Judge and Cotten lead track team to 4th, 2nd place finishes

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Jumping over the high-jump bar

Jon Purdy

HE'LL BEND OVER BACKWARD FOR YOU. Western's track and field teams performed well at nationals in Montreal this past weekend. The women's team placed second in Canada, while the men finished in fourth place. Standout performances were had by Andrew Judge, Jen Cotten and Heather Patterson.

The Western track and field team had one of its best showings in a long time on the men’s and women’s side at this year’s national championships in Montreal this past weekend.

The women finished the three-day tournament with a silver medal, while the men ended the competition in fourth place.

The first day of the competition went smoothly for the Mustangs, with Western’s women leading the tournament.

Jen Cotten and Shellie McParland owned the pentathlon event, finishing first and second place respectively, while also beating their personal best scores in the race.

“Overall I think the women’s team is happy with their performances,” Cotten said. “Obviously it would have been nice to win the title, but so many girls busted out career and season-bests that you really can’t be disappointed.

“I think track is ultimately about testing yourself and when you accomplish a new level of performance, there’s not much that can bring you down.”

Heather Patterson provided another podium finish for the Mustangs, winning a bronze medal in the weight throw. Patterson’s distance was her best of the season and good enough for third place in Canada.

The men also competed hard on the first day, with Jason Kerr and Randy McAuley finishing in seventh and eighth place respectively in the 60m dash.

Teammate Aaron Grainge finished in 10th place in the pentathlon.

Both teams were feeling very confident heading into day two. The women continued their domination, finishing the day in first place with 71 points.

The points piled in after Cotten’s fifth-place finish in the 60m hurdles and McParland’s eighth-place finish in the same event. McParland and Cotten were also impressive in the long jump, with Cotten finishing third and McParland sixth. But the star of the long jump was Alanna Backx, who finished in second and injured herself in the process.

Jenn House also contributed integral points with her eighth-place finish in the pole vault.

With three athletes in the top five of the shot put event, Patterson in second, Sarah Manson in fourth, Sarah McIntosh fifth, and a sixth-place finish in the 4x800m relay team event, the Mustangs women were on their way to a high overall finish.

The men were in seventh place overall after day two, with many great performances motivating them into day three.

Andrew Judge received gold in long jump and Alex Witmer finished second in the high jump event.

“Long jump was a major success for me. After dropping hurdles this year, my ultimate goal has been the gold in my jumping events since day one,” Judge said. “To have finally " after four years " earned a gold medal for my performance, it’s something that I will cherish forever.”

Judge also discussed the fourth-place standing of the men’s team.

“We ended up in fourth overall, but were only seven points out of the top spot, so it gives you a perspective of the type of competition this was.”

With almost double Western’s points, the Guelph Gryphons were leading the men and continued to dominate the competition in day three on the men’s and women’s side.

The Gryphons squeaked by Western’s women by a wispy 6.5 point margin.

Guelph’s star Lindsay Carson was too much for the ’Stangs; her six points in the 1500m race may have been the difference between gold and silver.

It was only a slight drop in the standings for the women, who finished second overall, but for the men it was a jump up to fourth place, after starting in seventh on the final day. Guelph also won gold on the men’s side.

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