by Brett Hedges
Sports Editor – The Lance
The Windsor Lancers track and field team have begun the new year with strong performances in the 34th annual Can-Am Classic.
A total of nine medals were won by Lancer athletes during the Classic, hosted at the St. Denis Centre Jan.9 and 10 – their first home meet of the season.
Team captain, Jill VanDamme took home the only gold medal for the Lancer women, winning their weight throw event with a heave of 16.69m.
“It was really nice to get a mark that’s close to my [personal best],” said VanDamme, who is in her third year of eligibility.
The Lancers took part in a post-holiday training camp in San Diego, Cal. which VanDamme said helped her prepare for the Can-Am Classic with the chance to have a series of undisturbed practices.
“During exams, your focus is shifted, as it has to be when you’re a student athlete,” said VanDamme, who is a kinesiology student. “It was a good chance to shake off the rust from exams and the break you get at Christmas.”
Showing no rust whatsoever were the Lancer men’s 4-by-800-metre relay team, who broke their own meet record set one year earlier with a time of 4:35.42. The team consisted of Paul LaMarra, Taylor McArthur, Corey Bellemore and Alex Ullman.
Milos Savic won the other gold medal for the team as he took the men’s pole vault with a height of 4.83m, which qualified him for the CIS championships, which will be hosted by the University of Windsor at the St. Denis Centre from March 12 through 14.
“Qualifying this early is a huge relief,” said Savic. “It’s always nice booking your ticket to CIS with auto standard. Now it’s basically me competing against myself and my [personal bests].”
Additional medals went to Brett Boersma who took home silver in the men’s shot put with a throw of 15.50m while Branden Wilhelm also placed second in the men’s high jump event, clearing 2.03m and qualifying for nationals.
“I would have liked to jump higher,” said Wilhelm, who holds the meet record of 2.16m and personal best jump of 2.22m. “[But] I jumped better than I have been lately and it’s nice to have things coming together and seeing practices paying off.”
Rounding out the medal haul was Sarah Swain with a third place finish in the women’s pole vault, clearing 3.76m and rookie thrower Sarah Mitton, who took bronze in the event and qualified for nationals with a toss of 13.88m. Andrew Dandie won bronze in the men’s long jump, leaping 6.86m.
The Lancers will travel to Grand Valley, MI., Jan. 16 to take part in the Mike Lints Invitational.