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,"
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
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