Sprinter running on emotions
By Brendan Howe
A weekend with a little bit of victory, a bit of defeat and a couple of major losses took place for the Mustang men's track team this past Friday and Saturday at the OUAA final at the Metropolitan Track and Field Centre in North York.
After leading the two-day competition in points up until the last three events, Western fell just short after a poor showing in the 3,000m. The Mustangs ended up with 138 points giving them second place while Windsor took the OUAA title with 154 points.
"The entire meet was a roller coaster ride," Windsor coach Dennis Fairall said. "I thought it was over, but then there was a big turnaround in the 3,000 and the 1,000 [metre events]. Western was definitely the team to beat."
Western also lost two key CIAU athletes triple jumpers Chris Robinson, ranked No. 4 in the country and co-captain Garry Stoddard, ranked sixth in the process
Robinson re-injured his hamstring in the long jump and was a scratch for the triple jump. Teammate Stoddard injured his hamstring as well during the early stages of the triple jump and tried to continue but finished a disappointing 13th, failing to defend his title.
While the team lost two key athletes, Roland Acheampong experienced a much more personal loss the week before the meet when his sister passed away. Acheampong attended the final after missing practice all week.
"I dedicated this meet to my sister," Acheampong said. "I couldn't train all week. I ran today with emotion."
Acheampong finished the meet with three gold medals and one bronze and was one vote shy of athlete of the meet honours when the coaches cast their ballots. He was a member of both the winning 4 X 200m and 4 X 400m relay teams as well as picking up a gold in the 600m and a bronze in the 300m.
Other notable men's team finishes included gold medal performances by Jim Wardle in the 1,500m and Jon Younker in the triple jump.
While the men fought for gold the women won a close third-place battle over Waterloo. Coach Alison Doherty was standing in for new mom Vickie Croley and was impressed with the results.
"Everyone performed at or above expectations," Doherty said. "People came up big when they had to, there were no disappointments."
One of these excellent performers was hurdler Stacy Foley who beat her personal best by winning a gold medal in a time of 8.82 seconds. Mary-Ann Phillips continued a string of excellent performances by reaching the top of the podium yet again, out-throwing her nearest competitor by almost half a metre.
Acheampong and selected others from both the men's and women's squads will head to Windsor tomorrow to try their luck against the rest of Canada at the CIAU finals.