October 15 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 25  

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Shannon Gerrie snags gold again

By James Grant
Gazette Writer

Geoff Robbins/Gazette
Opening the floodgates. Blake Murphy was one of the many Western cross country runners who blew away the competition at this weekend’s Mustang Open.

The Western cross country team turned the 2003 Mustang Open into a textbook case of absolute punishment at Gibbons Park this past weekend.

Not only did the women and men combine to defeat 15 of their 16 opponents, they also sent a confident message to the rest of the teams in Ontario.

The women finished first in their side of the meet as Shannon Gerrie again led the charge. In finishing first this year, Gerrie successfully defended her 2002 title and set a new meet record of 13:51 over the four kilometre course.

Cementing the win for the Mustangs were four other runners who finished in the top ten. They were rookie Jackie Bonisteel (sixth), Karen Gilbert (seventh), Ashley Korman (eighth) and rookie Andrea Brouwer (ninth).

"Our rookies really stepped up today. Jackie Bonisteel had yet another solid performance, indicating she is among the elite rookies in Canadian Interuniversity Sport this year. First-year students Andrea Brouwer and Bethany Janzen [who finished 15th] have come on like runaway locomotives over the last two weeks and provided a huge boost to the team," said coach Bob Vigars.

The women took a page from the men's strategy for success by placing the bulk of their runners together. This was the 10th time the Mustangs have captured the women's title at the Mustang Open.

On the men's side, Western finished a commendable second behind a strong squad from Waterloo in their six kilometre race.

Seventh place finisher Chris D'Esterre led the Mustangs across the finish line for the first time in his career in a time of 19:15.

True to form, the rest of the team was not far behind as Rob Berg (eighth), Tim Hain (10th), Blake Murphy (12th) and Elliot Craig (17th) all finished within 29 seconds of D'Esterre.

This meet marked the 10th time the men's team has finished second or better at the Mustang Open.

The formula of keeping all his runners together has worked well for Vigars and he hopes it will come in handy once again at the Ontario championships in two weeks.

The Ontario University Athletics Championships restricts each team to only seven runners. Named by the coaching staff to represent Western in two weeks are Shannon Gerrie, Jackie Bonisteel, Karen Gilbert, Ashley Korman, Andrea Brouwer, Bethany Janzen and Shayna Boland. The menÕs team features Rob Berg, Chris D'Esterre, Tim Hain, Blake Murphy, Scott Nelms, Elliot Craig and Steve Weiler.

The remaining team members will train with these 14 for the duration of the season as all team members play significant roles in their overall success.





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