LANGLEY, BC – Many of Canada’s best track and field athletes have made their way to Langley, BC for the Canadian Track and Field Championships, and even though the stars such as Damian Warner and Andre de Grasse aren’t present, the best of U SPORTS continues to showcase themselves to athletes from coast-to-coast.
Through two days of competition, most athletes have gone through their qualifying events. Then, they have their eyes on medals in the penultimate and final days of competition at McLeod Athletic Park:
U SPORTS thrives in senior 100m races
The men’s 100m took the headlines Thursday, with many of the stars forced to run, having not yet set standards this season. While none of the Olympians took on the qualifying heat, many of the top U SPORTS athletes hit the track, with eight finishing in the top 13 and qualifying for the knockout stages.
Former Sherbrooke Vert-et-Or athlete Lionel Tshimanga Muteba set the top time on the day, clocking in at 10.57, while Guelph Gryphon Kudakwashe Murasiranwa clocked in at 10.70, finishing 4th and the second highest U SPORTS athlete.
Joining the RSEQ and OUA pair in the semifinal will be Eric Evans of the University of Alberta (5th), Waterloo’s Immanuel Onyemah, uOttawa’s Bertwin Ben-Smith, UdeMontreal’s Rabbi Bositampen, Laval’s Julien Bourgault, Guelph’s Jordan Henri, and Alberta soccer-track, dual athlete, Evan Essapa.
On the women’s side of the 100m, Saskatchewan Huskies sprinter Gracie Anderson set the top time, while Élodie Baulu of the Montreal Carabins finished 4th with a 12.49.
On Saturday, they’ll race alongside Canadian Olympians, including 4×100 Olympic medalist Aaron Brown and several top senior athletes from across Canada, looking to put themselves and U SPORTS on the podium and book a potential spot at the World Championships.
U20 women’s 200m has Canadia university local medal potential
UBC’s Hanna Sobkowich finished the women’s 200m qualifiers with the second-fastest time, clocking the distance at 25.39 seconds to book her spot in Saturday’s semifinals. Alongside her, UNB’s Carys Jacobson finished as the highest U SPORTS athlete.
Both have run times within striking distance of the podium and will look to test themselves against the country’s best in the distance. The 200m race didn’t feature at U SPORTS Nationals in 2022, but Sobkowich ran the space as part of a UBC team that went on to win the U.S.-based NAIA.
Alberta’s Austin Cole wins 400m preliminaries, Guelph’s Zoe Sherar 6th
Alberta Golden Bear middle-distance runner Austin Cole punched his ticket to the semifinal of the men’s 400m on Friday afternoon, winning the preliminary heats with a time of 47.33. The 23-year-old just finished his degree at the University of Alberta but did so already, having competed at the World Athletics Championships in 2019.
With his strong performances in the preliminary round, Cole will hope to challenge the podium in the semifinal as he seeks a Team Canada roster spot for the upcoming World Championships in July in Eugene, Ore.
While the 400m is a middle distance that doesn’t feature the same minuscule margins as the sprints, the Sherwood Park, Alta. native has a chance to compete in one of the more important aces of his career, looking to improve on his silver medal from April’s U SPORTS Championships.
The 400m final is scheduled for 1:32 pm local on Saturday afternoon, when forecasts expect the temperature to be in the low 30s, far different from any U SPORTS meet in Alberta.
While Cole moves onto the men’s side of the 400m, Guelph Gryphon Zoe Sherar takes the claim to top U SPORTS athletes n the women’s side, finishing 7th in preliminaries, among a highly competitive group of Olympic athletes.
She’ll also take on the final on Saturday, looking to add a National Championship medal to the U SPORTS gold she won in the 300m earlier this year.
Keep your eye on the high jump
If there’s an event that a U SPORTS athlete has the potential to win, it likely comes in the men’s and women’s high jump competitions. Toronto Varsity Blues Aiden Grout and Emily Brandhorst won their respective U SPORTS Championships in April, and have put up numbers worthy of National Championship podiums.
They wil be up against some very well-established Canadian Olympians, however, a medal is very much a possibility.
The men’s and women’s high-jump finals begin at 6:40 pm local time.