Emily Goodwin | Editor-in-Chief
Featured Image: Zakiya Tavernier (left) and Alannah Broomfield (right) celebrate after their 4x200m relay performance. | Courtesy of Jojo Yanjiao Qian/York Lions
The Lions hosted and competed in the OUA Championships this past weekend, where they won a total of two gold, two silver, and four bronze individual medals. Many other Lions finished in the top eight of their events and earned enough points for the men’s team to finish third and the women’s team to finish fourth overall.
Fifth-year thrower Jonathan Raspanti earned the Lions’ first medal of the meet by placing second in the men’s weight throw on Friday morning. His toss of 16.45m was also a personal best performance for him.
Later that same day, Natasha Russell ran her way to a bronze medal finish in the 60m hurdles. She set a new personal best with her time of 8.43.
Keysean Powell medalled in two separate events and earned 18 points between the two for the Lions. His best jump of 7.71m in Friday’s men’s long jump event placed him in first and set both a new meet and school record. The next day he sprinted his way to a second place finish in the 60m with a time of 6.83. Powell also competed in the triple jump and the 4x200m relay, both of which earned points for the Lions.
Holly Taylor continued her strong rookie season by placing third in the shot put and fourth in the weight throw, which added 11 points to the women’s team total.
In the men’s pole vault, the Lions claimed first and second spot. Daniel Gleason jumped 5.02m to win the gold, while teammate Sam Adams took home silver with a best jump of 4.92m.
The performance of the Lions’ relay teams played a key role in the final team standings. The women’s 4x200m team of Zakiya Tavernier, Diana Boa, Alannah Broomfield, and Monique Simon-Tucker ran their way to a bronze medal finish with a final time of 1:42.35.
The women’s 4x400m ate up the track as they ran their way to a silver medal with a time of 3:51.81. The team, consisting of Nicolette Witherspoon, Marvelous Agbonwaneten, Simone Da Silva, and Tavernier, will be heading onto U SPORTS Championships.
The men’s 4x400m team also medalled following an impressive final leg run by Tohma Van Bergen, which brought the team from fourth to the bronze medal position. Levar Russell, Zeon Bass, Mark Hutchinson, and Van Bergen finished in 3:20.16.
“The coaching staff are extremely proud of the overall performances of the team,” said head coach Raymond Rudder of the 2020 team. “It all came together when it mattered most, and it shows the depth and commitment of our team.”
At the end of the competition, the men’s team had amassed 79 points to claim third place in the province, while the women’s team finished just off the podium in fourth place with 53 points. The Guelph Gryphons won both team banners for the fourth straight year.
The Lions who qualified for U SPORTS Championships — either by being ranked in the top 12 in the country in their event, or by surpassing the automatic qualifying standard in their event — will be travelling to Edmonton for nationals March 5 through 7. Over 30 athletes will represent the Lions at the national championship.