Lions off to Windsor to compete in the national track and field championships

The York track & field team will be in Windsor this weekend for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Track & Field Championships. York University will be represented by 11 men and six women, all of whom have an excellent opportunity to collect some hardware.

Last year, the men finished seventh in the CIS championships team standings with 46 points, 20 behind the champions from Guelph, while the women were 13th with 16.5 points. Overall, the squad brought home five medals from last year’s event, which was held in Montreal, including one gold, two silvers and two bronze medals. Three of those medallists – Tyrone Halstead (silver, men’s 60-metre dash), Randolph Fajardo (bronze, men’s 60-metre dash) and Ryan Finn (bronze, men’s 600-metre run) – are back again this season looking for more CIS hardware, and they are joined in Windsor by a number of other talented athletes ready to make their mark on the sport.

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

The men’s team put forth tremendous results at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Track & Field Championship, Feb. 27 and 28, to finish third in the team standings behind only Windsor and Guelph. With men’s coach of the year Colin Inglis at the helm, they scored 105 points, 35 more than they did last season, to move up two places. With the result, the Lions also rose to second in the national rankings.

The highlight of the Lions’ season has been the sprinters, who have accounted for numerous medals throughout the year. Halstead, Fajardo and Dontae Richards-Kwok have dominated the 60-metre dash, including a sweep of the medals at the OUA championship. Together with teammate Mat Stiver-Balla, these men have come together to form the top 4-by-200-metre relay team in the country. Richards-Kwok, the OUA male rookie of the year, has also proven to be fast in the 300-metre dash, winning the OUA gold medal in the event while recording the seventh fastest time in the CIS. Also on the track, hurdles specialist Chris Theriau has continued his form in the 60-metre hurdles and has put down the fastest time in the CIS to date.

Finn has been the Lions’ star at the longer distances and is ranked in the top 10 of the 600-metre, 1000-metre and 1500-metre races. His best result so far this season was a silver-medal finish in the 600-metre dash at the OUA championship.

All-around athlete Elijah Allen asserted himself as the top pentathlete in the OUA by winning the provincial gold medal while also recording top-10 finishes in two other events.

On the field, the Lions have been led by triple jumper Darren Duncan and weight thrower Suyi Georgewill. The two rookies have already posted excellent results in their respective events, as they each captured an OUA silver. Duncan saved his best performance for the most important meet of the year thus far, achieving a personal best in the triple jump with a leap 39 centimetres further than his previous best mark.

Left: York Lions Track & Field athlete Danielle Villalta competes in the pentathlon. Photograph by Ivan Marcano.

The Lions’ women, who finished sixth at the OUA championship, have excelled in the field events, particularly pole vault and weight throw. Heather Hamilton, the OUA field events most valuable player, has won a gold medal in every event she’s competed in this season, including the OUA championship, and recorded a personal-best jump of 4.06 metres earlier in the season, the best result in the CIS thus far. Kristin Obrochta has been on fire in the weight throw all season and has improved the school record several times over the past couple of months, most recently bringing it to over 17 metres. Also challenging for CIS glory will be Cynthia Appiah and Elizabeth Petrov in the shot put event, Adriana Lyons in the pole vault and Danielle Villalta in the pentathlon.

For live results throughout the weekend, click here.