Volume 93, Issue 34

Friday, October 29, 1999


End of regular season at J.W.

Flying highwith Western's Robyn

Outsiders playoff preview

Predictions of play from the fringes

Keeping the pace with runner Jim Wardle

Catch the game while making history

Flying highwith Western's Robyn

By Chad Thompson
Gazette Staff

Robins usually show up in the spring, but at Western there's a Robyn singing through the fall and taking the Ontario University Athletics by storm.

Robyn Hurley began her running career in public school, but quit the sport until late in her secondary schooling. "In high school, I played soccer and basketball for grades 9, 10, 11 and started running again in grade 12," said the fourth-year political science major.

It wasn't until the third year of university that Hurley's path led to Western. "I was at McGill [University] for first and second year, I switched over for basically a few reasons. I found the faculty was better [at Western] than the one at McGill, it was closer to home and Western has a good cross country team."

As for the future, the London native and Central High School graduate said she is thinking of applying to either law or journalism school. "I'm keeping my options open," she said, adding her running career would not end upon graduation. "I'm definitely going to continue road racing. For me, running is more like a lifestyle thing. I will always do road racing and I'll think about running in grad school, but it all depends. It might be second-year rather than first-year depending how busy I am."

Life as a student athlete can be very difficult and Hurley said she looks at time management as one of the most difficult aspects. "[It's] sometimes difficult to balance everything. It can get pretty hectic at times," she said.

"The best is the sense of fulfillment from it and it's very rewarding. It takes the stress off of school by having something important to focus your energies on besides the school work. The worst thing would be the level of stress involved in trying to maintain everything."

The biggest misconception about cross country, according to Hurley, is that people question the choice of distance running. "A lot of people wonder why would you want to do it. It's something that I've done it for so long, it's just part of my lifestyle. Part of it is the aspect of competition," she said.

"One of the things about distance running is that you can develop it by hard work, but you definitely have to have the desire to do it," she said. "[It's] not a mainstream sport so people tend not to realize how difficult it is."

When it comes to the upcoming OUA finals, Hurley said it is difficult to predict how the meet will go, however, she said she felt there would be three teams who will succeed.

"The best teams should be us, [the University of] Guelph and Queen's [University]. We have had a few injuries to various runners through the year. It will be important for us to run our best that day. We want to do well at [the finals] but we are definitely looking at [the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union Championships] as being important. It will be between us and Guelph."

This year, Western has a strong one-two punch with both Hurley and Teresa Duck running well. Hurley said she sees Duck's performance as aiding her own.

"It builds a lot of confidence that there [are] two good runners at the front. It's not just a case of one-two, there are runners like Janet [Gamble] and Kate [Annen] who have been running really well and they're quite close behind, but definitely having runners at the front builds confidence. [Duck] is a phenomenal runner and she's really inspiring. She has her own training program."

Mustang head coach Bob Vigars said Hurley is a good all around athlete. "She's got one gear – full out. She's an outstanding runner. On a good day she can be one of the top runners in the race."

Gamble said she agreed with her coach's assessment and added Hurley's knowledge of running is a definite benefit to the team. "She's very enthusiastic and a hard worker. She's really good to train with," she said. "She has good experience and leadership."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999