Putting their best foot forward Warriors’ track and field opens 2020 with strong showing at Sharon Anderson Meet.

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Courtesty UW Athletics

While everyone else was enjoying the last weekend of the holiday break, the Warriors’ track and field team travelled to Toronto to compete in the annual Sharon Anderson Meet. It was an exceptional showing for the Warriors, who had 11 top-3 finishes as well as back-to-back gold medals in both the men’s and women’s 4 x 400m relay.

The annual Sharon Anderson Meet is hosted by the University of Toronto at the Athletic Centre Field House. Taking place on the first weekend in January, the meet is usually the second in the sport’s competitive season.

The Warriors entered the meet coming off a strong start to the season after capturing numerous medals at last month’s Bob Vigars Open. Furthermore, the Warriors finished 10th at last year’s OUA Championship, and a strong recruiting class has many expecting them to move up this year.

The Warriors set the tone early in the field, as Jon Halepenny and Richard Kang claimed bronze medals in the long jump and triple jump, respectively. Jocelyn Ertl added another bronze in the high jump, clearing 1.55m for the medal.

However, high jumper Solomon Davidson was a tier above the rest, clearing 2.00m for the gold medal and setting a personal-best in the process. It was the fourth-highest jump in Warriors history and moves him to fifth place in the USports rankings. 

On the track, the team got off to a blazing start, as Emma Nero and Ashley Blayney-Hoffer finished as the top two qualifiers in the preliminaries of the women’s 60m hurdles. In the finals, Nero claimed the gold medal with a time of 8.80 seconds while Blayney-Hoffer took home bronze in 10.16 seconds. Nero, who joined the Warriors as a graduate student this year, won the USPORTS silver medal last year in the event.

In the 1500m, Alex Hoerner pulled away on the final sprint and secured the gold medal with a time of 4:10.74. It was an impressive result for Hoerner, who set a new personal-best by over two seconds.

In the 1000m, Olivia Scagnetto captured the silver medal with a time of 3:18.94. On the men’s side, rookie Griffin Anderson finished sixth with a time of 2:46.02.

The sprinters joined in on the action too, as Joshua Lorentz won silver in the 600m, unfortunately just missing out on gold by under two-tenths of a second. Owen Babcock wasn’t far behind, finishing fourth overall in the same race. It was a disappointing result for Babcock, who placed sixth overall in the USports final last year.

In the 300m, UW’s Nathan Hehn was edged out for the bronze medal and settled for fourth with a time of 36.74 seconds. Liam Clark finished seventh in the race with a time of 37.47 seconds.

For UW, the most anticipated events of the meet were the relays, specifically the 4 x 400m. At the Bob Vigars Open last month, the Warriors secured gold medals in both the men’s and women’s events, making them the favourites entering the race. The women took care of business first, securing their gold medal thanks to impressive anchor stretch. The men did the same right after, cruising to a gold medal of their own with a time of 3:31 minutes.

The story was similar in the 4 x 200m relay, as the men claimed gold with a time of 1:31.95, narrowly edging out the second-place Toronto Varsity Blues by under a second. The women finished second in the event with a time of 1:49.23 (timed final).

UW will look to channel its momentum into the Can-Am Challenge in Windsor from Jan. 10-11. It’s a short season for the team, who look to be in their best shape for the OUA Championships on Feb. 21-22.