Track and Field is the only sport-everything else is just a game.
There were no judging controversies, no medal retractions and only one scoring error at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Track and Field Championships in Sherbrooke, P.Q. And when the dust settled, the University of Calgary Dinos came away with their best performance in years. The women finished third in the nation, keeping their pre-meet ranking, but the men were the competition's biggest surprise and came in fourth, three spots ahead of where the pundits predicted they'd finish.
"I am extremely happy with both results," said Head Coach Les Gramantik. "We went in seventh and third and finished fourth and third. You can't argue with those results."
The women rallied behind strong performances from Amy Barnett and Jessica King who pushed the 4 x 400 m relay to silver. Barnett reached the podium twice more in the 300 m and 600 m events and King won the 60 m hurdles for Calgary's only gold of the meet.
"Jessica was definitely our athlete of the meet," said a grinning Gramantik. "We are really thrilled with her performance."
The pentathletes also did well with a silver medal for Samantha Anderson, a fourth place finish for Melissa Van Hal, and a sixth place finish for veteran Renee Larocque. Anderson was actually announced as the winner but a recalculation of the scores relegated her to second place because a clerical error was made.
"We could have protested," said Gramantik. "The athletes are supposed to know their standing going into the final event."
Calgary chose not to complain because Gramantik felt it wouldn't be fair to the other athlete who had nothing to do with the error.
On the men's side, the scoring was clear and the pentathletes certainly didn't disappoint. Trevor Phillips finished with a silver medal and Adam Betzelt scored a personal best at the best possible time to finish sixth. The icing on the cake for the Dinos was Darren Clarke's three-medal tour-de-force on the track which helped power Calgary to fourth overall.
"Take away the early 1990s, and we have been hovering around seventh, eighth or ninth," said Gramantik. "Then the men were strong for a couple of years but we never produced these kinds of results. The women's program will be challenging for the national title in the next couple of years. The men's program still has a couple of holes in it, but it'll be strong as well."
Gramantik hopes that a string of good performances will give the Dinos a leg up on recruiting to make their teams even stronger.
"None of our big scorers are leaving us right now," he said. "We'll try to be a little more aggressive in recruitment. People want to come to a great program and we need to emphasize that we have a winning program."