The men opened their season at the New Brunswick warm-up meet on November 20; the annual debut for the Tigers. In the sprints, Aaron Samuel finished third in the 60m in a time he was to improve on many times throughout the season. Andy Leiper and Joshua Davidson demonstrated success across event groups, competing in four events apiece; including a one-two finish in the 800m. Paul Bennett threw a personal best in the shot put to claim second behind Tiger alumnus Craig Slaunwhite.
At the annual Christmas Threes meet, Chris Algar led John Corbit to a one-two finish in the 3000m. Tyler Durham took top spot in the shot put with his win over Davidson in that event.
The Tigers were back at the track immediately following the holiday break. On January 8, the Tigers played host to the opening meet of the new year. Paul Chafe won the 3000m proving he had track legs to match those that have propelled him to cross country success. In the 1000m, it was Mihira Lakshman leading the Dalhousie effort. Durham continued his reign as the Tiger king of the shot ring, but was pushed to a new best by fellow Tiger, Seth Taylor.
On January 15, the Tigers were off to the Blue et Or open at the Université de Moncton. Durham continued to improve in the shot put and added a win in the weight throw to give him double gold. Cary McNeil won the triple jump by well over a metre, earning a CIS top 10 ranking in the process. Samuel took over a tenth a second off his season best in the 60m, earning him the top AUS ranking in that event. Dalhousie also won gold in the 4x200m relay, upsetting a surprised Huskie sprint squad.
The McGill Team Challenge was billed as the East’s best pre-championship meet of the year. It lived up to that reputation. Chafe led the way for the Tigers, winning the 3000m in a meet record. Corbit broke the four-minute barrier for the second consecutive weekend, once again flying around the track in the final 300 metres to finish fourth in the 1500m. Andy Leiper set a new best in the 60m while Durham continued to take the Tiger led in the shot.
Dalhousie’s largest home meet which doubles as the Nova Scotia Provincial Championship was the following weekend. Samuel once again topped the field in the 60m. Goulet was the top AUS performer in the 600m, setting a best time and earning a top 10 CIS ranking in the process. In the high jump, Leiper reached new heights; taking the top AUS ranking in that event.
Dalhousie’s big double weekend was February 12, with athletes competing at Boston University’s Valentine’s Meet and the New Brunswick provincials in Gagetown. In Boston, Corbit led Dalhousie’s runners in the mile while, in Gagetown, it was Samuel leading the Tigers with yet another dramtic improvement in the 60m. MacNeil also had a personal best in the 60m but was at his best in the long and triple jumps where he won by decisive margins in both. Leiper won the 60m hurdles, the high jump and the pentathlon. In the throws, it was Paul Bennett who led the Tigers; winning both the shot put and weight throw.
In the final meet of the regular season, Dalhousie’s Relay Meet, it was pressure time for the men’s 4x800m relay squad. The team responded well to what was a last chance to qualify for the CIS championships. The team’s 7:51.7 time was the fastest for a Dalhousie squad in over five years. On the floor, Durham was pushed to a new best in the shot put, with Bennett close behind.
The AUS championships were expected to be close two-way race. The team that was going to win would be the team that could rise to the occasion; and did the Tigers ever rise! By the end of the meet it wasn’t even close. The Tigers amassed a 61-point lead, winning the meet by a score of 148 to 87, claiming gold in 13 of 17 events. Samuel broke seven seconds for the first time taking gold in the 60m and earning a berth at the CIS championships. He also surprised in the 300m, winning that event from challenging lane one. Goulet fended off a late-charging Gerard Bray to claim gold in the 600m. Corbit used sit and kick tactics to win both the 1000m and 1500m with Lakshman challenging in the 1000m to prove his race-readiness at a national level. Chafe and Algar came one-two in the 3000m after dropping all contenders early, with a blistering opening pace. On the field, Seth Taylor edged Durham in the shot put. Taylor also claimed gold in the weight throw, just ahead of Bennett. McNeil broke an age-old record with his win the triple jump. He leapt to a spot at the CIS championships. In the high jump, Leiper claimed gold. Leiper just missed another gold in the pentathlon, this time edged by teammate; Davidson.
The CIS championships were held at the famed Max Bell center at the University of Manitoba. Chafe, as he had all year, led the Tigers. He broke a close pack of twelve just after the half-way point in the 3000m with a major surge. He moved into scoring position and put Dalhousie on the board. In the 60m, Samuel, upset several top seeds by earning an auto-qualifier into the 60m final. He finished seventh overall in an outstanding race. In the men’s 4x800m relay, a tremendous opening leg by Bray was brought crashing to an end only 75 metres before the first exchange, when five runners collided, sending all sprawling. Other top 10 performances included Corbit in the 1000m and Davidson in the pentathlon.