Lancers see tremendous success at Can Am Classic

Photo by Edwin Tam
Photo by Edwin Tam

Though the season is more of a marathon than a sprint, the Lancers still jumped out of the gates fast at the 37th annual Can Am Classic this weekend at the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse.
Windsor saw tremendous success with multiple Lancers finished in podium positions, while others punched their tickets to the U SPORTS National Championships here in Windsor in March.  
The first big win for the Lancers came in the relay races Friday night. The men's 4x200m team ran a fantastic race, placing first ahead of Guelph and the University of Toronto with a time of 1:29.63.
Right after the men won their race, the women, determine not to be outdone followed up with a fantastic race. Led by Kelsey Balkwill, the women's team ran an impressive 1:40.2 which placed them ahead of both Guelph teams which finished second and third respectively behind the Blue & Gold.
Balkwill put her dominance on display Saturday as well, dominating the women's 300m race. The former Miami Hurricane ran a team and meet record 37.99 which also auto qualified her for the national championships.
The Lancers ran their way to two more podium finishes on Friday night, when both the men's and women's 4x800m teams came third in their races. The women placed third behind Toronto and Guelph with a time of 9:15.89. The men's team finished behind Guelph and Toronto with a time of 7:53.53.
While the Lancers succeeded on the track, the Blue and Gold also performed well in the field events. Rachel Wolfs scored an auto qualifying 4.05m pole vault to launch her into the national championships, good for second at the meet. In women's shotput the Lancers put two athletes on the podium, Beth Kester came first with a throw of 12.86m and her teammate Leanna Garcia threw for 12.49m to come second.
On Saturday the Lancers started right where they left off, with the Windsor women putting their strength on full display. Garcia came first in the weight toss by over a meter with a toss of 14.36m, in second place was fellow Lancer Raban Mustapha with a 13.15m throw.
As the day wore on the Lancers kept adding to their success. Mitchell Paterson ran a good 600m race to finish second to Toronto's Alexander Bimm; Patterson's 1:22.33 was within half a second to Bimm's 1:22.00.
The Lancers racked up another podium finish on the track when Stephanie Smith ran her way into third place in women's 1000m run. Smith placed behind Toronto's Madeline Kelly and Western's Kate Current with a time of 2:51.709.
Track and field is a solitary sport and as much as athletes compete against each other, their biggest competitor is most often themselves, to always be better than they were. Six Lancers achieved personal bests in two days of competition: Tanner Sleep ran a personal best 36.37 in the 300m run. Sesan Akerewusi also ran faster than he ever has, running a 6.98 second in the 60m dash. Lancers Andrew Nebel, Joe Kagumba and Ryan Banks all achieved PB's in the 1500, running 3:58.83, 4:00.05 and 4:15.53 respectively. Oonagh Webseter also hit a personal best with a high jump of 1.53m.