The U Sports Track and Field Championships came to an end on Saturday evening in Edmonton. The highest level of competition for Canadian-based university runners always seems to produce memorable, and sometimes controversial, moments. The 2017 event was on par with that.
See a selection of U Sports highlights below.
Lap miscount in the men’s 3,000m
The men’s 3,000m at the national university championships ended in a fashion that will be remembered for years to come. The race official in charge of counting laps rang the bell signalling the final lap 200m too early resulting in a sprint finish between two runners at the 2,800m mark. However, the eventual winner, Antoine Thibeault, appeared to be the only runner of the three to immediately realize the mistake and hung back knowing there was still 200m remaining in the 15-lap event.
Western’s Jack Sheffar did not finish the race while Guelph’s Connor Black completed the necessary final lap to finish fourth overall.
Relevant footage begins at 3:25 in the above video. See Canadian Running‘s full story on the U Sports men’s 3,000m here.
Stafford sisters dominate, win six medals
The Stafford sisters, Lucia and Gabriela, combined for six medals at the U Sports Track and Field Championships. Gabriela, a 2016 Olympian, won the women’s 1,500m and 3,000m while Lucia won the women’s 1,000m, finished second in the women’s 1,500m and helped Toronto win gold in both the women’s 4x800m and 4x400m relays. Gabriela is 21; Lucia, who won the award for outstanding women’s athlete of the meet, is 18.
University of Guelph, University of Toronto win team titles
The University of Toronto women and the University of Guelph men won the overall team titles, which is based on scores of athletes in individual and relay events contributing to an overall score. Points are awarded based on placing with the first place athlete (or relay team) in each event receiving 10 points and the eighth-place finisher receiving one point. Toronto scored 119.5 points (half-point for a tie in an event) and Guelph dominated with 141 points, more than double the second-place Windsor Lancers, the 2016 men’s champions.
The Toronto women won for the third consecutive year.
Emotional wins for Victoria’s Cole Peterson
The University of Victoria’s Cole Peterson won two golds at the 2017 U Sports Championships in his hometown of Edmonton.
“On a personal note, coming back to Edmonton is especially meaningful,” he told U Sports, the national governing body for university athletics. “My very first race as a Vike was at this track a few days after my father died (in 2012). It was a really tough first year for me athletically as a result of that loss.” He won the men’s 1,500m and helped the Vikes win gold in the 4x800m relay. “This race was largely for my family and all my teammates who’ve been my primary support system over my entire Vikes career,” he added. “The 1,500m, my first national title, is for my dad who I love and miss dearly.”
Olympic medallist makes guest appearance, awards medals to athletes on day two
Damian Warner, the Olympic bronze medallist in the decathlon, made an appearance at the U Sports Championships and notably awarded athletes with medals on day two. The Canadian record holder in the 10-discipline event recently relocated to Calgary from London, Ont. following the Rio Olympics.
Warner wasn’t the only 2016 Olympian in the house. In terms of athletes who actually competed in Edmonton, Gabriela Stafford ran for Canada in the Olympic women’s 1,500m and Alberta’s Carline Muir contested the 400m and 4x400m relay in Rio. Hilary Stellingwerff and Taylor Milne were also at the Universiade Pavilion coaching.
Full results for the meet can be found here.