York Lions men finish third at provincial track & field championship

The York Lions men’s track and field team had a winning two days in front of a home crowd at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Track & Field Championships, finishing third at the Toronto Track & Field Centre located on York’s Keele campus. The women also put in good performances to finish sixth.

Ranked No. 4 nationally, the men held their own at the meet and proved they will be contenders when the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships get underway later this month. The Lions ended the event with 11 medals and 105 points, 35 more points than they recorded last year while finishing fourth overall. The dominant University of Windsor Lancers won the team gold medal, their 11th straight and 18th in the last 19 years, with 185 points, while the University of Guelph Gryphons won the silver with 115.

On the women’s side, the Guelph Gryphons ended the Windsor Lancer’s four-year reign as OUA champions by capturing their first title in team history. The Lions women ended up with 55 points and recorded four top-three finishes at the meet.

Complete OUA championship results can be found here.  

Right: York Lions runner Dontae Richards-Kwok showcases his winning form during a relay. Photo by Ivan Marcano.

The highlight of Saturday for the Lions came in the men’s 60-metre final as York athletes swept the event. Tyrone Halstead won the OUA gold medal for the second consecutive year in a time of 6.72 seconds while Randolph Fajardo and Dontae Richards-Kwok finished in the silver and bronze medal positions, respectively.

Richards-Kwok did not stop there, as he claimed an individual OUA gold medal of his own in the men’s 300 metres in a CIS-qualifying time of 34.55 seconds. He and Fajardo, along with teammates Mat Stiver-Balla and David Mayer, won the bronze medal in the men’s 4-by-400-metre relay, upsetting pre-race favourites from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Ottawa in the process.

Hurdles specialist Christopher Theriau did not disappoint in the men’s 60-metre hurdles as he finished in first place. He was the fastest runner in the preliminaries and lowered his time even more in the final to a sparkling 8.13 seconds.

Also winning a gold medal for the Lions was Kristin Obrochta, who lived up to her top-seeded billing in the weight throw with a throw of 16.64 metres. She was not challenged in the event until the end, when Western’s Sarah Manson came up with a toss of 16.48 metres. Obrochta also had a big meet in the women’s shot put to finish fourth and punch her ticket to the CIS championship in the event.

The Lions’ four golds on Saturday go along with the three the teams won on Friday night, when Elijah Allen won the men’s pentathlon, Heather Hamilton won the women’s pole vault and Halstead, Fajardo, Richards-Kwok and Stiver-Balla combined to claim the men’s 4-by-200-metre relay.

Other Lions medal-winners on Saturday included Ryan Finn, Darren Duncan and Suyi Georgewill. Finn finished the men’s 600 metres in second place and also finished fourth in the men’s 1000 metres. Duncan saved his best for the biggest meet of the year up to this point, en route to a silver in the men’s triple jump. His leap of 14.56 metres beat his previous personal best by 39 centimetres and also qualified him for the CIS championship in the event. Finally, Georgewill picked up a silver in the men’s weight throw as his best throw was more than a metre further than the bronze-medal finisher.

On Friday, Danielle Villalta won silver in the women’s pentathlon and Elizabeth Petrov captured bronze in the women’s shot put.

The Lions now have two weeks off to prepare for the CIS Track & Field Championships, which begin on March 12 in Windsor, Ont.