To start every season, one special cliche gets dusted off in ceremonial fashion: "We're in it to win." The 2002 Dinos track and field team is no exception.
"At the beginning of the season, we look real good on paper," said Assistant Coach Doug Lamont.
Yet, he conceded the greatest challenge will be to make winning a reality and not just another paper tiger in the scrapheap of unfounded athletic dreams.
Twelve months ago, the Dinos had similar hopes but both men's and women's squads finished a moderate eighth place at the nationals. Despite their optimism, at the end of the day the inexperienced Dinos were unable to compete with the top-level teams in the country.
A modest season opener at the University of Saskatchewan Fri., Jan. 11 was not indicative of the team's high expectations. The U of S Quad Dual meet pitted the Dinos against the formidable Huskies as well as the Universities of Regina and Alberta. Two of the three opponents fell to the Dino women, but only the men came out atop the Regina Cougars. According to Lamont, any lacklustre performance in points can be attributed to the team leaving out key veterans to allow newbies their chance to taste varsity competition early in the season.
The day did allow for a handful of Dinos to shine on the field. Jessica King (60m hurdles), Candice Laverty (triple jump), Tanya Vander Meulen (600m), Nathan Kendrick (3,000m) and Kyle Ricord (60m hurdle) all achieved personal bests and won their respective events.
With one meet under their belt and another to come Jan. 18--19 in Edmonton, Lamont is confident his team can reach their goals. His strategy is simple: "We just have to practise and show up on the day of Canada West."