It’s conference championship week in Canada. On Friday and Saturday of this coming weekend, track and field runners across the country will lace up and toe the line in hopes of competing two weeks later at the U Sports Championships in Winnipeg. 

The 2019 U Sports track and field conference championships are taking place in four venues (one for each U Sport conference) across the country on the weekend of Feb. 22-23.

Top three men: Russell Pennock, Jean-Simon Desgagnes, Connor Black. Photo: Maxine Gravina

RELATED: U Sports conference previews: OUA

The top athlete in each event from the RSEQ (Quebec) and AUS (Atlantic) conferences, and the top two athletes in each event from the OUA (Ontario) and Canada West (Western Canada) conferences will automatically qualify for the U Sports national championship. Athletes can also qualify for the championship by running faster than U Sports standard times, as well as by being ranked in the national top-12 in a specific event.

Women’s 600m

The reigning RSEQ 600m champion Maite Bouchard isn’t competing this year and so the event has been left wide open. The top seed in the women’s line up is Winona Lefebvre-Castillo of Sherbrooke. She’s well ahead of the rest of the field and will likely take the win.

1 – Winona Lefebvre-Castillo – Sherbrooke
2 – Genevieve Paquin – Montreal
3 – Murielle Aglot – McGill

Men’s 600m

The men’s 600m will be extremely tight. The top three seeds have all run their times in the past week and ran within half a second of one another. Between Yassine Aber, Jack Crosby and William Payette, it could really be anyone’s game. 

1 – Yassine Aber – Sherbrooke
2 – Jack Crosby – McGill
3 – William Payette – Montreal

Women’s 1,000m

In the women’s 1K, Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie of Laval leads the charge. The 2018 U Sports cross-country 2nd place finisher will once again lead her team on the track. 

1 – Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie – Laval
2 – Catherine Beauchemin – Laval
3 – Murielle Aglot – McGill

Men’s 1,000m

Kevin Roberston of the University of Montreal is the top ranked seed. The 800 and 1,500m runner will likely take the men’s 1K. 

1 – Kevin Robertson – Montreal
2 – Raphael Giguere – Laval
3 – Alexandre Levesque – Laval

Women’s 1,500m

The same group of women that took the U Sport 2018 cross-country title will battle it out in the RSEQ 1,500m. Jessy Lacourse, Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie and Catherine Beauchemin are all from Laval and really fast over the 1,500.

1 – Jessy Lacourse – Laval
2 – Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie – Laval
3 – Catherine Beauchemin – Laval

Men’s 1,500m

Kevin Robertson is the early season king of middle distance. But with Jean-Simon Desgagnes of Laval right on his tail, the win won’t be easy. 

1 – Jean-Simon Desgagnes – Laval
2 – Kevin Robertson – Montreal
3 – Xavier Bertrand – Laval

Women’s 3,000m

Jessy Lacourse will likely attempt the 15/3 double. The 2018 U Sports cross-country 7th place finisher is only in her second year of eligibility, but has already accomplished a ton. We’ll see if she can take the RSEQ title and carry that momentum into U Sports two weeks later. 

1 – Jessy Lacourse – Laval
2 – Elizabeth Hirsch – McGill
3 – Laurianne Lepine – Montreal

Men’s 3,000m

In the men’s 3K, Jean-Simon Desgagnes is one of the top in the country and also at the top of the RSEQ. The 2nd place U Sports 2018 cross-country finisher will bring his strength to the track this weekend and make the race a Laval sweep. 

1 – Jean-Simon Desgagnes – Laval
2 – Felix Lapointe-Pilote – Laval
3 – Samuel Poher – Laval

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