Gees have solid, if unspectacular, showing at U Sports track championship

Last year’s national track and field championship was highlighted by then-fourth-year Devyani Biswal’s gold medal performance in the 60m hurdles. While no one managed to reach those lofty standards this year, multiple athletes qualified for the finals in their respective events, and the Gees finished the weekend with six top-ten finishes.

The Gees’ best result of this event, which took place at the University of Alberta from March 9 to 11, came courtesy of second-year sprinter and hurdler Tania Bambi, who won a bronze in the women’s 60m hurdles with a final time of 8.44 seconds. Biswal, last year’s gold-medal winner, finished fourth overall, just a hair behind Bambi with a 8.45-second race.

Heading into the meet, Biswal was ranked fourth in the nation, and Bambi was ranked fifth, with Biswal winning bronze in the 60m hurdles at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships in late February.

Fourth-year hurdler and long-jumper Scott Hancock had the best result for the men, coming off a bronze-medal performance in long jump at the OUA championships.

After jumping 7.13 metres in the OUA finals, Hancock jumped 7.15 metres in the U Sports Championship final to place him fifth overall.

Hancock also finished fifth overall in the men’s 60m hurdles, finishing with a time of 8.26 seconds.

Fifth-year runner Charlotte Gardner came sixth overall in the women’s 600m run. Charlotte Gardner collected a bronze at the OUA championship, and entered the national competition ranked seventh.

First-year Madison Clarke was ranked eighth going into the U Sports Championship, but failed to get past the preliminary round.

Clarke and Gardner were joined by second-year long sprinters Sophia Skorenky and Jecica Joseph to compete in the women’s 4x400m relay. The team finished ninth overall, running a total time of 3:50.36.

While it is disappointing that fifth-years Biswal and Gardner did not medal this time around, there are a number of positive performances to take away from the meet.

Bambi is only in her second year, and looks to have a bright future ahead of her.

Clarke impressed just by making the U Sports Championship in her first year, and by helping the women’s 4x400m relay to a top-ten finish. Along with Skorenky and Joseph, she will be looking to improve on that finish next year.

Hancock achieved personal bests in both long jump and 60m hurdles, and will get one more year to go for a national medal.

Although they did not take home a gold medal, most of the Gees’ athletes are still young and will return next year hoping to improve on their showing.