Lions to see familiar faces in Montreal

Down the back stretch they come! If you’ve ever been to the McGill Team Challenge, Canada’s largest university meet, you’ve certainly heard the phrase. As the Ottawa Lions and University of Ottawa Gee-Gees head to Montreal to take on some of the best athletes in the country, that phrase will not be the only piece of familiarity this weekend. Among those competing this weekend will be a number of current Lions representing their respective universities or currently training outside of Ottawa. Chief among them is 2012 Olympian, Melissa Bishop who will make her season’s debut tomorrow afternoon, toeing the line in the 600m against fellow Lion, Emma Galbraith and Olympic teammate Sarah Wells of Toronto. Bishop, who had a breakout season in 2012, becoming just the third women in Canadian history to break the 2:00 barrier for 800m, will undoubtedly be using this meet as barometer for how training has been progressing as she prepares for this summer’s world championships in Moscow.
 
Another athlete to keep an eye out for will be the energetic Yves Sikubwabo as he lines up for the University of Guelph in a deep 3000m field tonight. The 2012 OUA XC rookie of the year opened up his season two weeks ago at the Can-Am Classic in Windsor with a 8:35.83 clocking, good enough for third. With a lifetime best of 8:18.46, Yves will certainly looking to improve on his 15th place ranking in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).  Joining him in tonight’s race will be fellow Lion, Scott Donald, who will be representing St. Francis Xavier University. Sikubwabo will also compete in the 1500m on Saturday.
 
In what may be one of the most hotly contested events of the weekend, with seven runners ranked at 8.20 seconds or faster, the men’s 60m hurdles will feature 2012 CIS Champion, Sekou Kaba and Olympian, Oluwasegun Makinde. Kaba, who holds a personal best of 7.92 seconds, is making his season debut after recovering from a recent knee injury. Makinde on the other hand has already four hurdle races under his belt this year and despite a two year layoff from the event has lowered his personal best on three of those occasions. More known for his prowess over 200m, the former Colonel By standout is currently ranked 2nd in the CIS with a best of 8.15 seconds.
 
Makinde will look to show off some more of his speed as he takes to line in the 300m tomorrow afternoon. He will be in tough against teammates Michael Robertson and Gord Frenke as the three fight to cross the finish line first. Robertson, known for his prowess over 400m holds a lifetime best in the event of 33.20, while Frenke, a finalist over 400m at last year’s Olympic Trials, set a new personal standard of 33.78 seconds just two weeks ago in Ottawa.
 
If you can’t make it to Montreal this weekend, you can follow along online with live streaming coverage at  http://mcgilltrack.com/live and live results available here
 
As always, please stay tuned to @OttawaLionsTFC for more information as it happens this weekend.