Volume 93, Issue 48

Wednesday, November 24, 1999


Smack down second

Swimmers travel high and low

Judges place Mustangs seventh

More than Gretzky-less

Judges place Mustangs seventh

By Sean Maraj
Gazette Staff

It was almost like the Titanic hitting the iceberg.

That was the story for the Western's figure skating team as they finished seventh in their first competition of the year at a tournament held at Ryerson Polytechnic University last weekend.

The Mustangs went in with high hopes for the weekend, but despite some strong performances by many skaters, Western wasn't able to crack into the top five at the tournament.

Jennifer Smeaton, co-captain of the team, said although she was disappointed with the results over the weekend, she was still optimistic her team took away something from the competition – namely, some necessary experience.

"We didn't do terribly bad, it was a learning experience for the new people. We ended up seventh, but a lot of us didn't know what to expect, now they know what to expect," Smeaton said.

This year's Mustangs are extremely young and are competing for the first time at the university level. Despite this inexperience, Smeaton said she was happy with how the individuals performed. Regardless of the final scores, Smeaton said she was pleasantly surprised by what she saw on the ice.

"Everyone skated well, the long and short program started well," Smeaton said. "The dancers did really well, I'm impressed with everyone."

Co-captain Laura Hadley agreed with her teammate's assessment of the tournament and said although the finish was disappointing, overall, the team did come away with some valuable ice time at a high level of competition, which will help them improve as the season continues. "It was really different, an eye-opener, a learning experience," Hadley said.

John Yapp, head coach for the Queen's University Golden Gaels saw his team finish in first place by 10 points. He said the key to victory was having an experienced team which skated well when it counted the most.

"Our strengths were the way the team gelled together. When people went out there to skate, it was for the team and not as individuals," Yapp said.

Yapp added there were some good performances throughout the entire tournament. "Brock was very strong. I think there were strong individual performances, but Brock has built a strong side over the past few years."

With the first tournament now behind them, the Mustangs are already looking towards their next chance to compete and what improvements they have to make for a higher finish.

"Consistency, we need to improve on that," Hadley said. "We just have to keep plugging away."

Smeaton pointed to the Queen's program as a possible example her team could take. Watching Queen's perform gave them several ideas on the kinds of improvements they should be making for their next appearance, she added.

"Compared to other teams, Queen's knows exactly what they're doing. They have everything choreographed."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999