Volume 93, Issue 77

Wednesday, February 16, 2000


SPORTS

There's gold in them there birdies

Skating to the sixth symphony

Warriors can't solve the Mustangs' defence

One win away from clinching first

Wrestling for gold

Clark and Wood swim for silver at OUA finals

Weekend roundup

Skating to the sixth symphony




©Michael Longstaff/Gazette
FLY, FLY LIKE THE WIND. Birds of a feather flock together and that's what the figure skating team did as they finished sixth at the OUA finals on the weekend.


By Sean Maraj
Gazette Staff

The phrase "You win some, you lose some" held true for the Western Mustangs figure skating team last weekend, as they pulled in a sixth place finish at the Ontario University Athletics championships in Toronto.

Battling a combination of youth and inexperience, the Mustangs were able to pull in several strong finishes over the weekend, including an emotional first place finish by Stacey Craig in the senior "A" individual category. Co-captain Jennifer Smeaton finished third in the open short program and Daniel Holdsworth and Bridget Lirano finished third in the intermediate dance pairs.

Team co-captain Laura Hadley said she was pleased with the team's performance and thought they had improved greatly since the season's start. "We worked really hard, there was lots of improvements and it showed," Hadley said.

Smeaton was also happy with the sixth place finish and said this year was a rebuilding one for the team. Competing at the OUA level taught the young squad a lot, she said. "We did pretty good, definitely a building year – we have 11 rookies. I'm happy, considering two-thirds of the team has never competed at the OUA level," she said.

The team's cohesion had a strong effect on their performances, Smeaton said, adding it should act as a building block for the years to come.

"Our team unity, we're really built as a team," Smeaton said. "Everyone came together and supported each other well."

Dean Phillips, head coach of the Waterloo Athena's figure skating team, said he was happy with his team's drive and strong second place finish at the tournament. "We were consistent. Everyone skated to the best of their ability. Other than two events, everyone put together the performance they were capable of," he said.

As for tournament's level of competition, Phillips was quick to acknowledge the level of skating has improved over past few years.

"It was very close," he said. "From second to sixth place there was only a 50 point difference. It came down to the last few events. It's been closer than in past years."

Looking back on the season, Smeaton said she was optimistic about her team's future. With the experience they gained this season, she was confident the improvement next year would be exponential.

"Everyone did a good job. Next year we should improve 100 per cent. This weekend has been a good experience for all of us."


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