September 19, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 13  

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Korman looks to build on past success
Fourth place finish just a start for 2003

By Alison Stolz
Gazette Writer

Geoff Robbins
"I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN." Women's cross country runner Ashley Korman hopes to build on last year's success.

Ashley Korman can't wait to start this year's cross country season.

Head coach Bob Vigars describes Korman as a refreshing young athlete with a good attitude and flavour for life. When Korman first tried out for the team, coaches didn't know what to expect. Her past running credentials were not as credible as previous runners, however with her "happy-go-lucky" outlook, Vigars knew she would be a good addition to the team. In the first inter-squad run, which determines the roster for the season, Korman placed third. And yet, it wasn't until the McGill Open that she really showed her stuff, placing as the number one runner for Western.

Korman attended high school in Thornhill and attended Westmount C.I, where she actively took part in swimming, volleyball, badminton, baseball and Ultimate Frisbee, as well as the track and cross country teams. She ran in the 800 and 1,500 metre events for track, participating yearly at OFSAA.

Since grade four Korman has taken pride in cross country running. She took a brief break in grades 7 and 8, but by the beginning of high school she felt a void in her life that needed to be filled.

In addition to high school sports, Ashley was a member of the Markham track team for six years and the North York club for two years.

"[Ashley] handled herself well - she had to get used to our systems and our level of training [and] working harder than ever before," Vigars says. "An endurance sport is pretty intense, because it's a year round thing, but she adjusted well."

The team practices six days a week for two hours a day. Korman also weight trains three times a week and continues to swim recreationally. "It's busy, I just have to keep my priorities straight - I don't party as much [as other students do]," she says.

One of the team's best and most memorable experiences last year was their meet in Chicago against teams from across the United States; they ended up second in their division.

"After seeing our placing and how well we did, we were so happy - we were cheering and hugging," Korman explains. She personally did very well in the meet recording her fastest time of the year at 18:43 minutes for the 5 km. race.

In the winter of 2003, Korman suffered from stress fractures in her hips and unfortunately wasn't able to complete the end of the season. She kept herself motivated though, keeping in shape for this year's season. Although she's not fully recovered, she's ready to compete this Saturday at the McGill Open.

"Our main goal for Ashley is to get her physically healthy once again," Vigars remarks. Korman herself states she is nervous and will take it easy if she needs to, but intends on competing to her full extent this weekend.

After winning Rookie of the Year for Western last year, she has decided to set her standards even higher for this year's season. "I want to make top ten in the OUA so that our team can participate in the nationals," Korman says. She plans to run as hard as she can in order to help her team advance and win the gold.

Vigars tries to motivate the girls subtly. "I try my best to provide a good team atmosphere, support and training programs, but mostly I rely heavily on the team to play a big role in motivating each other," he says.

Ashley describes the team as a big family. "All the girls on the team love to be part of it - it creates a good lifestyle and motivates the team even more."

The 29th annual Western International takes place on Sat., Sep. 27, at the Thames Valley Golf Course. The girls will be competing in the 5 km. run beginning at 10:30 am. Western will be competing against the top teams in the country including Dalhousie, McGill, Queen's and teams from the U.S., such as Michigan and Detroit.




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