Members of the Gee-Gees track and field team travelled to Winnipeg last weekend and competed in the 2019 U SPORTS National Championships, hosted by the University of Manitoba.
Highlighting the performances for the Gee-Gees was a gold medal for Stephen Evans in the men's 600m and a bronze medal for the women's 4x800m relay team of Mary Ollier, Sophia Skorenky, Madison Clarke, and Maeliss Trapeau. This marks the first time since 2014 that the Gee-Gees have won medals in multiple events at nationals.
On top of the individual performances the Gee-Gees placed well as a team over the weekend, as the women finished 15th with 12 points and the men finished 17th with 10 points.
After winning the gold medal in both the 1000m and 600m finals at last months OUA Championships, and sitting first and second respectively in the two races in the U SPORTS rankings, Evans was looking to cap off his season in a big way. However, things did not go as planned in the 1000m finals, as Evans got caught in the pack early and could never find room to make a move, eventually finishing in ninth place in a time of 2:29.28.
Using the emotion from that race, Evans looked poised to leave it all on the track in the 600m finals the next day, the same race he won a silver medal in at last year's nationals in Windsor, and he did just that. Evans made all the right tactical moves and came away with his first U SPORTS gold medal in a time of 1:19.44.
"The real emotion for the race came from yesterday" said Evans after winning the gold in the 600m. "I must have told myself 'I can do this' a thousand times today. I just had to reaffirm that positivity. I knew my fitness was at a high level and I could outlast anybody in the field."
The previous night, the women's 4x800m relay team put together a great performance and not only set a new season best but also a new Gee-Gees record of 8:52.78, on the way to winning a bronze medal, the first medal of the weekend for the Gee-Gees.
The Gee-Gees won a bronze medal at the OUA Championships in February in the same event and came into the weekend ranked fifth in U SPORTS, with a previous best time of 9:04.50. Ollier got things started and put the Gee-Gees in a great position before Skorenky, Clarke, and Trapeau ran extremely well and pulled away from the rest of the field in order to cement their place on the podium. This is the first time since 2009 that the Gee-Gees have medalled in this event.
Full breakdown of the Gee-Gees performance at 2019 U SPORTS National Championship:
- Day 1
- Women's 600m Prelims – Maeliss Trapeau – 3rd overall (1:31.08) – Qualified for finals
- Women's 600m Prelims – Madison Clarke – 7th overall (1:32.30) – Did not qualify for finals
- Women's 600m Prelims – Mary Ollier – 8th overall (1:32.93) – Did not qualify for finals
- Men's 600m Prelims – Stephen Evans – 2nd overall (1:19.90) – Qualified for finals
- Women's 4x200m Relay Prelims – Sydney Smith, Pernille Lund, Marie-Eve Dahms, Sophia Skorenky – 11th overall (1:43.57) – Did not qualify for finals
- Day 2
- Women's 1000m Finals – Madison Clarke – 11th place (2:52.05)
- Men's 1000m Finals – Stephen Evans – 9th place (2:29.28)
- Women's Shot Put – Christina Hertner – 10th place (12.27m)
- Women's 4x800m Relay – Mary Ollier, Sophia Skorenky, Madison Clarke, Maeliss Trapeau – 3rd place (8:52.78) – New School Record
- Day 3