Volume 91, Issue 57

Friday, January 9, 1998

on the rocks


Spikers win with Wintjes

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
I SURE HOPE I REMEMBERED MY RIGHT GUARD THIS MORNING. Mustang co-captain Travis Wintjes [9] gets way up for a block earlier this season against the Brock Badgers.

By Justin Klein

Gazette Staff

Since Travis Wintjes joined the men's volleyball team four years ago, winning has come easy for the Mustangs – a tradition that is continuing for the now 7-0 Western squad.

Wintjes, in his fourth year at Western, has been part of the starting line-up since his rookie season and has compiled a number of achievements in his relatively short volleyball career.

He won a gold medal at the 1993 Canada Summer Games and was named the athlete of the year twice while playing at Mayfield Secondary School in Brampton.

This year, Wintjes, as captain, was honoured by head coach Dave Preston with a "C" on his jersey – the least the team could do for a player who has been such a major asset for the last three years.

"He came here in my second year and has taken a team which was used to playing .500 ball to all new levels," Preston said.

Wintjes' first step as captain is to use his leadership skills to motivate the team and get them to the playoffs .

"Travis is easy to get along with," co-captain Andrew Brunton said. "He has done an excellent job as captain this year and has really got each and every player to step up their game."

Preston has also been quite pleased with his pre-season choice as leader.

"He's big, he's strong and he understands the game very, very well," Preston said. "He is able to use his intelligence to be a strong leader on and off the court."

Wintjes started off as a strong and dominating right side player. In this position, he not only set the tempo, but also shined on the statistics sheet. For the past four years, which includes his rookie season, he has been in the top 10 of the league in scoring.

This year, however, he has sacrificed the glory of being a leading scorer for playing the middle position, which focuses more on setting up the ball.

"Travis doesn't care if he stands out on the stat sheet," Preston said. "All he cares about is if the team prospers as a whole."

Wintjes' new role in the middle is much different than his initial role with the team, but Preston and Wintjes' teammates feel his greatest attribute is his unselfish play, a characteristic which has left him out of the OUA spotlight, where he belongs.

"There isn't a statistic we have that can measure his contribution to the team," Preston says. "If there was one, I'm sure he would be the all-time leader."

The Mustangs head off to York this weekend for the Excalibre Tournament and will resume their regular season at Laurier on Jan. 14.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998