Five need to-see races (and why) on the 2018 U Sports Championships


We’re hours away from the 2018 U Sports song and discipline championship, hosted by the Windsor Lancers at the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse. On March eight-10, the user’s satisfactory varsity runners may be set on a display whilst battling for each man or woman accolades and points for his or her team. Here, we list five races inside those championships that you don’t want to miss.


The 600m at U Sports is possibly the maximum grueling race of all. Why? Heats and finals. Runners are slated to compete on Thursday for their spot at the starting point on Saturday. A day separates each race; however, Friday is not often a method of rest for the pinnacle middle-distance runners inside us a. Many of these athletes double as 300m, 1,000m, or even 4x800m specialists.

What makes this precise race thrilling is a clash between equally-matched conference champions. While Windsor’s Kelsey Balkwill enters the race a favorite after her commanding tape-to-tape win on the OUA (Ontario) Championship, she has but to toe the line after Canada West champion Julianne Labach. The Saskatchewan Husky has run the 600m on 4 occasions this 12 months, and they have but to lose. Both competitors may have greater to fear about than each other because the reigning U Sports champ, Maité Bouchard of Sherbrooke, appears to be in outstanding shape after effectively snagging gold at the RSEQ (Quebec) Championship. Assuming those three ladies breeze via Thursday’s heats, Saturday’s matchup should get fierce. It is really worth citing that Lucia Stafford, who currently holds the second-fastest 600m time within the country, is sitting out.

To lovers’ chagrin, the Canadian varsity circuit lost middle-distance studs Antoine Thibeault, Cole Peterson, and Corey Bellemore to graduation final 12 months, and the brand new crop of front-runners are licking their chops even as waving them bittersweet goodbyes. Jack Sheffer enters the race with the fastest seed time, which means little in a championship race. With many runners seeded between 3: forty-six and three:49, the seeds name for a tactical affair.

Sheffer could be challenged from all angles. The Guelph Gryphons have three men at the beginning listing who can be searching out their first individual 1,500m medal. Nicolas Morin of Laval might be going for walks in his fourth U Sports championship and is coming off a double-gold overall performance at the RSEQ championship, which earned him the Performer of the Meet award. Then, there may be Royden Radowitz, the Canada West 1,500m and three,000m champion. It would be silly to miss him again.

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This area might be the private girls’ 1,500m area in U Sports (and CIS) history. Its competitiveness but is still up for debate. We danger seeing a class of proficient girls gets separated into two organizations early on. Lucia Stafford of Toronto and Regan Yee of Trinity Western University might burn the relaxation of the sector and separate early and certainly race themselves. A few dark horses, however, might complicate matters for the 2 favorites.


It sounds ridiculous to call Stafford’s teammate, Sasha Gollish, a dark horse, or even an underdog; however, the OUA 3,000m gold medallist and U Sports 2017 XC champion have run only 1,500m this 12 months, now not even at her conference very last. She had not yet proved herself over the metric mile in 2018, so calling her for the win sounds foolish. Leaving her off the podium in our predictions? Equally silly.

While Gollish poses a hazard-based totally on a record of fulfillment at championship races, Laval’s Jessy Lacourse’s triple-character gold overall performance at the RSEQ championship might have been enough to instill fear in her competition’ psyche. While the 1,500m happens at the top of the meet, durability will reign splendidly, and Lacourse is poised to wreak havoc.

Here are the thing approximately 3,000m seed times: they are incredibly influenced by the situation. Because the race is goodbye, pacers, top fields, and fast tracks rely greater than in other races on upon on on on on on upon on upon upon upon. So, do now not be fooled by Sheffer’s seed time of 8:03 or Angus Rawling’s eight:08 – that is going to be a race. The U Sports XC runner-up, Connor Black, peaks while it matters, and after ultimate yr’s snafu, one must assume he is hungry for gold. This year, Jean-Simon Desgagnés is 1-0 against Rawling, and the Laval rookies worldwide will make his race geared up. Radowitz is coming off a Canada West championship wherein he bested a collection of 8:12-eight:17 runners. He needs to be within the mix.

We aren’t telling you to assume Sheffer and Rawling get disenchanted (as a remember of reality, we predict them to finish 1-2), but instead, we tell you that the 3,000m is well worth looking at (without any commercial breaks). There are many plot strains to observe in this race. Even the pace from the gun is absolutely unpredictable. Will the two top dogs try and wreck the teach of Gryphons and Canada West athletes early on, or will they accept a sit-and-kick approach? One thing is positive: if the primary kilometer is not speedy, the final one sure can be.

Ah, the relays: a predictor’s nightmare. A lot of methods come into play. Does a group stack their relay team with their 4 quickest runners? Or do they spare their superstars to store them for other activities? In this situation, it’s miles obvious that if Toronto invests its firepower within the 4x800m, they’ll be untouchable. Gollish, Stafford, Jazz Shukla, and Madeleine Kelly shape a can’t-pass over quartet. It is doubtful that they all race; however, even though they don’t, they have got any other 3-four ladies who can dip below 2:50 within the 1,000m, which is scary. They could be hard to conquer.


Laval’s group of Lacourse, Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie, Catherine Gagné and Emma Galbraith may want to supply a Varsity Blue B squad a run for their money. If Gollish and Stafford sit down out, this race might be riveting from start to complete. Elsewhere, the Gryphons are never to be counted out. But, without Sophie Watts and Kate Ayers, they might be missing a chunk of firepower.