Track & Field Lions win seven medals, finish sixth at U SPORTS championships

The York University Lions track and field team won seven medals, and both the men’s and women’s squads finished in sixth place in the team standings at the U SPORTS championships in Windsor, Ont., this past weekend.

Among the seven medals were a pair of golds, courtesy of Holly Pitters and Kayden Johnson.

York University Lions women's track & field team

Members of the York University Lions women’s track & field team

Pitters finished her career by winning the U SPORTS title in the triple jump on the final day of competition. She put up a distance of 12.33m to edge out Guelph’s Jordan Bates for the gold, winning the second national gold medal of her career after picking up the long jump title last season.

This year, she just missed out on a double-gold performance and won the silver medal in the event on Day 2 of the meet. She recorded a distance of 5.85m on her second attempt of the day that stood through the rest of the competition to put her on the podium.

Johnson, who is also a member of the Lions football team, won the gold medal in the 60m hurdles, the first national medal of his career. The third-year standout, who was ranked No. 1 in the event in the country all season long, lived up to his top-seeded billing by clocking a 7.97-second time in the final, 0.14 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. He also ran an even faster time of 7.90 seconds in the semis and was the only athlete to record a time below eight seconds this year.

Like Pitters, Nicholas Fyffe also had a strong showing in the final meet of his career. He began the competition with a fifth-place finish in the long jump and then returned on the last day with a silver-medal performance in the triple jump, the same spot he finished one year ago. He faulted on his first two attempts and needed a big performance on his third to qualify for the final. He came through in the clutch, recording a jump of 15.02m on his third attempt to move into second place with what proved to be his best jump of the day.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was the second-place finish by Kaitlin Brooks in the shot put. She entered the competition ranked seventh in the country, but threw a huge personal best of 13.75m in the second round to vault herself into medal contention. Other than winner Sarah Mitton, none of her competitors were able to surpass the mark and she walked away with the silver medal.

The Lions also won a pair of bronze medals on Day 3 courtesy of Samuel Adams in the pole vault, as well as the women’s 4x400m relay team.

Adams didn’t even check in until several of his competitors had already been eliminated. He cleared 4.75m on his first attempt and then ultimately cleared 5.00m, which was good enough to finish in third place and earn a national medal for the first time in his career.

In the final women’s race of the day, Nicolette Witherspoon, Christy Ihunaegbo, Marvelous Agbonwaneten and Courtney Dwyer came together to win the bronze medal in the 4x400m relay in a time of 3:46.82 to round out the competition.

The sixth-place finishes by both teams were significant improvements from last year. The men’s team moved up nine spots from 15th one season ago, and the women’s team climbed seven places from last year’s 13th-place result.

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