Puel and Porfilio win three trophies apiece at 15th annual track and cross-country awards gala
MONTREAL - Charlène Puel, a native of Lyon, France and Jessica Porfilio of Longueuil, Que., captured three trophies apiece at the 15th annual McGill University track and field awards banquet held at the McGill Faculty Club, Friday.
Puel, a 22-year-old mathematics senior, was honoured as MVP of the women's track team and was named most improved athlete of both the track and cross-country squads. She bounced back from three injury-plagued years to finally have a relatively healthy campaign while establishing numerous personal bests. In cross-country last fall, Puel finished eighth and 25th, respectively, in the conference and CIS cross-country championships. Then, during the winter indoor track season, she shaved six seconds off her personal best in the 1,000-metre run and took another three seconds off her 600m time to capture gold in both events at the Quebec conference championship meet, where she merited all-star status and won the league's performance-of-the-year award. Puel followed that up with a pair of bronze medals at Nationals, finishing the 1,000m in 2:49.08 and anchoring the 4x800 relay, which was clocked in 8:59.93.
Porfilio, a freshman in nursing was the team's rookie of the year in both track and cross-country in addition to being named MVP of the cross-country squad. In the fall outdoor season, she was the team's top runner in five of six meets, was named the league's rookie of the year and merited all-conference status after finishing fourth at the league championship meet, where she guided McGill to an RSEQ title. At the CIS championship, she placed 27th overall to helped the Martlets finished fifth of 21 teams.
Sarah McCuaig of Waterloo, Ont., received the team's Andrea Taylor memorial award, presented to a female who contributes something unique to the team, while promoting unity and leadership. The 21-year-old physiology junior came off a stellar sophomore campaign but was hampered by painful shin-splints throughout the school year. Nevertheless, she persevered, maintained a positive attitude, played a spirited role as team captain and achieved a near-perfect 3.9 grade-point average in a challenging academic program.
Two members of the Redmen had the rare distinction of being named both rookie of the year and team MVP. In track, the double winner was Scott Hancock, a physical education freshman from Frelighsburg, Que. In cross-country, Michael Abramson, an economics freshman from Montreal, received both honours.
The final two most improved athlete awards went to cross-country's Alexander Ray, a history sophomore from Montreal and track's Nicholas Busque, an agricultural & environmental science sophomore from Lititz, Penn.
Head coach Dennis Barrett capped off the evening by paying tribute to each of the graduating seniors, including Puel, in addition to Majenta Whyte-Potter-Mal, a medical school student from LaSalle, Que., Catherine Drouin-Audent of Repentigny, Que., Alexandra Morin-Boucher of St. Gabriel de Brandon, Que., Gina Pinsonnault-Bilodeau of Brossard, Que., Josephine Tanof Malaysia, Genevieve Blanchard of Sherbrooke, Cameron McIntyre of Whitby, Ont., Joseph Ariwi of Hong Kong, Jean-Philippe Garant of Lac Megantic, Que., and Connor Bays of Cochrane, Alta.