York welcomes best of Ontario track & field this weekend

Dontae Richards-KwokThe best track and field student-athletes from across the province will be at York University this weekend for the 2011 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Track & Field Championships. The event is taking place at the Toronto Track & Field Centre Feb. 25 and 26.

Action gets underway on Friday afternoon beginning at 1pm and runs throughout the day until approximately 9pm. The event will pick up again on Saturday morning at 10:30am and go until close to 5pm.

Right: York sprinter Dontae Richards-Kwok leads a strong men’s team on the track

For a complete schedule, live results, directions and more information, visit the York Lions website.

The York Lions men’s team finished fourth at the OUA championship last season, one spot lower than its third-place finish from the previous year, while the women moved up one place to fifth. The men have been ranked in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) top 10 for a number of weeks, sitting fifth heading into the championships behind the University of Windsor, University of Guelph, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Calgary.

It will be a tough battle for the team titles this season as the rest of the squads look to knock off the University of Windsor Lancers, who won both the women’s and men’s team banners last year. Windsor is favoured to win both titles again this season as the top seeds in the OUA coming into the meet. The Lancers men have won 12 straight OUA championships and 19 of the last 20 over all, while the women regained the trophy last season for the fifth time in six years after Guelph won it in 2009.

Last year, the York Lions won a total of 12 medals at the OUA championships, including eight golds. Several medallists are back again this season looking to earn more hardware and help York move up the team standings.

Sprinter Dontae Richards-Kwok leads a strong men’s team on the track. He won three medals at the OUA championships last season, including gold in the 300 metres after breaking a 26-year meet record. He is the top seed in the event this season and is the only athlete this year to have posted a time under 34 seconds. He is also the top seed in the 60 metres.

Rookie Ingvar Moseley is the top seed in the 60-metre hurdles event and is looking to make an immediate impact on the league in his first season.

Second-year thrower Umar Khan is a medal threat in the shot put, currently ranked third in the event heading into the meet this weekend. He will also compete in the weight throw along with teammate Eric Braithwaite, a rookie thrower who is seeded third in the event.

Ingvar Moseley (right) is the top seed in the 60-metre hurdles event

On the women’s side, thrower Cynthia Appiah is favoured to win multiple medals as she is the top seed in both the shot put and the weight throw. She won the silver medal in the shot put and finished sixth in the weight throw one year ago, but went on to win medals in both events at the CIS championships two weeks later, claiming silver in the shot put and bronze in the weight throw.

Another thrower, rookie Katie Klodnicki, is also a top-three seed heading into the meet, ranking third in the weight throw.

Danielle Villalta has won OUA silver medals in each of the last two years in the pentathlon and she is seeded second again this year. She recently set a personal-best score just a couple of weeks ago at the Windsor Team Challenge, earning three season-best results in the five-event competition.

Many athletes competing at this weekend’s event have already punched their tickets to the CIS Track and Field Championships, which are being hosted by Sherbrooke University March 10 to 12. All athletes who achieve the CIS qualifying standard in their respective events will advance to the national meet, as will all gold and silver medallists from the OUA championships.