MONTREAL -- A bronze medal performance by Alexandra Morin-Boucher of St. Gabriel de Brandon, Que., almost stole the show at the Holiday Classic track and field meet hosted by McGill University at Tomlinson Fieldhouse, Saturday.
The 22-year-old physical education senior -- who recently joined the track team after scoring 36 goals in 56 league games over her four seasons with the McGill women's soccer squad -- came within fractions of breaking a school record in her first-ever track meet. She was clocked at 40.43 seconds in the 300-metre dash, just shy of the 40.26 standard set by Maryse Dubreuil in 2006.
"It was a phenomenal run from someone who has no previous experience at all in this sport," said McGill track coach Dennis Barrett of Morin-Boucher, a high-scoring forward and captain of the soccer team who was convinced by Barrett to join the track team a couple of weeks ago. "To come within fractions of a second of a school record in her first competition is an impressive performance, especially considering that she is still recovering from an injury (pulled groin muscle) suffered during the soccer season."
Other McGill podium finishes were claimed by freshmen pole vaulters Ryley van Ryswyk of Surrey, B.C., and Nicholas Busque of Lititz, Penn., each of whom shared a silver medal performance after clearing a height of 3.90m. On the women's side, McGill's Alana Battiston, a fifth-year senior from Toronto, took bronze in the 60m hurdles, posting a time of 9.51 seconds.
In the men's division, the top performance was by Hank Palmer, a former McGill and national team sprinter, who won the 60m dash in 6.77 seconds, despite pulling an apparent hamstring before crossing the finish line. Palmer, who established a McGill record in 2010 with 6.78, now runs for Club Athletisme Montreal and was attempting to break the Tomlinson Fieldhouse mark of 6.56 set in 2002 by Nick Macrozonaris.
Among the other meet highlights on the women's side was 16-year-old Clemence Paiement of Club Athletisme Montreal, who won the 60m (7.57 seconds), 14-year-old Mariam Abdul-Rashid of the Speed Academy Athletics Club who took the 300m (39.41), 14-year-old Magali Roche of Club Dynamique de Laval, who captured the long jump (5.44m) and 10-year-old Jade Custeau broke her own Quebec age-group record in the 1000m (3:20.74).
McGill Athletics & Recreation