The York University Lions track and field team combined to win 16 medals and break or tie three meet records at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships this past weekend at the Toronto Track and Field Centre.
Both the men’s and women’s squads also saw tremendous improvement in the team standings. The Lions men finished third with 137 points, just 19 points out of the top spot and more than doubling the 64 points they put up last year. Likewise, the women finished in fifth place with 69 points, also more than double their total of 30 points from one season ago.
Of the 16 medals won over the two-day meet, nine of them were gold, three were silver and four were bronze.
Leading the way were a trio of double gold medallists in Eric Brathwaite, Dontae Richards-Kwok and Khamica Bingham.
Brathwaite swept the throwing events with a pair of first-place finishes in the weight throw and shot put. His distance of 19.57 metres in the weight throw was more than a metre-and-a-half better than any throw from the rest of the field, and all four of his throws that counted in the competition would have won him the gold medal. He also finished first in the shot put with a personal best distance of 17.28 metres.
Finishing just behind Brathwaite in the shot put was Umar Khan, who won the silver medal with a toss of 16.59 metres.
Richards-Kwok added to his career medal haul at the OUA championships with another two gold medals, bringing his total to 15 over five seasons with the Lions. He once again proved to be the fastest man in the OUA, finishing first in both the 60-metre and 300-metre for the second time in his career. His time of 6.66 seconds in the 60-metre tied the meet record established by York’s Desai Williams in 1983, and his time of 34.24 in the 300-metre came after he slowed at the finish. Richards-Kwok is already the OUA record holder in the 300m, a mark he set in 2010.
He was joined on the podium in the 300-metre by rookie teammate Jameel Brown, who put up a time of 35.08 seconds out of the third section to win a surprise silver medal, and in the 60-metre by Bismark Boateng, who crossed the finish line in a time of 6.81 seconds.
Bingham won her second consecutive gold medal in the 60-metre in a blazing fast 7.23 seconds, lowering the OUA mark she set last year as a rookie. Her time is more than three tenths of a second better than any other mark in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) this year.
She also ran the opening leg of the 4 by 200-metre relay team that won the gold medal in a time of 1:39.95, the fastest time in the CIS this season. Joining her on the squad were Sheereen Harris, Danielle Knight and Tameran Defreitas.
The relay gold for Harris was one of two medals she claimed on the weekend, as she also won the bronze in the 300m in a time of 39.74 seconds.
Brown also won a second silver medal at the meet, running the opening leg of the 4 by 200-metre relay team that finished in second place in a time of 1:29.17. He was joined in the foursome by Ingvar Moseley, Ayo Agusto and Wes Huff.
Moseley also won an individual bronze medal in the 60-metre hurdles in a time of 7.90 seconds.
The final medal on the track came from the 4 by 800-metre relay team of Chris Pallotta, Muad Issa, Suraj Sharma and Ryan Charlton, who won the bronze in a time of 7:44.23.
York’s third record of the weekend came courtesy of Brittany Crew, who set the new mark in the shot put with a gold-medal winning throw of 15.80 metres.
Rounding out the golds for the Lions were David McKay and Richard Jansen in the pole vault and triple jump, respectively. McKay’s winning height of 4.91 metres gave him his third straight OUA title in the event, while Jansen won his first career gold medal with a jump of 14.46 metres.
The Lions now have two weeks to prepare for the CIS championships, which will take place March 6 to 8 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.