Volume 95, Issue 61

Tuesday, January 22, 2002
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Mustang women making waves

Sweet home cooking

Metallica+broken ass = figure skating

Weekend Rundown

Metallica+broken ass = figure skating

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff

It wasn't gargantuan hockey players showing off their brawn that had the masses spellbound. Instead, it was Western's graceful figure skaters, who finished a satisfying third at the University of Toronto Figure Skating Invitational on the weekend. And what they lacked in size, they more than made up for in courage and might.

Mustang coach Jen Cummings said the coaching staff was quite pleased with the results. "Overall, we are definitely happy with a third place showing. We were pleasantly surprised with the team's performance in the dance events and the intermediate similar pairs," she said.

Trish Goff and Laura Strapp won gold in the intermediate similar pairs, Lindsay Satterthwaite and Julie South came away victorious in the senior similar dance and the fabulous foursome of Jen Smeaton, Jen Strickland, Emily Kovacs and Meghan Lillie were triumphant in the pairs fours.

Smeaton was adamant that the fours gold was the result of the women putting on the hard hats and digging deep. "The work by our fours team obviously paid off in the way we came together for this meet. I really couldn't ask for anything more."

There were numerous stellar performances, including Nancy Ford and Diana Hyde's second place showing in the dance variation category, Smeaton's bronze in the short program and South's silver in the gold solo dance.

The highlight of the morning skates was an opposing skater's routine to a stirring rendition of Metallica's "Unforgiven." Unfortunately, the ice was quite unforgiving to this particular skater, as her gluteus maximus was subjected to a horrific beating.

The pressure of competing is intense in a sport in which all eyes are focused on your every move and one fall can make or break your routine is intense.

Cummings said the coaching staff tried to eliminate the psychological barriers.

"We try to get our skaters to focus on the performance, not the outcome," she said. "There are specific ways to disperse the anxiety – breathing exercises, loosening the legs and telling our skaters to mentally place themselves in a practice setting while they compete, so the external factors don't become a hindrance."

Cindy Knight, a member of the synchronized skating team, said the squad has found a solid footing heading into the Ontario University Athletics finals, which are hosted by the Mustangs.

"We are definitely in a good position heading into OUAs," Knight said. "We just have to keep working hard and find a way to perform sharper and with more consistency."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001