Track claims podium at York

Track and field bring back 10 medals from York Open last weekend

The track and field team was in Toronto for the York Open this weekend and returned with 10 medals, three of which were gold.

The men’s team took every level of the podium after the men’s 1,000-metre run. Matt Hulse earned his first gold of the year, with Clay Patterson following him a second later and Joshua Potvin coming in third.

Other gold medal performances came from Jan Stirling in the women’s 300-metre, as well as the 4x800-metre relay team consisting of Allicia Kallos, Kim Kallio, Heather Bijman and Vanessa de Hoog.

Greg Frenke had the largest medal total among the Gaels with three bronze medals. Hulse said his gold-medal run started slow.

“I didn’t react quick enough to the gun,” he said. “I was in last place after 200 metres.”

Hulse said although he was running alongside four other Queen’s athletes, it’s difficult to approach the race with a team strategy.

“In cross country you can work as a team, but in track it’s so congested in an indoor race that it’s tough,” he said. “Definitely having a team there helps calm the nerves. We keep each other company and take our minds off the race so we’re not too psyched out.”

Hulse, who placed 17th at the CIS cross-country championship in November, said the condensed nature of indoor running makes times slower for track and field.

“We’re just getting used to the track again,” he said. “Usually in track it’s a pack and you’re always fighting for position. It’s only a 200-metre track, so all the tight turns slow you down.” Queen’s doesn’t have an indoor track so the track and field team’s practice regiment mostly takes place outdoors—in February.

“We run over to RMC and then do a workout there and run home,” Hulse said. “You can run on the roads, all you need is a watch. … It is [cold] but what can you do?”

The Gaels will head to competition next weekend with passports. They travel to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. to compete in the Kane Memorial Invitational. The Gaels were in Ithica in January for the Southern Tier Collegiate Open, also hosted by Cornell, where they brought back seven gold medals and five silver medals.

Head coach Melody Torcolacci said the Queen’s team tends to have good runs in Ithica.

“Cornell’s a fabulous facility,” she said. “It’s a great place to go compete. They run a great meet.”

The plans for Phase I of the Queen’s Centre originally included a fieldhouse, but it was removed due to budget shortfall concerns. Phases II and III are on hold indefinitely.

Torcolacci said the team’s winter race preparations take them away from campus.

“The distance group runs over to RMC and then runs back. The sprint group carpools,” she said. “We would love to have our own track and field facility at Queen’s. It would benefit more than track and field. … If a multipurpose field house gets built, it would be beneficial for everyone.”

Even without a fieldhouse of their own, Torcolacci said the use of RMC’s facilities allows the Gaels to attract top track athletes.

“Without [RMC’s] facility we wouldn’t be able to remain remotely competitive.”

Looking ahead to the Kane Memorial Invitational, Torcolacci said getting the men’s 4x400-metre team to nationals is the main goal.

“The priority is to get the 4x400 relay time faster and get them into national rankings,” she said. “We’re in the national rankings now, but the way the rankings work now only the top-12 teams qualify so we’ll need to go faster in order to get a place at CIs.”

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