Men’s Track & Field
Championships season continues as the top U SPORTS track and field athletes are set to descend into the Saskatoon Field House from March 9-11 for the 2023 FFUN U SPORTS Track and Field Championships, presented by Discover Saskatoon.
Having won both men’s and women’s U SPORTS Track and Field Championship banners (2018, 2019, 2020, 2022) the last four years, the Guelph Gryphons look to continue their dominance in the track and field oval with a fifth consecutive championship banner sweep. On the women’s side, they have claimed the last three championship banners, while the men’s team has taken home the banner the last five years, having won six banners in the last decade.
Led by a talented group of veterans, like podium staples Zoe Sherar, Jacqueline Madogo, and Mark Bujnowski, we could also see a trio of Gryphons on the podium in the women’s pole vault competition with Jennifer Elizarov, Mia Rodney, and Lynton Lam as the top-ranked jumpers in the country. The Gryphons continue to build a culture of success year after year, but there will be competition.
On the Hunt
Standing in the way of the fifth straight banner sweep will be a group of schools that know what it takes to win. Prior to the streak, it was the Toronto Varsity Blues women’s team that won three straight banners (2015, 2016, 2017). Since then, the Blues have continued to build their team around strong depth in each event. Reigning champion Femi Akinduro continues to be a force on the triple jump runway while the duo of David Adeleye and Cameron Bruce look to improve their spot on the podium in the 60 metre hurdles.
Joining the Varsity Blues in the chase for the banner will be the Laval Rouge et Or. The Rouge et Or women’s team have been the team to watch on the track this season, battling it out with the Gryphons throughout the rankings. Jessy Lacourse leads the country in the women’s 1000 metres, fighting a trio of Gryphons, while also leading in the 3000 metres. On the men’s side, Philippe Morneau-Cartier currently sits atop the national 3000 metres rankings, while Mathieu Masse-Pelletier and Anthony Labbe challenge Bujnowski in the men’s shot put.
The host team, Saskatchewan Huskies, will look to bring their home fans to their feet this week as well, hoping to become the first team to win in their home facility since the Windsor Lancers did it in 2015 and 2020. If all goes as planned, the Huskies should see dominant podium performances, led by the likes of Kendra Farmer, Avery Pearson, and solid relay teams. The race that the home crowd will want to keep an eye on will be the women’s 600 metres, as the top four athletes this year, with Farmer and Pearson included, are separated by less than a second.
More Athletes to Watch For
The fastest man in U SPORTS, Regina Golden Bears’ Usheoritse Itsekiri is dominating the 60 metre straightaway. His time of 6.62 seconds is getting close to Sam Effah’s U SPORTS record of 6.57 set in 2010.
It will kick off the championships at the Saskatoon Field House, and Lethbridge’s Jinaye Shomachuk will be determined to improve her silver medal from last year’s weight throw competition. Since last year’s championships, where she broke the 18 metre mark, she has powered through the competition this season, coming into Thursday after throwing 18.90 metres at the Canada West Championships.
In the high jump, Varsity Blues Aiden Grout and Thomas Senechal-Becker of the Ottawa Gee-Gees could be headed to a jump off, as the pair have separated themselves from the rest of the competition, having jumped 2.20 metres and 2.17 metres, respectively, at the OUA Championships.
Follow the Action
The 2023 FFUN U SPORTS Track and Field Championships, presented by Discover Saskatoon officially gets underway this Thursday, March 9 at 4 p.m. ET. Daily schedules and live results from the Saskatoon Field House can be found at Athletic.net.
Catch all the action live on CBC Sports, visit usports.ca/en/broadcast.