by Brett Hedges
Sports Editor – The Lance
It wasn’t all fun and games for the Windsor Lancers track and field team as they took part in the program’s annual Blue and Gold inter-squad meet over a two day span at the St. Denis Centre, Dec. 1 and 2.
Four Lancers athletes set new meet records, including Jill VanDamme, who set the new mark in the women’s weight throw with a toss of 17.10m. VanDamme’s big heave also qualified her for the CIS national championships to be hosted by the University of Windsor at the St. Denis Centre in March, 2015.
Lancers head coach, Dennis Fairall, in his 29th season with the track and field team, said the best quality of this year’s team is its depth.
“We had four girls run under eight-seconds flat in the 60m dash,” said Fairall. “I didn’t think we would have this kind of depth but I’m excited we have it.”
A pair of long distance records were also broken, beginning with Stephanie Smith finishing the women’s 3,000m with a time of 9:56.80. Smith also won the women’s 1,500m in 4:48.67, but Lancers teammate Meaghan Marton traded the lead with Smith all the way to the finish line, completing the race in 4:49.35.
Marton, a fourth year psychology and women’s studies major, said the team has grown in size and strength since her first season.
“We have some talented individuals on the team,” said Marton, who runs the 800m, 1,000m, 1,500m and 3,000m as well as varsity cross country. “It looks like we are just coming back to the size and strength we were when we won the CIS title in 2012. I see nothing but success from each and everyone.”
In the men’s 1,500m, Corey Bellemore scorched the field and record book with a time of 3:54.04 to win the gold medal.
Lancers standout Sarah Swain broke the women’s pole vault record by clearning 3.36m – which qualified her for the national championships – but she wasn’t finished there. Swain also won the 60m dash in 7.93 and the 60m hurdles in 8.93 before she took part in the mixed 4x200m relay.
Fairall said with so many athletes posting good results in the team’s opening competition, it’s hard for the long-time Lancers head coach not to be excited.
“Traditionally, we’ve always been better as the season progressed,” said Fairall. “So [seeing these strong results early in the season] is a good thing.”
Sarah Mitton won the women’s shot put with a throw of 13.34m, leaving her only 10cm away from qualifying for the national championships in March. Alongside VanDamme, the Lancers womens throws team will look for steady improvement throughtout the season under first-year coach, Celine Freeman-Gibb. Freeman-Gibb is coming off an impressive throws career with the Lancers, with OUA and CIS medals to prove it. Gibb holds the womens Blue and Gold shot put record at 14.79m.
The men’s throw team is going through a rebuild year with two Lancer football players as the anchors. After tossing opposing defensive linemen during their fall football season, Brett Boersma and Daniel Benson turn to throwing 20-lb shot puts and 35-lb weights during the winter track season.
Despite the lack of talent, men’s throws coach, Mike Miller remains focused on the goal at hand.
“Track and field is cyclical,” said Miller. “A lot of our throwers are young and it’s going to take some time to get them ready.”
The Lancers will take part in their yearly training camp over the holiday break and travel to San Diego, CA. for a week before hosting a Can Am meet at the St. Denis Centre, Jan. 9 and 10.