Katherine DeClerq | Fulcrum Staff
THE UNIVERSITY OF Ottawa track and field team will be travelling to the University of Manitoba to take part in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship meet March 8–10.
The team’s exemplary performance during the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) meet Feb. 24–25, and their results during the Super Saturday meet March 3, show the Gees will be a force to be reckoned with.
“The women’s and men’s finished fifth overall [in the OUA meet], which are good results,” said third-year student, team manager, and assistant coach Réda Benazzouz. “We had some great performances.”
The team took it a bit easier this weekend during their meet, using the opportunity to practice for the CIS championships and prove they deserve to compete on the relay teams, which aren’t put together until a short time before a meet.
“Not everybody [ran] this weekend,” said Benazzouz. “Some will take it as a practice for CIS. Some will want to prove something to be on the A-team for the relay—there are 300M sprinters and 400M. It’s very close for that third and fourth spot right now.”
Benazzouz expects the Gees to do just as well at the CIS championships as they did at the OUA meet, as the competition in Ontario typically encompasses the top schools in the country.
“The Ontario level is very high,” he said. “So when you run the OUAs and you do well, you have a good chance to do the same at CIS.
“Our athletes are very confident, and they have experience. Personally I am looking for the same spots for most of the athletes that got gold or silver and bronze in the OUAs. I am expecting them to do the same at CIS, if not better.”
The bar is set high for athletes such as Jennifer Perrault, who won the gold in the 600M and silver in the 1K; Michael Robertson, who is seated first in the country for the 600M; and for both relay teams that were able to snatch podium spots in each competition. If the athletes are able to perform as they did in the OUA meet, the track and field team’s season will go out with a bang.
“I believe that we have a chance to be in the top five schools in the country,” said Benazzouz.