Jan. 27, 2012 Track and Field
MONTREAL - Olympic sprinter Hank Palmer of Pierrefonds, Que., will be among a handful of national team athletes participating at the 17th annual McGill Team Challenge track and field meet this weekend at Tomlinson Fieldhouse, located in the McGill University Sports Centre at 475 Pine Avenue West.
The two-day event, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, is the largest indoor track meet in Canada and is expected to feature a record number of 22 university teams and more than 700 participating athletes. The CIS national championships, slated to be hosted by University of Manitoba, March 8-10, could have more participating schools but will have fewer athletes than the McGill Team Challenge, because athletes must meet a qualification standard to compete at Nationals.
Tickets for the event will be sold at the door and cost $10 for adults. Students and seniors are $4 and children 12-and-under are free.
Live stats will be posted online at: 2012 McGill Team Challenge Live Results
Live video stream of the meet can be seen online at: 2012 McGill Team Challenge Live Video Stream
"It is definitely one of the strongest meets of the indoor season and clearly the Canadian flagship meet for the semester," said Dennis Barrett, in his 27th year as head coach Athlat McGill. "We will have nine participating teams from the Ontario conference, seven from Quebec, five from the Atlantic region and one from the Canada West. It will be a great opportunity for athletes to qualify for the Nationals."
The Friday night schedule will be highlighted by the men's 60-metre dash, slated for 6:55 p.m., with Hank Palmer, a former McGill student who now coaches the Redmen sprinters. Two years ago, he set a school record in the 60 metres, running a time of 6.78 seconds. Palmer, who finished sixth in the 4x100m relay at the Beijing Olympics, will be chasing both the meet record (6.75) and the Fieldhouse mark (6.56).
The women's division will be highlighted by a special 60-metre invitational race schedule for 7:35 p.m. Among the high-profile sprinters registered for the event are Kimberly Hyacinthe of Terrebonne, Que, and Clemence Paiement, two high-profile 16-year-olds. Also, Annie Leblanc of Repentigny, Que., will be aiming for a Quebec record in the 600m.
The McGill roster features 50 athletes from across Canada, nine from the USA, four from France and two from China, plus one apiece from Australia, Mexico, Finland, Malaysia and Costa Rico. Among the Canadians are 20 from Ontario, 15 from Quebec, five from B.C., three from Alberta, two from New Brunswick and one from Newfoundland-Labrador.
One McGill athlete to watch is Maxime Beaumont-Courteau, a fifth-year medical student at McGill who will be looking to shatter his school record of 4.60m in the men's pole vault.
Another McGill athlete of note is senior Alexandra Morin-Boucher, a middle-distance runner from St. Gabriel de Brandon, Que. She recently transferred over to track and field from the McGill varsity soccer team and came within fractions of breaking a school record in her first-ever track meet. She was clocked at 40.43 seconds in the 300-metre dash, just shy of the 40.26 standard set by Maryse Dubreuil in 2006.
"The McGill Team Challenge has become the destiny of choice for CIS track teams in eastern Canada, making it without question the top indoor meet in the nation during the regular season," says CIS track and field guru Bob Vigars, the retired long-time coach of the Western Ontario Mustangs.
Among the 22 university teams registered for the meet is Alberta, Dalhousie, Laval, Lakehead, McGill, McMaster, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Queen's, RMC, Sherbrooke, St. Francis Xavier, Toronto, UNB, UQAC, UQAM, UQTR, Waterloo, Western Ontario and York.