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First and second at McGill meet
First and second at McGill meet
By Wes Brown
Western's track team, barely cooled down from their last meet, was back at it on Saturday, participating and medalling at the McGill Invitational.
The Mustangs finished the team event with a fifth consecutive team victory for the women, who amassed 12 medals in total. The men's team also found their way to the podium, placing second behind the University of Sherbrooke.
Head coach Vickie Croley said the meet was great overall, with both the men and the women displaying a dominance early in the season. "The women showed our strength all across the board, both the field and track. For the men, this is the second weekend in a row we've had the strongest showing from the 600 metre length and up."
Distance coach Norm Howes said this meet showed off Western's excellent fitness level, as well as their overall toughness. "We just started working speed. You need a huge base of aerobic capacity before you start with speed. Next is race speed, then pure speed training in time for the finals," Howes said.
One athlete who stood out this weekend was gold medal winner Jason Eddy, who ran a personal best in the 3,000 metre with a time of 8:43.81. Eddy said the race was seven seconds better than his previous best time a feat enhanced by the fact the win was his first at a major meet.
"I knew the two main guys I was running against and so I didn't feel intimidated at all in leading throughout the race. Near the end I had some left in the tank, so I went for it," Eddy said about his gold medal effort.
Over the past few years, team captain Jim Wardle has dominated Western's distance events. But Eddy said this year, he and the rookies have concentrated a great deal on their races and as a result, have added some in-house competition.
Croley said it was great to see Eddy run his personal best and added the team's track events have been strong of late a switch from their usual dependence on field events.
"The jumpers are tired and are capable of doing much better. I'm pretty confident come the [Ontario University Athletic finals], they'll be back on top."
Event organizer and McGill University head coach Dennis Barrett said the meet had an excellent turnout and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. He said Western did well in defending their title, but added it's still too early in the season to make any judgment calls.
"People are still seeing where things are and I think they are still testing their athletes. I know for our team, [the meet] was just to build on where we are right now," Barrett said. "All in all, this was a good early season meet."
This weekend, Western will host the Don Wright Team Challenge and compete against McGill and the University of Buffalo. Croley said she anticipates an equal or better showing at this meet, as well as some added motivation and spirit.
"Some of our athletes who didn't compete last weekend will be there this weekend and the entire team, in general, tends to get hyped for this meet. It's good for our first-year athletes to experience that, as well some of our tradition."
The Challenge takes place Saturday at Thompson arena.