Athletics Ontario is set to host their annual awards banquet September 27 in Toronto and six Lions have been nominated for the provincial association’s top awards. Athletics Ontario will be handing out awards in each of the five event groups (sprints/hurdles, distance,jumps, throws, combined events) across each of the five age categories.
In the senior women’s throws category, hammer thrower Sultana Frizell will be looking to pick up her seventh straight award. The Perth native had a standout season that included extending her own Canadian record to 75.73m, and a second consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal and Games record. Her record throw also ranked her fourth in the world for 2014. In recognition for her outstanding performances, she has also been nominated for the Ontario Athlete of the Year award.
Lions athletes will be best represented in the female distance category with the trio of Shona McCulloch (midget), Erinn Stenman-Fahey (youth) and Melissa Bishop (senior) all receiving recognition. Commonwealth Games finalist Melissa Bishop had the strongest season of her career, once again lowering her Club and Ontario record in the 800m to 1:59.70, while also winning her second Canadian championship and running under 2:01 seven times in 2014. After winning in 2013, Bishop will be up against tough competition that includes Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Kate van Buskirk (1500m) and racewalker Rachel Seaman who broke numerous Canadian records this past season.
Fellow 800m runner Erinn Stenman-Fahey is being recognized for her medal silver medal winning performances at both the Canadian Youth and Junior championships. However, the highlight of Stenman-Fahey’s season is undoubtedly her performance at July’s World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon where she ran a lifetime best of 2:06.97 to qualify for the semi-finals. The time was the second fastest in the country by a 17 year old, bettered only by fellow nominee Kailee Sawyer of Laurel Creek.
Shona McCulloch would appear to be a favourite in the midget category after capturing both the 1200m and 2000m titles at the Canadian Youth Championships in August. That performance came just two weeks after sweeping both events at the Ontario Championships in Windsor. The Longfields-Davidson student also set a new record in the 2000m at the Ontario Legion championship as well as placing 17th in the 10km at Ottawa Race Weekend in an impressive 37:49.5 despite being almost 10 years younger than her competitors.
In the midget girls jumps category, Keira Christie-Galloway was recognized for her successes at both the provincial and national level. The St. Matthews student was a provincial champion in the long jump before using some late round heroics to leap to a personal best 5.38m to capture a silver medal at the national championships. Christie-Galloway also excelled in the sprint hurdles where she was provincial champion and national finalist.
The final nominee is decathlete Patrick Arbour, who is being nominated for the fourth time in the combined events. The 26 year old repeated as national silver medallist, scoring the second highest total of his career, 7385 points. Arbour was also a fourth place finisher at the Panamerican Combined Events Cup in July.