Huge strides at CIS

Track and field team sets 16 personal bests as runners Hulse and Novakowski earn All-Canadian honours

Despite some team members being plagued by a vicious flu bug, the 19 members representing Queen’s in Montreal at the CIS track and field championships attained three medals and 16 personal bests last weekend.

Second-year runner Matt Hulse won a silver medal in the 1,500-metre event and a bronze in the 1,000-metre, while Braden Novakowski won silver in the 1,000-metre despite being seeded last going into the race.

Head coach Melody Torcolacci said she was blown away by the team’s success.

“I don’t think we could have performed a whole lot better,” she said. “Everyone just stepped up to the plate. Given that some of those kids were competing sick, the team really stepped it up and I’m really proud of them.”

The OUA gold medal-winning men’s 4x400-metre relay team, consisting of Mikey Prime, Adrian Heller, Michael Nishiyama and Russell Morrison, were sick to the point that alternates were warming up to race for them. The men ran the race and came eighth.

“I was nervous as hell for that 4x4. It could have gotten ugly super fast,” Torcolacci said. “If we weren’t running our best it could have been embarrassing.”

The men’s team finished 12th overall at the meet.

On the women’s side, the women’s 4x200-metre relay team of Veronica Catry, Jen Tam, Michele Krech and Angela King placed 11th, but ran the second-fastest time in Queen’s history.

The women’s team placed 18th overall.

Leslie Sexton, the OUA 3,000-metre silver medallist and the Gaels’ best chance for a medal on the women’s side, fell during the fifth lap of her race and placed fifth.

“It was incredible. A lot of people wouldn’t have bothered getting off the track because there went a podium position right there. All her dreams she was trying to accomplish at nationals went down the toilet with the fall,” Torcolacci said. “She went beyond personal and was thinking team—she knew she was our best hope of scoring points.”

Sexton said she would have liked to have brought home a medal but the fall changed her plans.

“In a second everything completely turns around on you,” she said. “There was a moment when I was on the ground and thought ‘Well, it’s over now, what’s the point in even finishing?’ But when you’re in that competitive mentality you entertain a thought like that for a moment and after that you don’t even think about it, you just get up and keep going.”

Hulse, the OUA’s 1,000-metre gold medallist, said he exceeded his own expectations by winning two medals and being named an All-Canadian along with Novakowski.

“I wasn’t prepared or expecting a medal of any sort, I knew there was a possibility for it.”

Hulse said he recognizes his own potential for more success in the coming years.

“You hope that it can only get better, so maybe down the road some gold medals.”

Novakowski said Hulse has shown tremendous potential.

“With Matt running the way he is right now, if he continues on the path he’s taking, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

Novakowski said he may come back for a fifth year. He struggled to an eighth-place finish in the 1,500-metre race due to falling ill on Saturday.

“Having a sickness affects your mental attitude as well as you physically. I woke up in the morning and I felt really crummy. You start to think about it and adopt that attitude that you’re out of the race,” he said.

“Most of my day was spent trying to forget that I was sick and focus on running the race.”

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