The York University Lions’ track and field team competed at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship Feb. 24 and 25 at the Toronto Track and Field Centre, tallying a total of 13 medals, including five OUA champions.
The Lions’ men’s team finished third in the team standings, while the women’s squad finished sixth. The Windsor Lancers won both men’s and women’s titles, which was the 14th consecutive title for the men and the third in a row for the women.
The Lions started the championships on top of the podium in the first event of day one, as Daniel Novia took home the gold in the weight throw. His personal best throw of 20.74 metres was over a metre further than the silver medallist Tim Hendry of the University of Guelph Gryphons. Novia’s impressive throw also set a new meet record and facility record.
Novia’s teammate, Eric Brathwaite, won the bronze with a personal best throw of 18.16 metres. Fellow Lion Chris Preece finished fifth in the event with a throw of 16.21 metres, which qualifies him for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships, where he will be joined by Novia and Brathwaite.
Later in the day, Lions’ sprinter, Dontae Richards-Kwok captured the silver medal in the 300 metre with a time of 34.04 seconds, which qualifies him for the CIS championships. The silver was the first of Richards-Kwok’s three total medals of the championships.
To cap off day 1, Elizabeth Petrov won the gold medal in the women’s shot put on her final throw, which was a personal best of 14.83 metres. Teammate Cynthia Appiah joined Petrov on the podium, winning the bronze with a 14.15-metre throw. Both Lions’ throwers qualified for the CIS championships.
Day two of the championship began with Kristin Obrochta winning the gold in the weight throw and Petrov winning the silver. Obrochta’s opening throw of 17.84 metres held up to earn her the OUA championship and was also a season best. However, she was unable to match her own OUA record of 18.07 metres, set in 2010. Petrov had a personal best performance, throwing the 20 pound weight 17.29 metres to earn the silver. Both Lions qualify for the CIS championships.
In the men’s triple jump, first-year athlete Vinh Le won the OUA gold medal with a distance of 14.37 metres, which was a season best. Teammate Rodney Fajardo finished just out of the medals in fourth place, while Richard Jansen finished fifth.
The performance of the day was in the men’s pole vault, when David McKay won gold with a personal best of 5 metres, which was 25 centimetres better than his former personal best. McKay’s performance also met the CIS standard.
Perhaps the most anticipated event of the day was the 60 metre, where three Lions qualified for the finals. Richards-Kwok came away with the silver medal in 6.75 seconds. Tyrone Halstead finished close behind with a time of 6.79 seconds to capture bronze, and Olu Ogunde finished sixth with a 6.92 second time. All three times were season bests. Both Richards-Kwok and Halstead qualified for the CIS championships with their times.
Umar Khan brought home the silver with a personal best performance in the men’s shot put. He beat his former personal best with his first throw of the competition and with his last throw, he set a new personal best, school record and OUA record with a throw of 17.34 metres. His OUA record was then bested by gold medallist Tim Hendry of Guelph.
Teammate Novia also had a great performance, finishing fourth and setting a new personal best with a 16.59-metre throw.
The championship concluded with the men’s 4 by 400 metre relay where the Lions team of Richards-Kwok, David Mayer, Birko Montinat-Descomme and Ryan Charlton earned the bronze medal with a time of 3:20.27 seconds.
The Lions who qualified for the CIS championships will now head to the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg for a meet March 8 to 10.