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SDSS grad excited for the jump to SFU

Gemma Dumas begins cross country season this week
Gemma Dumas is pictured signing her scholarship papers to SFU. She begins her cross country season this week. Optimist file photo

The new cross country and track and field season is set to begin at Simon Fraser University and will feature a talented middle distance runner from South Delta Secondary.

Gemma Dumas is one of five new recruits that will be a part of the Red Leafs program.

Dumas is joined by B.C. stars Kerlinda Chatwin from Surrey, Serena Kennedy-Hailu from Port Coquitlam and Steph Millar from Lake Country.

Grace Mack, a dynamic athlete from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador is the final recruit.

“I’m excited to welcome a talented group of young athletes in both cross country and track and field,” said Brit Townsend, head coach of the Red Leafs. “They have great credentials that will make an impact in the first season. They are also strong students and will be very good ambassadors for the university. Cross country season is fast approaching so they will be on a steep learning curve.”

Dumas will compete in both cross country and track and field for SFU.

In 2022, she posted 12th-place finishes at the B.C. high school and the provincial U18 cross country meets.

Representing SDSS, Dumas ran a time of 19 minutes 19 seconds at November’s high school competition in Victoria. She crossed the finish line for Ocean Athletics at the U18 provincial event in 18:47. Both covered five-km distances.

Two years ago, she was 13th in the U18 race at the provincial cross country championships (15:24) and 15th at the BC high school meet (20:20).

“I chose SFU because it has strong academics as well as athletics,” said Dumas, an honour roll student who was the valedictorian of her grad class. “It is also cool that it’s the only Canadian school to compete in the NCAA.”

In track and field, Dumas won the 800 meters at the South Fraser zone championship meet, taking the final in 2:27.62. She also recorded second-place results in the 400 (1:01.68) and 1,500 meters (5:05.27).

Dumas placed seventh in the 1,500 m at the provincials in 2022 with a time of 4:55.26, just behind current Red Leaf Rachael Watkins. She was ninth in the 800 meters (2:27.95).

SFU will race its first cross country meet of 2023 on Sept. 15 at NCAA Div. I California Davis. The indoor and outdoor track and field competition schedule will begin in the new year.