Track team rounds into
form during their season opener
By Donnovan Bennett
BEEP BEEP! Two members of the Western track and field team
run Road Runner style in the 100 metre race. The Western
women took eight first place finishes during the weekend.
This past Saturday, the 29th annual track and field season opener
took place in Thompson Arena. This marks the start of the competitive
season for the perennial powerhouse Western Mustangs.
Ontario University Athletics teams that were represented were
Waterloo, Guelph and McMaster. A few local club athletes participated
as well, but without interprovincial rival Windsor or any real
out-of-conference competition, the meet was lacking lustre. To
the Mustangs, the meet was used as a measuring stick, as many of
the Western stars are just rounding into form.
Christian Heffernan, Preston Haynes and Randy McAuley spent the
first term sprinting on the gridiron, so their season has just
The Mustang women are the defending OUA champions and got off
to a good start by claiming eight first place finishes. The team
of young Mustangs were led by a core group of key veterans who
will be looked to for leadership. Veteran sprinters Henria Stephens
and Kristin Hodge showed they were in top form already in the 60
metre dash and 60 metre hurdles, respectively.
High results aside, Mustang coach Vickie Croley was happy to
give her stamp of approval. “These girls are looking strong and
better than they ever have at this time of year.”
Simultaneously, female jumper Kellie Goheen did her best Kris
Kross impression as she won the long jump with a 5.47 metre jump.
The fifth-year nutrition student also had enough energy to help
the women claim the 4 x 200 metre relay.
Felicia Smart, who credits her jumping ability to listening to
House of Pain as a youngster, blew all the competition away in
the high jump with a jump of 1.63 metres.
Despite the large success of the women, the talk of the meet was
the strength Western boasted in the men’s sprints and middle
distance categories. Last year’s men’s team was one
of the top teams in the country. With respect to this year’s
OUA competition, Chucky the doll would say, “they’re
FOREST, RUN. The Western men’s track and field team
claimed the top five spots in the men’s 600 metre race
at the 29th annual season opener.
The top five men finishers in the 600 metre were all Western men.
The winner was Bob Westman, who is new to running this race. After
being down early, he proved to be as cool as the underside of a
pillow, taking over the race with ease in the late stretches.
Speaking on the new experience of running the 600, Westman said, “I
pretty much ran scared. I realized this race hurts.”
Before the day was over, Preston Haynes’ presence was felt
as well. Also new to the 600, Haynes placed third, not to mention
his anchoring of the 4 x 200 metre men’s relay team, which
made short work of the competition.
“I felt I did OK, but as a competive person, I’m always
looking to get better and constantly improve,” Haynes said,
adding he also posted All-Canadian times in the 4 x 200.
All-Canadian Christian Heffernan was another cog in the star-studded
4 x 200 team. He elected to only run the relay as he was still
easing in to top shape. On his personal performance, Heffernan
said, “I’m happy with how I performed since I had my
spikes on for the first time four days ago, but I need to build
from this and be consistent.” This sprinter should be a threat
once again come this year’s OUA’s and nationals.
“It is a good indication of where we are at and how much
we need to improve to challenge in the OUA,” Croley said,
speaking about the meet.
The only difficulty for Croley will be to find a way to spread
the talent across the board from 60 to 600 metres to get as much
out of their athletic prowess as possible in order to rack up the
points come OUA finals.
Regardless, the Western Mustangs’ track teams’ level
of excellence and domination of all competition stays the same
as they “get medals or die tryin’.”