With the 2013 Ontario University Athletic (OUA) Track and Field Championships set to kick off Thursday afternoon at the St. Denis Centre at the University of Windsor, here is all you need to know about your Ottawa Lions. The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, managed by the Lions, will be represented by 11 men and 15 women in Windsor. With seven athletes already guaranteed a spot at the CIS championships next month in Edmonton, there will be a big push by the Gee-Gee athletes to finish in the top two to punch their ticket to the Alberta capital.
The men’s side will be led by veterans Michael Robertson and his training partner, Oluwasegun Makinde, who are the only current team members to have won a medal at an OUA Championship. Robertson, in his final year of eligibility will be gunning for his fifth straight medal in the 300m. The Intervention and Consultation in Sport student has previously claimed gold (2008), two silvers (2009,2010) and a bronze (2012) in the event. Outdueling Robertson in last year’s 300m final was Makinde, who took home gold. The two will do battle again this year and will be joined in the 300 by Gabriel Tesfaye, who is currently ranked 14th in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).
Makinde and Tesfaye will also be in the hunt for medals in the 60m hurdles as the two men are ranked second and third respectively heading into the event. Also competing will be pentathlete Hubert Chevrette-Belisle, who enters the event ranked 6th. However, Chevrette-Belisle’s focus will be on the pentathlon where he is currently ranked second in the OUA. The fourth year student from Repentigny, Quebec, who has already attained the CIS qualifying standard, will be gunning for the top of the podium in just his second ever pentathlon.
Mohamed Souleiman leads a small pack of distance runners into the championships. Souleiman, who competed for Southeast Missouri State University last season, has been on fire since stepping into a Gee-Gee uniform this season, having already set new school records at 1000m, 1500m and in the mile this year. Souleiman, along with Remy Binns will contest the 1000m Thursday night where they will be in a fight for a top 10 finish. Mohamed will do the double, racing the 1500m on Friday along with teammate, Justin Jakeman.
Rookie Nelson Cecereu will be the lone Gee-Gee in the field events as he sets his eyes on the pole vault competition Friday afternoon. Cecereu has had a breakout season so far, recording three personal bests and twice raising the Gee-Gee school record. Nelson enters the competition with a best performance of 4.37m set just last weekend while winning the McGill Open in Montreal.
On the women’s side, look for rookie Emma Galbraith to make some noise in her first OUA championship. Like her male compatriot, Mohamed Souleiman, Emma has been busy re-writing the record books this season having already taken down school records at 1000m, 1500m and in the mile. However, for the Franco-Ouest graduate school records are not all she’s broken this year, setting a new Canadian Junior standard in the 1000m earlier this month in New York City. Galbraith will be compete in both the 600m and 1000m events in Windsor where she is ranked third and second respectively.
Two other medal contenders for the Gee-Gees can be found on the sprint straightaway. Second year hurdler Devyani Biswal has had a breakout season in 2013 where she has trimmed more than half a second off her best time from a year ago and enters the competition ranked third. In the flat 60m, fourth year sprinter, Sarah de Carufel will be looking to bring home her first OUA medal on the track. De Carufel, who spends the fall with the Gee-Gees soccer team already four OUA medals from the pitch, including gold from 2012.
Trackie.ca will be providing a live stream of the event here.
Stay tuned to ottawalions.com and our twitter feed (@OttawaLionsTFC) for updates throughout the meet.