The 3rd annual Bison Track and Field Invitational took place on Friday Feb. 3 and Saturday Feb. 4 at the University of Manitoba Max Bell Fieldhouse. More than 450 athletes from over 10 universities across Canada and numerous track and field clubs participated in the events during the two days. All athletes were competing for qualifiers for the 2012 CIS Championships which will be held at the University of Manitoba later this school year. Before the weekend’s events, the press talked with track and field coach Claude Berube about the rest of the season and Bison hopes for the competition.
“At the moment we don’t have — officially — anybody qualified for the CIS Championship and we really want some people competing at home since we are hosting.” Berbue added that the Bison Invitational is “playoff season” for the Bisons.
“We’ve got this one, and then our team travels the following weekend to either Regina or Iowa. Two weeks after that it’s Canada West.”
Berbue remained confident regarding Bison success during the Bison Invitational: “I’m quite confident that we will have some of our relay times qualify like they always do. We have the depth to do that. We have some kids, if they perform well this weekend, they will be in the top 12 in the country and that’s what it takes to get in.”
The Manitoban arrived at the events on Saturday just in time to catch the tail end of the men’s 600m race and the beginning of the men’s long jump and high jump. We stayed for a few hours watching high jump and caught the men and women’s 1500m races as well.
Iain McCormick from the Striders club out of Regina won his 600m race (Section 4) with a time of 1:22.93. Even though he was out of breath, his happy demeanour was visible. “I feel pretty good [about the race] considering I was three seconds slower last weekend. I want to become a big part of this team, so it’s a good thing.”
McCormick placed 13th overall with his score. He was one second slower than his teammate, Jordan Wand whose time was 1:21.93. Bison Zach Durand placed fourth overall for the Men’s 600m with a time of 1:20.23.
As the track events were occurring, the men’s high jump was taking place. After a successful jump, Mat West from the University of Windsor quickly commented to the Manitoban: “The other events have been going good. I’ve improved a lot in everything, except for high-jump actually. University is a lot different from high school. I’m first year, but it’s definitely helping.”
West came eighth overall in high jump, with a height of 1.85m. Bison Arthur Buchanan jumped 1.95m for third place.
After we talked to the high jumpers, the men’s 600m races were winding down and the women’s 1,500m began.
Kyla Siemens, a local athlete had to take a few minutes to catch her breath after winning her 1500m race with a time of 4:55.91. She was very happy with her performance. “It went pretty good (this weekend) because I beat my personal best by six seconds.”
Siemens final placement was twenty-third overall, based on her time. Bison Nicole Dubois did very well, coming eighth overall with a time of 4:44.84.
The overall event was a roaring success, but only time will tell whether or not the Bisons did enough to qualify for the CIS.