TORONTO - For Ryan Chong it was eleven months to redemption. Last February, Chong had injured himself qualifying for the OUA Championships in the 60 metres but was unable to compete. He hadn’t competed until the York Open on January 30. Chong showed he was back with a snappy 7.12 time in the heats, qualifying for the finals. In the final he improved to 7.09, close to his personal best of 6.99 established a year ago. The performance qualified him for the OUA championships. Sprint Coach Alicia Bell was pleased with his early season form as well as the showing by the rookie laden sprint squad.
Rookies Sri Ranganathan and Nya Mudzingwa both ran well for their first taste of OUA competition running 7.62 and 7.51 seconds respectively. Will Lanktree overcame adductor issues to record 7.73 in the 60 m. Coach Bell sees Chong and Lanktree becoming team leaders for the sprint group. All three competed in the 300 metres with Chong running a strong 37.08, a mere .08 off the OUA standard. Ranganathan was with within 35 metres from winning his heat, when he caught a spike and tumbled to the track. He got up to finish and it appears the fall will not keep him out of the next competition. Lanktree and Mudzingwa ran 40.23 and 41.15 respectively. Coach Bell is optimistic that everyone will step up their game at next week’s Sharon Anderson meet hosted by the University of Toronto.
“I feel this meet sparked the group, to train harder to improve now that they see what they have to do to compete at this level,” said Bell.
The female rookie trio of Karen Dela Cruz Sancho, (9.01) Leila Hammond (9.05) and Miriam Bruening (9.56) all competed in the 60m gaining some valuable experience that they will bring into their second meet. Hammond also competed in the 60m hurdles while Bruening competed in the 600m in 2.08.
The Rams rookies all put on strong showing in the 600 metres where Aaron McQuaid narrowly missed the OUA standard running 1.25.66 placing 9th in the field of 66 runners, with teammates Ryan Basic also putting on a great run with 1.27.28 placing 16th . Eric Danelon ran 1.36.28 and Senna Ferguson 1.39.73 . In the 1000 metres Joel Perera-Satgunem lead the Rams with 2.38.86 followed by Aaron McQuaid in 2.39.43, putting both within reach of the OUA standard. Matt Wahl in 2.41.65 and Mike Park 2.45.88 rounded out a solid showing by the Rams. Sylvie Antoun and Hailey Salvian also competed in the 1000 metres running 3.26.1 and 3.31.6 respectively both running the event for the first time ever.
In the 1500 metres, Mike Park lead the way for the Rams in 4.29.3 with Mike Konstantopoulos in 4.34.2. Konstantopolous had also ran the 3,000m earlier attaining a personal best of 9.25 placing 9th overall. Rebecca Verlaan ran 5.16.4 for the 1500 metres fooled by Sylvie Antoun 5.26. Verlaan placed an excellent 3rd in her heat of the 3000 metres and was combating a cold. Both felt they did not have their A game today.
The Rams men’s 4 x 400 metre relay team of Ryan Bacic, Matt Wahl , Senna Ferguson and Aaron McQuaid ended the day with a strong third place finish.
“Now that almost everyone has experienced at least one meet at the OUA level, you can see that our rookie laden team is keen to improve and show that they belong. You can see it in their enthusiasm to train harder and smarter. It will be fun to watch everyone compete in our next two meets before the OUA Championships,” commented Coach Uuksulainen.