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Dalhousie women set incredible U Sports record

The last time the Dalhousie women's track and field team did not win their conference championship was 1989

Dalhousie Track and field Photo by: Dalhousie Athletics

When you think of wild streaks in the sport of track and field, some things that come to mind are Usain Bolt’s reign of three straight Olympic golds in the 100m and 200m or Allyson Felix’s five-straight Olympics with a medal. But last weekend at the 2023 Atlantic University Sport (AUS) Track & Field Championships in Saint John, N.B., the Dalhousie University women’s track and field team won an impressive 33rd consecutive conference title, setting a U Sports record across all Canadian university sports.

Dalhousie track and field
Photo by James West, UNB Athletics

The last time the Dalhousie women’s track and field team did not win the AUS championship was 1989–the year Nintendo came out with its revolutionary Game Boy. 

The previous record was held by the University of Toronto men’s swim team, which won 32 consecutive OUA titles between 1960 and 1992.

Although the Dalhousie Tigers have kept winning, there has been a lot of change in the program since the streak began in 1990. Dalhousie Tigers head coach Rich Lehman has been at the forefront of success, and is in his 11th year as head coach of the program, winning the AUS women’s team coach of the year title eight years in a row.

“It all comes down to our coaching staff and the support we receive from the university,” says Hannah Trites, the captain of the women’s track and field team. “The consistency and longevity that Coach Lehman and others have maintained is only a testament to our success.”

In 2021, the Dalhousie track and field program made AUS history, marking the first time there was a complete gender balance between coaches on staff (six male, six female). “Our athletes at Dal believe having great role models that encourage us on and off the track to achieve our goals has been instrumental in getting our program to the next level,” says Trites.

“The streak means a lot for our team,” Trites says. “Having our hard work pay off at our conference championship year after year is rewarding for all the athletes.”

Team captain Hannah Trites in the women’s 1,500m at the AUS Championships. Photo: Dalhousie Athletics

The AUS conference was once known as a small conference compared to its competition in the OUA (Ontario), RSEQ (Quebec), and Canada West. In recent years, programs like Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s, St. Francis Xavier and the University of New Brunswick (UNB) have all sent athletes and teams to U Sports championships every year, which has increased competition. 

“With the depth of the AUS conference increasing, our streak shows that our program is one of the best in the country,” Trites says.

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