Volume 94, Issue 35

Wednesday, November 1, 2000


Women's volleyball winning streak hits the 50 mark

Stangs come up lame

Male wrestlers have a good weekend

Mustangs run wild

Male rowers win OUA banner

Mustangs still face greatest challenge

Male rowers win OUA banner

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

This weekend the Mustangs men's rowing team went through hell and high water for a banner.

But, this wasn't just any banner.

At the Ontario University Athletics rowing championships, hosted by the Toronto Varsity Blues in Toronto, both the men's and women's rowing teams turned out a strong showing.

The men came home with a first place title and the OUA banner, on their first championship since 1997, while the women tied for second place with Queen's, falling just nine points short of a first place standing in the regatta.

The meet, which was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday, was postponed by officials until Sunday due to high winds. Western head coach, Volker Nolte, said Sunday's heats were slightly affected by weather, although conditions were not as severe as the previous day.

As a result of the weather, the heats were reduced to 1,500 metres in length, as opposed to the standard 2,000 m. "The teams rose to the occasion in this regard," Nolte said, of postponing the race.

"The top teams have to [adjust] to be able to compete. I'm extremely impressed with how the team worked together – they showed the kind of intangible team work you need to get the job done in competitive sports."

Western third-year lightweight, Matt Ferguson, said the extended weekend away brought positive results for himself and his team. "We were all really prepared for anything – our coaches really had us ready and everyone's level of commitment seemed to peak at once," Ferguson said. "The postponement was a good chance for us to get together and enjoy each other's company."

The men's crew came out roaring on Sunday morning, racking up 112 points to secure first place for themselves, leaving Toronto trailing behind with only 76 points and a second place finish. "In the last eight years, we have won six OUA banners," Nolte said. "This year it was because of our mood. From race to race our mood became better and we excelled. The good attitude of our team really made the difference."

As for the lady 'Stangs, head coach, Al Morrow, said Toronto's first place finish was a surprise to him and his team. "Toronto won the meet with 80 points – usually you need 90 or 100 to win, meaning the results were really spread out across the board," he said. "We knew U of T would be strong, but often crews will change their combinations in each race so you never quite know what to expect. The heats were really tight and I was quite pleased with the results."

The women finished a solid second with 71 points – only nine behind first place Toronto – and they will join the male squad next weekend at the Canadian University Rowing Championships in Victoria, British Columbia. Morrow said although his team is excited about the upcoming trip, not every member of each crew will be attending the regatta.

"The cost of these trips is about $500 per athlete out of their own pockets, because it is sort of a special project," he said.

Nolte said he was less enthusiastic about his rowers having to pay out of their own pockets for the chance to compete nationally. "It is almost not fair for a coach to ask the athletes to pay for this."

Despite the dark cloud the lack of funding has cast over the team, Ferguson echoed nothing but excitement about the opportunity to compete nationally. "Coming off this weekend we're rowing as fast as we have all year, so it will be interesting to see how we do against Victoria. I would say that we're not quite ready for the season to be over yet."

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