th and Emily Chilton, 15th.

Their placings secured SFU’s top rank at the meet, ahead of Chico State, Alaska Fairbanks, Western Washington and Seattle Pacific universities.

“The girls are getting more confident as we move forward,” said SFU coach Brit Townsend.

With the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) championships looming on Oct. 23, and the West Regionals on Nov. 6, the SFU women are currently ranked second in the West Region and 11th in Div. II of the NCAA.

Willett, a senior, has been a big part of that success, finishing all three races so far this season ahead of her teammates. She placed first at the San Francisco State Invitational at Golden Gate Park on September 10 and second at the Mike Johnson Classic in Monmouth, Ore. on Sept. 24.

The performances also earned Willett recognition as this week’s GNAC women’s cross country athlete of the week.