Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bisons better late than never

Track team thrills coach with surprise bronze-medal finishes

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The University of Manitoba Bisons track and field team saved its best for last, winning two bronze medals Saturday as the CIS track and field championships wrapped up at the U of M Max Bell Fieldhouse.

Manitoba's women's 4x200 metre relay team and the men's 4x400m relay teams each won bronze medals in their races on Saturday afternoon to conclude the three-day meet.

"Two medals in the last hour of the meet. My team likes to make me wait," laughed Bisons head coach Claude Berube, who had a small team of 26 athletes, most of whom were involved in the six relay teams. "Generally speaking, everybody out-performed their coming-in ranking, we had a couple of personal bests and a couple of seasonal bests. When your team out-performs their rankings you can't ask for much more. It was really good to see."

In the overall points rankings, the women's team title was won by the Windsor Lancers for the fourth straight year. Manitoba was 12th among the 21 teams, an improvement of eight places from last season.

In the men's rankings, the Western Mustangs won their first overall team title. Manitoba placed 14th among the 21 men's teams.

The men's 4x400m was the last event of the day and spectators got quite a show in the first section of the finals which included Manitoba among the lower-seeded teams. The Bisons ran with Matt Fitkowsky as lead runner, Joel Vankoughnet second, Dylan Ostberg third and Zach Durand fourth. In the third leg, Ostberg overtook the leader from Regina just before the second turn of the second lap. After the last exchange, Durand opened up a huge lead. Manitoba posted its season-best time of 3:16.57.

"That's by far the fastest time we ran all year, by almost five seconds," Ostberg said. "We all really came together today."

Manitoba's women's 4x200m relay team -- Kimberly-Ann Bordun, Leah Harpelle, Sade Ogungbemi and Lisa Wong -- won bronze after they moved up to third from fourth place with a time of 1:41.59. Saskatchewan had finished third but was disqualified when officials deemed there had been illegal contact between runners from Saskatchewan and Windsor.

Bordun, a fifth-year athlete, also ran on the Bisons women's 4x400m relay team Saturday, which placed fifth with a time of 3:50.15.

"We were seeded as sixth so we were fortunate enough to compete in the fast section so that helped (push us)," said Bordun.

The Toronto Varsity Blues set a CIS record in the women's 4x400m with a time of 3:41.47.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 12, 2012 C4

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