Lions reach new heights ahead of conference championships

It was a record breaking weekend at the Louis Riel Dome as countless university athletes put the finishing touches on their conference championship preparation.

Among those demonstrating their fine form heading into this weekend’s OUA Championship in Windsor were the Maeliss Trapeau and Madison Clarke who went 1-2 in the women’s 600m event. Trapeau, a freshman at the University of Ottawa, edged out Clarke to win in a personal best time of 1:30.27. The time was nearly three seconds under her previous best set one week prior at Cornell University.

Clarke, a USport Championship participant in her rookie season with the Gee-Gees in 2017, was finished second in 1:30.98. The fourth year communications student was slightly behind her best time of the year, but remains ranked seventh nationally, right behind Trapeau and primed for a return to the national championships.

Lion veteran Charlotte Gardner finished third in a very competitive time of 1:31.48. The competition was the first of 2018 for Gardner who has had battled various ailments of late.

Also demonstrating they are prepared for the OUA Championships was Ty Coulter who extended their own University of Ottawa record in the weight throw with a throw of 15.87m. It was the fourth time Coulter has bettered the school record this season. The second year criminology student currently ranks seventh nationally.

After narrowly failing to achieve the height at a competition in Canton, New York on Friday, pole vaulter Claudine Nafaa soared over a new personal best height of 3.21m on Saturday. The clearance moved the human kinetics student to third in Gee Gee history and added 16cm to her previous best.

Also for the Gee Gees, Stephen Evans eclipsed Michael Robertson’s long standing school record in the 600m with a thrilling run of 1:18.36 to win on Saturday. Evans, a third year political science student, has had a break out season this winter where he has twice run a previous, erasing more than a second and a half of his best time from last year. He’ll enter the OUA Championships as the number two seed.

Other notable performances came from Sharelle Samuel and Bertwin Ben-Smith. The two put forth lifetime best performances over 300m Saturday. Samuel, a medalist at last summer’s Commonwealth Youth Championships, was second in a time of 39.13 seconds to equal club mate Lauren Gale’s U20 facility record.

Ben-Smith was victorious in the men’s event, winning in a personal best time of 34.58 seconds. The time puts Ben-Smith close to cracking the tenth best performance in club history, a 34.22 clocking by Olympian Oluseyi Smith.