Basketball and track and field championships highlight the U Sports calendar this weekend, with a large open field on the hardcourt that saw various teams hold the No. 1-ranking throughout the season, and a heavy favourite on the track in Saskatchewan.
On the lads’s side in basketball, the Canada West (CW) champion Victoria Vikes were named the No. 1 seed for the primary time in 17 years, and can attempt to go for gold on the U Sports Men’s Final 8 in Halifax.
The Ontario University Athletics (OUA) champion Ottawa Gee-Gees (No. 2 seed), Atlantic University Sport (AUS) winner StFX X-Men (No. 4), and Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) champ UQAM Citadins (No. 6), help round out the conference winners amongst the sector of eight teams, with the Citadins opening up motion on Friday against the defending champion Carleton Ravens.
The Ravens women’s team earned the No. 1 seed within the U Sports Women’s Final 8 in Sydney, N.S., for the primary time in five years.
??2023 U SPORTS Men’s Basketball Final 8: Victoria named top seed for the primary time since 2006
Joining them as conference champs can be the CW’s Alberta Pandas (second-seed), AUS’s Saint Mary’s Huskies (fourth-seed) and RSEQ’s Citadins (sixth-seed).
All events — including the upcoming Track & Field Championships — can be streamed continue to exist CBCSports.ca, CBC Gem and the free CBC Sports app.
?? 2023 U SPORTS Women’s Basketball Final 8: Carleton takes the highest seed for the second time in program history
??Carleton hérite de la première tête de série pour la deuxième fois de l’histoire du programme.
Ormond forges path in Guelph track program
The Guelph Gryphons men’s and girls’s track and field teams have been nothing wanting dominant under the leadership of head coach Jason Kerr.
When the Gryphons travel to Saskatoon for the 2023 U Sports Track & Field Championships on Thursday, the lads’s team can be gunning for his or her sixth straight title, while the ladies’s team can be aiming for his or her fourth straight.
“The list of those that should be bought right into a program like ours to be as successful because it is is incredible,” said Kerr to CBC Sports. “We’ve 100 student-athletes on our team, and 20-plus those that we communicate with on day by day staff.
“You are running a full-blown organization, it requires [a head coach] to have a cursory amount of information in lots of different areas, which gives you an idea of what my role is.”
One athlete-coach connection that bore fruit for Kerr this yr has been third-year endurance runner Cameron Ormond and second-year associate head coach Terry Radchenko — who also coaches Ormond in the autumn on Guelph’s cross country team.
Ormond, a 21-year-old native of Aurora, Ont., has seen her performance explode this yr after various injuries and illnesses have limited her since she got here to Guelph in 2019.
“Once I came, Terry definitely recognized that I actually have that speed [to compete in the 1,000m],” said Ormond to CBC Sports, whose focus was the three,000m in highschool and her first yr at Guelph.
“He’s confident in my ability to run the shorter distances, just like the 1,000m. He knows that I actually have that strength.”
Congratulations to @guelph_gryphons Jason Kerr, who has been named each the 2022 #OUA Sue Sensible Women’s Coach of the 12 months and Bob Vigars Men’s Coach of the 12 months!??#WeAreONE | #OUAisELITE pic.twitter.com/erKJ6RG5rK
The trajectory for Ormond from an all-time great highschool cross-country runner — winning 4 straight OFSAA titles — to one among the brightest names in track has been tumultuous, yet, as Kerr puts it, “incredible.”
“When [Ormond] got here to Guelph she had lots of difficulties with long-standing injuries,” said Kerr of the athlete that was unable to participate on the cross country U Sports Championships in the autumn as a result of an illness. “I feel lots of people would easily have forgotten about her and possibly written her off.
“Her return to athletic excellence is a testament to the kind of person she is, in addition to our lead endurance coach that has been pivotal in helping her rebuild herself into a good higher and healthier athlete.”
Ormond enters the national championships as a triple gold medallist on the OUA Track & Field Championships in late February, which she earned within the 1,000m, 1,500m and 4x800m relay disciplines, but her best achievement didn’t even occur within the country.
On Feb. 10, Ormond posted a staggering time of 4:30.17 in the ladies’s mile event on the 2023 Boston University David Hemery Valentine Invitational, the twenty eighth fastest time recorded for an indoor women’s mile within the 2022-23 season.
FINAL | Women’s 1000m
? | Cameron Ormond, @guelph_gryphons | 2:44.30
? | Sadie-Jane Hickson, Guelph | 2:44.31
? | Nina Whitford, Guelph | 2:48.05
Only American Katelyn Tuohy ran a quicker time amongst athletes born after 1999, and he or she trails only her training partner Lucia Stafford amongst Canadian competitors.
“As a first-year, I looked as much as [the top Canadian women’s track athletes]. They were my major role models, especially Lucia,” Ormond said.
“I didn’t think that I might ever come near how she had performed when she was younger. It’s really exciting to give you the chance to see my results in comparison with what she had run when she was my age.”
Beyond Ormond’s standing on the world stage, there are good enough outstanding athletes at Guelph to assist foster healthy competition, including a 1,000m event that saw fellow Gryphons Sadie-Jane Hickson, Nina Whiftord, and Julia Agostinelli join Ormond as the highest 4 finishers on the OUA Championships.
Fifth-year Mark Bujnowski has stood head-and-shoulders above the lads’s shot put and weight throw competition, and heads a team that has no shortage of role models for younger student-athletes to look as much as, which now includes Ormond.
“One of the vital interesting parts of the experience [at Guelph] is your day by day training environment includes world class performers, so that you get to see pretty early on what that appears like,” Kerr said.
“After which, it’s really as much as you. Will you make the sacrifices and challenge yourself to potentially see should you can achieve that as well?”