The Ontario University Athletics track and field indoor championships are currently in progress at the Toronto Track & Field centre. The two-day meet will include university teams from all across Ontario, including U of T’s promising women’s and men’s track and field team.
With the men improving to a national rank of fifth this season, a medal is well within their sights for the championship, and possibly gold if they can overcome long-time rivals Guelph Gryphons and Windsor Lancers, who look strong coming into the competition on both the men’s and women’s side.
Coming off their second place finish at the 2013 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship the women are especially looking to capture the title this season. Varsity Blues’ athletes to look out for on the women’s side include Ekua Cudjoe for shot put and weight throw, along with veteran sprinter, Natalie Geiger in the relay and 600 metre event. The women’s team is also looking to hold their record-breaking performances in the 4×200 metre and 4×400 metre relay from last season.
On to the men’s side, Varsity Blue’s weight thrower and shot putter Darnell Girard is on track to a podium finish after breaking the all-time U of T weight throw record this season with a 15.08 m throw. He has continued to improve his record in consecutive meets this year and look for him to personal best once again at the OUA championship.
The Varsity Blues’ men’s relay teams are also looking stronger than ever this year around. Their 4x200m relay team recently broke the U of T record with a time of 1:28.22 in Montreal this year, and coupled with the 4x400m and 4x800m teams that came off exceptional finishes last year, the men’s side look to dominate the relay events. The University of Toronto 1000m record holder, Sacha Smart, is also looking to finish strong this season at the championship.
“There are many team members who are looking to make a name for themselves this year,” said Girard, who is in his second-year with the track and field program at U of T. “We have aspirations to exceed the early predictions and rise up to challenge for a medal in both the OUA and CIS this year.”
Girard knows all about making a name for one’s self, he hopes to put a definitive mark in the record books for U of T by the end of his run with the team by further improving his school record.
The OUA track and field championships will be streamed live online, with access through the Varsity Blues’ website, along with live results being updated throughout the meet. The championship will end tomorrow evening with the 4×400 metre relay event and a tallying up of the total points. Tickets are available for $7 for students wishing to spectate the meet just off York University’s Keele campus to support their fellow Blues.
“It’s definitely an exciting time to be a runner, jumper, or thrower at the University of Toronto,” exclaims Girard.
The team is expecting nothing short of a victory and hopes to bring home a title as students return from reading week this coming Monday. The team will conclude the track and field season with the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championships on March 6 in Edmonton.