This past weekend, the University of Manitoba played host to the eighth annual Bison Classic track and field meet, at the James Daly Fieldhouse. Lethbridge, Regina, Alberta, and Lakehead were the four universities that made the trip for the event, and between Manitoba and those four schools, over 300 athletes were showcased during the two-day event.
The Bisons won the meet for the third consecutive year, scoring a colossal 354.50 combined points, which was miles ahead of second place Regina, who scored a total of 247 points.
The 300-plus participants were lower than usual standards, but the athletes still gave it their all in what was a great competition.
“We didn’t have the same number of teams as years previous,” Bisons track and field coach Claude Berube said. “But the Bison Classic has always been a premier meet in Western Canada. We are hoping to get back some of the numbers for next year, but the quality of this year’s meet was still very good.”
Manitoba fielded six first-place athletes, three women and three men. First year Rebekah Eckert finished first in the women’s triple jump, launching herself to an 11.85-metre jump. Rookie pole-vaulter Emily Blackner lifted herself to first place by propelling herself up 3.63 meters to clear the bar. The final woman to bring home a first place finish was second year runner Tayo Babalola; she zoomed through the 300-metre race in just 39.93 seconds.
Three male participants also got to the top of the podium, starting with pole-vaulter Adam Gundrum. The six-foot tall senior was able to clear a competition-high 4.10 metres. Senior high jumper Alhaji Mansaray was able to clear the bar with a 2.10-metre jump, which was enough to claim first place at the meet. The Bisons were also able to claim first place in the 1000-metre race, with sophomore runner Simon Berube flying to the finish line in a lightning fast time of 2:30.41.
The hosts were able to bring home three first place finishes in the relay races as well. The women’s 4×200-metre relay team crossed the finish line first with a time of 1:40.41, while the men’s 4×200-metre team finished a respectable third place with a time of 1:29.23. The Bisons female 4×400-metre team was also able to claim a first place finish for the herd, finishing with a time of 3:54.83; the men’s team was able to finish a close second place in the same race, coming in with a time of 3:21.93.
The lone men’s relay team to finish with the top time was the 4×800-metre team, who kept their stamina long enough to outlast the other teams, and finished in just 7:43.71. The women’s 4×800-metre team also put in a fantastic effort, coming in second place with a time of 9:30.19.
“It was a very good two days and strong performances by our 4×200 and 4×800 relay teams for a good start to the season and into the national rankings,” Berube said. “The 4×400 teams also improved their times.”
The eighth annual Bison Classic was a huge success, with a lot of student athletes putting in tremendous performances, which we can expect to see in future meets this year.
“Overall, I am pleased with the meet and the team win plus our strong individual results. I am excited for the rest of the season,” Berube said.