Track & Field
Twelve combined top-three finishes helped the Guelph Gryphons vault well ahead of the field in both the men’s (76 points) and women’s standings (81 points) on Day 2 of the U SPORTS Track and Field Championships, Presented by Beynon Sports.
The Gryphon men were paced by 300-metre runners Philip Osei and Daniel Harper, who finished second (33.17) and third (33.26) overall in their event. Guelph’s 4x800-metre relay team also placed second with a time of 7:37.45, as did Mark Bujnowski, whose toss of 18.09 metres in the sixth and final round of the weight throw secured him a silver. Matt MacGillivray also raced to a third-place finish in the 60-metre hurdles with a time of 8.19 seconds.
The Gryphon women were aided by a stellar day from Jenna Westaway, a double gold medallist in the 1000 metres, as well as the anchor leg in the 4x800-metre relay. Her 1000 metre time of 2:41.36 set a new U SPORTS record, while the relay team that’s also comprised of Jenna Smith, Sadie-Jane Hickson and Olivia Romaniw cruised to a top time of 8:47.25. Romaniw also earned a bronze in the 1000 metres, capping a well-rounded performance from Guelph in the event.
Zoe Sherar added to the gold medal haul in the 300 metres with a time of 37.79, while her teammate Morgan Byng added a bronze with a 38.69. Emma Nero also secured an 8.36 to grab a silver in the 60-metre hurdles for Guelph.
While the Gryphons had a stellar day, there were also a number of other amazing showings on Friday, most notably from Austin Cole of Alberta. His time of 32.89 in the 300 metres set a new U SPORTS and U23 Canadian record and also earned him his third straight national title in the event.
“It was crazy,” Cole said shortly after taking the podium. “I knew it was going to come down to (Osei, Harper and I). All year I’ve been thinking about this race so I knew it was going to be a hard performance. I just put it all on the track and I couldn’t be happier.”
Another record-breaking showing came courtesy of Brittany Crew from York. The 2016 Olympian added a gold in shot put with a U SPORTS-best throw of 17.56 – well ahead of her old personal best of 16.96. It’s her second medal of the meet after a gold in the weight throw the day before.
“I just always have that drive,” a passionate Crew said. “I really want to be on the podium at the Olympic Games one day. It’s next year. It’s crazy knowing it’s next year. There’s no time to waste.”
The Manitoba Bisons also had a strong showing on their home track and field, securing two gold medals, one from fifth-year Alhaji Mansaray in the high jump, as well as another from their men’s 4x800-metre relay team — comprised of Jack Taylor, Connor Boyd, Matt Van Schepdael and Simon Berube. Fellow jumper Oyinko Akinola repeated his silver medal performance from last year but broke his season best with a jump of 2.12 metres as the Bisons men moved into third overall after Day 2.
“It starts with us. We get to pave the way for the next generation,” Mansaray said of his and Akinola’s showings at nationals. “They see how we show up and jump at home and hopefully it gets the kids going.”