The University of Manitoba track and field team hauled in some hardware Saturday as the 2012 Canadian Interuniversity Sport 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 4x400 relay team each won bronze medals in their races Saturday to conclude the three-day meet.
"Two medals in the last hour of the meet! My team likes to make me wait," said a proud Bisons head coach Claude Berube, who had a small team of just 26 athletes, most of whom were involved in the six relay teams.
"Generally speaking, everybody outperformed their coming-in ranking. We had a couple of personal bests and a couple of seasonal bests. When your team outperforms their rankings, you can't ask for much more. It was really good to see."
In the overall points standings, the women's team title was won by the Windsor Lancers, their fourth straight. Manitoba was 12th among the 21 teams. In the men's rankings, the Western Mustangs won the overall team title, with Manitoba 14th among the 21 men's teams.
The men's 4x400 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 in lead, Joel Vankoughnet second, Dylan Ostberg third and Zach Durand fourth.
The Bisons blasted out to a big lead but after the first baton exchange, the Regina Cougars had moved into first place.
The third runners -- Ostberg from Manitoba and Regina's Cale Brown -- practically had a duel just before the second turn of the second lap, with Ostberg passing him to take the lead. After the last exchange, Durand opened up a huge lead to win the race.
Manitoba posted its season-best time of 3:16.57. The Bisons had run 3:21.10 for silver at the conference championship behind first-place Regina.
"Regina has really strong guys that run their second leg and third leg, so it's a bit of a catch-up in the third leg. At CanWest (conference championships), we didn't catch that guy, and that's what hurt us," said Ostberg, a first-year athlete. "I knew the straightaway on the second lap was the time to take the guy over. This time, we knew to put ourselves in position. I had to catch that guy. We did that, and that's by far the fastest time we ran all year, by almost five seconds. We all really came together today."
Brown said his team won the duel at the conference championships with a big start, but Manitoba had the big start on Saturday.
"It was wild today. At Canwest, the next guy was maybe 10 metres behind me, but here, I could feel the guys on me and I had to get in there with them," Brown said. "We've had a friendly rivalry with Manitoba all year. It's been fun."
Manitoba's women's 4x200m relay team -- Sade Ogungbemi, Kimberly-Ann Bordun, Leah Harpelle and Lisa Wong -- won bronze after they moved up to third from fourth. Saskatchewan, which had finished third, was disqualified when officials deemed there had been illegal contact between runners from Saskatchewan and Windsor.