Volume 92, Issue 34
Wednesday, November 4, 1998
millions of bad feelings
Runners capture gold, bronze honours
© Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
BY IAN ROSS
The Western cross country team chose to both trick and treat on Saturday at the Ontario University Athletics championship in Windsor.
Their trick was to allow other teams to underestimate the team's abilities, while the treat was the best overall finish in recent Mustang memory.
In a dominant performance, the women upheld their no. 1 ranking in the country with a blowout first place victory, while the men came out of nowhere to capture the bronze.
"It's been a long time since both teams have come up large at the same time," said Western head coach Bob Vigars.
Vigars added he attempted to not put too much pressure on his team and even cancelled a regular team meeting before the start of the race. Instead, the OUA coach of the year tried to keep the attitudes light with a little comic relief.
"I just told them to alternate legs when running left, right and then left. And not to use one leg more then the other," Vigars joked.
The response was extremely positive. Becky Martyn ran one of the best races of her career with a time of 18:29 in the five kilometre race, finishing fourth. Of the top five Western women runners, no one came lower than 17th place for a team total of 50 points. Queen's was a distant second with 108 points.
Dennis Fairall, head coach for the host Windsor Lancers, was impressed by the domination the women's team displayed.
"Bob had his [women's] team really prepared," Fairall said. "They raced a real smart race."
Forty minutes later, the Mustang men left the starting line and finished with a classic upset of Queen's to sneak into third place.
Not expected to finish any higher than their fourth place seeding, top Mustang Jim Wardle led the way with fourth place finish with a time of 32:18 on the 10 kilometre course. Teammates Charley Murphy, finishing seventh and Jason Eddy, finishing in ninth, were close behind.
Wardle was extremely happy with the finish of his team and noted the team's game plan was to knock off Queen's, which they did.
"All of us on the team and Bob were ecstatic," Wardle said. "We couldn't have asked for anything more."
Vigars agreed with his top runner, with excitement still in his voice over 24 hours after the final runner had crossed the finish line.
"The guys came up bigger than I thought they could," Vigars boasted.
OUA all-star awards were handed out to six Mustangs Wardle, Murphy, Eddy, Martyn, Kristina Farr and Robyn Hurley.
The team will next race at the Canadian championships in Waterloo on Nov. 14.
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