Volume 95, Issue 37
Wednesday, November 7, 2001
The golden stroke
Rowers bring home the medals
By Dave Martin
This past weekend, the men's and women's rowing teams competed in the Ontario University Athletics Championship Regatta at Brock and came home with the silver and gold medals respectively.
The women, who were favoured coming into the event, recieved quite a scare from Queen's in the final.
The race for gold came down to the wire and in the end, only a single point separated the two teams.
Women's head coach Al Morrow explained the tight results Western winning 99-98 mirrored the parity between the two teams.
"Queen's for sure did give us a little bit of a surprise, but more because they did particularly well in a few events we weren't expecting rather than us not performing to our capabilities. [The surprise] certainly made [the event] exciting. It's just nicer to end up on the winning end of things," he said.
Leigh Ann Niven, a Western rowing team member, also said it was tight at the end. "We didn't really expect it to be as close as it was coming down to the finish. With a few races left, we realized the results we needed in order to win and that added a lot of pressure. At the end, there was a huge sense of relief on the team as we had reached our ultimate goal of winning the banner," she said.
Morrow added Western's performance was commendable.
"Our lightweights, as usual, were outstanding Ð three firsts and one second. Both singles (heavyweight and lightweight) racers Leigh Ann Niven and Jane Rumball won, capping off an undefeated season, which is pretty remarkable," he said.
Besides the Niven/Rumball singles titles, Jane Lee and Brie Ellard also came away with gold in the lightweight doubles and the lightweight coxed four team. Silver medals went to the lightweight eight's, Anna Rogers and Rachelle DeJong in the heavyweight doubles and the heavyweight coxed four team.
The men, who have been improving steadily over their last few meets pulled everything together and came away with the silver medal, falling short against Brock in the last race.
Western head coach Volker Nolte said he was extremely pleased with his team and how they responded to combination shuffles late in the season.
"The team fully bought into our thinking of making changes during the season and worked extremely hard to try to improve with them," he said. "We've gotten a lot better since then, making last weekend very pleasing to see. They fought like tigers giving everything they had and by the last race they just ran out of gas. There's nothing more you can ask for than that."
Matt Jensen won a silver medal in lightweight doubles with Scott Moore, athough Jensen was a little disappointed about the team not coming home with gold.
"Last year, we won the banner and the team was really looking to do it again this year. Next week, we'll be in even tougher competition, but hopefully we can at least beat Brock," Jensen said.
Tony Landry and Erik Neff won gold medals in the heavyweight doubles and also the heavyweight coxed four team.
Next weekend both the men's and women's teams move onto the Canadian Unofficial Rowing Championships to take on tougher competition, including the University of Victoria and University of British Columbia.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001