Volume 96, Issue 61
Friday, January 17, 2003

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Western's brothers of speed haunt Canadian track and field

By Ryan Hickman
Gazette Staff

Beth Kerim/Gazette
 

The brethren of speed at Western has bolted out of the blocks this year.

Jeff Rae (pictured left) and Deon Crawley have both geared themselves in different directions to be a part of this year's Mustangs men's track and field team, but the two are both cranking it up as new additions for 2002/03.

Rae is the Windsor native and rookie who runs the 60 metre like he was just stuffed into the barrel of a shotgun and blasted out to murder the finish line. Crawley is the veteran, with sprint range from the 60 all the way up to the 600m, who has rejoined the team after a year hiatus, polishing up his academics.

Both Crawley and Rae have had to make transitions coming to the team – one from a year off the competitive track circuit and the other into the whirlwind lifestyle of first-year on a varsity sports team.

Rae also fires around the oval in the 300m race and was the lead sprinter on the 4x400m relay team that put up a Canadian Interuniversity Sport standard time this past weekend at the Don Wright Meet at Western, giving the relay team a free pass to the Nationals.

Rae has a very relaxed and fluid running style and can never be misplaced on the track because of the long, whipping, brown hair that follows behind him like curtains being blown back from an open window.

"I used to have really short hair, but I was just tired of getting it cut," Rae said concerning his locks, which fall over his ears when he's standing still. "I get a lot of heckling to get it cut. I've just had too many bad hair cuts."

It wasn't the hair that created the buzz around Rae this past weekend at the meet, but rather his slingshot speed, especially in the 60m, which he won with a time of under seven seconds. The performance placed him as the number one-ranked speed merchant in the nation.

"He is a really laid back guy," said Western head coach Catherine Bond-Mills of her new horse in the Mustangs' sprint stable. "But he has a great work ethic and a rational work ethic. He doesn't go overboard or go crazy, but quietly does his workouts and is a leader."

"I have been very impressed with him. He's been at the top of workouts and is already a key player on our team coming in as a rookie," Crawley said about his teammate. "My first year, I was just coming in and spinning my wheels, but it's a long season and you have to moderate that."

Crawley said harnessing the natural tendency to run like hell all year long has come from the maturity he has obtained this year, of which Rae has already grasped.

According to Bond-Mills, along with experience, Crawley also possesses a lot of potential, and is the consummate role player, with his flexibility throughout events.

Crawley, who has tightly groomed hair and a loping jaunt around the track, can identify with Rae's transition process after his year off the varsity team and the commitment to the intertwining of academics and athletics.

"It's all time management," Crawley said. "It's tough throughout the year, with training and weights. It takes a toll on you with the long season."

Bond-Mills explains that Crawley had to be driven in order to come back to the team and thrive like he has after a year of running on his own.

"It's difficult to come back into a structured system," Bond-Mills said. "Physically, he came in and was in a position to jump into training groups."

Crawley, a London high school graduate, also spent the holiday break at home, working a lot on his running, instead of joining some of his other teammates, including Rae, to train in Orlando.

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