On Feb. 22 and 23, McGill Athletics hosted the RSEQ track and field championships in the Tomlinson Fieldhouse. The meet crowned provincial champions and determined which athletes will advance to Nationals in Winnipeg in March. With over 50 events, the two-day competition provided plenty of thrilling moments. Out of the eight schools in competition, McGill came in third place behind Laval and Sherbrooke. The men won three gold, four silver, and one bronze medal, and the Martlets earned one gold, three silver and two bronze medals.
First-year sprinter Jorden Savoury won the first McGill medal of the competition with a silver in the 60m dash.
At the tail end of three years of accumulated injuries, Savoury came into the meet with modest expectations. She attributed her turnaround victory to her loose and relaxed attitude heading into the race and cited her role model Allyson Felix, an American track star, as a source of inspiration.
“I didn’t think I would be able to get back to my old speed, but, honestly, it just goes to show [that], through determination and persistence, you can get back to what you want to do, and that’s why I’m super, super happy,” Savoury said.
On the men’s side, first-year Jack Crosby, who broke a McGill record in the 600m last week, did not disappoint in his follow-up race. He won two medals this weekend: A gold in the 600m and silver in the 1000m. After coming into the final 600m lap in third place, Crosby ultimately overtook a Sherbrooke University runner in the final five metres to clock in at 1:19:93, good for the gold and recognition as rookie of the year.
After his victory, the crowd and his team erupted into cheers, running in from all directions to congratulate him.
“That was the first time that something like that’s happened,” Crosby said. “I felt euphoric, that’s how I would say it. It was incredible.”
Crosby credited the coaching staff with unlocking his high-level performance.
“Some people think they can half-ass workouts and can get away with it, but the only way to achieve your goals it to go as hard as possible whenever you can,” Crosby said. “I’ve just started to tap into my potential [.…] I used to be undertrained, but the coaching staff here has really helped me.”
McGill’s coaching staff is led by Head Coach Dennis Barrett, who has been with the program for 35 years. In that time, he has always focused on putting together a team of hard-working athletes.
“We want people that are going to come in and work hard day-in and day-out and stay consistent,” Barrett said.
His team’s performance exemplified their work ethic: Aside from Crosby and Savoury’s finishes, the team earned medals in men’s and women’s triple jump, men’s shot put, men’s 60m hurdles, women’s 4x800m, and women’s 3000m. Half of McGill’s medal winners were first or second years and put forward strong efforts this weekend in their last chance to qualify for the national championships.
“Heading into Nationals, I’m hoping we can have some solid performances, and if we can’t medal, at least get some points on the board for McGill,” Barrett said. “If we can build on this young talent next year, I’m optimistic.”
Moment of the Meet
McGill led the way in the men’s 60m hurdles event. Second-year Matthew Daly topped the podium with a gold-medal time of 8.35 seconds, and first-year Ismail Francillon earned the silver medal with a time of 8.82.
“Winning is something that’s always been ingrained in me. Even as a toddler, I’ve always liked to win. I don’t like settling, I just want to beat people. ” – Jack Crosby on his race mentality.
First-year heptathlete Alexander Stathis set a new school record in the event, earning 4,555 points to top the previous record of 4,379.
A previous version of this article stated that Jorden Savoury was a thrower. In fact she is a sprinter. The Tribune regrets this error.