February 18, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 77  

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SPORTS

Mustangs dominate squash tourney

By Matt Lambert
Gazette Writer

After recently capturing their 21st consecutive Ontario University Athletics title, Western’s most successful sports team continued their dominance this past weekend.

The men’s squash team competed in the Ontario University Singles Championship at London’s Town and Country Fitness and Racquetball Club. The tournament was not a sanctioned OUA event and most of the squash teams’ funding has been cut.

Despite competition from Brock, Waterloo and McMaster, Western finished the tournament with the top eight positions.

In the finals, squash team co-captains Rob Nigro and Andrew Jones squared-off with Nigro winning the match 3-0 for first place overall. This was the third consecutive time Nigro has won the tournament.

“Typically we don’t get the exposure that you would expect in relation to the success of the team,” said Western head coach Jack Fairs.

“Western is a powerhouse,” said Brock head coach David Forgeron. “We’re not going to come in here and win this. [There are ] many things we can learn [from Western]; you are blessed with something that is very special.”

“Western has the best squash team in Canada, for university,” said first- year social science student Mark Ridgeway. Ridgeway attributes the team’s success this season to hard work.
Despite losing in the final, co-captain and fourth year kinesiology student
Andrew Jones said that he aims to be a leader to some of the younger guys coming up. “We take our squash, our position and trying to keep that winning record alive seriously,” Jones said when asked what led to the team’s success. “But our team is a lot of laughs with a laid-back atmosphere.”

The team’s successful weekend came in the wake of an announcement that Fairs will be inducted into the NCAA Collegiate Squash Hall of Fame at Yale University on Feb. 28.

This doesn’t come as much of a surprise to those who know Fairs. Ridgeway and Forgeron described Fairs as a legend. “I’m not surprised because Jack is a huge influence in the OUA and NCAA,” Forgeron said.

Fairs has been the cornerstone of the program for 40 years. “We’ve been fortunate at this school to have attracted a strong talent base,” Fairs said. “You can be the best coach in the world, but if you don’t have excellent players then you’re not going to do well. Our program, no question, would be stronger even if we had some courts on campus.”

The request is a natural one given the fact that the only courts in the University Community Centre are not regulation size.

“We would love to see a new facility with an area for spectating. It would be awesome for Jack before he retires or leaves,” Jones said.

The squash team’s next event is the US Intercollegiate Squash Championship, which takes place at the end of the month — the same weekend as Fairs’ induction. The Mustangs are ranked seventh nationally in the NCAA.

 

 

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