Track team sits in first in CIS

Guelph, Windsor hot on heels

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs men's high jump

Laura Barclay

YOU DON'T WANT TO GET THIS GUY HOPPING MAD. Nick Glover and the entire Western track team will be competing in South Bend, Indiana and Windsor this weekend. The women's team is once again on pace for another record-breaking season.

With the Western women’s track and field team in first place in the country, Jennifer Webber is seeing gold.

“We are hoping to win Ontario University Athletics and win Canadian Interuniversity Sport,” she said. “Right now we are ranked number one in the CIS, so I think that shows our depth and how challenging we will be.”

The squad had high hopes at the beginning of the season, and the team’s goal to be on top has panned out.

“I have never been on a track team before,” Leila Angrand said. “As a team I was hoping we would do well. I was hoping for top three.

“I think we have depth in every event; in every event we have someone who is on top. In every event we have the opportunity to come top three.”

Kara Wark said that coming into this year the team lost some integral members, but the women have stepped up to fill the void.

“Our women’s team was really strong last year and we had a bunch of good athletes but they all graduated,” she said. “We are trying to make sure everyone is really strong and making up for the people who left.

“But we have a lot of good athletes this year that are top in the country.”

Despite losing some crucial members coming into this season, the team has shown it has the talent to do well in the finals.

The team’s first official meet took place at the University of Windsor, where the ’Stangs placed second overall. The women then traveled to McGill University and had a second place finish there as well, according to Webber.

“[Montreal] is a fast track so we always do well there,” she said. “That is where CIS is as well.

“This weekend we are sending people to [the University of] Notre Dame, which is a fast track, and Windsor.”

Notre Dame is a huge event for the track team, while the Windsor tournament will help prepare the ’Stangs prior to a meeting with the Lancers in the finals.

“[Notre Dame] is an NCAA school ... so that is huge for anyone who is going there,” Wark said. “We don’t expect any winners at all. The girls will be happy to get in the top 10.”

Head coach Vickie Croley is confident this weekend will bring even more success to the season.

“I hope to come away with some excellent performances this weekend at both Notre Dame and Windsor where our athletes will move up in the rankings in some of the running events,” she said. “[Then] next weekend will be a low-key weekend with most of our OUA team athletes either off or doing just one event as we build towards the OUAs in Windsor Feb. 22-23.”

With only a few tournaments left, Croley stressed the importance of remaining strong, as the Guelph Gryphons and the Lancers are right on their heels.

“I am confident that performances will improve come championship time,” she said. “It is out of our control how the other teams’ athletes perform so we can’t worry about them, but stay focused on what we do.

“Any of the three teams [Western, Guelph or Windsor] could win OUAs and it will be a battle.”

Western’s success will come not only from its athletic ability, but Webber believes one of the team’s greatest strengths is unity.

“We are pretty tight so it makes it easier to compete together,” she said. “The support is great.”

Wark agreed the team’s cohesion is one of its greatest assets.

“We all get along really well; that’s the biggest thing,” she said. “With our team we have a lot of good athletes so that helps us, and our team is really competitive within the team so that’s also good.

“After practice we are friends, but during practice we are against each other.”

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