Volume 96, Issue 10
Friday September 13, 2002

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From the green to the pitch - Mustangs preview

Football isn't the only sport on campus. Western Mustangs athletics are about to swing into full force and The Gazette has the scoop on a select few. But don't fret, there's more to come.

Men's Golf

The Western Mustangs men's golf team are the collective Tiger Woods of Ontario University Athletics.

The Mustangs are polishing off their putters, irons and woods and preparing to defend their Ontario University Athletics gold medal from last season. Head coach Jim Waite said he is confident they can continue to perform at the top of their class.

"We won the OUAs last year and we return four of the starters from that team," Waite said. "In addition, Joe Lindsay and Mike Decourcey are two kids who have played great. I think we will be an even better team this year."

The four starters returning are Russ Armstrong, Luke McGeoy, Pat Lindsay and Ryan Pope. Add Lindsay and Decourcey to the mix, and Western should once again be the team to beat in the OUA.

"The top teams are virtually the same every year," Waite said. "Guelph, Waterloo and Queen's are the teams to beat. We'll get a feel for them in the tournaments."

The selection format for the golf tryouts consist of 35 players vying for seven spots. The seven selected will compete in four tournaments over the season and Waite will select the strongest five of the seven to represent Western at the OUA Championship.

And hopefully, if all goes according to plan, those five will bring back another crown to The Forest City.

Women's Rugby

Lauren Starr/Gazette

APPARENTLY GIVING GIANT BEAR HUGS IS PREVALENT IN RUGBY. The Western Mustangs women's rugby team hopes they can elude the opposition's grasp this season.

When a team finishes in fifth place in OUA, not many people would expect much noise from them the next year. The women's rugby team, however, is a different story.

"Our expectations from the coaching staff's point of view are not only [that] we win our league, but go to the CIS championships," said head coach Natascha Wesch. "We'll be extremely disappointed if we get anything less than that."

The squad returns stacked because of returning veterans and an immensely compelling rookie class. The coaching staff enticed four provincial team players to the program and captains Judy McCartney and Jennifer Kryszak will provide veteran leadership and talent to the squad.

Wesch added that Melissa Parker, a transfer from McMaster who is attending Althouse College, will be a welcome addition.

"She's one of those kids, who when you see her, you're like, 'Thank God she's on our team'," Wesch said. "She has a lot of experience and is going to be fantastic for this team."

The team plays in a division with Waterloo, Laurier, Brock, Windsor and the University of Toronto. The Mustangs schedule propels them into the heat of battle.

"We play Waterloo first, which is our toughest competition," Wesch said. "And then the second game is Laurier, which is our second toughest competition and then the third game is Brock which is our third toughest competition."

After the dust clears, we will truly see if the coaching staff's predictions stay on course.

– Jordan Bell

Men's Rugby

Lauren Starr/Gazette

LEAN ON ME. The Western Mustangs men's rugby team will look to lean on the rest of the competition in the standings this season.

The rugby pitch looks to catch fire this year with Western's men's rugby team stressing a whole new attitude and look.

With a new coach and a sleek new approach, the Mustangs men's ruggers are looking to avenge their loss to Queen's last year in the OUA final. Rookie head coach Mike Hughes definitely does not have the past on his mind, but is looking to the limitless future.

Coach Hughes will be bringing a different outlook to the traditional rugby that has been played here at Western.

"We are getting out of the basic drills when I used to play rugby as a kid. We are going to have an upbeat tempo and create a more exciting rugby to watch," Hughes remarked.

Hughes stresses that the rugby team will be a unit and he will not put any focus on individuals. "If we score a try, it is a result of what the team has done and the individual is just someone who made the play for the team."

The Mustangs' first game is against historical rival, Queen's on Sept. 21, but the team is preparing no differently for the Gaels than everyone else in the conference.

"We have to take care of ourselves and the things that we can control," Hughes explained about the Mustangs' approach.

As a squad, the rugby coach believes Western is very well-balanced and don't possess any weaknesses. Western's perrenial men's rugby power will showcase their new attitude and brand of play at home against Waterloo on Sept. 25.

– Ryan Hickman


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