Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field

Canadians Justyn Knight, Rachel Cliff shine at Payton Jordan Invitational

Toronto's Justyn Knight finished third in the men’s 5,000-metre race at the 23rd annual Payton Jordan Invitational early Friday morning in Stanford, Calif. Vancouver's Rachel Cliff took home third in the women's 10,000.

Both runners finish 3rd in respective races

Toronto's Justyn Knight, pictured at a previous event, finished third in the men's 5,000 metres at the Payton Jordan Invitational meet in California. (Submitted by Syracuse Athletics)

Justyn Knight fell shy of his personal best time and failed to successfully defend his 5,000-metre title, but the Canadian distance runner managed to reach the podium with a third-place performance at the 23rd annual Payton Jordan Invitational on Thursday night.

The Syracuse University senior crossed the Cobb Track finish line in 13 minutes 18.74 seconds, nearly two seconds behind winner Henrik Ingebrigtsen (13:16.97) of Norway. Riley Masters of the United States was second in 13:16.97.

Last year in Stanford, Calif., Knight ran a world standard for the season in the 5,000 and broke a Syracuse record, establishing a 13:17.51 PB to beat Australia's Sam McEntee by four 100ths of a second.

Thursday's effort continued a strong season for the 23-year-old Knight. Two weeks ago, the Toronto native broke his own school record in the 1,500 at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Los Angeles, where he placed second in 3:36.07 against 250 of the best professional and collegiate runners in the United States.

In early March, Knight won his first Division I track title, capturing the men's indoor 5,000 in 14:14.57 at College Station, Tex., to become only the second Syracuse athlete to win an NCAA indoor title.

Three other Canadians joined Knight on the track Thursday. Vancouver's Luc Bruchet placed 13th in the field of 28 in 13:27.94, followed by fellow 2016 Olympian Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Quebec City in 19th (13:39.31) and Mike Tate of Heatherton, N.S., in 23rd (13:53.12).

He was among several elite Canadian runners competing at Payton Jordan, considered one of the most competitive domestic track meets. However, absent from the event was Natasha Wodak of Surrey, B.C., who had to withdraw from the women's 10,000 earlier this week due to illness. The 36-year-old ran 31:41.59 in the event at the 2015 Payton Jordan meet to break Courtney Babcock's national record of 31:44.74, set at the same event in 2003.

Cliff 3rd in women's 10,000

Rachel Cliff raced to a third-place finish in the 10,000, stopping the clock in 31:57.56.  

The 30-year-old placed ninth at her Commonwealth Games debut last month (32:11.11) and followed it up with a third-place showing in her hometown in the Vancouver Sun Run. Last August, Cliff was 20th at her world championship debut in a personal-best 32:00.03.

Dodd extends winning run

Vancouver's Sophie Dodd ruled the women's 400 hurdles in a time of 62.14 seconds, two weeks after helping the Simon Fraser University women's 4x400 relay team to an invitational section title in 3:47.82 at the Triton Invitational track and field meet at La Jolla, Calif.

Kate Van Buskirk of Brampton, Ont., clocked 15:16.34 in the women's 5,000 for a third-place finish, one second behind Merat Bahta (15:15.33), an East African-born Swedish runner.

Winnipeg's Nicole Sifuentes was 15th of 20 finishers in 15:27.82. The 31-year-old middle-distance runner set a PB of 15:19.15 in the event at the Stanford Invitational in 2015. At last year's world championships, Sifuentes finished ninth her 1,500 semifinal heat in 4:07.92 but didn't advance to the final.

Other Canadian results on Thursday:

Women's 800: Lindsey Butterworth, North Vancouver, B.C. — First in section one (2:03.33); Jenna Westaway, Calgary — (third, 2:03.50); Ashley Taylor, Burlington, Ont. — (fifth, 2:04.48). Section two: Addy Townsend, Coquitlam, B.C. — second (2:07.41).

Women's 3,000 steeplchase: Charlotte Prouse, London, Ont. — second, 9:50.47

Men's 800 (section two): Cameron Proceviat, Burnaby, B.C. — third, 1:51.46; Scott Buttinger, Waterloo, Ont. — fourth, 1:52.49

Men's 10,000: Rory Linkletter, Calgary — 17th, 28:43.51

About the Author

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

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