Gee-Gees finish in top 10 to continue to nationals
Photo Credit: Jeff Taylor
The track and field Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) championship saw the Gee-Gees have several highs and lows with a total of four bronze medals and two athletes falling in their races.
On the first day of the tournament hosted by York University Feb. 27–28, Devyani Biswal captured her first OUA medal highlighted by a season’s best time of 8.66 seconds in the 60-metre hurdles. It was a pleasant surprise for the third-year student, since four other sprinters had posted better season times than Biswal earlier this year.
In the relay, the Gee-Gees women finished the day with another school record in the 4×800-metre event. Finishing with a time of 8:58.73, the women narrowly finished behind the silver medalist Guelph Gryphons by 2.5 seconds to capture bronze. Teammates Charlotte Gardner, Chelsea Gillies, Clare McGrath, and Jennifer Murawsky together posted their season’s best performance.
Felicite Kokoran finished in a fifth place tie in the pole vault with a Gee-Gees record of 3.57 metres. The second day, the Gee-Gees saw the momentum swing favourably with two more bronze medals in both the pole vault and the 4×400-metre relay to finish off the OUA championships.
Ranked fourth going into competition, Nelson Cecereu claimed bronze in the pole vault, clearing 4.43 metres on his first attempt while needing two attempts to clear 4.55 metres. Cecereu edged out Brian Choja of Western University for bronze, since both missed the 4.67-metre jump, but Cecereu took one fewer attempt.
A competitive race saw two lead changes in the women’s 4×400-metre relay.The Gees were unable to hold their second place position heading into the anchor position, but finished strong for third. The team included Gardner, Gillies, Gift Okankwu, and Dominique Martel-Lamothe, who finished with a season best time of 3:52.92.
Other notable day two action saw Gardner, Okankwu, and Gillies finish fifth, sixth, and ninth respectively in the 600-metre race. The men’s high jump duo of Yvan Ntivumbura and Steve Nkusi tied for fifth with an identical jump, both clearing 1.97 metres on their second attempts.
The weekend wrapped up with the Gee-Gees finishing sixth in the women’s team standings and seventh in the men’s. Ottawa will now move forward to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships March 12–14 at the University of Windsor.
Meet Nicholas Wagman, captain of the men’s fencing foil team. This first-year master’s of physiotherapy student is a veteran of the sport, having fenced for 17 years. He has accumulated numerous accolades and awards, including an Ontario University Athletics all-star selection this season, and is currently the national university champion for men’s foil.