Mar 08, 07 Track and Field (W)
By RANDY PHILLIPS, The Gazette
More than 400 athletes from 24 universities have converged on McGill for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Indoor Track and Field Championships.
And much of the focus will be on the Windsor Lancers as they try to defend men's and women's team national titles.
Windsor comes into the three-day championships, which start today at 2 p.m. at Richard Tomlinson Fieldhouse, ranked first in the CIS men's competition and second on the women's side behind the Calgary Dinos.
Windsor is vying to become the first university in CIS history to sweep national team titles for a third time. The Lancers previously did it in 1991-1992 and 1992-1993.
Leading the way for the Lancers will be Ontario conference MVPs Derek Watkins in the high jump and triple jump, and weight-thrower Sara Jibb.
Other featured conference MVPs in action include Sherbrooke pole-vaulter David Foley, 60- and 300-metre sprinter Emmanuel Parris, weight-thrower Caroline Sow and sprinter Genevieve Thibault (60m hurdles), both from Universite Laval.
Host McGill, under head coach Dennis Barrett, has 23 athletes qualified, including 13 women.
The McGill women haven't won a medal at the CIS finals since 2003, when Sarah Ali-Khan captured three gold medals, but the Martlets figure to have a solid medal threat in Jessica Warren in the 1,000m event. The Quebec champion is the No. 2 seed in the event, which goes tomorrow night at 9, behind Jaqueline Malette of Windsor.
Warren, 24, an Oakville, Ont., native, returned to McGill for a fifth and final season of college eligibility after a two-year sabbatical and three previous seasons as member of McGill's swim team. She returned last fall for a marketing degree and earned all-conference honours in track with a pair of gold medals and a silver in the Quebec championships.
The McGill men are led by pole-vaulter Maxime Beaumont-Courteau, a first-year student from Montreal, who broke an 18-year-old McGill record in the event at the provincial finals two weeks ago, Patrick McAuliffe, a senior from Seattle, Wash., in the 3,000m, and David Faille, a second-year member of the Redmen from St. Hilaire in the 60m sprint.
Members of the McGill team will wear black ribbons in a tribute to the late emilie Mondor, a former McGill athlete and Olympian, who died in a car crash near Hawkesbury, Ont., on Sept. 10.
The national championships get under way at 2 p.m. today with competition in pentathlon and continue until 9 p.m.
Tomorrow's competition is from 1:30-9:30 p.m., and from 12:30-4 p.m. on Saturday.
© The Gazette (Montreal) 2007