Queen’s Track and Field has record-breaking season

Jude Wheeler-Dee and Women’s 4X800 relay team dominate at OUA Championships

Image supplied by: Supplied by Windsor Athletics
Jude Wheeler-Dee wins gold.

The Gaels sprinted their way into the spotlight after a stunning display of athleticism at the OUA Track and Field Championship on Feb. 24 and 25. Six top-performing athletes have qualified for the highly-anticipated U SPORTS Championship meet later this month.

Gillian Porter, Madelyn Bullock, Olivia Hendrikx, and Elizabeth Vroom competed in the 4X800 relay, won bronze, qualified for the national championships, and now rank seventh in the nation for the event. Miles Brackenbury also qualified for the Men’s 3,000-metre race, where he will be seeded 12th.

Jude Wheeler-Dee, another standout Gaels competitor, finished the OUA Track and Field Championship with two gold medals in the 1,000 and 1,500-metre events. He was close to breaking Bob McCormack’s 1997 record for the 1,000-metre race, and currently ranks second in that event heading into the U SPORTS Championship.

Jude Wheeler-Dee’s rise to success has been incredible, as his two years as a student athlete at Queen’s have been utterly dominant. His sheer talent—combined with his dedication and humble perspective—has propelled him to become one of the fastest runners in Canada.

In 2021, Wheeler-Dee started his collegiate athletics career. Despite being a talented athlete, Wheeler-Dee wasn’t quite in the spotlight yet, but still contributed to the Gael’s successful cross country and track and field seasons.

During the fall of 2022, Wheeler-Dee shined at the Canadian National Cross Country Championships, where he tied the U20 men’s race with teammate-turned-housemate Roman Mironov. They crossed the finish line hand-in-hand with big smiles on their faces.

“We share the same toothpaste, body wash… might as well win together,” Mironov said in a post-race interview.

For the winter season, Wheeler-Dee has switched gears to indoor track and field where he has continued to demonstrate his exceptional skills and talent in the sport.

This February at the David Hemery Valentine International in Boston, Wheeler-Dee ran 4:04.56 in the Men’s one mile, a time that broke the Queen’s track and field record of 4:05.88 previously set by Alex Wilkie in 2016.

Breaking records is something Wheeler-Dee has been doing all season. In January, he crushed a 35-year-old Queen’s Track and Field record for the 1,000-metre at the McGill Team Challenge competition.

Wheeler-Dee has taken the advice of Head Coach Mark Bomba to heart.

“‘You have to respect your competition. You have to respect that these guys are older than you and you have to respect that they have the experience, but you also can’t be afraid to challenge them, poke jabs at them, and see if they’re going to bite,’” he told The Journal.

On Feb. 2, Wheeler-Dee was named Varsity Student-Athlete of the Week in recognition of his recent successes. As he continues to make a name for himself in the world of athletics, it’s clear he’s a force to be reckoned with.

For the women’s team, Elizabeth Vroom is already creating a name for herself at Queen’s despite only being in her first year.

At the David Hemery Valentine Invitation, Vroom ran a 4:53.30 mile and joined the Queen’s record list as the second fastest mile of all time behind only the 4:40.44 set by Olympian Julie-Anne Staehli’s in 2017. Additionally, Gillian Porter ran a 5:03.24 time in the one-mile event, the sixth fastest time in Queen’s history.

Wheeler-Dee told The Journal the Gaels have high hopes of achieving the same level of success at U SPORTS as they did during the OUA championships.

“We’ll just try to have a good week this week, keep the mileage high, keep on trucking and approach the races one by one.”

Wheeler-Dee will be attending U SPORTS Championships for the first time and understands most of his competitors will have more experience running in high-caliber races.

“You learn that everyone there has the same mindset: they’re all trying to win, and they all think they have the same chance as you,” he said. “You’ve got to go in there and be very conscious.”

Wheeler-Dee, alongside five other Queen’s athletes, will head to the U SPORTS Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 9 and 10 in Saskatoon to compete against the nation’s best.


bronze, cross country, gold, Jude Wheeler-Dee, OUA, Track and field, U Sports

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