Track & Field: Gryphons start off with a bang!

The CIS track & field season officially kicked off on Friday, November 15th with the Zoltan Tenke Classic, hosted by the University of Guelph. The Classic is an annual but low-key event that opens up each season for the Guelph Gryphons, the powerhouse of CIS cross-country and track & field.

Guelph is coming off yet another successful cross-country season, as both the men's and women's teams took first place. Since head coach Dave Scott-Thomas took over the program in 2005, his teams have won eight consecutive cross-country national titles. Their winning ways on the trails have also carried over to the track. The men won national track & field titles in 2008, 2010 and 2013, while the women took home top honours in 2008.

Also at the meet along with the Gryphons were representatives from the Waterloo, Brock and a few independents — all of whom were also kicking off their indoor seasons.

Due to the timing of the meet and the number of participants, there were only six track events; 60m, 1000m and 3000m for both men and women.

Meanwhile the field events (long jump, high jump, pole vault, weight throw and shot put) were mixed, which put the athletes in the unusual situation of having to compete against the opposite gender.

As expected, the hosts dominated, winning nine of the eleven events. The Gryphons won all of the female track events and swept the field events, but struggled by their standards in the male races.

Mo Yassin of Waterloo took home first place in the 60m dash. The third-year engineering student finished 6th last year at the OUA championships in that event.

In what was the most exciting race of the day, Tommy Land beat out Guelph teammate Adam Rowles by one-hundredth of a second in the 1000m.

In the 3000m, heavily favoured Aaron Hendrikx was upset by the relatively unknown Matt Jurysta of Speed River TFC. Hendrikx is considered one of the top distance runners in the country, winning the 2013 cross-country championships (he was also the CIS Male Athlete of the Week at the time of the race).

Another surprise came in the weight throw, as Sarah Dougherty beat two male competitors to finish second. Her personal-best throw of 16.46 metres was just a bit too short to top fellow Gryphon Brent Roubos’ mark of 16.63m.

The high jump was also an event of note. Rookie Sean Cate won with a jump of 2.07 metres which, according to the Gryphons’ website, is the second best mark in school history.

While Guelph was winning some serious hardware, nearly 1,800 kilometres away in Halifax, another meet was taking place. The Saint Mary’s Open started the year for athletes from Saint Mary’s, St. F-X, Dalhousie and Acadia. StFX won the event, but the Tigers had more first place finishes.

Upcoming events on the CIS track and field calendar include:

  • Nov. 29 – University of Toronto Blue and White
  • Nov. 30 – McGill Martlet Invitational
  • Nov. 30 – Western Season Opener
  • Nov. 30 – York Xmas Open
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