York sprinter named top male athlete at national finals

close up view of Dontae
Members of the silver-medal winning York 4×200-metre relay team at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships on Saturday


York’s team came up golden at the national track & field finals in Winnipeg on the weekend with sprinter Dontae Richards-Kwok winning two gold medals and throwers Daniel Novia and Kristin Obrochta also capturing golds.

Richards-Kwok’s performance in both the individual and team relay event won him recognition as the outstanding male athlete of the Canadian Interuniveristy Sport (CIS) championships, the first York athlete since Doug Wood in 1992 to win the award.

Dontae Richards-Kwok

Richards-Kwok won his individual gold medals in the 60 metres and 300 metres and capped off Day 3 with a silver medal as a member of York’s 4×200-metre relay team and a fourth-place finish in the 4×400-metre relay.

As a team, York put in one of its best performances in years, placing fourth out of 21 teams in the men’s competition and eighth in the women’s, both improvements on last year.

Both teams tallied more points than they had in many years. The men scored 72 points over the three days of competition, 22 more than they tallied last season, and the women finished with 35 after earning just 10 last year.

The Lions men’s team came into the 4×200-metre relay ranked fifth but ran their best race of the season to move up three spots. Richards-Kwok ran the opening leg and put his team in position to win a medal; Tyrone Halstead, Olu Ogunde and David Mayer did the rest.

The 4×400-metre relay was the last event of the competition and the Lions, represented by Richards-Kwok, Mayer, Ryan Charlton and Andrew Heaney, ran a solid race to cross the finish line in a season-best time of 3:17.84. Mayer got the team out to a solid start, Charlton ran a strong second leg and Richards-Kwok ran a monstrous 47.5-second third leg to put the team in third place in its heat. Heaney held on to that place across the finish line, but the Lions fell to fourth after the Manitoba Bisons put up a huge 3:16.57 in the previous heat.

York’s gold medal-winner Kristin Obrochta, centre

Overall, the Lions won four medals on the men’s side and four on the women’s side to conclude the 2011-2012 season. In addition to Richards-Kwok, also winning gold medals were throwers Daniel Novia and Kristin Obrochta, who won their respective weight throwing events. Obrochta’s teammate, Cynthia Appiah finished just behind her in the weight throw to claim the silver medal and Appiah picked up a second silver in the shot put ahead of fellow Lion Elizabeth Petrov, who won bronze. Obrochta contributed another two points to the overall team standings by finishing in seventh place.

In the men’s weight throw, teammates Eric Brathwaite and Chris Preece competed along with Novia and finished fifth and 10th, respectively.

Also on Day 1, Charlton, a middle-distance specialist, finished in seventh place in the 600 metre to score an important two points in the overall team standings.

On Day 2, also scoring points for the women’s team was the 4×200-metre relay quartet of Monique Rodney, Sheereen Harris, Kelsey Desjarlais and Diandra Forde, who finished seventh in their race to add two points to the team standings.

Friday’s competition ended with a thrilling 4×800-metre race on the track. The Lions, represented by Ethan Henry, Jordan Miller, Charlton and Andrew Heaney, moved up two spots to finish in sixth place and their time of 7:39.53 broke a 22-year school record.

In other action on Day 3, Umar Khan finished in fourth place in the shot put, just eight centimetres behind the bronze medallist, and Novia advanced to the final and finished seventh.

In the triple jump, rookie Richard Jansen tied his personal best at 14.07 metres to finish sixth, while teammate Vinh Le was seventh and Rodney Fajardo was ninth.

In the pole vault, the Ontario University Athletics male rookie of the year David McKay ended up in seventh place, Vince DiBacco was eighth and Luke Durward was 10th.

Final Team Standings


1. Western, 90 points
2. Guelph, 77
3. Windsor, 73.5
4. York, 72

5. Ottawa, 63
6. Dalhousie, 40
7. Laval, 38
8. Saskatchewan, 37
9. Regina, 34
10. Victoria, 29
11. Toronto, 26
12. Sherbrooke, 24
13. Alberta, 11
14. Manitoba, 10.5
T15. Calgary, 9
T15. Trinity Western, 9
17. Lakehead, 8
18. Lethbridge, 5
19. Queen’s, 3
20. McMaster, 2
T21. Waterloo, 1
T21. Saint Mary’s, 1


1. Windsor, 87 points
2. Guelph, 82
3. Western, 60
4. Toronto, 53
5. Saskatchewan, 51
6. Calgary, 49
7. Alberta, 37
8. York, 35

9. McMaster, 33
10. Sherbrooke, 25
11. Victoria, 23
12. Manitoba, 22
T13. UQAM, 20
T13. Ottawa, 20
15. Trinity Western, 16
T16. McGill, 12
T16. Regina, 12
18. Laval, 11
19. Dalhousie, 8
20. Montreal, 3
21. St. Francis Xavier, 1