Women’s Track & Field News

A new U SPORTS record in the men’s 1000 meter, and a triple gold weekend for Sienna Macdonald headlined day two of track nationals in Winnipeg.  

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Guelph’s Max Davies, also the U SPORTS Male Track Athlete of the Year, blazed to a record-setting time of 2:21:00 in the 1k as the Gulph Gryphons had a monster day to take the lead in points heading into the final day of competition, with 70.

It was a fast start from all involved in the 1000, paced by Canada West champion Jonathan Podbielski of Regina, who pushed to the front in the first 200 metres, followed stride-for-stride by Jared Howse of UNB. The pair finished second and third, respectively in 2:22.99 and 2:23.66.

“I knew I needed to get out fast. I was actually fighting off the line a little bit with Jude Wheeler-Dee [of Queen’s, fourth place]. He’s a big body. It was a little bit of a tug of war but I did manage to get in front there,” said Podbielski, Regina’s 1000 and 1500 meter record holder, and former Rookie of the Year.

“I tried slowing down the pace, and it just didn’t work. [Davies] obviously wanted the race to be fast, and him and a couple of other Guelph guys went by and made it a fast race.”

Davies took over when it counted, pushing to the front of the pack. He came in with confidence on the final straight, amping up the crowd while celebrating along the way. Teammate Adam Schmidt added four points with a fifth place result.

“I didn’t know it was a U SPORTS record initially. I said before the race I’m going to just run this tactically, forget about the time and just go for the win. I executed,” said Davies.

“That was a fight, the first couple of laps I got pushed to the front and I thought I’ve got to go. Let’s make this race fast and hard. Around the 600-metre mark, I knew the last 200 had to be fast. I didn’t want to leave it until the last lap. I wanted to see how fast I could go and I executed that.”

In the men’s 60 hurdles final, Craig Thorne of Guelph, the U SPORTS record holder in the event from last year, defended his crown with a time of 7.81 seconds.

He and David Adeleye (7.83) of Toronto had a spectacular battle which came down to the line with Thorne earning the gold. Tamari Lindo finished third at 8.02 seconds, as the trio of elite hurdlers repeated the order in which they placed at the OUA Championships.

Guelph also took home gold in the 4x800 relay, battling with top three seeds Regina and Manitoba, along with UNB throughout the race.

Dawson Mann of Manitoba helped push his side into the lead heading into the anchor leg, where Guelph’s Davies, Regina’s Podbielski, UNB’s Howse and Manitoba’s Tristan Allen displayed their elite speed in an incredibly fast final push.

The Gryphons hit the line first at 7:28.99, followed by Regina, UNB and Manitoba. Guelph was originally disqualified after an order violation in the handoff of the baton on the final lap, but the decision was reversed.

Other top results from Guelph included a fourth-place finish from Marcus Penaloza-Abankwah in the 300, in a sensationally fast race. Emmett Bravakis took gold at 33.72 seconds, passing Calgary’s Devon Zuchotzki on the straight away, while Montreal’s Brandon Smith-Drouin secured silver from the B-side.

Additionally, Nicholas Bannon finished third in 3000 metre, an event where Laval’s Jean-Simon Desgagnes of Laval led from start to finish, with a final time of 7:59.72, just off the 28-year U SPORTS record of 7:59.29.

“The goal was to get the U SPORTS record. It was just over it, but we tried it. We had a team strategy and I missed it by just a small amount, so I think the execution was right on,” he said.

“I had a great finish and close. The ultimate goal was to win. I am really proud of the race. The 3k is my thing, so I feel I delivered what I needed to do.”

Desgagnes was also awarded a bronze medal at the podium from the 2019 FISU games, following a doping scandal which vaulted him from fourth to third.

“It was a long time ago. In 2019 it was something big. I missed the bronze medal by just a small amount. Since then I’ve progressed quite a bit as an athlete,” he added.

“I’ve been to two world championships and I’ve made a world championships final. It means a bit less than it did four years ago, but still it’s an international medal.”

Corbin deBlois also earned five points for Guelph, following a fourth-place finish in high jump, an event that was dictated from start to finish by U SPORTS Male Field Athlete of the Year Noel Vanderzee.

The Dinos standout, who’d been away from U SPORTS for a number of years after starting his career at Lethbridge, won the event with a top jump of 2.15 metres, and he was the only athlete to surpass 2.10.

Vanderzee, who originally stood out as a volleyball player, hit 2.16 in his fourth year in the sport, and 2.20 in his fifth, which was the “big breakthrough.” He then reached a PB of 2.22 metres at the conference championship.

“Calgary, we’re starting to grow as a team,” he said.

“We only have one graduating athlete, so we’re going to come back bigger and stronger and continue to bond as a team. The U SPORTS record [of 2.24 metres] would’ve been nice, but it is hard to follow up a PB. Consistency is key. It’s taken ten years to get here so it’s been a lot of work and I wasn’t always jumping high. It’s taken a lot of time.”

Elsewhere on the men’s side, the second-place Bisons made noise in the weight throw, as Graham Wright finished second with a top toss of 18.65, while Joshua Suelzle finished third at 17.77.

It’s the first time in school history that two Bisons have earned medals in the weight throw at nationals, all the more impressive considering Wright and Suelzle were originally walk-ons for the program.  

“It was a lot of hard work at the beginning of the year. They really persevered throughout the entire season. Just like last year when I came back periodically, they both excelled towards the championship,” said coach Reed Rimke.

“On a consistent basis they both performed very well to the top of their ability all season long. These are the first two athletes I’ve coached to medal at university. I’m all sappy that I get one more year with them.”

The hosts also got ten points following heptathlete Max Speiser’s gold medal. He’s now earned gold, silver and bronze at nationals, capping off his career in style while helping his side to 47 points entering the final day of competition.

Speiser hit PBs in all four day one events, and he won the 60-meter hurdles and pole vault on day two, capping the afternoon with a second place result in the 1000 to secure gold. Speiser’s 5270 points were just three shy of the school record.

He got great competition from Masson Altrogge of Sask, who also went over 5000 on the day (and finished first in the 1k) while Brandon Gremaud of Trinity Western finished third.

“I didn’t need a 2:51 in the 1k, but it’s great to end on a PB,” said Speiser.

“Doing the heptathlon, you’re competing against yourself. Every year going into CanWest and U SPORTS I always set a performance goal. This year, it was like I’ve got the bronze, I’ve got the silver, I don’t care what score I get, all I want is the gold.”

Laval enters the final day just behind Manitoba, with 41 points, thanks in part to Desgagnes gold, as well as a gold from the nation’s best weight thrower Abdellah Hassar.

Hassar threw a season’s best of 21.22 metres on his final toss, and was the only athlete to throw above 20, doing so four times. One of his throws was so powerful that it broke a barricade separating the fans from the field of play.

After securing her first U SPORTS gold yesterday in the pentathlon, Calgary’s Sienna Macdonald added two more to her collection on Friday, winning the 60-metre hurdles and long jump.

Sher broke her own conference record a day ago in the 60 hurdles of the pent, at 8.16 seconds, and she was once again the class of the field on Friday with a winning time of 8.20 seconds.

“I’ve been getting to the ground quicker over the hurdles,” said Macdonald of her elite times in the event.

“It’s about getting the least amount of air time possible, and getting back on the ground and continuing to run. A lot of people, even in the first hurdle, get up to it and get a little spooked by it and don’t run as quick. I just run straight through and try to keep going honestly.”

Meanwhile, Macdonald’s distance of 6.04 meters on her second long jump attempt was enough for first. She also jumped 6.02 on her final attempt, and was the only person in the field to go over six.

Hailey Reid of Guelph (8.30) was stride-for-stride with Macdonald for the first two hurdles, before Macdonald fearlessly broke away, while Maoly St-Germain of Sherbrooke placed third at 8.34.

Macdonald’s two golds, plus a silver from U SPORTS Female Rookie of the Year Chloe Turner in the 3000, a fourth-place result from Dawn Richardson-Wilson in the 300 and a fifth-place finish in the shot put from Alexis Johnson has the Dinos tied for first with Laval in the team standings, with 72.

The five-time defending national champion Guelph Gryphons are tied for first with Calgary, headlined by a gold medal from the nation’s best pole vaulter Jennifer Elizarov. She hit 4.15 metres on her first attempt, edging out Rachel Grenke of Alberta, who reached 4.10.

Payton Serraglio of Western captivated a capacity crowd, finishing bronze with a vault of four metres. She came into the competition seeded ninth, hitting a personal best during the meet to secure third.

Other key performances from the Gryphons included a silver from Hailey Reid in the 60 meter hurdles (8.30 seconds), while her teammate Adenike Abiodun finished fifth at 8.44 seconds to secure four key points.

In the women’s 1000, Canada West champion Avery Pearson of Sask made a massive push at the bell lap, surging past Cameron Ormond (2:48.46) and Julia Agostinelli (2:48.70) of Guelph to take gold in 2:47.10.

Western rounds out the top three on the women’s side, sitting at 64 points.

Liv Sands was a major reason for the Mustangs’ top three showing, winning gold in the shot put after a third place finish a year ago. Serraglio’s bronze in the pole vault was also key points-wise.

She started training with national team coach Richard Parkinson last year, which has made a huge difference in her results. She won the competition with a throw of 15.32 meters on her second attempt, and she was the only one over 15 overall.

Two-time defending national champ Anna McConnell of Manitoba added more hardware to her collection with a silver, while Kaitlin Brooks of York took third.

“I started training with [Parkinson] just after U SPORTS last year. We went on a little road trip and did some competitions. It’s been a completely new world for my training,” said Sands.

“The intensity, everything is tracked, all the numbers. Training is very specific and direct to myself. Also just training with [Olympian] Sarah [Mitton], watching her and being like her, being disciplined, that’s helped. I was pushing for upwards of 15.75, but I saw a lot of really good pieces. The vibes were so high in here. I was loving it.”

 Competition wraps up tomorrow, beginning at 12:30 pm.

TEAM STANDINGS

WOMEN: 

  1. (tie) Guelph and Calgary 72; 3. Western, 64; 4. Saskatchewan 49; 5. Laval 39; 6. Toronto, 17; 7. (tie) Alberta and Dalhousie, 16; 9. York, 15; 10. Sherbrooke, 10; 11. Regina, 9; 12. (tie) Manitoba and Windsor, 8; 14. Trinity Western, 7; 15. (tie) McGill and Victoria, 6; 17. Montréal, 5; 18. Carleton 4; 19. Waterloo 3; 20. (tie) Brock and Ottawa, 1.

 

MEN:

  1. Guelph, 70; 2. Manitoba, 47; 3. Laval, 41; 4. Western, 27; 5. Alberta, 26; 6. Toronto, 25; 7. Calgary, 24; 8. Trinity Western. 17; 9. (tie) Regina and Saskatchewan, 16; 11. McGill, 13; 12. (tie) Montréal and UNB, 12; 14. (tie) Dalhousie and Windsor, 11; 16. UQAM, 7; 17. York, 6; 18, Queen's, 5; 19. Sherbrooke, 2; 20. (tie) Brock and Victoria, 1.

 

RECORDS SET:

Men’s 1000 run: Max Davies, Guelph, 2:21.0. (Old record was 2:22.09 by Tommy Lecours of Guelph in 2012).

 

INDIVIDUAL MEDALLISTS:

WOMEN

60m hurdles: 1. Sienna Macdonald, Calgary, 8.20 seconds; 2. Hailey Reid, Guelph, 8.30; 3. Maoly St-Germain, Sherbrooke, 8.34.

300 metres: 1. Nicole McKenzie, Guelph, 37.99 seconds; 2. Paige Willems, Saskatchewan, 38.10; 3. Favour Okpali, Western, 38.46.

1,000 metres: 1. Avery Pearson, Saskatchewan, 2:47.10; 2. Cameron Ormond, Guelph, 2:48.46; 3. Julia Agostinelli, Guelph, 2:48.70.

3,000 metres: 1. Catherine Beauchemin, Laval, 9:36.08; 2. Chloe Turner, Calgary, 9:36.97; 3. Sophie Coutts, Western, 9:37.08.

4 x 800 metre relay: 1. Saskatchewan (Kaitlyn Harrison, Attleigh Maloney, Jenica Swartz, Avery Pearson), 8:45.60; 2. Laval (Sabrina Lavigne, Camille Boudreau, Catherine Beauchemin, Emma Dagenais), 8:46.30; 3. Western (Juliana Hendrikx, Sophie Coutts, Chloe Coutts, Hallee Knelsen), 8:50.79.

Long jump: 1. Sienna Macdonald, Calgary, 6.04 metres; 2. Milenne Habash, Guelph, 5.87; 3. Fiola Tejiofo, Laval, 5.86.

Pole vault: 1. Jennifer Elizarov, Guelph, 4.15 metres; 2. Rachel Grenke, Alberta, 4.10; 3. Patyon Serraglio, Western, 4.00.

Shot put: 1. Liv Sands, Western, 15.32 metres; 2.  Anna McConnell, Manitoba, 14.84; 3. Kaitlin Brooks, York, 13.81.

 

MEN

60m hurdles: 1. Craig Thorne, Guelph, 7.81 seconds; 2. David Adeleye, Toronto 7.83; 3. Tamarri Lindo, York, 8.02.

300 metres: 1. Emmett Bravakis, Toronto, 33.72; 2. Brandon Smith-Drouin, Montréal; 34.25; 3. Devon Zuchotzki, Calgary, 34.28.

1,000 metres: 1. Max Davies, Guelph, 2:21.00 (U SPORTS record); 2. Jonathan Podbielski, Regina, 2:22.99; 3. Jared Howse, UNB, 2:23.66.

3,000 metres: 1. Jean-Simon Desgagnés, Laval, 7:59.72; 2. Matthew Beaudet, McGill, 8:01.44; 3.

Nicholas Bannon, Guelph, 8:06.66.

4 x 800 metre relay: 1. Guelph (Adam Schmidt, Mason Basson, Alanzo Ryan, Max Davies), 7:28.99; 2. Regina (Adam Mytopher, Brayden Mytopher, Daniel Eiswerth, Jonathan Podbielski), 7:30.60; 3. UNB (Benjamin Perrett, William Boyle, Mitchell Kean, Jared Howse) 7:31.51.

High jump: 1. Noel Vanderzee, Calgary, 2.15 metres; 2. (tie) Aiden Grout, Toronto and Emile Ollivier, UQAM, 2.07.

Long jump: Jonathan Jacob, Guelph, 7.35 metres; 2. Kenneth West, Western, 7.30; 3. Solomon Arase, Guelph, 7.26.

Weight throw: 1. Abdellah Hassar, Laval, 21.22 metres; 2. Graham Wright, Manitoba, 18.65; 3. Joshua Suelzle, Manitoba, 17.77.

Heptathlon: 1. Max Speiser, Manitoba, 5270; 2. Masson Altrogge, Saskatchewan, 5107; 3. Brandon Gremaud, Trinity Western, 4925.