Friday, July 3, 2009

Highs, lows of track and field - Connaughton and McCormack ponder results at the national championships

Highs, lows of track and field
Connaughton and McCormack ponder results at the national championships
The Guardian

One’s up, one’s down, both are dissatisfied.
Such is the nature of Jared Connaughton and Kurt McCormack after the 2009 Canadian track and field championships and world trials recently in Toronto.
McCormack, a Souris-born triple jumper is feeling up.
He finished with a bronze medal in the event jumping 15.02 metres, a 10th of a centimetre off his personal outdoor best, and rose seven places and 62 centimetres from last year’s nationals.
He ran his first national 200-metre race ending up with a 22.95 in the preliminary but didn’t qualify for the final.
“Overall, I guess, I can’t be too unhappy with the bronze medal. (I was shooting) for a personal best. In all honesty, I was going for gold,” said McCormack, who’s back in P.E.I. recovering from a back injury suffered at the triple jump final. “I was in a pretty fast heat (in the 200-metre). I wasn’t satisfied with my time. It was raining real heavy when I was running.”
The injury forced him to pass on his fifth jump and reduced his last attempt to 14.26.
McCormack said he will do light workouts with coach Dave MacEachern and rest for four weeks before resuming jumping and heavy training for the 2009 Canada Summer Games next month on P.E.I.
Enter Connaughton, a 2008 Olympic 200-metre semifinalist who went into Toronto as the defending 200-metre champ.
The New Haven native is feeling down after winning silver in the 200-metre and bronze in the 100-metre (10.47).
“Not as good as I expected to be honest. I’m a pretty competitive athlete,” he said before leaving for his training facility in Arlington, Texas. “I went into the meet in good shape and I was disappointed.”
Connaughton finished first in his 200-metre qualifier (20.95) and fourth (10.73) and third (10.41), respectively, in the 100-metre qualifying races in Toronto.
For many runners those are encouraging results.
For Connaughton, who ran a 10.26, 100-metre race earlier this year and his 10.15 last year proved the fastest time in Canada, it’s a conundrum.
“I was trying too hard and didn’t let the race happen. Last year was a real breakthrough. I wasn’t really expecting to do as well as I did. This year I had real high expectations of myself.”
So, like McCormack, he’s returning to his training roots.
For him, it’s Texas with his coach Monte Stratton to refine his technique and form.
He spent five years with Stratton at the University of Texas at Arlington.
“I’m comfortable there. Just knowing that I have people there on my side with no reservations.”
Neither Islander qualified for the world track and field championships in Berlin next month.
Only four Canadian athletes reached the marks and few chances remain.
One of those is a meet in Ottawa in mid-July.
Connaughton will be in Berlin as a member of Canada’s 4x100-metre men’s relay team, which finished sixth at the Beijing Olympics last year, but needs a 20.59, 200-metre time and a 10.34, 100-metre time in Ottawa to meet the standard at the worlds.
“I don’t like the idea of chasing standards, but that’s the reality right now.”
McCormack won’t be in Berlin, yet.
But it and larger Games are in his sights and he said progress is measured in centimetres and patience.
“I’m not really looking for worlds. I’m aiming for (the) 2012 (Olympic Games) in London. It’s track and field and it’s just the way it is,” said the 19-year-old, whose parents, Myrtle and Tommy McCormack, were pit-side in Toronto to cheer him on. “If you’re good enough to compete at that level, it’s not frustrating. It just takes time.”
Other Islanders at the nationals included Gerry MacAdam, who finished 31st (11.64) in his 100-metre heat and 27th (23.24) in 200-metre qualifying, and Anthony Bernard, who jumped 7.02 metres in the men’s long jump. Neither advanced to the finals.
Their results at the track nationals:
* Jared Connaughton
100-metre men’s sprint: preliminary, 10.73 (fourth); semifinal, 10.41 (third); final, 10.47 (third).
200-metre men’s sprint: preliminary, 20.95 (first); final, 20.78 (second).
* Kurt McCormack
200-metre men’s sprint: preliminary, 22.95 (23rd); final, did not qualify.
Triple Jump: preliminary (best-of-three attempts), 14.81 (fourth); final, 15.02 (third).

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