Volume 91, Issue 61
Friday, January 16, 1998
Makin' tracks on the field
SING ALONG IF YOU KNOW THE SMURF SONG. Western's Danielle Marentette and the rest of the Mustang track team are giddy knowing they're ranked No.1 in the country.
By John Intini
Based on some early season success, both Western's men's and women's track and field teams have vaulted to the top of the national rankings, but according to Mustang coaches it's far too soon to start celebrating.
"Most of the teams out West have yet to even begin their season," men's head coach Bob Vigars said. "Frankly, it is still way too early to get excited about the fact that we're tops in the country."
Women's head coach Vickie Crowley agreed with Vigars that the first rankings provide little, if any, indication of future success.
"It is simply not a good indicator of talent," Crowley said. "It's great being No. 1 but there are teams out there like Saskatchewan and the University of Toronto that are not ranked, where they will be once a few of the meets are held."
The Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union rankings are based on a point system that ranks teams on their performances in meets, with each event receiving a delegated point total. This, however, greatly weakens early season standings since teams that have yet to begin competition receive no recognition. Universities in Western Canada do not begin until late January and early February.
The Mustang coaches also commented that most teams have yet to put forth their full roster which also impacts how teams fair at meets.
Dennis Fairall, head coach of both track teams at the University of Windsor, currently ranked second, agrees it is too early to get worked up over the rankings, but adds they are a solid indication of what to expect in March when the championships roll around.
"By mid-February it will be obvious who is at the top and deserves to be there," he said. "Even still, with us and Western up at the top of both standings, only Sherbrooke is missing from last season's CIAU championships. They might not be as far off as people deem them."
Fairall also commented that the rankings are a very important and highly watched part of the sport by the media and the competitors as well.
Windsor has won the conference championships (both men's and women's) in each of the last seven years beating out Western each season. However, Sherbrooke is the defending national champion from a year ago.
Although Crowley acknowledges that early season rankings are not the most reliable indicator of season success, she said they are an excellent motivating tool for the athletes.
Athletes love to see where they stand against competitors from other schools," Crowley said. "Being No. 1, even if it is early in the season, does a lot to boost team confidence."
Women's captain Kristina Farr also sees the rankings as a source of team morale and said that as the season progresses, athletes pay close attention to it.
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