November 11, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 40  

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Mustangs fail to make podium, place fifth

After a long and successful season, the Western Mustangs women's cross-country team was able to finish as one of the top five teams in Canada for 2003. "With our rich history, we were hoping to be on the podium, but the girls ran hard," said coach Bob Vigars

Temperatures ranged from -2C to -11C with wind-chill at the women's Canadian Interuniversity Sport Cross-Country Championship in Moncton, NB. Despite the weather conditions, the Mustangs pushed through to place fifth overall with a total time of 140 minutes.

Even team captain Shannon Gerrie couldn't manage to hold on to her third place spot due to winds of up to 60 km/h and slipped into a fifth place position in the race's final 200 metres. However, she was honoured this weekend, receiving first team All-Canadian status for the second consecutive year.

"We packed reasonably well -it was our best split of the season," Vigars said. The Mustangs's No. 1 and No. 5 runner were only separated by 1:24 but still couldn't reach a medal position. "Our scorers were just too far off the pace," Vigars added.

The violent winds challenged the team's small-framed runners, but the Mustangs gave a fine team effort. The team's top five finishers included Shannon Gerrie (fifth overall), rookie Jackie Bonisteel (22nd), Karen Gilbert (29th), Shayna Boland (38th) and Bethany Janzen(46th). Gilbert improved an incredible 41 spots from her finish at last year's CIS nationals.

The team's "displacers" also finished well despite the unexpected elements, coming in at 68th and 73rd. Rookie Andrea Brouwer finished 68th with good strength put forward in her first experience at the national level. "With a void of body fat of any significance, Andrea felt as though she ran the entire race in the Antarctic," Vigars quipped. Ashley Korman placed 73rd overall for the Mustangs, but was unable to overcome injury problems.

He was pleased with his team's accomplishments and said he is already looking forward to next season. "[The women] all gave and will give more over the next nine months to move onward and upward in the 2004 season."

With the entire team returning in 2004, as well as an extensive off-season strength training program, there should be ample opportunity to earn a medal next season. Vigars closed the book on the 2003 season with positive foresight: "Our sights are set ahead and all of us are excited that everyone returns next year."

-Alison Stolz




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