Biggest show in the West

From Feb. 25-26, the Max Bell Fieldhouse played host to the Canada West track and field championships, as 256 of the top track and field athletes in Western Canada converged on the University of Manitoba campus. This was the first time that the Bisons have hosted the competition since the 2006-07 season.

All the different events took place over Friday and Saturday, as the athletes vied for a chance to compete at the CIS national championships, being held this year at the University of Sherbrooke from March 10-12.

The Bisons were well represented, with 44 Bison athletes competing in the traditional track and field events.

After day one, the University of Manitoba had won three medals, including a gold medal in the men’s 60-metre hurdles. Third-year veteran Kieran Moolchan came in with a time of 8.54, good for first place, while Wilfred Samking, a rookie track athlete for the Bisons, posted a time of 8.71, good for second. Both made the podium with their performances and qualified for the CIS national championships. The Bison men 4x800m relay team came in third, as they closed out the night winning Manitoba’s third medal of the first day.

Day two saw a third Bison athlete qualify for nationals, as Zacharie Durand finished second overall in men’s 600m, posting a time of 1:19.98. Other medalling Bison athletes include Sam Vincent in the men’s 1500m, the men’s 4x200m and 4x400m relay teams and the women’s 4x400m team, who all secured bronze medals. Overall, the Bison men’s and women’s track and field teams finished fourth and sixth, respectively, out of the eight schools who competed at the event.

The biggest winners were the University of Calgary and University of Regina. Calgary secured the Eleanor Haslam Trophy, awarded to the top-performing women’s team, while Regina successfully defended their claim to the R. E. DuWors Trophy, awarded to the top-performing men’s team.

Calgary’s athletes swept the awards for “Outstanding Track Performance.” Aamon Nelson stood out amongst the women, winning four gold medals throughout this year’s conference, setting two new conference records in both the 60m and 300m events. Sam Effah won the “Male Outstanding Track Performance” award after winning two gold medals in both the 60m and 300m events, setting a new conference record in the 60m.

“I exceeded my expectations for the whole weekend and [I’m] really pleased and blessed with my results over the two days,” said Nelson about her success over the weekend.

Taryn Suttie of the University of Saskatchewan won the award for “Female Outstanding Field Performance” after winning gold in shot put and silver in weight toss. Jeremy Eckert of the University of Regina won for “Male Outstanding Field Performance” after earning gold in the pentathlon and high jump, while settling for bronze in long jump.

There were a couple other new conference records set over the weekend. Saskatchewan’s Taylor Petrucha continued his dominance in men’s pole vault, as he won his fifth conference title while increasing his own conference record by .01 metres with his winning jump of 5.22 metres. Andrew Smith, also from Saskatchewan, smashed the men’s shot put record with his throw of 18.71 metres, passing the previous record of 17.68 metres set by Chris Meisner of Lethbridge in 2004.

“I was pleased with several strong finishes from both [Manitoba] teams,” stated Bison track and field head coach Claude Berube. “We automatically qualified three individual runners and all relay teams had fast times this weekend. It was a successful event as being the host of this conference championship.”

– Men’s team rankings after 17 events
– 1) University of Regina Cougars 106
– 2) University of Calgary 79
– 3) University of Alberta 76
– 4) University of Manitoba 55
– 5) U of Saskatchewan 49
– 6) University of Victoria 37
– 7) University of Lethbridge 5
– 8) Trinity Western University 2

– Women’s team rankings after 17 events
– 1) University of Calgary 113.50
– 2) University of Alberta 102.50
– 3) U of Saskatchewan 65
– 4) University of Regina Cougars 58
– 5) University of Victoria 36
– 6) University of Manitoba 24
– 7) University of Lethbridge 7