The University of Guelph women’s track and field team captured their first ever OUA Track and Field title after an incredible back and forth battle with the four time defending champion Windsor Lancers.
The Gryphons were led by their incredible sophomore Lindsay Carson, who captured the 1500 and 3000 meter titles while finishing runner up in the 1000 meters. Carson was joined as event champions by two athletes who although at opposite ends of their Gryphon careers were equally dominate. Fifth year thrower Steph Jackson, put on an incredible show in the shot put, setting life time bests on every throw to win the event by over a meter with a best throw of 14.45 . While rookie Miana Griffths pulled away from the field to win the 60 meters by a tenth of a second in a time 7.50.
The meet got off to an fantastic start for the Gryphons as rookie Meg Harris set the tone for the weekend with her surprising bronze medal performance in the pentathlon. Harris entered the meet as the eighth ranked performer in the pentathlon but with personal bests in all five events managed to grab the bronze. Also picking up bronze on Friday evening was the women’s 4 x 800 meter relay. The Gryphons entered the event ranked first in the country but did not have the services of Carson, who was held out in order to focus on her individual events. The relay was won by the Lancers which put them in first place after the first day with the Gryphons sitting ten points back in third.
Day two saw the Gryphs take the lead from the Lancers after the weight throw, only to see the Lancers take back the lead after the 600 meter run and the back and forth continued all day.
Carson pushed the Gryphs back into the lead as she and teammates Rachel Cliff and Courtney Laurie finished first, third and fourth in the 3000 meters. While Griffths and teammate Sarah Peirece finishing first and second in the women’s 60 to build a bit of cushion on the Lancers. But like any great champion the Lancers came back with a win in the women’s 300 and a 1-2 of their own in the women’s 60 hurdles. Harris countered for the Gryphons by continuing her incredible weekend by placing fourth in the hurdles an event she once again entered ranked eighth.
With only four events remaining the Gryphons were trailing the Lancers by three points. The women’s high jump and triple jump provided minimal separation as Shaneista Haye captured the silver for the Gryphons in the high jump, while the Lancers countered with a bronze and sixth place. Meanwhile in the triple jump, Lancers’ rookie Jaideene Lowe captured the gold but the Gryphons countered back with a fourth and sixth.
With only two events remaining and training by seven and half the Gryphons had one more ace up their sleeve. With four finalists in the women’s 1000 and the Lancers having none the Gryphons would need to once again turn to their star Lindsay Carson. A quick early pace saw the CIS leader Jillian Wyman of McMaster and Ottawa’s Jacqui Malette separate from the field. With the Gryphons sitting third, fourth, fifth and sixth. As Wyman pulled away from Malette the Gryphons started gaining on Malette. First, second year runner Jess Vanhie went by Malette, followed quickly by Carson and as they entered the homestretch with only 40 meters to go rookie Lydia Frost moved past to give the Gryphons the 2-3-4 finish and secure the Gryphons first ever OUA title.
The Gryphon men also equalled their best ever finish as they finished runner up to a strong Windsor Lancer team. The Gryphons were carried by their traditional strengths in distance running and throws. The distance runners put on a dominating displaying sweeping the men’s 3000 meters, finishing first and second in the 1500 meters, while adding silvers in the 1000 meters and 4 x 800 meter relay. While Dustin McCrank made it five consecutive wins in the men’s weight throw for the Gryphs as he and rookie Tim Hendry finished first and third respectively.
For many Gryphons the highlight of the meet was the triumphs of fifth year athletes Derek Snider and Josh Roundell. Snider broke away from teammates Kyle Boorsma and Allan Brett in the last 600 meters to lead the Gryphons sweep in the 3000 meters and secure his first trip to the CIS Track and Field Championships. Team captain Roundell, who was an All-Canadian in the 4 x 800 meter relay secured his first individual trip to the CIS Championships by running a brilliant last 50 meters in the men’s 1000 meters to capture the silver medal in a blanket finish.
Roundell was joined by Boorsma, Brett and rookie Rob Jackson on the silver medal winning 4 x 800 meter relay in perhaps the most entertaining race of the meet as the Gryphons and Lancers were involved yet again in a back and forth battle. Boorsma and Brett were busy all weekend as they also finished first and second respectively in the men’s 1500 meters, giving Boorsma a gold to go with his two silvers from the relay and 3000 meters, while Brett brought home two silvers and a bronze.
Rounding out the Gryphons medalists was Guyson Kuruneri, who was the nation’s leading long jumper for roughly 30 seconds. Kuruneri had a massive 7 meters 37 centimeter jump to take the lead, only to have the next jumper Windsor’s Jamie Adjetey-Nelson take the lead back with a 7 meter 42 centimeter jump. Kuruneri was forced to settle for the silver but will be looking to reverse the results in two weeks time at the CIS Championships in Windsor.
The Gryphons will head to Windsor as the defending CIS champions for both the men and the women. The women will enter the meet ranked first in the country while the men will enter ranked third.
Full results are available at YorkU.ca.
Gold – Lindsay Carson, 1500m, 4:26.06
Gold – Lindsay Carson, 3000m, 9:44.05
Gold – Stephanie Jackson, Shot Put, 14.45m
Gold – Miana Griffths, 60m, 7.50
Silver – Lindsay Carson, 1000m, 2:52.18
Silver – Sarah Peirce, 60m, 7.60
Silver – Shaneista Haye, High Jump, 1.80m
Bronze – Meghan Harris, Pentathlon
Bronze – 4x800m Relay, 9:03.44 (Jess Vanhie, Lydia Frost, Nadine Frost, Rachel Aubry)
Bronze – Rachel Cliff, 3000m, 9:47.36
Bronze – Jess Vanhie, 1000m, 2:52.61
Gold – Kyle Boorsma, 1500m, 3:53.92
Gold – Derek Snider, 3000m, 8:18.25
Gold – Dustin McCrank, Weight throw, 16.80m
Silver – Kyle Boorsma, 3000m, 8:19.18
Silver – Allan Brett, 1500m, 3:54.92
Silver – Guyson Kuruneri, Long Jump, 7.37m
Silver – 4x800m Relay, 7:47.71 (Allan Brett, Rob Jackson, Josh Roundell, Kyle Boorsma)
Silver – Josh Roundell, 1000m, 2:28.08
Bronze – Allan Brett, 3000m, 8:19.19
Bronze – Tim Hendry, Weight throw, 14.55m
From: Chris Moulton, University of Guelph Track and Field