Sumner, a fourth-year life sciences major, opened her season with a historic victory at the Queen’s Invitational, crossing the line in a time of 27:50.91. Her victory also helped propel the Gaels to a first place team finish at the event. The identical 8km runs for both women and men was believed to be the first collegiate cross-country meet in North America where both the men and women contested identical race distances.
“The biggest thing this sport has taught me is that perseverance and consistent hard work will always pay off,” said Sumner. “I strongly believe the life lessons I have learned from cross country will be extremely valuable in my future endeavours.
The Calgary, Alta. native followed that up two weeks later with a gold medal winning performance at the OUA championship, finishing the 6km race in a time of 20:16.7. Sumner, who also earned OUA MVP and first-team all-star honours, was a crucial member of the Gaels silver medal winning team.
On the Plains of Abraham a couple weeks later at the U SPORTS Cross Country national championship, thanks to a late push with under a kilometre remaining in the race, Sumner claimed individual gold after crossing the finish line in a time of 21:09.3. As a result of her first place finish, Sumner was also named the U SPORTS MVP and a first-team All-Canadian.
Following a successful 2016 collegiate season, Sumner went on to claim bronze at the Canadian senior championships in late November, finish fourth at the NACAC championships in early March in Florida, before rounding out her season, placing 52nd in a field of 104 runners in her IAAF world championships debut in Uganda, on March 26.