Olympians shine at McGill Open track meet

Olympians shine at McGill Open track meet
Dec. 5, 2009

MONTREAL - Bruny Surin established a new Canadian masters record to highlight the first McGill University track and field meet on the 2009-10 indoor season at Richard Tomlinson Fieldhouse, Saturday. He was one of three Olympians to shine as McGill athletes produced great results with five gold medals.

Surin, a 42-year-old Montrealer, who has owned the Fieldhouse record in the 50-metre sprint for a decade at 5.71 seconds, finished second in his first competitive race in seven years, crossing the finish line at 6.15 seconds to raise the bar on a masters mark in the 40-44 age group. The former Olympic gold-medalist broke the standard of 6.20 set by Malik Crepsac on Feb. 11, 2007 in Toronto.

"I was really nervous," Surin told the media after being edged out by Perfmax-Racing club'sDion Guillame who was clocked at 6.12. "The first competition, you never know how your body is going to react. Last week I got a bit of an injury in my abductor muscle, so in the blocks I didn't want to be too explosive. But I knew that if I pushed at about 90 per cent I could get it. I just hope that I'll be healthy for my next competition, and then I can really shatter it."

Nicolas Macrozonaris, another Olympian with Perfmax, finished second in the men's 60m. He ran a time of 6.87 but was beaten by Kyu-Won Cho, an unattached sprinter who won the race in 6.74. Joseph Wilkenson of Perfmax was third in 6.93. Andrew Hamilton, an all-star running back with the Redmen football team who was competing in his first-ever track competition, finished seventh in 7.08.

The women's 60m was won by Clemence Paiement from the Club d'athletisme Dynamique in 7.87 seonds. Farah Jacques of Perfax racing was second in 7.91, followed by Audrey Jean-Baptiste of the Saint-laurents Selects (7.93).

McGill posted solid results throughout the meet with five gold medals, four silvers and three bronzes.

Hank Palmer of Pierrefonds, Que., a Canadian Olympian now in his first year at McGill, won the long jump convincingly with a leap of 6.83m to finish ahead of Redmen teammate Andrew Archibald (6.65).

Stephanie Harris, a 21-year-old native of Calgary, set a personal best but did not officially break her McGill record in the weight throw with a toss of 14.50m. She competed unattached as she is not registered in school this semester but will be back in a masters program in January. As a result, her previous mark of 14.44m set at the McGill Open meet last February still stands as the school record.

"It's been a very promising start, as records usually fall towards the end of the season," saidDennis Barrett, in his 25th year as head coach at McGill. "Stephanie had a very good day at the office. Hopefully, she'll be heading over the 15-metre barrier when she returns to school in January."

Freshman Justin "Jus Fly" Darlington of Montreal, who was making his debut in a McGill uniform, leaped a distance of 14.36m to win the men's triple jump in his first-ever competitive attempt in that event. Before season's end, the 21-year-old newcomer to the sport is expected to challenge the school record of 14.90 set in 1990 by Max Oates.

Darlington is better known as arguably the world's best slam dunk artist, with his basketball exploits attracting hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. He is already among Canada's best in the high jump, finishing fifth at the 2009 national championships without any formal training prior to being discovered on the internet by coach Daniel St-Hilaire earlier in the year.

Heather McCurdy, a fifth-year senior from Stirling, Ont., captured the women's triple jump with a leap of 10.80m.

Hayley Warren, a kinesiology freshman from Orillia, Ont., won the women's 60m hurdles in 9.40.

The only other golden McGillian was Maxime Beaumont-Courteau, a science senior from Ahuntsic, Que., who cleared a height of 4.00m in the pole vault.

Only one Fieldhouse record fell at the McGill Open, with Julie Labonte of Club Fleur-de-Lys throwing a distance of 16.22 m in the women's shot put, destroying the standard of 14.98. Although the data was not immediately available, it was also believed to be a Canadian junior record, according to Serge Thibaudeau, the meet's technical coordinator.

(NOTE: COMPLETE RESULTS AVAILABLE AT www.mcgilltrack.com)

McGILL MEDALS SUMMARY:

GOLD (5)

Justin Darlington, triple jump, 14.36m
Hank Palmer, long jump, 6.83m
Hayley Warren, 60m hurdles, 9.40 seconds (9.16 in qualifying round)
Heather McCurdy, triple jump, 10.80m
Maxime Beaumont-Courteau, pole vault, 4.00m

SILVER (4)

Victoria Crowe, pole vault, 3.10m (tie)
Andrew Archibald, long jump, 6.65m
Jean-Philippe Garant, high jump, 1.75m
Heather McCurdy, 600m, 1:40.46

BRONZE (3)

Andrew Archibald, 60m, 7.25
Hilary Kellar-Parsons, 600m, 1:40.95
Connor Bays, 600m, 1:24.60.
SOURCE:
Earl Zukerman & John Aymes
Communications Office
McGill Athletics & Recreation