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Mustang uniforms add stripes
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They're runnin' down a dream
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They're runnin' down a dream
By Jordan Bell
When you stand at the top of the mountain, it's difficult to accept one day you will have to come down.
This is the dilemma faced by Western Mustangs cross country head coach Bob Vigars. "We just don't have the horses this season. We're relying on many athletes who will not be contenders until the next couple of years," he said.
This was plainly evident on Saturday in the 2001 McGill Open Cross Country Meet in Mount Royal, Montreal.
The Mustang men finished fourth with 118 points, while the Mustang women lagged behind with a seventh place finish and 128 points. Both team times were the slowest the Mustangs have run in McGill Open history.
On the men's side, Scott Nelms ran a personal best to finish in thirteenth place, leading the Mustang charge.
Nelms was pleased more by his fellow men.
"The fourth place finish was very surprising to the team," Nelms said. "We aren't expecting much this year since we lost a lot of runners to graduation, but I was very pleased with our performance."
Rounding out the top five Mustang runners were Vince Del Monte in 17th, rookie Michael Breech in 31st, rookie Chris Smith in 34th and rookie Joel Allen in 48th.
The women's team was far from full-strength going into the McGill Open. Janet Gamble, the Mustangs all-Canadian from a year ago, was absent due to prior academic engagements, while her sister Jill was battling sickness. This could account for the weak showing by the team.
Kate Annen, also an all-Canadian from a year ago, finished 16th. She was blunt about her post-race sentiments.
"I am very displeased with the way I ran on Saturday. But under the circumstances (missing key runners and having a hard training week), we did the best we possibly could," she said.
The women were also paced by Rebecca Radford, in 22nd, Shannon Gerri and rookie Shayna Boland who both placed 34th and Erin Rosebrugh came in 44th.
The Mustangs cross country program is one of historical greatness. The program has accomplished a feat of unprecedented proportions they have won 11 national championships. Vigars is cautiously optimistic about where his squads can go, but he still is loyal to his athletes.
"I am very proud of the performances of my runners," Vigars said. "Many of them are blue-collar kids who grind it out, and that's all you can ask for."
The runners clipping on their heels will likely come from Guelph, a perenial cross country powerhouse, as well as Windsor and Waterloo.
"Guelph has won in the past and it's basically a forgone conclusion that they will win again this year," Nelms said. "The men will probably even win the national championship."
The men's and women's team will reach exhaustion once again this Friday, when they host the 27th annual Western International Invitational at Thames Valley Golf Course. The women take off at 5:30 p.m. while the men hit the course at 6:10 p.m..