Volume 93, Issue 73

Wednesday, February 9, 2000


Hockey team clinches first place

Western's winning card records their 27th title

The most synchronized team

Exhibiting some indoor talent

Western's winning card records their 27th title

By Wes Brown
Gazette Staff

It's official – the men's squash team has now won the most games in Western's athletic history.

The Mustangs completed their 27th Ontario University Athletic championship last weekend, defeating the University of Waterloo 6-0 in the semifinals and eliminating the University of Toronto 6-0 in the provincial finals, hosted by McMaster University. This is the team's 17th consecutive win at the provincial level.

Number one seed and fourth-year student Erik Zaremba led the charge for Western all season. Zaremba said it would be sad to leave the OUA scene, but added it was great to leave on a high point.

"Toronto was a fairly good team, consistent throughout the lineup – but things went smoothly and everyone played really well," he said.

Zaremba reflected on his squash career at Western and said the Mustangs' continued success was due to the amount of raw talent coming out of the high schools. He also said the team's ability to increase the level of their game helped draw from the talented pool of athletes.

"Talent attracts talent, I guess. People want to play with the best," he said. "[Western head coach] Jack Fairs is also a big reason for the success of the team. He's a fabulous coach and a great guy. I've really enjoyed playing with him and playing under him."

He added Fairs has given the team opportunities they would not have normally received, including competing in National Collegiate Athletic Association squash tournaments as well as Canadian competitions outside the OUA realm.

Fairs said the winning streak put the team under a lot of pressure, but added when it came to game time, they had more finesse and greater capacity to attack than their competitors.

"We had a very competitive match with U of T in the finals. They play in an 'A' league in Toronto and are a really good team. We just had an overall better level of finesse," he said.

Fairs added taking the streak with a grain of salt was also important. "To win 17 in a row, you have to be lucky. We try not to think or talk about it. It's a lot of pressure, but a lot of fun. I'll tell you one thing – teams are getting tired of us beating them." He added even top teams in the United States are aware of Western's talent.

Toronto head coach Steve Nielson said although his team played well, Western was a little stronger.

"We thought we had a good chance going in, but it just didn't happen in the final. We came second last year as well. In fact, this is my fourth year playing at the university level and I've received four silver medals to Western's gold."

Nielson stressed that Toronto and Western are not enemies and described the Mustangs as a bunch of nice guys who are very competitive. "Western has a very strong team," he said.

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