Volume 92, Issue 57

Friday, January 8, 1999

the roof is on fire


Western jumps into new season

'Stangs need the Wright stuff

'Stangs need the Wright stuff

Tom Baumgartner/Gazette

BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL. The Mustangs will use power and speed to defend their title at home in the Don Wright Challenge.

By Ian Ross

Gazette Staff

The winter chill may have hit London, but it won't likely have any influence on another heated track and field battle taking place Saturday at the Don Wright Challenge hosted by Western at Thompson Arena.

The competition is expected to be tough in the Mustang's second meet of the season. Last year's Quebec champion McGill and Ontario rival Windsor will pull into town, in addition to a highly ranked American squad from the University of Finley in Ohio.

Men's head coach Bob Vigars said he feels the Windsor Lancers will present the toughest competition. Windsor, a four time national champion this decade, have a dominating distance team, according to Vigars. The Western men will counter this with a deep sprint team.

"We'll be dominant in the 60 metre again this year," Vigars said. "With our talent we could put five guys in the final."

Mustang Jon Younker, an all-Canadian in the triple jump, said the depth of the men's team this season will benefit Western throughout the season, right up to the national championship.

"We are deeper everywhere compared to last year," he said. "I didn't think we could top last year, but at the beginning of the season I began to realize the potential of this team."

Vicki Croley, head coach of the women's team, said depth will also be an asset from which her team should benefit. "All of our top athletes are back and running faster than ever."

She added that all-Canadian shot putter Mary-Ann Phillips was the only notable loss to the team over the summer, while several rookies have stepped forward, including sprinter Margaret Ajayi.

The team's strength resides in the track events with converted cross country runners Becky Martyn and Kristina Farr leading the way. Croley said the performance of the veteran Farr this season will be important to the team's success. "I am really looking for her to contribute strong relay legs all season," she said.

The priority for the women on Saturday will be to concentrate on the relay events, Croley said. Due to scheduling constraints, Farr has stepped out of her normal 600 m race to assist with the 4 x 800 m team.

The Don Wright Challenge was named after a former Western athlete. Wright's long jump record of 6.91 m in 1929 stood for 44 years and is still the longest standing Western record in track and field history. At the age of 90, the former Mustang will be in attendance for Saturday's event which begins at 1 p.m..

To Contact The Sports Department:

Copyright The Gazette 1999