Pain and glory in la belle province

By Ryan Laverty

What happened on the way to Sherbrooke? Was there something in the water or was it something they ate? Whatever it was, the Dinos track and field team that arrived at the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union Championships in Sherbrooke was not the same as the one in Winnipeg two weeks ago.
At the Canada West Conference Championships, the Dinos turned out some very solid performances, especially the women, and the team was positioned sixth in the national rankings going into the final meet of the season.

"The women, as a whole, didn’t have stellar performances," admitted Coach Doug Lamont. "We had a goal of 28 points for the women, and we managed to get 23. So we were a little shy, but it wasn’t bad."

There were some highlights from the meet, most notably Amy Barnett who had ran a personal best time in both the 300 and the 600 metre events; she took the silver medal in the 300. The women also managed to win silver in the 4×200 event, in a season record time of 1:42.67, thus making good on Lamont’s promise from last week, "they can go faster." As great as these results were, it still shouldn’t distract attention from the fact the team more or less choked. With three women qualified in the pentathlon, the Dinos managed to pull out a meagre two points from the event.

"These girls are competitors," quipped Lamont. "They did as well as they could on that day. They’re human and that’s why we don’t just mail in the results, we have to compete."

On the men’s side the Dinos fared a little better. Despite a fairly meagre year all around, the men managed to maintain their ranking in the top 10 in the CIAU. While they slipped for a little while–they fell behind the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Alberta, the University of Manitoba and the University of Regina in the Canada West final–the men came to compete in Sherbrooke. It seemed that whatever had adversely affected the women revitalized the men and carried them to respectability once again.

The men managed to accumulate 19 points and an eighth-place ranking. Sprinter/middle-distance runner Darren Clarke was by far the men’s most admirable performer, taking the gold medal in the 600m event and anchoring the men’s 4×400 metre team to a second-place finish.

So the season is over. For the women, it was a rather disappointing end to a fairly strong and consistent year. For the men it was the opposite; a team that struggled most of the season ended on a high. And whether it be for retribution or increased respect, you can bet you’ll see the same athletes back on the track next year.

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