September 30, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 18  

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Cross country success
Mustangs gaining momentum

By James Grant
Gazette Writer

The 29th Annual Western International Cross Country Invitational went off without a hitch this past Saturday at Thames Valley Golf Course.

This year's event featured seven of the top 10 women's teams in Canada, as well as four of the top 10 men's squads. To make it truly an international event, four American schools were in attendance as well.

The Western women took to the 5 km course early in the morning and showed once again they are a force to be reckoned with.

It turned out to be the closest finish in the history of the event as the home squad fell by only one point to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport number one ranked squad from Queen's University.

"We are blessed with great depth and even greater team spirit. After some disruptions to the team this past week, our women ran with courage and conviction," said head coach Bob Vigars. "Not everyone had a good race, but for those that fell a bit short of what they had hoped to accomplish in this race, others stepped up to help the team maintain its high ranking."

Team captain Shannon Gerrie led the charge again for the Mustangs with a third place finish. She beat her previous best time at the event by one minute. Other prominent runners were Karen Gilbert (14th), Jackie Bonisteel (15th), Ashley Korman (16th) and Andrea Brouwer (30th).

This event proved the Mustangs are going to be a huge problem for teams throughout the country. They will look to pick up that one point and more against Queen's at the CIS Championships in Moncton this November.

Meanwhile, the Windsor Lancers cruised to victory on the men's side by 16 points over their closest competitors from Central Michigan. They are by far the team to beat in Canada this season.

The Mustang men finished sixth overall but accomplished their goal of a top three result in their conference. They scored behind only Windsor and Guelph and gave the team something positive to take out of the weekend.

The Mustangs also followed their game plan and packed all five of their top runners into less than a minute of each other.

"Similar to our women's team today, the men did not fire on all cylinders, but gutted it out with great resolve to garner an overall performance that will lend positive momentum to the season," Vigars said.

The top five Mustangs were Tim Hain (23rd), Chris D'Esterre (31st), Scott Nelms (35th), Rob Berg (39th) and Blake Murphy (40th).

This year marked the 18th year the Western International was held at the Thames Valley Golf Course.

The next event for the teams will be on Oct. 4 when they travel to Chicago for the Loyola of Chicago Lakefront Invitational. It should be a welcome test for the Mustangs while also allowing them to see some new competition before returning to the Canadian circuit.



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