By Gabriel Rodrigues, Sports Editor
Although Laurentian’s women’s indoor track team didn’t win any medals at this year’s OUA Championships held at York University on Feb. 27 and 28, their coach considers his squad’s season “a great success.”
“We gauge our results based on improvement,” said Dick Moss. “We saw personal bests in every meet and everyone finished the season a more accomplished athlete than when they began.”
At this year’s OUA Championships, Laurentian attained two school records, two top-eight performances and four personal bests within four different categories which includes the pentathlon, 1000m, 1500m and 3000m.
Alicia Violin, who is the Voyageurs’ pentathlete, finished seventh place with a personal best of 3137 points overall, breaking Laurentian’s pentathlon school record.
Violin set a personal best in the high jump (1.55m), shot put (9.80m), and 800m (2:33.25), including a season’s best in the 60m hurdles (9.55).
The 1000m race included two Laurentian athletes, as Samantha Edwards and Jenna Thornber finished 11th and 15th with times of 3:03.05 and 3:09.82.
In the 1500m, which featured seven of the top 12 ranked runners in the CIS, Laurentian’s Katie Wismer led the way for the Voyageurs, as she finished ninth at the OUAs with a personal best and new school record with a time of 4:33.43.
Also, Laurentian’s Edwards and Emily Marcolini placed 17th and 24th in the 1500m at the Championships, and set personal best performances setting times of 4:45.20 and 4:48.23.
Wismer also led the Voyageurs in the 3000m finishing with a time of 10:02.29 which was good enough for eighth in the province.
Following Wismer’s performance in the 3000m were Marissa Lobert and Michelle Kennedy, who placed 11th and 17th with times of 10:06.18 and 10:23.24.
Combining Laurentian’s pentathlon and race scores within the 1000m, 1500m and 3000m, the Voyageurs also managed to achieve an eight place overall finish within the women’s team competition.
Despite failing to have an athlete within the top-three, Moss never had expectations to medal at the OUAs, but was hoping for his competitors to set personal bests and place within the top-eight, which “we achieved.”
“The school records and the team points were a bonus,” said Moss. “You can’t ask much more from an athlete than to perform better than they ever have in their career, and our athletes put themselves in the mix and had excellent performances.”
Moss said competition in Ontario is “incredibly high” and the 1500m, for example, is just one race of many that demonstrates how competitive the province really is compared to the rest of the nation.
“Katie Wismer’s time of 4:33.43 would have won the Quebec and the AUS Championships,” said Moss. “The women who medaled in the OUA 1500m were ranked first, third and fifth in the CIS and Katie would have had to beat those women to medal.”
While the competitive level continues to increasingly get higher within the OUA, Moss believes his athletes’ understanding of competing for a provincial championship will make future competitions “less intimidating.”
“The experience is vital,” he said. “And the experience with race tactics will be put in our runners’ mental database so they can react appropriately in future races.”
Even though this spells the end of the Voyageurs’ year, Moss expects this track season to further his team’s “overall development” going into the 2015 cross-country campaign.
“Our track team is composed of our cross-country runners,” said Moss. “By design, we specialize in the distance running events, (and) most of our runners are back next year, so we’ll be starting our cross season in very good shape.”