Track emerges from crowd at Cornell

Gaels raise the bar amidst stiff competition from 44 schools in Ithaca, N.Y.

Queen’s athletes took 13 medals at the Ithaca, N.Y. meet.
Queen’s athletes took 13 medals at the Ithaca, N.Y. meet.
Photo courtesy of Queen’s Track and Field

The Queen’s track team exceeded expectations for the second straight weekend, setting two new school records at the Cornell Robert Kane Meet on Feb. 11. This year, they brought back 13 total medals (four gold, four silver and five bronze), in addition to an astounding 27 personal bests and 10 all-time top-10 performances.

The Gaels’ strong showing is all the more impressive considering the size of the event, which includes competition with 44 schools.

David Burr’s performance in the 800-metres is the most telling of how deep the field was this year. Posting almost exactly the same time as last year, Burr dropped from third place in last year’s competition to ninth place this year.

The team’s showing was a marked improvement over last year’s effort, which resulted in eight total medals. Celia Peters set a Queen’s record with her 1:16.27 time in the 500-metres, both a personal best and a gold medal-winning performance. Running against former Queen’s record holder Calla Humphries, the race stayed relatively close until the 200-metre mark, where Peters simply powered away from the field.

Another tremendous individual performance came from silver medalist Jan Stirling, who also set a Queen’s record with her 58.13 time in the 400-metres, another personal best.

However, not all of the athletes’ performances went as smoothly. Both Jon Martin and Bill Woods fouled their first two qualifying attempts in the long jump, and Martin sneaked into the finals as the eighth jumper with a jump of 6.40 metres.

In the finals, Martin fouled his first two jumps again, but salvaged his meet with a phenomenal final attempt, posting a gold medal-winning 7.17-metre jump that was also a personal best, number one in the CIS this year and number two all-time at Queen’s.

The other gold medals came from Chris Hartman—who posted a personal best time of 2:34.09 in the 1000-metres—and a dominant performance by the women’s 4x400-metre relay team, made up of Stirling, Peters, Humphries and Sarah Colangelo, who almost lapped a team on the way to a lopsided victory margin of nearly 12 seconds.

Other athletes who posted personal bests include silver medalists Danae Benjamin in the triple jump and Jeff Barr in the 3000-metres. In addition to her gold medal in the relay, Colangelo also won a silver in the 60-metres with a time of 8.00.

Bronze medals went to Calla Humphries in the 500-metres, Bill Woods in the triple jump, Joanna Stanisz in the 200-metres and 60-metres, as well as a surprising bronze medal from the men’s 4x400-metre relay, made up of David Barr, Pierre Landry, Chris Hartman and Darryl Blackport.

Head coach Melodi Torcolacci said she has been very pleased with the team’s performance, in particular with the strong showings from first-year athletes such as Peters and Stirling.

“The whole [CIS] conference is taking off, just going nuts,” she said.

She was also quick to note that the Queen’s team has more than kept up with the improving competition and times, and that the team should enter their final meet and the OUA championships with a great deal of confidence.

In addition to the huge Cornell event, Queen’s quietly sent five athletes with coach Shane Lakins to the Boston University Valentine’s Classic on the same day. Four of them posted personal bests, and

two all-time performances were recorded.

Robert Kitz posted the second best CIS time—number five all-time at Queen’s—with a phenomenal personal performance that eclipsed his previous best by 12 seconds. He finished sixth in a field of 115 competitors, and was the top Canadian in the race.

Kevin Dunbar overcame a nagging injury to run a personal best in the mile, which was good for number four all-time at Queen’s. He finished 21 out of 117 competitors. Scott Nelms and Justin Hall also recorded personal bests in the 1000-metres.

The team has one more meet before the OUA Championships and hopes to close out the season with another strong performance. Their final meet takes place between Feb. 24 and 25 in Windsor.

Mike Thorburn did not set any records or win any medals this weekend, but he is still a top-notch sports writer. Mike, we salute you.

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