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McGill disappoints at national championship meet

“As long as our present group continues to strive for excellence, we should be in good shape next year and beyond,” McGill track and field Head Coach Dennis Barrett, said. “It will indeed be exciting with the talent we presently have.”

His comments came in light of the general enthusiasm for the future of his program, as the 2012-2013 campaign ended last weekend at the CIS National Championships in Edmonton, Alberta.

McGill sent a total of 20 athletes to the event, and finished 19th of 21 and 22 competing teams, in both the men’s and women’s divisions. Despite the mediocre result, Toronto native Alana Battiston finished an impressive fifth overall in the Pentathlon on the first day of the meet. Her result broke her previous McGill record of 3515 points—which she set last week at the RSEQ championship, by amassing a total of 3558 points.

“It was a very spirited performance,” Barrett said. “Alana’s fight and determination surely was motivating for the team; she ran a very strong 800m to finish her [pentathlon].”

The Martlets in particular were searching for more, having been crowned RSEQ champions just two weeks prior. Yet, despite their early success, the team failed to convert Battiston’s spirit into any additional top finishes over the next two days of competition.

On the men’s side, the lone highlight for McGill came in the form of the 4×800 metre relay team, comprised of Benjamin Raymond, Nathan Goldstein, Michael Abramson, and Vincent Parent-Pichette. The team clocked in at 7:54.15, good for sixth place.

But, in the end, the day belonged to the Guelph Gryphons and the Calgary Dinos, who claimed the male and female divisions, respectively. The Gryphons ran clear of the competition, en route to their third title in seven years, while the surprising Dinos reached the top of the podium for the second time in six years. To go along with her team gold medal, Calgary’s Rachel Machin also earned the title of most Outstanding Athlete of the Meet, after turning in a four-medal performance with two golds and two silvers. On the men’s side, Sherbrooke leaper Olivier Huet captured the award, with a gold in the triple jump and a bronze in the long jump.

With the year now finished, McGill must come to grips with losing Battiston and long-distance runner Sarah McCuaig to graduation. The departures of both are a huge loss both on and off the track; but with the cores of the teams still intact, McGill may find themselves competing more feverishly on the national scale next season.

“The main aspect [to the national scene], beside the number of athletes, is having top end athletes—which at this point, we do have,” Barrett said. “[We’re still] a very young team, however. With only two graduating … the opportunity is there,”

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