Track & field team eyes provincials

Five athletes ‘on the bubble’

Queen’s track and field team won 11 medals at a meet at Cornell University last weekend. The 11 medals are two short of last year’s total, but several athletes improved on their individual rankings.

“It was an excellent meet for us,” head coach Melody Torcolacci said. “A lot of people really stepped
up and performed well. People are rolling into shape and things are looking positive.”

The Gaels are now preparing for the provincial championships, which will take place on Feb. 23 and 24 at McGill University. At Cornell, the team brought home four gold, three silver and four bronze medals along with seven all-time top 10 performances and 25 personal bests. Gold medal performances
came from Calla Humphries in the 500-metre, Chris Hartman in the 1,000-metre, the women’s 4x400-metre relay team, and the men’s 4x400-metre relay team. Despite the strong performances, Queen’s still hasn’t qualified for the national championships. But Torcolacci said Braden Novakowski will likely compete for Queen’s at nationals. “Barring some totally unforeseen event, he’s qualified,” she said.
“He’s ranked third in the country and I don’t foresee ten people surpassing him.” The top 12 nationally ranked athletes in each event qualify by meeting the national performance standard, which is set by the previous year’s national championship times and distances.

The gold and silver medallists of the Ontario championships also qualify for nationals if they haven’t already done so. For now, the Gaels are focused on the provincial championships and posting a time that will put them in the fastest heats. “We needed to start having people move numbers in a certain direction,” Torcolacci said. “They’re looking at where they sit in the OUAs so they can make the fast sections.” Torcolacci stressed the importance of qualifying forthe fast section because of the competition schedule. “Anyone who wants to run an individual event and run a relay, they need to be in the fast sections.” The Gaels compete this weekend in McGill, the final meet before the provincial championships. “Some people are still looking to qualify for [provincials] this weekend,” Torcolacci said.

“There are about five people on the bubble.” With this regular season coming to a close, Torcolacci said she’s looking forward to the provincials and nationals.

“It’s an interesting year,” she said. “The fact that we have only one body qualified for [nationals],
I couldn’t have foreseen that. It’s made the last two meets really fun.”

She said the onus is on the athletes to step up and deliver their best performances next weekend. “I guess we’ll see how people handle pressure,” she said. “There’s no holding back now—it’s do or die.”

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