|Volume 92, Issue 58
Tuesday, January 12, 1999
Rookies shine with raw talent
By Ian Ross
Luke Myers came an inch away from high jumping his way to a national championship invitation on Saturday at the Don Wright Track and Field Challenge at Thompson Arena.
Not bad when you consider the meet was the first major competition of the season. Incredible, when you realize Myers is only a rookie jumper on the Mustang squad. The first-year administrative and commercial studies student faced tough competition but still jumped two metres for the gold medal. Still, he missed the 2.05 m national standard on his last attempt by a thumb nail.
"I was injured for the meet so I was surprised I did so well," said the Richmond Hill native, referring to a groin pull which created another barrier to victory he was able to overcome.
"The competition was pretty tough," he added. "There were about eight to 10 strong guys out there."
Myers admitted at first he felt a little intimidated but quickly refocused to claim victory. His next goal is beating his personal best height of 2.02 m next weekend in Windsor with the elusive national standard jump.
The win by Myers added to the landslide team victory on the men's side. Other Mustangs to contribute included Adrian Jordan who sprinted to three gold medals in the 300 m, 4x200 m and 4x400m, while Chris Robinson added to the points total with victories in the long jump and triple jump. After the dust settled, Western tallied 124 points 41 points better than Windsor, their closest competitor.
"This is certainly an indication on how good we are this season," said Western men's coach Bob Vigars. He added the victory over rival Windsor should give his team a mental edge when the two teams face off again later in the season.
On the women's side, another Western rookie made her mark at the university level in the 300 m sprint. Margaret Ajayi, a native of Hamilton, sped to a silver medal against the toughest competition she has faced in her young athletic career. April Uhden, the 1998 national bronze medalist from Windsor, was the only individual able to stay ahead of Ajayi with a time of 40.87 sec.
Mustang women's coach Vicki Croley has been very impressed with the rookie's performance this season and expects big things from her during her stay at Western. "She has so much talent. I know Margaret still has tons of room for improvement," Croley said.
According to Ajayi, the toughest part of preparation for the weekend event was the fact she had never faced the sprinters from the other schools and was not familiar with their athletic capabilities.
"I really didn't know what to expect from the others," she said. "At this level, every day is a new experience."
According to Croley, the entire team expected tough competition from Windsor and that is exactly what they got. In the end, Windsor was too much for the Mustangs to handle and won the event with 120 points to Western's 95.
Croley said while several athletes shined on Saturday, including captain Maisie Hahn, there were several others who finished below expectations. "I know they can do better and they will," she said.
The Mustangs will take on Windsor again this weekend at the Can-Am Classic which will be held this time on the Lancers' home turf.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999