Records fall at biggest indoor track meet in Canada

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Famous Canadian sprinters Bruny Surin, Nick Macrozonaris, and current Olympian pentathlete Jessica Zelinka hold all-time records in the Tomlinson Fieldhouse in their respective events. Over the past weekend, further history was made, as McGill played host to the 18th Annual McGill Team Challenge Meet—the largest indoor track meet in Canada.

The event saw 11 new meet records while three other Fieldhouse records were established. More impressively, 41 CIS standards (qualifications) were met, as the participants won the chance to compete at the National Championships, held in March in Edmonton. Most notable amongst them were Alex Brussieres from the Laval University Track Club, who ran to a new Canadian Junior Record in the 1000m (25:60), and Olympic Pole Vaulter Mélanie Blouin, who posted a new Fieldhouse best at an impressive 4.35m.

The results of the day were slightly more ambiguous for the McGillians, as the men’s and women’s squads finished 11th and eighth overall, respectively.

Nonetheless, there were a few standout performances. Chief amongst them were a pair of podium finishes for the men and women. Alana Battison dominated the competition en route to a personal-best, gold medal performance in the pentathlon, collecting 3492 points over the race’s five events.

However, the gold medal win comes with a slightly sour aftertaste, as Battison just missed out on qualifying for the CIS Championships. Her final score fell mercilessly only 23 points short of the required 3515 points.

Not all hope is lost, however, as there are still at least three opportunities left to qualify before the end of the season. On the men’s side, the sprinters were extremely successful, as the 4×400 metre team claimed silver in McGill record time. However, despite their 3:19:11 time, this too was just short of the CIS standard, outlined for the event at 3:18:11.

In the end, the day belonged to the nationally No.2 ranked Guelph Gryphons. The club bested the 27-team competition all weekend, and climbed to the top of the podium in several events, claiming the championship on both the men’s and women’s sides. The Gryphons dominated the distance events, as Guelph swept the Men’s 1000m and the Women’s 1500m, while amassing an additional three medals in events over 1000m distance.

Although the overall team results were slightly lower than desired and did not amount to many podium appearances, the outlook is still positive for McGill track, as the club will make the trek south of the border to attend a major NCAA competition at the Armoury in New York City next weekend. The meet is sure to be an exciting one, as it will expose the athletes to a strong level of talent.

Following this, the Redmen and Martlets will compete in one more home competition—the RSEQ Championships—at the Tomlinson Fieldhouse Feb. 23-24. It will serve as the final opportunity for athletes to qualify, before the successful parties travel to Alberta for Nationals on Mar. 6.