On Jan. 28 and 29, the Tomlinson Fieldhouse hosted the 22nd annual McGill Team Challenge. Nineteen schools from across Eastern Canada competed in the largest indoor track meet in the country.
Dominant Guelph, Laval, Sherbrooke, and Dalhousie squads captured the top four spots in both men’s and women’s team rankings. McGill was largely kept off the podium, with second-year pole vaulter Megan Dimler capturing the team’s only bronze medal. Despite the lack of hardware, the McGill team remained upbeat about their performance.
“I threw my season’s best [in shot put], so I was pretty excited about it,” fourth-year Vanisa Ezukuse said of her 11.30m throw at the meet.
Ezukuse currently sits eighth in USports shot put rankings, enough to qualify for the national championships held at the University of Alberta in early March. For now, however, she’s staying focused on meeting her personal standards.
“Sixteen metres is my ultimate goal [and] I’m slowly getting there,” Ezukuse said.
Many other personal bests were shattered by McGill’s runners. In his first home meet, freshmen Gift (Seph) Marshall-Burghardt was able to cut eight seconds off his 1,500m time to finish in 4:11. Teammate Jeremy Briand also registered a personal record at the same event, finishing in 3:56.
“Everything seems to be coming together,” Marshall-Burghardt said. “With the home meet, it was great.”
The McGill track team has worked hard to become a cohesive unit and maintain a sense of team spirit.
“If I’m at a meet, I’ll go see a cross-country person run, and cheer them on, or go to the shot put circle and ask how it’s going,” third-year long-sprinter Ariane Lismer said. “Meets [are] where we conglomerate and cheer each other on.”
The team will travel to New York next weekend before returning to host another meet the subsequent weekend. To end the season, the RSEQ championships will be held on Feb. 24 and 25 at Laval University. Sprinting Coach Marie-Eve Dugas is pleased with her athletes so far, and knows exactly where to focus her efforts for the remainder of the season.
“We [have] some technical aspects to [work] on, and a little bit of speed and speed endurance, as well as some exchange practice for the relays,” Dugas said. “But we should be good to go for provincials.”
Stats Corner: The fastest event at the meet, the 60m dash, was completed in just 6.85 seconds by Guelph University’s Kyle Thompson.
Key Moments: Vanisa Ezukuse beat her personal best and broke McGill’s record in the weight throw with a distance of 15.71m.
Quotable: “We work so hard every practice and it’s just awesome to be here with everyone at the track, with everyone cheering everyone on,”—Long-sprinter Ariane Lismer.
A previous version of this article published on Jan. 31, 2017 incorrectly stated Vanisa Ezukuse's record breaking performance in weight throw. The Tribune regrets this error.