Team trips up at nationals

Angrand takes home the bronze

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western women's cross country

Jonas Hrebeniuk

SHE CAN "JOG" YOUR MEMORY ... *CRICKETS*. The women’s cross- country team were hoping to medal at the CIS nationals in British Columbia, but they finished a somewhat disappointing fifth. The men's team placed ninth in the country.

Cross country coach Bob Vigars knew that Leila Angrand would finish well at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championships this past weekend at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, B.C., but he did not expect the women’s team would face such disappointment.

“[Angrand] was the first-team all-Canadian as well as the bronze medalist, so that’s our high achiever on the women’s side,” he said. “But we just weren’t able to stay up with the medal pack [at nationals].

“The guys weren’t expected to medal ... but the girls we thought could finish in the medals and we were a little flat.”

The women’s team finished fifth overall with 147 points, while the men ended their season in ninth place with 185 points.

The men’s top performances in the 10km dash were Nathan De Witt, who finished 22nd and Kyle O’Neill, who was the second-best rookie with a time of 32:45. He also won Ontario University Athletics rookie of the year.

For the women’s five-km dash, Angrand finished third " her best finish ever at nationals " with a time of 18:04.

Angrand, a transfer student from Laurentian University, blended well with the team and is an irreplaceable force on the squad.

“It is nice to have a big banger coming in, someone who is going to be up there with the lead pack,” Vigars said. “She has used up her five years of CIS eligibility ... that is a big loss.

“She is certainly one of the top female athletes on campus.”

Despite the loss of Angrand next year, both the men’s and women’s teams look promising.

“We might only lose [Angrand], but that’s a huge loss. It is really difficult sometimes to get a recruit coming in at that level unless they are a transfer student like she was,” Vigars said.

“[However], we arguably had the best recruiting class in the country on the guys side and we will only lose two of our guys, so the future looks good in that way.”

Despite the tough finish at nationals, Vigars is proud of both teams’ overall efforts this season.

“It was a really great season and you can’t let one competition define your whole year,” he said. “We are still one of the premier cross-country programs in the country.

“The reason why we might get disappointed is our rich tradition of being up on top for years, but that’s just sport. The bottom line is people are coming away with a good feeling.”

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