Volume 92, Issue 34
Wednesday, November 4, 1998
millions of bad feelings
Women row past Brock for gold
© Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
By John Dinner
What should have been a rebuilding year for Western's rowing team turned golden on the weekend.
Both the men's and women's teams finished off their year with exceptional performances at the Ontario University Athletics rowing championships in St. Catherines.
Heading into the championships, Brock University was going to provide the toughest competition, but the Western women were able to dominate and grab gold, while the men proved to be worthy adversaries, falling just short of the gold to take the silver medal.
"I am extremely pleased with our effort throughout the whole year. We lost a lot of athletes to graduation in the summer," said men's coach Volker Nolte. "But our newcomers and novices worked really well and they grew together throughout the whole season."
Peaking at the perfect time, Nolte attributed the strong weekend to their training and preparation. "Our program has progressed extremely well this year," Nolte commented.
The success was a total team effort as no single individual stood out. All eight women's entries received medals, including the first gold medal for the women's lightweight eights.
"It was really exciting to win the gold," said Leanne Richardson, who was coxswain for the victorious lightweights. "It was really nice to win when we haven't historically been strong at the lightweight level."
Brock, who mirrored Western's results with a first for the men and a second for the women, will travel with Western and Queen's to Victoria this weekend for the national championships.
"The last five or six years, Western and Brock have developed quite a rivalry and that's really helped in improving the quality of rowing at Ontario universities," said Brock coach Joe Dowd. "We've never had the depth that Western has had, but we're finally getting there."
Heading into this weekend's championships, the Mustangs will be facing stiff competition from the Western teams including the University of Victoria, who are once again favoured to win it all.
"U Vic has got to be the favourite just based on their performances in previous years," said Mustang women's coach Al Morrow. "If we row really well we've got a good shot at the team title, but individually it's a little more difficult to tell. There's going to be competition coming from all over the country."
Both the men's and women's teams are hoping for continued improvement heading into the weekend where they expect the competition to be much stiffer.
"We don't really know too much about the teams we'll be facing, but our goal is to beat Brock [in the women's heavyweight eights]," Richardson said.
The team takes off Thursday for the weekend competition and hopes to return with even more hardware.
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