Cross country for women was not added until 1977 as a B sanction sport. It was taken on fully as a sport the same year. The women got off to a quick start though, winning the Ontario Women’s Interuniversity Athletic Association title in 1979-80.
By the late 1980s, cross country was seen as the most successful varsity sport at Western. The women’s cross country team was no exception and saw great success under Coach Bob Vigars, winning the national title five times in a row from 1980-84, which was a first for the university. The team helped Vigars achieve his Coach of the Year status, winning six of ten national titles in the 1980s. They then made it seven national titles in eleven years in 1990, which was a record for Western and Canada, and by 1995 it was nine in total. The 1980s and 1990s also saw a number of outstanding women, including future Olympian May Alizadeh.
In the 1990s, Vigars continued to coach only the cross country team, which continued to see success, winning one national title and eight top five finishes. There was some disappointment in this though, after the performance of the 1980s. The team found support in Vigars, who believed in the importance of a strong women’s team to show it was not just men competing.
To read about the history of men's cross country click here.