Emily Goodwin | Editor-in-Chief
Featured Image: Holly Taylor was one of the Lions’ multiple stand out performances at U SPORTS. | Courtesy of Don Voaklander/University of Alberta
The Lions track & field team competed at the U SPORTS Championships in Edmonton this past weekend. Overall, the men’s team finished fourth with 43 points and the women finished 13th with 17 points.
With just a few more points, the women’s team would have made it into the top 10. “The women’s 4x200m relay disqualification prevented us from finishing in the top 10,” says head coach Raymond Rudder.
Kicking off the action for the Lions was Keysean Powell, who originally won the men’s 60m dash Thursday night but was disqualified hours later for a false start.
“It was unfortunate to see the final decision with regards to this race,” says Rudder. “Although we appealed, we were not fazed by it moving forward.”
Powell bounced back the next day and competed in the long jump. Though his best jump was nowhere near his OUA-record setting jump from two weeks prior, 7.47m was enough for him to finish second.
On Saturday, the highlight on the track for the Lions was Levar Russell’s second-place finish in the men’s 600m. Russell went into the competition ranked fifth overall in the event, and his kick in the final lap allowed him edge out the third place finisher by three one-hundredths of a second.
Capping off the meet were pole vaulters Daniel Gleason and Sam Adams, who finished first and third in the event. Gleason’s best jump was 5.13m, while Adams’ was 4.93m. Their combined result earned the Lions’ men’s team 16 points.
Other top eight individual finishers included: Holly Taylor, fifth in women’s weight throw and eighth in women’s shot put; Natasha Russell, fourth in women’s 60m hurdles; Jonathan Raspanti, eighth in men’s weight throw; and Leah Jones, fifth in women’s long jump.
Of the Lions’ three relay teams entered in the competition, their highest finish came from the men’s 4x200m team. Powell, Zeon Bass, Mark Hutchinson, and Tohma Van Bergen just missed the podium, coming in fourth overall in a time of 1:28.48.
The 4x400m teams also earned points for the Lions by finishing in the top eight. The women’s team of Nicolette Witherspoon, Marvelous Agbonwaneten, Simone Da Silva, and Zakiya Tavernier crossed the line in 3:50.01 to finish sixth.
Levar Russell, Bass, Jaxon Hume, and Van Bergen finished their 4x400m race in 3:19.63, placing seventh overall.
“Both the men’s and women’s teams entered the competition with quality performances so we are getting closer to the podium each year,” says Rudder. “Our time will come. For now, it’s back to the drawing board to return stronger and better.”