Volume 92, Issue 52

Friday, December 4, 1998

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SPORTS
 

Track and field teams running for gold


©Geoff Robins/Gazette

THE OLD ONE-TWO PUNCH. The Mustangs will be looking for a lot of one-two finishes this year as both the men and the women are seeking national gold.

BY CARLOS DI PONIO

Gazette Staff

Who needs a Mustang when you have athletes this fast? There's no doubt Western's men's and women's track teams are ready to rev their engines all the way to the finish line this year.

After last year's second place CIAU finish to champion Sherbrooke, Western's men are looking to take things one step further and claim team gold at this year's championships.

The men have a solid nucleus of returning athletes along with a few rookies which should help fill some holes left by graduating team members.

Mens' coach Bob Vigars, beginning his 31st year as track coach, said he is looking forward to this season with great expectations.

"This year we have quite a strong squad," he said. "The team's strength will be our veterans and second-year guys. I'm especially excited about our depth in short sprints where I'd say we have the best core of competitors ever at Western. Even still, I expect great performances all around."

Vigars clearly has a reason for being excited. The men have six first and second team all-Canadians returning and seven first and second all-conference athletes, with captains Adrian Jordan and Jim Wardle leading the way.

Above all, Vigars likes the balance he sees on this year's men's team.

"This year we are balanced all across the board," Vigars stated. "Our depth is similar to last year and us winning a championship will come down to our team performance, how well Sherbrooke will do and how far the teams below us last year have improved."

The women's side suggests much of the same optimism, if not more. The women have a huge core of returning athletes and their depth should see them improve on last year's results when they finished third at the Ontario University Athletics championships and eighth at the CIAU's.

According to women's coach Vickie Croley, this is the strongest female squad she has ever coached in her six-year tenure.

"We have the ability to have a top three finish in all 15 OUA events," Croley said. "We're solid on the track and in our field events and when you evaluate our team talent, there really are no obvious weaknesses."

Croley expects tremendous leadership from her captains, fourth year athletes Maisie Hahn and Kristina Farr. Hahn is a former OUA champion and placed third at the CIAUs in the 60 metre hurdles last year, while Farr is a superb 600 metre runner, earning all-Canadian accolades in track and cross country last year, she added.

"Our rookies will most likely contribute right away by filling our gaps into major team strengths," Croley said. "The depth they add to our hurdles makes us one of the best teams in the country."

With this type of talent, Western's men and women will certainly be a force to be reckoned with. Each team begins their season tomorrow at 1p.m. at Thompson Arena.


To Contact The Sports Department: gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998