McGill can't keep up at year's biggest meet

McGill can't keep up at year's biggest meet

Jan 29, 08

Track and Field (M)

By Matt Chesser, The McGill Tribune

TRACK AND FIELD: McGill can't keep up at year's biggest meet; Martlets place fifth, Redmen finish tenth

By Matt Chesser
(reprinted from The McGill Tribune)

Over 600 of Canada's finest university athletes gathered at Richard Tomlinson Fieldhouse on the weekend to take part in the McGill Team Challenge, the largest Canadian university track meet of the season and for the second consecutive year the University of Guelph Gryphons ran away with both the men's and women's overall championships.

The Gryphons set three meet records, in the women's 1000m, women's long jump and men's weight throw and captured nine gold medals to post a huge margin of victory in both gender categories. The male Gryphons posted 68 points to best second-place Sherbrooke by 18, while the female Gryphons scored 83 points, 13.5 more than Western.

For McGill the meet was a modest success, as the Martlets placed fifth out of 16 teams with 26 points and the Redmen finished tenth out of 15 teams, posting 12 points.

"The meet was a success from the point of view of a lot of teams being there, but not so much from a McGill perspective," said McGill Track and Field Coach Denis Barrett. "

The Martlets won four medals over the two-day event, led by silver-medal performances in the 60m hurdles and 4x400m relay. Sophomore Zaria Stoffman posted a time of 9.36 seconds in the hurdles, just 0.06 seconds off the winning pace set by Emily Coxhead from the Western Mustangs, to earn McGill's first silver medal.

Stoffman's performance was closely followed by a second-place finish from the women's 4x400m team of Fatihat Momoh, Allison Cameron-Vendrig, Catherine Drouin and Hilary Kellar-Parsons, who finished just over three seconds behind the winning team from the University of Toronto.

The Martlets also captured bronze medals in the 4x200 m relay and in the pole vault, where Esther Usborne cleared a height of 3.56 metres.

The Redmen, however, only managed one medal, a bronze finish by Keith Esch in the high jump.

"Our team had a few issues going in such as illness and injuries, so we didn't perform as well as I would have hoped," Barrett said. "We're improving on a daily basis though, and our goal is not to be such a gracious host at Nationals this year. Last year we gave away all the medals and we're hoping to actually win one this year."

The meet was headlined by a special 60 metre dash between two of Canada's elite sprinters, Hank Palmer and Nicolas Macrozonaris, both from the St. Laurent Selects track club. Macrozonaris competed in 100 metre sprint at the 2006 Summer Olympics in Athens, while Palmer is currently the top-ranked 60 metre sprinter in Canada.

The Canadian national team members did not disappoint, living up to expectations with an incredibly tight race that came down to a photo finish. Palmer posted a time of 6.6771 seconds to narrowly edge Macrozonaris's 6.6779 second finish, in a race that was so close onlookers couldn't tell who had won. The victory for Palmer was the first time the Montreal native has defeated his rival in the 60 metre dash.

"We invited them in order to give some local sprinters another meet in town, so they don't have to travel," Barrett said. "It adds a bit of publicity to our event, and gives us a platform to bring in a larger crowd than you would typically see at a university event."

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