Jan. 29, 2012 Track and Field
MONTREAL - Charlène Puel, a McGill distance runner from Lyon, France, won a pair of medals and set a meet record to pull off an unexpected surprise at the 17th annual McGill Team Challenge, a two-day track and field competition held at the University's Richard Tomlinson Fieldhouse, Jan. 27-28.
Nine meet records and one Fieldhouse mark fell at the event, which is billed as the largest indoor meet on the CIS calendar and attracted 22 universitty teams and more than 700 athletes. Seven of the 17 events on the men's side produced the top time in the country to date. The women's competition produced the nation's best time in six events.
York finished first on the men's side, while Western won the women's division. McGill placed eighth in both categories.
Puel, a 5-foot-2 mathematics senior, won the 1,000-metre race with a meet record time of two minutes, 48.26 seconds, breaking the old mark of 2:49.97 established in 2009 by Guelph'sLindsay Carson. Puel reached the podium again after finishing third in the 600m in 1:32.39. She automatically qualified to compete at the CIS championships in both events.
"It was a terrific performance by Charlène in the 1000m," said McGill head coach Dennis Barrett. 'She had been running well in practice and ran a good 600m split time in the mile race at our last meet (at Laval on Jan. 21) which was on a flat track with tight corners."
As such, she was expected to run quicker on McGill's track, which is banked and has rounded corners.
"We found that her time today was spectacular," added Barrett. "As she came around the bend we were clock-watching and realized that she was on pace to run a time around 2:50 but she finished even better than expected, running 2:48 and change. She felt good throughout the race and told me that it seemed like she was jogging out there. It was a really good race for her."
Puel, whose father Claude is a well-known pro soccer coach in France, was stricken with mononucleosis and stress fractures over her first three years at McGill, which had hindered her performance. This season, she has been nursing a tender Achilles tendon from the outdoor cross-country season.
Two other McGill athletes reached the podium, including freshman Jessica Porfilio, of Longueuil, Que., who won silver in the 3000m (10:18.39) and Dylan Golow, a freshman from Barrie, Ont., was third in the men's pentathlon (3,419 points).
On the women's side, five meet records tumbled. Aside from Puel's performance in the 1000m, Ottawa's Jennifer Perrault established a new standard the 600m (1:30.99), Montreal'sLaurence Beaudet in the long jump (6.01m), Ottawa's Mark Chenery in the pentathlon (3,745 points) and Western's 4x800 (9:04.81), which featured Courtney Long, Melissa Caruso, Jen Bays and Katie Bell.
Among the four meet records in the men's division, Laval's Charles Philibert-Thiboutot hit the "daily double" in the 1500m, His time of 3:48.74 was also a Fieldhouse record.
York's Daniel Nova established a new mark in the weight-throw (20.26m), and a pair of records were produced in two relay squads from the University of Ottawa. The Gee-Gees 4x200 quartet was clocked in 1:26.80 and was composed of Oluwasegun Makinde, Michael Robertson,Devin Biocchi and Moussa Sisoko. Their other record-breaking relay was the 4x400, which crossed the line in 3:17.77 and included Makinde, along with his brother Toluwalope,Robertson and Biocchi.
McGill's next competition will be at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational at The Armory in New York City, Feb. 3-4. It is considered the largest indoor collegiate meet in North America and typically features more than 100 teams from the NCAA and CIS.