Lions add to medal haul at OUA Track & Field Championships

Heather Hamilton
Above: York’s Heather Hamilton competes in the pole vault at the Ontario University Athletics championship where she set a new provincial record. Photo by Alex Pylyshyn.

The York University Lions track & field team won six medals at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships on Friday and another six on Saturday at the Toronto Track & Field Centre, bringing their total to 12 for the meet.

Eight of the 12 medals won by the Lions were gold. The men’s team, which captured seven medals, finished fourth in the team event, one spot lower than last year, while the women moved up one place to fifth.

Kristin Obrochta successfully defended her title in the women’s weight throw with a monstrous personal-best throw of 18.07 metres, setting new meet and fieldhouse records and moving into top spot in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) rankings. The toss went nearly two metres further than the throws from all other competitors in the event.

Dontae Richards-KwokLeft: Lions’ Dontae Richards-Kwok was a member of the gold-medal winning York relay team. Photo by Alex Pylyshyn.

The Lions nearly swept the men’s 60-metre race for the second straight year, finishing first, second and fourth in the event. Tyrone Halstead and Randolph Fajardo captured gold and silver medals, respectively, in a race that was too close at the finish line to tell before the results indicated Halstead had edged his teammate by a hair. Olu Ogunde finished just out of the medals in fourth place.

Those three men teamed with Dontae Richards-Kwok to win the gold medal in the men’s 4-by-200-metre relay for the second straight year, once again setting a new meet record in a time of 1:26.60. The time was also a new fieldhouse record.

The gold was one of two relay medals Richards-Kwok captured on Saturday. He also ran the anchor leg of the 4-by-400-metre relay and secured a bronze medal for the Lions along with teammates Ryan Charlton, David Mayer and Stefan Ristic.

Rounding out the day two medal haul was Jonathan Odumeru, who won the gold in the men’s high jump with a height of 2.02 metres.

On the first day of competition, Richards-Kwok and Heather Hamilton broke meet records en route to gold medals. Richards-Kwok won the 300-metre race in a time of 33.80 seconds, breaking one of the oldest meet records on the books as he lowered the previous time set by York’s Desai Williams in 1984 by .08.

Hamilton crushed the rest of the field en route to her third straight OUA pole vault title. She didn’t enter the competition until there were only two other competitors remaining in the hunt for the medals, when the bar was set at 3.86 metres. She gave the home crowd a fright by missing on her first two attempts, but cleared with ease on her third.

After passing at 3.92 metres, she cleared 3.98 metres to up the meet record she set last year at 3.91 metres and win the gold medal.

She was not done there, however, as she continued to move the bar up to increase the meet record. She cleared 4.10 metres on her first try and ultimately set the record at 4.20 metres when she cleanly went over the bar on her third try to smash the previous record by 29 centimetres.

In other action on Friday, Elizabeth Petrov, who went undefeated in interuniversity competitions this season, continued her streak with a first-place finish in the women’s shot put event while teammate Cynthia Appiah was right behind her in second place.

Both women threw past the 14-metre mark, the only two competitors to do so, and each one of Petrov’s four tosses that counted (she had two fouls) would have won her the competition. She captured the gold with a personal-best throw of 14.60 metres while Appiah’s best was 14.05 metres.

Hurdles specialist Chris Theriau successfully defended his OUA title in the 60-metre hurdles. Already ranked No. 1 in the CIS in his event, Theriau won the gold medal with a lightning-quick time of 7.98 seconds and is currently the only athlete in the country to clock a time below eight seconds.

Danielle Villalta picked up York’s sixth medal of the day by winning the silver in the pentathlon for the second consecutive year, edging out Windsor’s Hannah Bagnall by just 15 points.

The Lions now have two weeks to prepare for the CIS championships, which will take place in Windsor from March 11 to 13.

Final Team Standings



1. Windsor


2. Guelph


2. Western


4. York


5. Ottawa


6. Toronto


7. Queen’s


8. Waterloo


9. McMaster


10. Lakehead





1. Windsor


2. Western


3. Guelph


4. Toronto


5. York


6. Queen’s


7. Ottawa


7. McMaster


9. Laurentian


Submitted by Alyson Fisher, sport & recreation information officer with Sport York