Mustang men run over field
RUNNING TO STAND STILL. Western distance runner Michael Lander rounds a turn in his 1,000 m event Friday at the Windsor Can-Am meet.
By Brendan Howe
Annihilation was the last word Western's track and field athletes had on their mind as they rode home Saturday from the two-day Can-Am Invitational meet at the University of Windsor.
Ready to compete after destroying all opponents last weekend at the Don Wright Challenge, this weekend held a different story for both the men's and women's squads. This weekend there was actually some competition.
The men's team secured a first-place finish by a mere five points, compared to a 44-point thrashing last weekend. The difference did not lie in the performance of Mustang athletes but in the strength of the competition, with nine different universities competing as opposed to only four last weekend.
"Our men's team is strong this year," said Sue Wise, coach of York, which wasn't at the Don Wright. "We're competitive in all events."
The Mustang men's squad was helped along to victory by an outstanding performance by sophomore Jim Wardle. Running in the 3,000 metre Friday night, Wardle flew away from the pack and was victorious by almost nine seconds. His time of 8:42.87 was a personal best as Bill Petreich from Queen's followed in his wake. Two hours later, Wardle, along with team captain Jon Foreman, Chris Kennedy and Andy Knowles helped secure a bronze medal for Western as a member of the 4 x 800 relay team.
While recovering from the strain of his medal-winning performances the night before, Wardle managed to head to the top of the podium again in the 1,000 metre on Saturday. Coach Bob Vigars felt Wardle could have done it faster.
"Wardle's time in the 1,000 metre was not anywhere near his best," he said. "Running a personal best takes a lot out of an athlete."
While winning eight events out of a possible 13 last weekend, the women's squad only managed to reach the top of the podium three times out of a possible 15. This result helped the team slightly edge out Toronto for second place in the meet, 12.5 points behind meet champions Windsor.
"Windsor was a lot stronger today," women's coach Vickie Croley said. "They were much healthier and had a better turn out."
Women's shot putter Mary Ann Phillips secured a personal best and handily won her event. With a toss of 13.26 metres, Phillips defeated Windsor athlete Suzanne Gavine by almost a metre.
Phillips, a third-year team member, has improved steadily with each season. She was glad she could repeat her personal best throw in practice on the field.
"To see that in a meet is great," Phillips said. "I just want to make sure to do it in the OUs and the CIs."
This weekend's competition gave the squad a feeling for what its conference championships will be like. Both Mustang teams definitely have the talent to go all the way but staying healthy and injury-free is a must if Western is going to take home the CIAU crown in March.