Dec. 19, 2009
PHOTO OF JUSTIN DARLINGTON BY GARY RUSH
MONTREAL - Canadian Olympian Hank Palmer and high jumper Justin Darlington, a pair of first-year McGill students from Montreal, each broke school records at the 2009 Holiday Classic, an open track and field meet held before an enthusiastic crowd of 300 at Tomlinson Fieldhouse, Saturday.
The only Fieldhouse record to topple was in the women's shot put, where Julie Labonte of the Fleur-de-Lys track club heaved a distance of 15.97-metres, destroying the previous mark of 14.98, which she registered last year.
Palmer, a native of Pierrefonds, Que., who was competing in his first sprint of the indoor campaign, won the men's 60-metre dash in 6.79 seconds, which met the qualification standard for the CIS championships in March and erased the previous McGill record of 6.83 set by David Faille in 2007.
Darlington, a 6-foot-4 newcomer to track, cleared 2.03 metres in the high jump, surpassing his own school standard (2.02) set at a meet in Ottawa on Nov. 28. The 21-year-old marketing major, broke the record with a dramatic flair, on his third and final attempt in the last event of the meet. After winning the event with a height of 1.98, he waived an attempt to clear the bar at 2.0m, choosing to go directly to 2.03.
"I've been hampered by a hamstring injury and didn't want to waste any jumps. I wanted to break (my) record," said Darlington, who failed to clear the height in his first two jumps and stopped short of jumping on three additional attempts.
Darlington, who never competed in the high jump before last year, heads to France on Dec. 28 for an international meet in Paris. He has his mind set on making the 2012 London Olympics but has far to go before making the Olympic team. The top Canadian medalist ever at the Olympics was a silver medal effort by Greg Joy, who jumped 2.23m at the 1976 Montreal Games. Mark Boswell owns the best Canadian performance at the Olympics with a leap of 2.32 at the Sydney Games in 2000, where he finished sixth overall. Boswell also owns the Canadian indoor record at 2.33.
"Darlington's obviously the best high-jumper we've ever had," said Dennis Barrett, in his 25th season as head coach at McGill. "Despite being a newcomer to the sport, he has a good shot to win the event at the Quebec university championships (at McGill, Feb. 27-28) and will be a contender at the CIS Nationals in March."
Other gold medalists from McGill were Maxime Beaumont-Courteau (pole vault, 4.35m), a fifth-year medical student from Repentigny, Que., plus freshman Hayley Warren (60m hurdles, 9.19 seconds) of Orillia, Ont., and Heather McCurdy (triple jump, 10.16m), a fifth-year senior from Belleville, Ont. Also winning gold was Stephanie Harris, a McGill graduate who will be returning to school for a master's degree in January. The 21-year-old from Calgary finished first in the women's weight throw with a toss of 12.86m.
A Quebec provincial record also fell in an age-related category. Annie Leblanc, a 17-year-old from the Lanaudiere-Olympique track club, shattered the women's juvenile mark in the 1000m, completing the race in 2.52.09 to surpass the old standard of 2:53.8. Also, provincial bantam (U-14) records were shattered by Maxime Paré (600m, 1:32.81) and Xavier Bertrand (1000m, 2:48.87).
The next indoor meet on McGill's schedule will be the Vert & Or Open at Sherbrooke, Jan. 16.
COMPLETE RESULTS POSTED ONLINE AT: www.mcgilltrack.com
Athletics & Recreation
475 Pine Avenue W.,
Montreal, QC H2W 1S4