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Bison track student-athlete, Simon Berubé edges Guelph's Alexander Purnell to capture gold in the 4 x 800m. // Photo from Trevor Hagan, Bison Sports

Bison track and field claims first national podium finish in more than 20 years

March 29, 2019 — 

It was a memorable weekend for the University of Manitoba track and field teams. Competing in the 2019 U SPORTS Track and Field Championships on their home surface at the James Daly Fieldhouse, both Bison men’s and women’s squads improved on last year’s finishes with the help of the home crowd. The Bisons were represented by 29 athletes finding the podium in six events with the women’s team recording a ninth place finish and the men’s capturing a national bronze medal.

“I did a bit of research and that’s the first time our men’s team has been on the podium since 1996,” head coach Claude Berube said after the meet. “It was the perfect storm this year and super exciting. Our women were also top ten which is great. On a scale from one to 10, this was an 11.”

By the end of day two, Bison athletes had collected two gold and two silver medals across three events. In men’s high jump, gold and silver were taken by Faculty of Arts student-athletes, Alhaji Mansaray and Oyinko Akinola respectively. Mansaray, the provincial record-holder jumped 2.15 metres to earn the gold medal.

Men's high jumper Oyinko Akinola.//Photo: Trevor Hagan, Bison Sports

Men’s high jumper Oyinko Akinola.//Photo: Trevor Hagan, Bison Sports

In women’s pole vault, second- year Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management student-athlete, Emily Blackner took the silver after clearing 3. 95 metres, both a personal and school best. 

“It feels incredible,” Blackner said. “To get another PB and break the school record feels awesome. I’m just going to back into training after this, work hard and progress.”

Friday evening’s highlight came on the feet of the top-ranked 4×800 metre men’s relay team. After an incredible come-from-behind anchor performance from fourth-year Arts student, Simon Berubé the team of Jack Taylor, Connor Boyd, Matthew Van Schepdael, and Berubé finished with a time of 7:37.29 and gave the fieldhouse an uproarious moment.

On the third and final day of the meet, the Bisons secured two more medals. Third-year Kinesiology and Recreation Management student, Miguel Morrison finished second in the men’s 600-metre, posting a 1:19.64 and nearly chasing down his competition in the final stretch of the three-lap race. A silver medal went to the Manitoba women’s 4×200-metre relay team, who won bronze with a time of 1:38.89. The team consisted of Tegan Turner, Tayo Babalola, Erin White, and Brianna Tynes.

For full results visit the U SPORTS Championship site.

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