Volume 94, Issue 60
Wednesday, January 10, 2001
UW trackster breaks record - Western hosts annual Don Wright meet
JUMPING FOR JOY...AND GOLD. Several members of Western's track and field team came away with victories at this weekend's Don Wright meet.
By Dan Fanaberia
The Mustangs cleaned house, a new record was set and a 92-year-old hero reminded us that he is still as feisty as ever at the 18th Annual Don Wright Men's and Women's Track and Field Competition.
Western placed first in both the men's and women's overall standings, as they competed against a host of other athletes from across the province.
Among the outstanding achievers of the day was UWO's Victor Richards, who placed first in the men's 60m race and was only 0.03 seconds away from breaking the 1988 meet record.
Western's Jen Bain (300m), Lennie Kwan (600m), Kate Vermuelen (1500m), Jen Payne (high jump), Caitlin Wright (triple jump), Steve Hurst (triple jump), also came home with first place finishes in their receptive events.
Dana Ellis, from the University of Waterloo, set a new women's indoor Canadian pole vault record with an incredible 3.90m. She dominated the event, surpassing the second place 3.30m vault and the previous meet record of 3.50m.
Despite competing for Waterloo, Ellis admitted she trains at UWO because of its advanced facilities and reputable event coach, Keith Heard.
"I like wearing my purple and [I] am a Mustang at heart," she said, adding she hoped the University of Waterloo does not get wind of her Mustang pride.
The third-year kinesiology student competed on the Canadian National Gymnastics team for seven years, but was forced to leave the sport due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury and a torn Achilles tendon. "Pole vaulting is much more forgiving on my injuries," Ellis said, adding she is hoping for a good finish at this year's CIAU competition.
First-place in the women's 1,500m race was the 1999 National Collegiate Athletic Association champion in the mile run and London native Vermuelen.
Having competed in high school for London Central and then Lucas High in the 800m, she was recruited by the University of West Virginia where she won her event in NCAA competition. Vermuelen transferred to the University of California in Los Angeles in search of better coaching where a foot injury eventually influenced her decision to come back home to London.
"I came back to Western to concentrate more on my academics and to be closer to my family," Vermuelen said. "Competing for Western is a lot of fun."
Also on Western's side of the scoresheet, Bain finished first in the women's 300m race, with a personal best of 41.68 seconds. This is Bain's first year with the Western Track Team competing in the 300m race and the 4x400m relay race as a lead-off runner.
Bain, a third-year visual arts and English student, said she is happy to be competing again, noting she has not competed since her high school days in Sarnia.
"I love running, my mom started me at a young age," Bain said. "My parents are my biggest fans."
After presenting the more outstanding athletes with their awards, both the men's and women's track team had the privilege to hear a few motivational words from the founder of the tournament, Don Wright.
Despite suffering from laryngitis, Wright, who has been a considerably influential figure for the track and field program, spoke to the athletes.
"This is not my usual voice, but I assure you it is still as sexy as ever at 92-years-old."
Copyright © The Gazette 2000