Lions set to compete at CIS Championships

The Canadian university track and field season is set to wrap up this weekend in Edmonton at the CIS Championships where the Ottawa Lions will be represented by a total of ten athletes. Leading the group will be veterans Sekou Kaba and Devin Biocchi. Kaba, who sat out the 2013 season with an injury, is looking to regain the 60m hurdle title he won two years ago in Winnipeg. Coming off a silver medal at the OUA Championships two weeks ago, Kaba will face stiff competition from Toronto’s Gregory McNeil. With both men entering the competition with seed performances faster than the current championship record of 7.83 seconds set in 1984 by Olympic champion Mark McKoy, more than gold could be on the line when they square off Friday night.

For Biocchi, he will be looking to lead the Gee-Gee’s to a three-peat in the men’s 4x400m relay. After some early season injuries, Biocchi is looking in fine form, winning last weekend’s Super Saturday 400m competition in 47.83 seconds. He will need to show that speed Saturday afternoon if he and teammates Gabriel Tesfaye, Wade Embury and Isaiah Moses are to improve on their fourth place ranking heading into the event. The quartet will be joined by alternate Remy Binns.

For middle distance runner Mohamed Souleiman, this will be his first appearance at the CIS Championships and he is hoping to display the same form that propelled him to the top of the national rankings in the 1000m when he steps to the line in Friday night’s final. Moh, as he is known to teammates, has so far had a tremendous season that has included numerous Gee Gee records across a range of distances, including  a 2:22.46 clocking in the 1000m at the Armory in New York City last month. Souleiman is also scheduled to run the 1500m Saturday afternoon where he enters ranked 11th.

Competing for the University of Guelph, freshman thrower Ashley Connell is entered in both the shot put and weight throw. The defending Canadian junior shot put champion enters the competition ranked fourth with a seasonal best of 13.91m. While Connell has added nearly one metre to her best in the shot put this season, it has been the weight throw where she has experienced the greatest improvement. From her first competition back in November she has added nearly 2.5m to her best in the weight throw, a 16.77m effort at the OUA Championships that catapulted her to the podium. Connell opens with the weight throw Thursday afternoon before launching the shot Friday night.

Also entered in the competition are pole vaulter Olivier Gauthier-Kwan and 600m runner Charlotte Gardner. Gauthier-Kwan, a fourth year medical student, enters the competition ranked 8th in the nation with a Gee Gee record clearance of 4.72m set last weekend in Ottawa. Gardner enters the competition with a best of 1:33.35 which ranks her ninth. She will compete in the semi final Thursday night at 9:30pm eastern.

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