Volume 94, Issue 8


SPORTS

Western's cross country team get motors runnning in Detroit

Gearing up for a big season - Ruggers split weekend games

Western's cross country team get motors runnning in Detroit

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff



The Western cross country team battled sweltering heat and top notch competition this past weekend as they traveled to Northville, Michigan to compete in the Detroit Open.

The team faired decently, with the men finishing seventh out of nine squads, while the women finished the day fifth out of eight schools. The results were tallied by adding up the top five finishers on each team.

These results may not seem earth-shattering, but when the heat and competition was factored in, it puts the results in perspective said Western head coach Bob Vigars, who was quite blunt in assessing the quality of athletes at this meet.

"We usually expect to get our butts kicked a bit when we come here, the top end competition is very high," he said.

Western was the only Ontario University Athletics team competing in the event and in some cases the runners were up against All-American athletes. The winning team on the men's side, The Henson Running House, features athletes that have already graduated and many of their runners compete at a world class level. According to Vigars, the stiff competition was not the only obstacle to overcome.

"It was extremely hot and humid and that definitely had an effect on the runners," he said.

The top finisher on the men's side was Jason Eddy, who came in 29th. The heat theme appeared again when Eddy examined his personal performance.

"I can't complain, I was only 20-30 seconds off the pace from last year, and considering the heat that is not too bad," he said.

Another challenge of this meet was the course itself. It presents a tough trek at the best of times, with the women running over a five kilometer race while the men sweat it out for nearly six and a half kilometers. Eddy confirmed the difficulty of this run.

"This is a very tough course to start on, especially for the younger runners," he said.

However, all of the tough conditions weren't enough to stop Janet Gamble from running a career best time at this course. Gamble had the best result of the women finishing a very strong fifth. She was joined in the top ten by teammate Kate Annen, who completed the race in ninth position. Women's co-captain Becky Martyn, who rested this weekend, was quite optimistic about the teams showing.

"We had a great performance, it was a really hot day but everyone had to run in the same conditions," said Martyn.

Aside from the top ten finishes of Annen and Gamble, the numbers posted by the team are lower than will be expected once the OUA schedule kicks off. Vigars is hopeful the lack of high finishes doesn't discourage his bunch.

"I'm hoping it doesn't lower the team's confidence. I think it will benefit us to struggle a bit initially because it will make us battle tough," Vigars said.

The focus of the cross country team now switches to this weekend's meet in Montreal.




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