OTTAWA (CIS) – The University of Toronto women and University of Windsor men will look to successfully defend the team banners this week at the 2016 CIS indoor track and field championships, presented by Muscle MLK.
The three-day event, hosted for the first time by York University, gets under way Thursday at 10 a.m. with the CIS season awards luncheon at the Underground Campus Kitchen.
The competition kicks off shortly after at the Toronto Track & Field Centre with the first final, the women's weight throw, set for 1:30 p.m. The national meet concludes Saturday afternoon with the always exciting 4x400m relays (see complete schedule below). Selected events from all sessions will be webcast live at www.CIS-SIC.tv.
In women's action, Toronto became the fourth different team in as many years to claim the CIS banner last winter after Guelph in 2014, Calgary in 2013 and Windsor, which had a remarkable four-year championship run from 2009 to 2012. The Varsity Blues dominated second-place Trinity Western by 52.5 points to capture their first crown since 1998.
It was much of the same on the men's side, with Windsor prevailing on home turf after triumphs by York in 2014, Guelph in 2013 and Western in 2012. The Lancers, who edged OUA rival Guelph by a slim nine-point margin a year ago, were the last program to repeat as CIS men's champion, back in 2004.
The Varsity Blues and Lancers lead their respective national rankings heading into this week's competition.
Despite settling for second place behind Guelph at the recent OUA championships, the Toronto women go in as the No. 1 seed ahead of Alberta, Guelph, Western and York. In men's action, reigning OUA champion Windsor tops Toronto, Guelph, Laval and York.
At the other conference championships two weeks ago, the team titles went to Alberta (women) and Saskatchewan (men) in Canada West, Sherbrooke (women) and Laval (men) in the RSEQ, while in the AUS, Dalhousie swept the banners for the second straight year and for the 13th time in 14 seasons.
Individually, a pair of Varsity Blues, Gabriela Stafford and Sacha Smart, were named the overall most valuable female and male performers at the OUA meet. Stafford claimed three gold medals and set championship records in the 1000m (2:42.84) and 1500m (4:15.67). Smart also prevailed in three events while shattering the OUA mark in the 600m (1:18.81).
Season MVP awards went to York's Brittany Crew (field – women), Western's Joy Spear Chief-Morris (track – women), Western's Riley Bell (field – men) and Windsor's Corey Bellemore (track – men).
"I have full confidence in our men's team to perform at their best during the championships," said Windsor coach Brett Lumley. "They have worked hard all season long and are well prepared. It will be a close battle for the team title, and I am sure it will come down to the last event. With athletes contesting 15 of the 17 events it will be a total team effort on our part.
"The guys have been there before so they have the knowledge and experience on what to expect and how to handle all that is the CIS championships. I look forward to watching them in action."
"Our women's team is a relatively young squad, but extremely hungry," said Guelph's Dave Scott-Thomas. "We look forward to the challenge of chasing an extremely talented and experienced U of T squad. Our performance at the OUA's was a 10-out-of-10 in my opinion. We had one of our better meets ever in terms of the number of athletes who were able to achieve seasonal bests and go above and beyond expectations.
"Even though our men's team finished second at the OUA's, it was an equally satisfying result as the women's first-place finish on a lot of levels. We are extremely proud of the fact that we're one of the few schools in the country that have been strong in both genders for a very long time now. We'll head to York with the goal of having both teams reach the podium."
In Canada West, Lethbridge's Sandra Latrace (field – women), Calgary's Jenna Westaway (track – women), Lethbridge's Peter Millman (field – men) and Regina's Kahlen Branning (track – men) were selected top performers of the year.
Westaway also claimed the top-performance award at the conference championships thanks to her new Canada West record in the 1000m (2:43.46). Men's honours went to Alberta's Nathan Filipek, who set a new school standard in the pole vault (5.16).
"The Pandas will need a full team contribution to return home with a medal this weekend. With the CIS championships in Ontario, and the top-ranked schools being from the OUA, we will be outnumbered on the track with respect to fan/athlete presence and we expect the races to be quite loud," said Alberta coach Wes Moerman. "Our strength this year has been the breadth of success, particularly in the women's sprints and pole vault. Those groups will need to once again lead the team as we face key head-to-head match-ups."
"Our men's team goes into CIS very strong in the sprints, hurdles and middle distance runners," said Saskatchewan's Joanne McTaggart. "As Canada West champions we are looking to repeat at the CIS level. With upper-year athletes such as Graham Black, Jared Olson and Garrett Peters, the team is strong athletically as well as with team leadership."
In Quebec, season awards went to Sherbrooke teammates Frédérique Djoussou-Lorng (field – women) and Maïté Bouchard (track – women), as well as Montreal's Patrick Hanna (field – men) and Laval's Antoine Thibeault (track – men).
McGill's Helena Reinfels captured a pair of individual trophies, including overall female athlete of the year and female MVP of the RSEQ championships, where she claimed three gold medals and one bronze.
Laval teammates Jean-Samuel Lapointe (athlete of the year) and Nicolas Morin (championship MVP) merited the awards on the men's side. Morin won double gold in the 1000m and 1500m at the conference championships.
"If you look at the final individual rankings, we have a number of athletes who could win medals for our team," said Laval coach Félix-Antoine Lapointe. "Collectively, our objective is another top five on the men's side after our program-best fourth-place finish a year ago. In order to reach that goal, our top athletes will have to excel."
"I like our chances," said Sherbrooke mentor Vincent Paquet. "Our relay teams will help our point tally this year and also give us flexibility in how we manage three long days of competition. All in all, we have a good mix of experience and new recruits."
Finally in the AUS, freshman Bridget Brennan of StFX and Jacob Wing of Dalhousie were honoured as championship MVPs. Brennan racked up three medals including gold in the 300m (41.07), while Wing captured three gold and one silver, including an individual victory in the 1000m (2:32.28).
Dalhousie's Sarah Taplin (field – women), UNB's Grace Annear (track – women), Saint Mary's Matthew Musoke (field – men) and Dalhousie's Matthew Coolen (track – men) received the season awards.
"This is the largest and most competitive team we have sent to the CIS championships in my time at Dalhousie," said head coach Rich Lehman. "We have potential point scorers (top 8) in every event group and both teams should be in the hunt to place top 10 as a team. Matthew Coolen, Jordan Bruce, Sarah Taplin, the men's 4X200m relay and women's 4X800m relay are all very real medal threats."
NOTES: The list of CIS season awards (female & male) which will be handed out at Thursday's luncheon includes: athletes of the year in track events and field events, rookies of the year, student-athlete community service awards... More individual honours will come on Saturday following the championships, including female and male meet MVPs, as well as coaches of the year in women's and men's competition... The coaches of the year receive the Sue Wise Award (women) and Bob Boucher Award (men), while the male championship MVP merits the George Gemer Award.
CIS TEAM CHAMPIONS (last 10 years)
CIS CHAMPIONSHIP RECORDS
60m: Khamica Bingham, York, 7.19 (2015)
300m: Adrienne Power, Dalhousie, 37.35 (2005)
600m: Camille Cato, York, 1:27.63 (1984)
1000m: Paula Schnurr, McMaster, 2:42.81 (1988)
1500m: Paula Schnurr, McMaster, 4:16.41 (1988)
3000m: Brenda Shackleton, Victoria, 9:04.88 (1988)
60m Hurdles: Hayley Warren, Toronto, 8.20 (2015 – set in preliminaries)
4x200m: Toronto, 1:36.53 (2013)
4x400m: Toronto, 3:41.47 (2012)
4x800m: Toronto, 8:32.36 (2015)
High Jump: Emma Nuttall, Trinity Western, 1.88 (2014)
Long Jump: Jocelyn Adu-Gyamfi, Toronto, 6.24 (2001)
Triple Jump: Caroline Ehrhardt, Western, 13.16 (2015)
Pole Vault: Robin Bone, Western, 4.24 (2015)
Shot Put (4 kg): Taryn Suttie, Saskatchewan, 16.38 (2014)
Weight Throw (9.08 kg): Kate Forbes, Lethbridge, 19.66 (2005)
Pentathlon: Jessica Zelinka, Calgary, 4380 (2007)
60m: Sam Effah, Calgary, 6.57 (2010)
300m: Alexandre Marchand, Sherbrooke, 33.40 (1999)
600m: Byron Goodwin, Manitoba, 1:16.10 (1995)
1000m: Tommy Lecours, Guelph, 2:22.09 (2012)
1500m: Allan Klassen, UBC, 3:46.85 (1990)
3000m: Jeff Schiebler, UBC, 7:59.29 (1996)
60m Hurdles: Sekou Kaba, Ottawa, 7.79 (2014)
4x200m: Ottawa, 1:25.65 (2012)
4x400m: Calgary, 3:14.12 (2008)
4x800m: Windsor, 7:27.94 (2014)
High Jump: Alex Zaliaskas, Toronto, 2.24 (1993)
Long Jump: Christopher Greenway, Ottawa, 7.88 (2010)
Triple Jump: Olivier Huet, Sherbrooke, 15.81 (2013)
Pole Vault: Doug Wood, York, 5.65 (1992)
Shot Put (7.26 kg): Andrew Smith, Saskatchewan, 18.48 (2011)
Weight Throw (15.88 kg): Jim Steacy, Lethbridge, 24.08 (2009)
Heptathlon: New in 2016
2016 CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (selected events webcast daily at www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Thursday, March 10
13:30 Weight Throw (W) Final
15:30 60m Hurdles (W) Pentathlon
15:45 60m (M) Heptathlon
16:15 High Jump (W) Pentathlon
16:30 Long Jump (M) Heptathlon
18:00 60m (W) Heats
18:15 60m (M) Heats
18:15 Shot Put (W) Pentathlon
19:00 Shot Put (M) Pentathlon
19:00 60m (W) Final
19:10 60m (M) Final
19:15 Long Jump (W) Pentathlon
19:20 60m Ambulatory (W) Exhibition Final
19:30 600m (W) Heats
19:45 600m (M) Heats
19:45 High Jump (M) Heptathlon
20:00 4x200m Relay (W) Heats
20:20 4x200m Relay (M) Heats
20:45 800m (W) Pentathlon
Friday, March 11
13:00 Weight Throw (M) Final
14:45 60m Hurdles (M) Heptathlon
15:45 Pole Vault (M) Heptathlon
16:30 60m Hurdles (W) Heats
16:45 60m Hurdles (M) Heats
17:00 Long Jump (W) Final
17:00 High Jump (M) Final
17:00 1000m (W) Final
17:10 1000m (M) Final
17:30 60m Hurdles (M) Final
17:40 60m Hurdles (W) Final
17:50 300m (W) Heats
18:05 300m (M) Heats
18:30 Pole Vault (W) Final
18:30 3000m (W) Final
18:50 3000m (M) Final
19:00 Long Jump (M) Final
19:10 Shot Put (W) Final
19:30 1000m (M) Heptathlon
19:40 300m (W) Final
19:50 300m (M) Final
20:00 4x800m Relay (W) Final
20:15 4x800m Relay (M) Final
Saturday, March 12
12:30 Triple Jump (W) Final
12:30 Pole Vault (M) Final
13:15 600m (W) Final
13:30 600m (M) Final
14:15 4x200m Relay (W) Final
14:25 4x200m Relay (M) Final
14:30 High Jump (W) Final
14:45 Triple Jump (M) Final
14:45 Shot Put (M) Final
14:45 1500m (W) Final
15:00 1500m (M) Final
16:00 4x400m Relay (W) Final
16:15 4x400m Relay (M) Final