Volume 92, Issue 25

Tuesday, October 20, 1998

coughing up debt


Runners to sprint past expectations

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette

OUT IN FRONT AND THERE TO STAY. The Mustang cross country team headed to Syracuse this weekend where the men returned with the silver and the women with the bronze.

By Ian Ross

Gazette Staff

The Western cross country team started the season with a lot of questions and uncertainty but with the season's finish line just around the bend, the team is far ahead of expectations.

Western sprinted into their last race of the season at the Syracuse University Orange Country Running Invitational in New York state on Saturday and once again proved why they are some of the best athletes in Canada.

The no. 1, nationally ranked women managed a third-place finish at the international meet, despite missing captain Kristina Farr and Robyn Hurley to minor illnesses. A strong placing for the team, it also displayed the depth the team has.

"With Farr, [Becky] Martyn and Hurley it is hard to say who our no. 1 runner is," head coach Bob Vigars said. "It seems to depend on the meet. Farr and Hurley have won two and Robyn has won one. And then our four, five and six runners are fairly solid. We are really deep."

With some of her best competition in Farr and Hurley watching from the sidelines, Martyn cruised to bronze with a time of 17:51 in the five-kilometre race. Four other Mustangs finished close behind in the top 20.

"The course was tougher than most races," Martyn said. "It was more of a cross country course. It was also a pretty small meet so things get more spread out and tougher.

"It was still lots of fun."

Cortland State Red Dragons took first with 33 points while the host Syracuse Orangewomen came a close second.

The Mustang men made a strong drive for the team gold but came up four points shy to finish in second place behind Syracuse.

Charley Murphy crossed the finish line in second place with teammates Jim Wardle and Jason Eddy following right behind respectively.

The most positive finish came from Wardle who has become once again an important spoke in the team's wheels. A former all-Canadian, the fourth-year student had slipped with physical and mental difficulties. His recent recovery is a large reason the men's squad is back on track.

"In his sophomore season Jim has been tremendous," Vigars said. "Last year was mediocre so it is good to see him coming around this season."

As for the season in a nut shell, Vigars could not be happier with the turn of events he has witnessed this autumn.

"We've far exceeded my expectations," he said.

The Mustangs will next race at the Ontario championships on Oct. 31 hosted by the Windsor Lancers at Malden Park.

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1998