(Anne and Randy Taylor, parents of former McGill track star Andrea Taylor, present award in her memory to captain Christina Lo Basso (centre). PHOTO BY GARY RUSH.)
MONTREAL - Team captain Christina Lo Basso of Montreal was named most improved athlete in cross-country running and also received the Andrea Taylor memorial award as the most inspirational member of the McGill track and field team at their 12th annual Friends of McGill awards gala, held at Molson's Brewery, Saturday.
"Christina brings tremendous spirit, determination, enthusiasm and respect for others," says head coach Dennis Barrett. "Despite battling through exercise-induced asthma, she was very committed to running and to her role as a captain on the team."
Team MVPs announced in cross-country were freshman Melanie Myrand of Pointe Claire, Que., and senior Graydon Snider of Ottawa. The track MVPs were seniors Katherine Elmore of Pittsburgh, Penn., and David Faille of St. Hilaire, Que.
Rookie-of-the-year awards were presented to cross-country's Charlène Puel of Nice, France and Alexander Duhault of Calgary in addition to track freshmen Margaux Pontoreau-Bazinet Outremont, Que., and Lucas Lafourcade of Bordeaux, France.
Other most improved athlete honours went to cross-country's Ryan Ouckama, a senior from Baltimore, Ont., plus track & field juniors Alana Battiston of Toronto and Dong Liu, a native of Beijing.
The soirée was capped off by the presentation of gifts to eight graduating athletes, including Lo Basso, Elmore, Faille, Ouckama, Stephanie Harris of Calgary, Danielle Sharpe of Columbia, Conn., Aaron White of Trenton, Ont., and Christina Taylor of Dartmouth, N.S.
A BRIEF PROFILE OF EACH AWARD WINNER FOLLOWS:
ANDREA TAYLOR MEMORIAL AWARD:
Christina Lo Basso, Montreal, Que, Physical Education (2nd year Master's)
Christina Lo Basso, who served as captain of both the cross-country and track teams, is the 2009 recipient of the Andrea Taylor trophy, presented annually to a female member of the track team who contributes something unique, promotes unity, and demonstrates the exceptional characteristics of Andrea Taylor, a track star with the Martlets who lost a battle to cancer 13 years ago.
(More details about Lo Basso's athletic performance are listed under the Most Improved Athlete award below).
Cross-country Running (w): Mélanie Myrand, Pointe Claire, Que.
Mélanie Myrand, a nursing freshman from Pointe Claire, Que., was easily the team's most consistent runner and top finisher in four of six cross-country meets. She was a gold medalist at the Vert & Or Invitational in Sherbrooke and won bronze at the Quebec championships to earn all-conference honours. Myrand had an outstanding indoor campaign as well, winning gold in the 3000m at the QSSF championships and running a personal best at the CIS Nationals.
Cross-country Running (m): Graydon Snider, Ottawa, Ont.
Graydon Snider, a 26-year-old chemistry senior from Ottawa, led the Redmen throughout the cross country season and was the top McGill runner at the Sherbrooke meet which the Redmen came away victorious. He won bronze at the Quebec City meet, finished fourth at the conference championships and had a good run at the CIS championships in Quebec City, placing 37th out of 120 runners. He capped of a solid season by earning all-conference status.
Track & Field (w): Katherine Elmore, Pittsburgh, PA.
Katherine Elmore, a science senior from Pittsburgh, had a solid performance at the conference championships, earning bronze medals in three events -- the 300m, the triple jump and the 4x200m relay. She added a fifth-place showing in the long jump. Elmore also ran a leg on the 4x400m relay at the CIS championships which ranked 10th best in the country.
Track & Field (m): David Faille, St. Hilaire, Que.
Sprinter David Faille, a physical education senior from St. Hilaire, Que., competed in five events at the Quebec conference championships, earning silver medals in the 60m, 300m and 4x200m relay. He also won bronze in the 4x400m and finished ninth in the long jump. A co-captain of the track team, he helped the Redmen relay squads to qualify for the CIS championships where the both squads placed 8th and 10th respectively.
MOST IMPROVED ATHLETE AWARDS
Cross Country (w): Christina Lo Basso, Montreal, Que.
Christina Lo Basso, a 22-year-old physical education master's student from Montreal, showed much improvement from her first year, placing consistently among the top three scorers for the Martlets this season. She was seventh overall at the Quebec championships and earned all-star status in the QSSF conference.
Cross Country (m): Ryan Ouckama, Baltimore, Ont.
Ryan Ouckama, a physical education PhD student from Baltimore, Ont., was a steady competitor and had his best season at McGill. The fifth-year veteran was consistently among the team's top five runners and contributed not only on the field but also served as team captain.
Track & Field (w): Alana Battiston, Toronto, Ont.
Alana Battiston, a physiology & kinesiology junior from Toronto, Ont., bounced back strong from a number of injuries and rewrote the McGill pentathlon record twice this season. She racked up 3,204 points to win the event at the Sherbrooke Invitational, then amassing 3,321 points to win gold at the Quebec conference championships. Battiston also was part of the 4x400 relay which won gold at the same QSSF meet.
Track & Field (m): Dong Liu, Beijing, China, Statistics, Junior
Dong Liu, a statistics junior from Beijing, posted some impressive results, eclipsing his personal best in the 60m hurdles and shaving his time from 8.90 seconds to 8.65. He won gold at the Quebec championships and equaled his personal best performance at the CIS championships in Windsor.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARDS
Cross-country Running (w): Charlène Puel, Nice, France
Charlène Puel, a mathematics freshman from Nice in France, battled back from injuries in time to compete at the final league meet in Quebec City with a respectable placing. She then stormed to a top ten finish at the Quebec championships as a fourth-place scorer for the Martlets and went on to become the Martlets second-best finisher at the CIS championships on the Plains of Abraham.
Cross-country Running (m): Alexander Duhault, Calgary, Alta.
Alexander Duhault, a civil engineering freshman from Calgary, was easily the team's top newcomer and earned Quebec conference rookie-of-the-year honours for his consistent performances. Always among the top five finishers for the Redmen, Duhault placed ninth overall at the Quebec championships.
Track & Field (w): Margaux Pontoreau-Bazinet, Outremont, Que.
Pontoreau-Bazinet, a nursing freshman from Outremont, Que., established personal bests twice in the 3000-metre run during the past season and scored points for the Martlets in the 300m and 1500m at the Quebec championships, placing second and fourth, respectively, in the two events.
Track & Field (m): Lucas Lafourcade, Bordeaux, France
Lucas Lafourcade, a freshman from Bordeaux, France, who is majoring in International Development Studies, broke the school record in the pentathlon, with 3,320 points, eclipsing the previous record of 2,796 set by Keith Esch last year. Lafourcade was the team's best long jumper and also ran a leg on the 4x400m relay that qualified for the CIS championships in Windsor, Ont.
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