Lions in fine form ahead of conference championships

A week out from university conference championships, the Ottawa Lions played host to the Ravens Last Chance Meet last Saturday at the Louis-Riel Dome, with many athletes showing they are rounding into form at just the right time.

Highlighting the day’s events was the men’s 600m which was the fastest in Canada this year. St. Laurent Selects runner Mohand Kelaf was able to pull away in the final meters of the race to win in a new Dome record of one minute 17.32 seconds. The previous record was held by Sebastian Saville who was in Saturday’s race and leading for most of the race before being jostled off course as the athletes entered the home stretch for the first time.

Second place went to the University of Toronto’s Jack Berkshire, while Ottawa’s Stephen Evans was third in a personal best 1:18.26. Berkshire and Evans both auto qualified for the upcoming USports Championships with their performances and are currently the top two ranked athletes in the country.

There was similar strength of performance in the women’s 600m, where Madison Clarke led 2-3-4-6 finish for Lions athletes as she finished in 1:32.89. Following closely behind were Marie-Eve Dahms, Svetlana Martynova and Mary Ollier who all recorded new lifetime bests.

Also getting on the PB train was Charlotte Gardner. A past USports medalist over 600m, Gardner has been hampered by injury for the past few months. After completing the first two weeks of pain free training in quite some time, Gardner exceeded her pre-race expectations by smashing her personal best in the 1000m by a staggering seven seconds en-route to victory. The 24-year old had spent the majority of the race running second to Maeliss Trapeau before finding an extra gear down the final homestretch to finish in 2:49.72. Trapeau was close behind in a personal best 2:50.20.

South of the border, most Lions athletes had the week off in preparation for conference championships, but at the NEC Conference Championships on Staten Island, Jeremie Venne won the mile in a time of 4:11.06. Venne also helped St. Francis University to a bronze in the distance medley relay.