Range is 'Stangs'
Western women tough all over
By Ryan Hickman
|THE LONG WAY
HOME. Long distance runner Shannon Gerrie driving into Nationals.
With varsity sports
all but dead on our campus, the Western track and field team is looking
to breathe some life into the dilapidated Mustang with the Canadian Interuniversity
Sports Championships this weekend at the St. Denis Centre at the University
The Western women's track and field team travels south on Highway 401
this weekend with a big target on their back. Although they are ranked
fourth in the country going into the biggest meet of the year, they are
the defending CIS champions and pulled out a stunner two weeks ago by
taking the Ontario University Athletics team championship.
"We really were a bit of a surprise at the OUAs," said Western
head coach Catherine Bond-Mills. "Everybody stepped up and had some
of the best performances of the season and even their careers."
Track and field is a long and grueling season and saving enough in the
tank for the end of the year is important. The Western women seem to be
doing just that. Bond-Mills pinpointed the peaking performances of Jen
Moskal and Ashley McNeill going into the weekend.
"She is looking good right now at exactly the right time," Bond-Mills
said about her captain, McNeill, who qualified for five events this weekend,
but will have to forego the 60 metres because of scheduling for other
McNeill is ranked in the top 10 in Canada in the 300m and has one of a
handful of the best times in the country for the 60m hurdles. She also
anchors the OUA - winning 4 x 200m and 4 x 400m relay teams, both of which
are slotted in as the third best in the nation.
McNeill is one of many seniors on the women's team who will be competing
in their final university meet this weekend.
"The CIS championship will be a sad day, no matter what the outcome,"
said McNeill regarding the emotion that will be evident in Windsor.
Other graduating athletes competing this weekend are Jenn Bain, who is
the lead on the 4 x 200m and 4 x 400m relay teams that include Kristin
Hodge and Marnie Lee. Lindsay Whitehead, who is ranked in the top 10 in
high jump, and Moskal, who displayed her ranging dominance with four silver
medals at the OUA championships, are also going into their final meets.
Other strong performances this weekend will be expected out of Shannon
Gerrie in the 3000m, where she is one of the top distance runners in Canada,
and Tanya Krynen, who won the OUA pole vault title and goes into the weekend
ranked second in the CIS.
On the field for the Mustangs women, Kelly Goheen looks to tally points
in the long jump and youngster Alanna Boudreau needs to hop, skip and
jump in the triple.
The wide range of athletes from top to bottom in all events is what makes
the Western women so dangerous in the team competition.
"We have good coverage across all events," Bond-Mills commented
about the dynamics of her squad. "We have the potential to score
points and knock off other teams."
"Our team has so much depth and we have a competitor in every event
that we could be a surprise," Bain explained. "The team feels
that anything can happen. [Nationals] is not out of our reach."
The stiffest competition for Western will come from out west, specifically
the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Calgary. The Mustangs
will have to maximize their entire team's abilities to put some purple
on the podium.
with files from Mike Burton