Track & Field
For the second year in a row, the Guelph Gryphons stood atop both the men’s (123 points) and women’s (139 points) standings, capping off a stellar 2019 U SPORTS Track and Field Championships Presented by Beynon Sports, at the James Daly Fieldhouse in Winnipeg.
Leading the way for the Gryphon women was Female Athlete of the Meet Jenna Westaway, who concluded a phenomenal showing with a gold medal in the 1500 metres with a time of 4:18.17 on Saturday. It was the third first-place finish for the Canadian indoor record-holder, after a gold in the 1000 metres, as well as the 4x800-metre relay on Day 2.
“It’s a really lovely honour,” Westaway said after the meet. “Truly, winning the 4x800m relay and getting the team title as a group, that was really special to me.”
Daniel Harper and Philip Osei – who have both been on Canadian national teams in the past – continued their strong weekends for Guelph on the men’s side, helping to break the U SPORTS record in the 4x400-metre relay with a time of 3:11.67. Harper was also part of the gold medal-winning 4x200-metre relay team on Day 2, along with securing a bronze in the 300-metre run. Osei was just as strong with a silver in the 300-metre run.
“I feel like this is a big stepping stone,” Osei said, “We’re just trying to bring track back to Canadian universities and trying to keep other athletes at home and show that we can establish a good culture in Canada. This is a very big thing.”
Guelph head coach Dave Scott-Thomas swept the Fox 40 Coach of the Year honours, but made sure to bring his entire coaching staff to the podium for the awards.
“We’re way too big for anybody to take credit for anything that happens for us. It’d be impossible,” he said.
“I started with quite a small unit and the only way we were able to function at this level was with a team effort. I’m grateful for the notion of that type of award, but I’ve got the best staff in the country. It’s not only that we get along so well, we also make it okay to disagree and push each other and that’s how you get better.
Earning the George Gemer Award for Male Athlete of the Meet was York’s Pierce Lepage. The 2018 silver medallist in the decathlon at the Commonwealth Games brought home a gold medal in the 60-metre hurdles on Day 2 with a time of 7.83 seconds. He also captured a bronze medal in high jump on Friday with a leap of 2.09 metres and was a key member of the Lions’ silver medal-winning 4x200-metre relay team on Day 3.
“I was a little worried coming in, because I actually had a cold,” Lepage said. “I’m used to five events a day though so it wasn’t too bad.”
Rounding out the top three on the men’s side were Toronto with 72 points and Manitoba with 60.5. The silver and bronze on the women’s side went to Saskatchewan with 99 points and Western with 57.