York Lions relay team is golden at the national track & field championships

It was a golden day for the York Lions men’s track and field squad on Saturday at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships as the 4-by-200-metre relay team captured the national title in a thrilling final that took place on Day 3 of the meet in Windsor.

Tyrone Halstead, Mat Stiver-Balla, Dontae Richards-Kwok and Randolph Fajardo ran the final in 1:28.92, less than one second faster than the silver-medal-winning University of Windsor Lancers and the third place University of Calgary Dinos. Also part of the team was Olu Ogunde, who ran in the preliminaries in place of Richards-Kwok.

Above: From left, Olu Ogunde, Mat Stiver-Balla, Randolph Fajardo, Head Coach Colin Inglis, Dontae Richards-Kwok and Tyrone Halstead

The gold medal was the second of the meet for the Lions, as pole vaulter Heather Hamilton won her event on Friday night. The Lions also won a pair of bronze medals: Halstead finished third in the 60 metres on the first day of competition and Elizabeth Petrov picked up the bronze in the shot put.

Ranked No. 1 heading into the championships, the men’s relay team was looking to erase the memory of last year, when they dropped the baton in the final and never finished the race. The team made it through the preliminaries with the third-fastest time but put the pedal to the floor in the final and Fajardo, running the anchor leg, crossed the finish line in first place to give all the men the gold medal they wanted so badly.

Overall, the Lions men finished eighth in the team standings with 38 points. The hometown Windsor Lancers ran away with the title, collecting 145.5 points, more than double the second place University of Sherbrooke Vert & Or. The Lancers also won the women’s team title but it was not nearly as easy as they edged the University of Guelph Gryphons by just one point. The Lions women ended up 10th with 26.5 points.

In other action on the final day of the meet, Ryan Finn was eighth in the 1500 metre race. The men’s 4-by-400-metre relay team of Stiver-Balla, David Mayer, Fajardo and Richards-Kwok finished eighth. Darren Duncan ended up ninth in the triple jump and Suyi Georgewill was 13th in the shot put.