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FAREWELL FOR DUNKERLEY
Steep leap P.9
Ottawa’s most decorated Paralympian Jason Dunkerley is hanging them up after 20 years wearing the maple leaf.
CAN’T CATCH KATHERINE
A 6th-place finisher provincially in her final year of high school, 2018 Canadian senior women’s silver medallist Divya Biswal has made a slow and steady rise up the Canadian triple jump ranks. The Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club athlete’s performance at the July 3-8 Canadian Track-and-Field Championships at Terry Fox Athletic Facility put her in position to represent Canada at August’s NACAC continental championships in Toronto, on the heels of making her first national team alongside her twin sister Devyani last year.
Rally Cycling’s Katherine Maine stole the show at the Canadian road cyclingchampionships, winning three medals.
photo: dan plouffe
Jumper inches to international stage, 1 of 4 Lions to make Team Canada grade at home nationals By Brendan Shykora
13-year-old Kate Miller’s meteoric rise to diving stardom continued at the Junior Diving Development Nationals.
The climb to the world stage of track and field continues for four local athletes following the 2018 Canadian Track and Field Championships. Ottawa Lions Tim Nedow, Saj Alhaddad, Divya Biswal and University of Toronto’s Alicia Brown all qualified for the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) 2018 Track and Field Championships. If they’re successful
enough at the NACAC championships – which take place in Toronto from August 10-12 – the four athletes will punch a ticket to the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Qatar. For Biswal, getting to NACAC has been a hard-fought battle. After a breakout season last year in which she set an Ottawa Lions club record in triple jump, she moved to New York City working as an analyst on Wall Street. But due to circumstances beyond her control, her training schedule in New
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York didn’t go the way she hoped. “I didn’t actually get to do any running in the indoor season besides on a treadmill, which is not how a jumper wants to train,” she said. It’s been a struggle with confidence for Biswal this season, but things got better when she started seeing a sports psychologist. “The stigma around mental health is so big right now, so I’m happy I’ve finally gotten the courage to work on myself.” “It was tough coming into this meet
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because I struggle with confidence in my personal life,” Biswal went on. “But I finally feel like I’m getting there, so I feel actually very encouraged.” Biswal earned her spot at the NACAC events with a 12.51 m measure in triple jump – good for a silver medal. She nearly had an even better result; her final three jumps were deep, but each saw a red flag raised, indicating a foul.
TRACK NAT’Ls continues p.8
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— Help open doors for local low-income kids in sport & life — Try new sports in an enjoyable environment, in a beautiful setting on the rideau river.
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Saturday, September 15 G RD Y R U A O O O Te n n i s • Vo l l e
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RIDEAU SPORTS CENTRE 1 D O N A L D S T R E E T (formerly Rideau Tennis Club)
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Fundraiser to Support the Ottawa Sportspage CAMPS Project.
enablING low-income children & youth from Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhoods to shoot for the stars with Ottawa's best community sports clubs. Thanks to our generous partners at Rideau Sports Centre, 100% of funds raised will go directly to support our programs.
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– ELITE – Ravens legend Scrubb ups’ it internationally
By Curtis Rafter
Performance Points with the experts from: Speed development doesn’t come quick
The key to speed is to take it slow. That idea may seem contradictory, but for young athletes looking to increase their speed and agility, patience is crucial. The biggest danger with an “I want it now!” mentality in athletes is the potential for injury. Injuries of course set you back even farther, and the down time can lead to lost confidence and motivation. It can become a vicious circle. When coaches work with developing athLyndon George STA Track-and-Field Coach letes, it’s important not to over-stress any of Founder, CANI Athletics their systems. The human body is a wonderful machine, but it can break down. Properly sequenced workouts is one piece to injury prevention. If you’re fatigued from a workout, don’t follow it up the next day with a workout that’s equally as intense. While it may be possible to push through smaller injuries, something like shin splints can be a red flag that your ligaments or muscles are still developing, so you may want to back off a little bit.
BUILD ON THE BASICS Another key is to avoid taking shortcuts. Don’t start lifting heavy weights if you don’t first have a solid training foundation. An athlete may look strong from lifting, but you need to have proper core strength and supporting muscles to keep training at a high level over the long haul. Experience in a variety of sports is helpful. I often give my athletes exercises where they use their own bodyweight as resistance. You might be surprised how strong you can get that way.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL When it comes to being speedy, agility is essential. Some people may look fast, but their kinesthetic awareness may not be great, or their coordination may be awkward. For example, a football player has to be able to move laterally, backwards, and forwards – quickly and fluidly. Working on mechanics with a dedicated sprints coach can be beneficial. Exercises for hip mobility, lower leg strength and jumps may be overlooked without an experienced eye there to guide you.
PERSONAL APPROACH A rock solid coach-athlete relationship is critical to long-term progress. Small regular training groups (5-8 athletes ideally) allow you to accomplish more. That provides increased individual attention and assessment, and allows you to develop good communication and a close relationship with your coach. And lastly, remember: High-level training is hard work, but you always need to have fun and enjoy it. A happy and healthy athlete is my first goal as a coach. So take your time. Don’t rush the process. Build slowly. Be patient. Go slow – because in time, your speed will show.
About Lyndon George: Lyndon competed in the 1987 IAAF World Championships in Rome and was a member of the 1996 Olympic Team for his native St. Lucia. As Head Coach of the City College of New York (2OO4-2OO7), his teams placed in the top-4 of the NCAA Championships 4 times, and were 2nd twice. He was named CUNYC Conference Coach of the Year 3 times. In all, Lyndon helped cultivate 6O+ All-Americans, 12 NCAA Champions and 2 Olympians. Since returning to Ottawa and founding CANI Athletics, he’s guided local athletes to many National medals, championships and National teams.
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Carleton Ravens legend Phil Scrubb came to play in his homecoming with Canada’s national team, leading his squad to a 99 to 69 victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands at TD Place on July 2nd. Scrubb’s 14 points tied the Miami Heat’s Kelly Olynyk total for the team Canada lead, but it was the five-time national champion’s effort and energy that set him apart. Despite a sparse holiday-Monday crowd, Scrubb received resounding applause when he first subbed into the game with 2:10 left in the first quarter. He forced a shot clock violation shortly after with quick and harassing defence, helping Canada close out the quarter on top 20-16. Scrubb got going in the second quarter by nailing a quick jumper, hitting a few free throws, then knocking down a three pointer, all within a two-minute span. He kept up his performance and Canada began to pull away with the game, up 12 heading into the half. The third quarter was more of the same as Scrubb kept contributing and Canada kept increasing its lead. The Virgin Islands were never able to string together a run and the game was all but over for the Caribbean territory heading into the
Phil Scrubb maneuvers around a U.S. Virgin Islands defender. fourth. Coach Jay Triano was highly complementary of Scrubb’s performance, telling the Ottawa Sportspage some of the lesser known ways that Scrubb helps his team. Guys like Scrubb, “understand the international game and they teach it to the NBA players (when they join the roster),” Triano explained. Little things like, “what you can get away with,” and how a, “technical foul counts as a personal,” under international rules, he added. At only 25-years-old, Scrubb already has a significant amount of international experience under his belt. He’s represented various
photo: canada basketball
iterations of Canada’s national team since 2010, plus he’s currently dominant as a scorer for the Fraport Skyliners in Germany’s Basketball Bundesliga (BBL). In fact, Scrubb received the BBL Best Offensive Player award for the 18.3 points per game he averaged this season. In spite of his international experience and accolades, Scrubb praised his NBA teammates postgame and acknowledged how they help elevate his game. Canadian NBA players like Olynyk, Cory Joseph, and Dillon Brooks, “are really talented,” he said. “It kinda makes my job a lot easier. I kinda just gotta work hard and I get a lot of open looks
so I just gotta knock them down. It takes a lot of pressure off me. It’s fun playing with those guys,” Scrubb admitted. With this win against the Virgin Islands, Canada successfully nabbed the top spot in Group D of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers with a record of five wins and one loss. Their record and point differential will carry over to the next round of the tourney which will be played between Sept. 13 and 17, Nov. 29 and Dec. 3, as well as Feb. 21 and 25. The FIBA World Cup will be played in China in September 2019. It is the main qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which Canada’s men’s team has been snubbed from since 2000.
Kate Miller soars at junior diving nationals By Brendan Shykora Two years ago heading into the 2016 Junior Diving Development Nationals in Montreal, Kate Miller was an unknown in the Canadian diving scene. Since those nationals – which saw her win all her events and set a new national record for the three-metre springboard – she’s done nothing but attract the attention of Diving Canada. “That event kind of made Dive Canada recognize me,” Miller said of her first major competition. “I was glad I showed what I was capable of.” All eyes were on her at the 2018 junior nationals at the Pan Am Sports Centre in Toronto. Not one to disappoint, Miller struck the podium in all three of her events, winning two gold medals and a silver. Representing the Nepean Ottawa Diving Club, Miller was a standout among the 92 young divers at the nationals, which took place from July 6-9. The 13-year-old won the women’s 7.5 metre platform with a final dive that im-
pressed the judges: an inward two and onehalf somersault in a tuck position. With a high difficulty rating and a strong execution on Miller’s part, the dive outscored all others in the event by nearly seven points. Before nationals, Miller called the dive “a favourite” in her arsenal. The drive to perfect increasingly technical dives is what keeps her devoted to the sport: “It gives me excitement when I want to learn a new dive.” At nationals Miller also tied for gold in the 1 m springboard with L’Envol Diving Club product Jordane Legault. Her silver medal came in the 3 m springboard event.
A ‘NATURAL’ DIVER Miller’s path towards high-level diving began at age six at the Walter Baker pool in Ottawa. “I saw this lifeguard do this cool flip on the 3 m springboard, and so I tried doing one myself and it actually turned out pretty well,” Miller said with a laugh. After seeing her imitation, Miller’s par-
Kate Miller at the 2018 junior diving national championships.
ents promptly brought her to the Nepean Ottawa Diving Club, where she’s continued to learn at a breakneck pace. “In gymnastics and dance you have to start off really slow, but I’ve found in diving that I can just go fast. It can take me maybe two days to go from a fall-in to a front flip.” While in Miller’s experience diving might involve a short learning curve, Fernando Henderson, a former Olympian and head coach of the NODC, says she’s gifted with a unique ability to learn difficult dives quickly.
DIVING continues p.5
– COMMUNITY CLUBS – Ottawa rhythmic athletes cash in at provs By Brandi Awad Athletes from gymnastics clubs around the city found their rhythm at the Rhythmic Gymnastics Provincial Championships in Etobicoke early last month. Top gymnasts from across the province travelled to the Toronto suburb from June 9-11 to compete against Ontario’s best, where Ottawa-based clubs proved they were a force to be reckoned with. Athletes from the Ottawa Rhythmic Gymnastics Club were amongst those putting their stamp on the event, taking home a whopping 24 gold, six silver and two bronze medals from the provincial event. The club’s head coach Xinhong Jin says she could not be more thrilled with their results. “I was so proud of our gymnasts and coaches,” she said. “The Ontario Championships was the last competition for the season. There were
about 18 clubs and 250 gymnasts attending. It was a great success in terms of levels and growing the number of gymnasts.” Provincials was something this club has been training for for the past year. “We started to prepare last summer and worked very hard each training session,” Jin explained. “Mentally, we asked our gymnasts to have their goal setting, individual skills and routine plan, pre-competition and post-competition and other mental training work. Physically, we make sure that we have quality training all the time.” Among the gymnasts who worked hard in the lead up to the competition was Amina Sanogo. Sanago, 16, who started rhythmic gymnastics just five years ago was amongst the highest placing at the event, leaving as a provincial champion.
“When they called my name (as champion), I was really happy, I was kind of surprised but looking back at all my performances, I knew I did really well,” she said. ““This was my best performance yet.” Sanago has previously competed in two other provincial championships, but never reached the podium. This year, it was different – winning first in the all-around category. “Heading into it, I was really scared and nervous of the outcome,” she explained. “I think in my past competitions I’ve tried to rush through things and I’d get really frazzled, but this time I tried not to focus on the outcome as much and on other people… I just focused on my performance and doing the best that I could.” Sin says Sanago’s success this year is a prime example that hard work pays off. “(Amina) is an exam-
ple if you have passion and effort, you can be your best,” Jin said. Selena Pang, a member of the gym’s national club who recently won gold in the National Novice Group at the Canadian Championships in Richmond B.C., said she was happy to see her teammates do so well. “[Provincial] Championships is a really big competition, so this was just amazing for them,” Pang said. “I know they had lots of fun, they did really well and they’re extremely proud of them-
had in London Ontario at the end of May she dove the open event at the senior level as well,” Henderson added. “Not a lot of kids here age are capable of doing that.” Miller’s senior dives were good enough to qualify for the senior national championships in early August. According to her coach, Miller’s success comes from her maturity. “She always wants to hang around the older kids. She’s always trying to do the stuff that the older kids are doing, which is making her work harder.”
While in Miller’s experience diving might involve a short learning curve, Fernando Henderson, a former Olympian and head coach of the NODC, says she’s gifted with a unique ability to learn difficult dives quickly. “Kate adapts to corrections almost right away,” Henderson said. “That’s why for her age she’s done really well.” Case in point: at the Pan American Championships last September Miller suffered a broken toe just before her competitions were to start. To circumvent the injury, Miller decided to change her hurdle leg on the fly. “That usually takes a regular athlete a year, or many months, to make that kind of change,” Henderson said. AT Next year Miller will enter the NEPEAN SPORTSPLEX junior elite age group – a step forFor Information visit us @ ward that Henderson says she’s more than ready for. OttawaNationalDiving.ca “Starting next year she’s goWeeks Available: ing to be diving from 10 metres,” July 23 - 27 Henderson said, who added that July 30 - Aug 3 Aug 6 - 10 (short week) she already knows how to do a number of 10 m dives but isn’t alHours: 8:00am - 5:00pm lowed to use them in her current Dropoff: 8:00am - 8:30am age group. $200 for short week Pickup: 4:30pm - 5:00pm “At the last provincials we
selves and I am too.” Among the other top medalist’s at the Ottawa RG Club were Vlada Coveny ( L4A), Jessie Yang (L5B), Melanie Li (L6C) and Vasilisa Coveny(L6B). Jin believes credit extends to the club as a whole. “Winning is from team work, the gymnasts, coaches and parents support,” she said. SportsOttawa.com has a summary of local athletes who medalled at the Rhythmic Gymnastics Provincial Championships.
Diving Canada has allowed her to train with girls 15 and older at the Olympic pool in Montreal about once a week. “There’s only two kids in the country who are being treated like that,” Henderson said, referring to Benjamin Tessier as the other. He won two golds and a silver himself at this year’s nationals. Henderson’s focus for now is to slowly work on Miller’s mechanics, preparing her for Olympic readiness in a few years’ time. “It’s not so much what she’s doing now, it’s where she’s going to be when she’s 17.”
OSU Force Academy Zone
2018 grads join 200+ OSU varsity players
Miller: 13-year-old has Olympian potential continued from p.4
11 grads from OSU’s 2000 Girls team will play university/college soccer. As high school diplomas were handed out in June, another great crop of Ottawa South United soccer players is ready up to join over 200 OSU alumni who have moved on to the university/college soccer ranks. Since OSU was founded in 2003, it has been a club priority to create the best environment possible for players to earn scholarship and professional soccer opportunities. Our 2000 Girls Graduating Class features a big number of future varsity players: Hannah Brown (Carleton) Becky Hext (Rochester Institute Elodie Sylvain (Carleton) of Technology) Sophie Ehlebracht (Carleton) Sydney Provost (uOttawa) Vanessa Morin (Concordia) Olivia Boutard (Bishop’s) Jordyn Langs (Saint Mary’s) Emily Amano (Colgate) Mia Pacheco (Algonquin) Youma Konate (Carleton) Best of luck to this special group of players who will thrive at their universities and colleges across North America this Fall!
PLAYERS SIGN WITH NORTHEASTERN, ACADIA Many members of OSU’s League One Ontario team are set to play varsity soccer, including a pair of recent signees in June. Alongside League One teammate Ali Jabara, Cedric Gravel has committed to Acadia University. A member of the OSU family since 9 years old, Cedric was a part of the highly successful 2000 Boys Force Team. He will be studying Chemistry. Meanwhile, Ryan Massoud will head to Northeastern University, an NCAA D1 school that competes in the CAA conference. Ryan started playing with OSU at the age of U11. He was a major contributor to the 2000 boys successful Ontario Cup campaign, where they were crowned champions. He will study Engineering. We are very proud to help these players throughout their careers. They are great representatives of the OSU Force Academy.
COMMUNITY LEADER SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS Since 2015, OSU has partnered with south-end high schools to award the OSU Community Leader Scholarship. One male and one female recipient is selected for the bursary at: St. Joseph’s, Mother Teresa, South Carleton, St. Francis Xavier, St. Mark’s and Longfields-Davidson Heights. The bursaries are given to the members of each school’s graduating class who best represent dedication to the sport of soccer, scholastic excellence, as well as demonstrated leadership abilities. “Outside of being soccer athletes, referees or coaches, many of these young people represent tremendous young leaders within the community,” states OSU Club President Bill Michalopulos. “The OSU Community Leader Scholarship was a priority for our club, to ensure that we continue to recognize the outstanding achievements by the young people that make up OSU.”
6 FORCE PLAYERS WIN TRIP TO DANONE FINAL We fill up quickly
Camp is offered in English and French Includes two diving lessons each day
Ottawa South United is proud to announce that six of our players will be representing Team Canada at the 2019 Danone Nations Cup event in Spain. Our club has had a history of players representing Canada over the years, but this result vastly outperforms any previous selections with Danone. The national final saw Anna Swyers, Olivia Chen, Simon Rochon, Isaac Charbonneau, Adrian Dagres and Luca Domanico all win with their teams in Montreal. Ameera Abualsamh was also in the national camp but was unlucky to lose out in the final. OSU is proud of all of our players who entered the selection process this spring to test themselves amongst the best of the best in Canada.
– ELITE –
Maine steals spotlight at cycling nationals By Brendan Shykora
Rockin’ Rebelles Wrap
Louis-Riel & STA launch new 7-on-7 offseason football program Two titans of elite athlete development in Ottawa are coming together to launch a 7-on-7 football program – the perfect off-season tonic for
players shooting for the top. Starting this fall, Louis-Riel will offer the new stream within its renowned sports-study program, led by coaches from the upstart Sports Training Academy, which has brought together many of Ottawa’s best coaching minds across many sports. “We’re very excited,” signals Louis-Riel sports-study program coordinator Ken Levesque, noting the school’s had a long-standing appetite for football, but didn’t have the numbers to field a traditional team with its smaller school population, or the coaching expertise. “Having a partnership with STA, where they have their own professional coaches and are running great programs now, it’s a really good fit,” adds Levesque. Participants will split their daily afternoon training between the Dome Louis-Riel – a world-class facility adjacent to the school – and the STA facility in the Industrial Park off Sheffield Rd. Now entrenched in the U.S., 7-on-7 football has become a popular form of the sport. It’s focused on player safety (no-contact, 2-hand touch). And it’s exciting – pass-only, played on a 40-yard field. Sometimes called “fast football”, 7-on-7 allows positional players to work on their jump, run and catch skills.
After the community club football season is complete, program participants will travel monthly to American 7-on-7 tournaments – providing a showcase to get identified for scholarship opportunities – and play in events at the Dome to help build 7-on-7 football locally. “It’s a great alternative for kids to continue playing at a very high level,” highlights STA Global Director of Football Operations Christo Bilukidi, noting players often increase their speed after playing 7-on-7. “In high school, most players play football in the fall until October or November and then that’s it... The key is to have a good offseason, and that’s what we provide at STA.” With coaches for each position, the STA football staff is flooded with university and professional experience – headed of course by Bilukidi, who played 5 NFL seasons with Oakland, Cincinnati and Baltimore. “It’s great to come back and get to work with the next generation as a coach now,” underlines the former defensive tackle. “When I see young kids that have that drive and ambition and want to succeed that bad, it gives me that fire to make them succeed too.” Bilukidi is focused on working hand-in-hand with the football community to further enhance players’ potential, and the way Louis-Riel incorporates sport into school is a big key in that quest, he says. “I wish I had something like that growing up,” adds the Georgia State University product. “You tell an athlete that you can get all your training done by the end of the school day, not miss anything academically in their timetable, and all the support they get in the program – I mean, wow, it’s incredible for the city of Ottawa.”
TRYOUTS • ESSAIS : July 29 juillet • 14-17h • Dome LR
LR et la STA lancent un programme de football 7v7 hors-saison
Deux titans du développement des athlètes élites d’Ottawa s’unissent pour lancer un programme de football 7 contre 7, le parfait tonique hors-saison pour les joueurs qui visent le sommet. À partir de cet automne, Louis-Riel offrira ce nouveau volet dans son programme sports-études de renom, dirigé par des entraîneurs de la Sports Training Academy, elle qui a attiré plusieurs des meilleurs entraîneurs de différents domaines sportifs à Ottawa. « Nous sommes très heureux », mentionne le coordonnateur du programme sports-études de Louis-Riel, Ken Levesque, soulignant que l’école était passionnée par le football depuis longtemps, mais n’avait pas le nombre d’étudiants suffisant pour former une équipe traditionnelle en raison de sa population étudiante plus restreinte, ni l’expertise en entraînement. « Avoir un partenariat avec STA, qui possède ses propres entraîneurs professionnels et d’excellents programmes, c’est parfait », ajoute Levesque. Les participants vont partager leur entraînement quotidien de l’après-midi entre le Dome Louis-Riel (une installation de classe mondiale adjacente à l’école) et l’installation de la STA dans le parc industriel proche de la rue Sheffield. Maintenant bien établi aux
États-Unis, le football 7 contre 7 est devenu une forme populaire du sport. Axé sur la sécurité des joueurs (pas de contact, touche à 2 mains), celui-ci se veut aussi dynamique : seulement des passes, terrain de 40 verges. Parfois appelé « football rapide », le 7 contre 7 permet aux joueurs de position de travailler leurs habiletés liées au saut, à la course et à la prise. Une fois la saison de football du club communautaire terminée, les participants du programme voyageront à chaque mois pour des tournois américains de 7 contre 7 (fournissant une occasion d’être choisi pour une bourse) et ils participeront à des évènements au Dome afin d’aider à développer une présence de football 7 contre 7 localement. « C’est une excellente alternative pour les jeunes de continuer
à jouer à un niveau très élevé », souligne le directeur général des opérations de football à la STA, Christo Bilukidi. « Au secondaire, la plupart des joueurs jouent au football jusqu’en octobre ou novembre, et ensuite, c’est fini… La clé, c’est d’avoir une période hors-saison appropriée, et c’est ce que nous offrons à la STA ». Avec des entraîneurs pour chaque position, le personnel de football de la STA jouit d’une expérience universitaire et professionnelle remarquable. Ce personnel est bien sûr dirigé par Bilukidi, qui a joué pendant 5 saisons de la NFL avec Oakland, Cincinnati et Baltimore. Bilukidi se concentre pour travailler main dans la main avec la communauté du football afin d’améliorer le potentiel des joueurs. Louis-Riel intègre le sport à l’école et c’est la clé de cette quête, dit-il. « J’aurais aimé avoir une occasion comme celle-là lorsque j’étais plus jeune », ajoute l’ancien de la Georgia State University. « L’athlète peut faire son entraînement avant la fin de la journée scolaire, il ne ratera aucun cours et aura tout le soutien du programme. C’est une occasion incroyable pour la ville d’Ottawa ».
The 2018 Global Relay Canadian Road Championships went about as well as they could have for Ottawa’s Katherine Maine, who came home from the events in Saguenay, Que. with two gold medals and a bronze. As the national Under-23 champion at just 20 years old, Maine now gets to don the prestigious red and white maple leaf jersey for a full season. “It was honestly amazing,” Maine said, taking stock of her triumphant weekend from June 21-24. “Everyone on our team contributed.” The podiums were indeed covered with the orange jerseys of Rally Cycling, the Minneapolis-based team Maine has been a part of since 2015. Maine got off to a good start in the championship-opening time trial, finishing third among U23 women behind teammates Sara Poidevin and Gillian Ellsay. But it was in the road race that Maine stole the show; she was the first to cross the finish
photo: rally cycling
line among the U23 women and the older Elite-class women. The road race comprised eight laps on a 15 kilometre circuit, with each lap starting with a steep one-kilometre climb that separated riders at each pass. Maine was able to stave off a late challenge by Ottawa-based Cyclery Racing’s Kinley Gibson in the final lap and a half. “With about 2km to go… it kind of started sinking in that I have to figure out a way to win this bike race,” Maine said. Maine found a way to win with a final push towards the
finish line, edging out Gibson by two seconds for the gold medal. Her finishing time of three hours, 20 minutes and 41 seconds was 31 seconds ahead of her teammate Sara Bergen’s bronze medal effort. Maine wasn’t finished gathering medals after the time trial and road race. In the final day of the Road Championships she finished the criterium in first place among U23 women and second overall behind teammate Bergen.
CYCLING continues p. 7
HAVE A BALL! with the
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OPEN HOUSE Sat. June 23 Performances Information Registration for 2018-19 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bridlewood Elementary 63 Bluegrass Dr.
Advanced Program Auditions – June 16
Recreational Summer Camp Registration Open
– ELITE –
BYTOWN STORM BULLETIN
Cycling: Maine merits Maple Leaf jersey
The raceday experience in the eyes of a young triathlete
continued from p.6 The criterium was no cakewalk. Of the 50 racers who started the hour-long endurance test of a 1.6 km loop, only 10 finished. “It was a technical crit for sure,” Maine recalled. “There was a good kicker before the finish and it kind of kept climbing. It was hard right off the gun and it really didn’t let up.” But despite the challenge, Maine was still able to enjoy herself on the track: “It was so much fun! We still had all of our girls finish the race, which was pretty cool.”
SHORTHANDED SUCCESS In this year’s championships, Rally Cycling was without its reigning champion. Allison Beveridge – who took gold in last year’s road race in Ottawa – was forced by out of the competition by injury. But the loss of Beveridge didn’t change the game plan for Maine her her remaining four teammates. “Our plan was to get somebody up in the early move, and
Katherine Maine (middle) with teammate Sara Bergen (right). Kinley Gibson is also pictured. then use that to stack a break from the field and have a numbers advantage,” Maine said. The game plan paid off; the team of five was able to stay around the front of the pack for much of the race. Sara Bergen, who has raced beside Maine with Rally Cycling for the past two seasons, said before the championships that Maine’s skillset as a cyclist could land her atop the podium. “She’s a steady, powerful motor, but she also has a really snappy sprint, so that’s really advantageous because she can
photo: rob jones / canadiancyclist.com
sit in the draft until the last minute and pop out.” “I can’t say enough about what an outstanding teammate she is,” Bergen added. “She is consistently always there when it matters, and she always contributes with everything she has.” Other racers from Ottawa who competed at the nationals were Timothy Austen of Ride With Rendall and Ariane Bonhomme of The Cyclery Racing. Austen finished 26th in the U23 time trial, and Bonhomme came in 14th in the time trial and 39th in the criterium.
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Olivia Haley hasn’t kept count of how many triathlons she’s done, but she’s been doing them since she was 6. Haley is a member of the Bytown Storm Triathlon Club, which offers programs for athletes from 8 years old and up, supporting them through provincial, national and international levels. On July 7, Haley placed second at a triathlon in Petawawa. The week before, she took part in the Stittsville Youth Triathlon, and later she offered a full account of her experience: Haley starts every race day more or less the same: a bowl of cereal, a banana, a glass of milk and some light stretching. It’s her first race of the season, but at 11 years old, she’s already a veteran set in her routine. The short drive to Stittsville is a chance for Haley to get mentally prepared, and to plan her course for what’s to come: three lengths in the pool, four laps on the bike, then onto the run. Minutes before the race, two feelings are in a battle against one another: “I’m nervous and then excited, then nervous, then excited.” Haley goes through this back-and-forth of emotions every race. She’s used to it by now. The athletes are on the start line in the Goulbourn Recreation Complex. The gun goes off and Haley hits the water. Swimming’s her favourite leg of the triathlon; with her head in the water, it’s a chance to stop thinking about the athletes around her and focus on what she’s doing. With her pool laps taken care of, she quickly dashes out of the rec centre, where her bike – and the second endurance test – is waiting for her. Haley’s ready for it. Bike is her strong suit. Pushing forward on the bike amid the other racers, Haley’s mind is already on the final leg of the triathlon. The run is where fatigue usually sets in, and a moment of mental preparation is needed. “I’ll tell myself before that part not to stop running and to just keep going.”
Switching from bike to foot in a moment’s notice isn’t easy on the legs, and Haley has to resist the urge to rest upon feeling that wobbling sensation. If anything surprised Haley during the race, it was the heat of that scorching Canada Day weekend. It was the hottest temperatures she’d ever endured at a competition. With the sight of the finish line comes feelings of elation. “I’m panting really hard but I’m very happy, I have a big smile on my face. Going through my mind, I’m usually very proud of myself even if I didn’t come in the best place.” Other members of the Bytown Storm were there at the line, cheering on her final steps. The next order of business is to grab some water and a snack, and to share congratulations with the Bytown crew. Haley hopes to compete at the provincial level when she can be draft-legal cycling at 14. After that, she’ll start earning points toward a season total at each triathlon. Currently training five days a week, she has the work ethic she needs to get there. “I want to keep doing triathlon my entire life. I want to keep the sport forever.” Haley is part of Bytown’s Storm Troopers program, which takes athletes aged 8-11 through the fundamentals of swimming, cycling and running. Next year, she’ll move onto the Storm development program for ages 12-16. At age 16, she’ll be able to join the Storm Elites, a competitive program where athletes can work on their personal-best times and prepare for provincial and national competition. The club also offers the Bytown Strong Triathlon Team, for adults of any age and experience.
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– CANADIAN TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS SPECIAL – Ottawa Lions product Alicia Brown will get to race at 2 major home meets this season – nationals in her hometown and the NACAC Championships in Toronto where she resides.
Transformed gymnast, volleyball & soccer players from Louis-Riel HS lead local U20s By Brendan Shykora
photo: dan plouffe
TRACK NAT’Ls: Nedow, Brown & Alhaddad make NACAC mark continued from Cover “Overall I’m pleased with it because the jumps where I fouled were still pretty good,” she said. Nedow is no newcomer to the highest levels of shot put. The 27-year-old went won gold at the 2015 Diamond League in Stockholm, Sweden, and went to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. Success in Toronto isn’t new for Nedow either; he won a silver medal there at the Pan Am Games in 2015. At nationals, Nedow pumped up the crowd before making his final toss in the senior men’s shot put, where he repeated as the gold medalist with a season’s best 20.94 metres. Though he cleared 2nd place by nearly two metres, Nedow looked frustrated. He came just 4 cm short of his personal best, which sits just before the magic 21-metre mark. “I was really happy, that was probably my best series ever,” he said on his walk to the podium. “But I’ve been stuck at 20.98 for four years.” Nedow is now a 10-time national champion, his title streak dating back to a 2012
photo: dan plouffe
gold medal in discus throw. In August he’ll look to carry his momentum over to his second championships in as many months. Alhaddad had no problem navigating the course in the men’s 400 m hurdles at this year’s nationals. But the silver medal he earned in a time of 51.50 seconds came with bonus feelings of redemption: Alhaddad tumbled out of this same event at last year’s nationals. “This time last year I crashed hard on the hurdles,” said Alhaddad, who added that he’s trained hard to prepare himself for a better result this time around. “I’m thankful to have been part of the final and to (win) a hard medal with hard work.” Alhaddad, 26, went off to a blazing start to the season at the Duke University Invitational, where he won the 400 m hurdles with a personal best time of 51.34. Brown will compete in Toronto as part of a 4x400 m relay team following a solid outing at nationals. Brown finished 4th in the women’s 400 m finals with a time of 53.10. “For me the goal was to be
as aggressive as I could, and just go out there and compete,” said the 28-year-old. Brown ran the second leg of the 4x400 m team that went to the 2016 Summer Olympics. Since Rio she’s been plagued by a hamstring injury, but she’s confident her recovery is on the right track. “It’s a process, (but) if I’m heading in the right direction that’s all I can ask for.”
MORE TOP SPOTS While they weren’t able to secure a birth at the NACAC championships, Farah Jacques and Sultana Frizell were still among the top local seniors at the track nationals. Jacques made her mark on the women’s 100 m hurdles as a newcomer. “I’ve got a bronze medal, and I’m really happy because it’s my first year doing hurdles,” said the athlete who trains in Ottawa under national team coach Glenroy Gilbert and hurdles coach Hugh Conlin. “I’m really excited for the future.” While Jacques is just getting started in hurdles, Sultana Frizell is a veteran to the hammer throw. The 33-year-old placed 3rd in the women’s senior event this year. Frizell is the Canadian record holder for hammer throw and winner of the event at last year’s championships. This year she threw 61.84 metres –well behind her season’s best 68.01. “I absolutely love competing, especially in Ottawa,” she said. But training has been a
Eliezer Adjibi & Kayla Vieux. It was a prosperous week for local under-20 athletes at the 2018 Canadian Track and Field Championships, thanks in particular to products of Louis-Riel High School. The Ottawa school saw four of its athletes win national silver at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility from July 3-8, putting it among the most well-represented secondary schools in the country. Even more remarkable is the fact that all four young athletes are relatively new to their track photos: dan plouffe and field events, having come “I came to nationals with no so again on Saturday in the 200 from other sports in recent years. expectations, and I came out with m prelims with a time of 21.70. “We’re definitely doing some- a silver and a bronze, so I’m still He went on to match that time in thing right,” said Sebastian La- happy with that,” Adjibi said. Sunday’s finals. Also representing CANI Athlonde, the track and field coach Adjibi is brand new to the track at Louis-Riel. Lalonde said he had and field scene, this being his first letics was U20 women’s 100 m expected this to be a rebuilding year of sprinting after switching sprinter Kayla Vieux, who earned her silver medal with a 12.22-secyear for the program, but the high from soccer. Just two years ago ond sprint. school’s senior athletes outper- he won a regional soccer title with The Grade 11 athlete has only formed all expectations. the Cumberland Cobras. been doing outdoor track for two The most decorated of LouBorn in Benin, Adjibi came years. Before that her sport was is-Riel’s competitors was Eliezer to Ottawa in Grade 7. The CANI volleyball. Adjibi, who secured silver in the Athletics sprinter has been setting “I did volleyball for a long time U20 200 m dash and bronze in personal bests all season, doing and I was pretty good, but I’m better at track,” she said, a statethe 100 m. ment her silver medal would seem Jonathan Rioux & Andre Alie-Lamarche. Caroline to support. Poirier. At just 17-years-old, Vieux has many years and many goals ahead of her. “I would like to go to the Olympics. That’s my dream, that’s what I’m training for.” On Saturday Caroline Poirier of the Lions reached silver-medal heights in the women’s pole vault final as she beat her own personal best with a 3.70 metre launch. photo: brendan shykora
secondary priority to education for Frizell this year: she came to nationals in the middle of a 16-month intensive massage therapy program. Full-time school has forced Frizell to be a “weekend warrior” when it comes to training, mak-
photo: dan plouffe
ing her 3rd place showing all the more impressive. Though Frizell knew her diminished training schedule meant she couldn’t be at peak form at these nationals, her bronze medal presented the chance to pull off her signature cartwheel onto
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U20 TRACK cont. p.9 the podium. “I’ve still got it,” she said with a laugh. With any luck, she’ll be cartwheeling again in August. See SportsOttawa.com for day-by-day recaps of local highlights from the 2018 Canadian Track & Field Championships.
– CANADIAN TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS SPECIAL – Jason Dunkerley leaves quietly with 5 medals from 5 Paralympics & 4 world titles By Dan Plouffe At the London 2012 Paralympics, 80,000 fans rose out of their seats to do the wave in sync with the pace Jason Dunkerley set at the front of the men’s 5,000-metre race for athletes with no vision. Like he did that night en route to the fifth and final Paralympic medal of his career, Dunkerley set a standard for excellence few can match over the course of 20 years as a national team member. Nowadays, the pace has slowed for Ottawa’s most decorated Paralympian of all time. “I don’t like using the word ‘retirement,’ but I guess you have to call it something. It’s definitely a transition,” says Dunkerley, who did not enter the 2018 Canadian Track-and-Field Championships on his home track. “I’d just got to the point where it felt like it was a job to go to the track. “I’ve done it for a long time. It’s intense, and you have to be ready, physically and mentally, to put everything into it.
Last lap for para legend
Alongside guide runner Josh Karanja, Jason Dunkerley won his fifth and final Paralympic medal at the London 2012 Games in the T11 men’s 5,000 m for athletes with no vision.
photo: phillip maccallum/canadian paralympic committee
“I was just tired, and I wasn’t having fun, and I always told myself when it got to be like that, I would go, because it’s not the relationship I want to have with running. “I still want to keep running. I want to stay in shape. I love running and I hope I can keep running forever. But I’ve had a good journey and I feel like I’m in a good spot.” Humble as can be, Dunkerley
made no formal announcement that his career was complete. The 40-yearold toyed with the idea of sticking it out for one last race in Ottawa, but he was content to instead quietly visit with fellow athletes, coaches and friends. “It was just nice to be around,” states the University of Guelph grad. “It’s obviously been a huge part of my life.”
Dunkerley competed in five Paralympic Games, winning pairs of silver and bronze medals in the 1,500 m and a silver in the 5,000 at London. Dunkerley also earned four World Championships titles along the way, and came close to another in his final appearance in 2017, where he took silver. “I have no regrets,” signals the Innovation, Science & Economic Devel-
opment Canada employee. “I really did everything I wanted to do.” There was a definite turning point in the lead-up to 2012. Without a coach or consistent guide runner, and suffering from an Achilles injury, Dunkerley thought about quitting then. But then he matched up with Ottawa Lions coach Ian Clark, who introduced him to Josh Karanja, an All-American steeplechaser set to return home to Ottawa from Eastern Michigan University. “I was 35 at the time, and they sort of gave me a second career,” indicates Dunkerley, who set two new personal-best times en route to his first multi-medal Games in London. “We were all on the same page and we really grew together. We were close.” Though they ultimately were passed on the final lap, the night of the 5,000 m race in London remains a moment etched in Dunkerley’s mind. “We gave it our very best shot and we ran a personal-best,” recounts Dunkerley, who could hardly hear a word from his guide next to him over the noise of fans in the sold-out stadium cheering them on. “It was incredible. Never in your lifetime would you think you’d have those conditions. It’s something I’ll remember for a long time.”
U20 TRACK: 4 silver medallists all discovered T&F in school sports program continued from p.8 Poirier, 17, was the 4th ranked U20 pole vaulter coming into the 2018 Canadian Track and Field Championships – but rather than think about the rest of the field, she came in focusing on setting a new benchmark for herself. “I didn’t really look at the rankings standings, I just came in knowing that that’s the height I wanted to clear and that’s the height I did,” she said. The former gymnast who switched to pole vaulting just two years ago allowed herself a smile and a slight fist pump after the
wobbling bar on her 3.70 m jump stayed horizontal. “I was really happy when I got off that mat,” she said. Jonathan Rioux took home silver in men’s 3000 m steeplechase, a half-step ahead of Lions teammate Andre Alie-Lamarche. Rioux crossed the line with a time of 9:31.05. Rioux says he and Alie-Lamarche feed of each other’s presence in races like this. “He’s always pushing the pace a couple of seconds faster every round,” he said. Formerly a soccer player, Rioux decided to try out track and field in grades 7 and 8 as a way to improve
his speed for soccer. Outside of the Louis-Riel contingent, Lions’ Philip Frank had strong performance on both the track and the field. A regular decathlete, Frank won bronze in the U20 men’s 110 m hurdle with a time of 14.64, and in high jump after leaping 1.95 m. “I’ve been working a long time for this. It would have been nice to place better, but this will be my second bronze here so I’m pretty pleased,” he said following the hurdle event.
WORLD JUNIORS There will be more lo-
photos: dan plouffe
Amongst the top performers for the host Ottawa Lions at the senior level were a pair of siblings. Rio 2016 Olympian Tim Nedow (top, left) welcomed his younger brother Tom (top, right) to the senior ranks for their first head-to-head competition in men’s shot put. Twins Devyani (bottom left) and Divya Biswal (bottom right) have shelved their sibling rivalry and now compete in the sprint hurdles and jumps events respectively. SportsOttawa.com has the full story.
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cal juniors to watch in the coming days. The 2018 IIAF World Junior Championships began Tuesday, and Ottawa U20 track athletes Keira Christie-Galloway, Lauren Gale and Sharelle Samuel will represent Canada on the junior world stage. Christie-Galloway will compete in the women’s 100 m race, Gale the 200 m, and Samuel the 400 m at the events in Tampere, Finland. Maeliss Trapeau, a graduate of Lycée Claudel high school in Ottawa, will also be at the World Juniors representing France. She’ll race in the women’s 800 m.
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Nepean Nighthawks News
– COMMUNITY CLUBS – Canada Cup cut short by severe heat wave By Brendan Shykora
Nighthawks celebrate 10 years of growth
When the Nepean Nighthawks were born 10 years ago, field hockey development in Ottawa was dormant. Now, 10 years later, the 200-strong club is in need of a new facility to accommodate the steady growth that’s made it a recognized name on the local, provincial, national and international field hockey scene. As the club hosted its annual tournament in June – now split over two weekends at the Nepean Sportsplex’s Minto Field – the mood was celebratory. “I don’t know where the time went, to be honest,” smiles club co-founder Sandeep Chopra, whose university-aged children were “just little” when the club started. “Next thing we know, at five years we had legitimate teams playing in tournaments. “Then something even crazier happened. These other clubs popped up in the area, like in Chelsea and Gatineau, and there was a revival.” Hitting the 10-year mark is “a huge milestone for the club and the sport in the region,” says Ian Bird, a past Canadian Olympian and leader of the Chelsea Phoenix Field Hockey Club. “The Nighthawks have really been the centre of bringing everything back, then growing the number of participants, and creating new opportunities. They’ve made a huge contribution,” Bird highlights. “But in typical Nighthawks fashion, they’re already thinking about what they are going to achieve in the next 10 years.” Securing more field time and building a field hockey-specific facility is currently the club’s top priority. Even over two weekends for different age groups, tournament space is maxed out. The club can no longer recruit new players into its existing programs, and playing time for university students/adults is in jeopardy, which makes it difficult to engage the next generation of coaches, umpires, volunteers and organizers. “We’re at a real crossroads for sure. We’re exploding. We need capacity,” signals Chopra, whose club has submitted a Community Partnership Major Capital Program proposal to the City of Ottawa to help fund a dedicated field hockey facility at an estimated cost of $3.5 million. “Hopefully we’ll be able to work together in a partnership and make that happen.”
GREAT HEIGHTS, GREAT COMMUNITY Nepean has become a hotbed for developing young field hockey talent. The Nighthawks have captured provincial and Ontario Summer Games titles, and last year powered Eastern Ontario to a first-ever national crown, earning gold at the U18 boys’ level. The club has sent numerous players on to university scholarships and Team Canada, including a pair who helped our country to its best international field hockey performance of all time when they won silver at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. But more than trophies, Chopra says the club takes pride in simply offering programs from top to bottom, from U10 recreational up to high-performance. And having facilitated a beautiful blend of cultures between the traditional field hockey and ice hockey communities. “We’ve had a lot of great families, and enjoyed the pleasure of watching their kids grow up,” underlines Chopra, who takes great satisfaction when players ask to list him as a reference in their job applications. “When we look back on the thousands of kids who have played field hockey here in Nepean, we’re very proud of that.”
Paddlers braved extreme conditions at the 2018 Sprint East Canada Cup on a stifling Canada Day weekend – only to have the afternoon races canned due to a severe heat warning. Hosted by the Rideau Canoe Club as part of its annual International Canada Day Regatta, the Canada Cup was halted around 2 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday when the humidex eclipsed 45 degrees. “We knew that the weather was going to be as hot as it is right now, we were just not sure when that was going to happen,” the club’s executive director Hector Carranco said standing in front of vacant lanes on the Rideau River. Some cloud cover provided hopes for continuation after a noontime pause on Saturday, but it was short-lived. “We did a few more races (in the afternoon), but we assessed again that it was not safe for the athletes to continue.” The schedule for day two was pushed ahead by an hour to 7 a.m. in an attempt to beat the heat, but the extreme weather struck even earlier and more intensely than the day before.
OTTAWA RACERS BEAT THE HEAT Eastern Canada and the U.S. Local athletes made the most of the 58 of 128 scheduled races that were completed over the weekend. Among them was 16-year-old Maren Bradley. The Rideau club member – who suited up for the Ontario Canoe Kayak Team for the weekend along with several other
Sarah Nagy (left to right), Maren Bradley, Annah-Bénédict Mbongo.
photo: brendan shykora
Rideau athletes – claimed the gold medal in Saturday’s under-18 women’s single kayaking 500 m. Bradley got off to a hot start in the sprint, gaining a sizeable lead within the first 200 metres. A late push from Sarah Nagy of Richmond Hill Canoe Club made for a close finish, but Bradley was able to secure the gold. Bradley’s win was a battle against fatigue: “It was pretty tiring because we had our national team tryouts last weekend,” she said. “It was also exhausting because of the heat. But I just went out there and did what I could.” Last weekend’s national tryouts were equally successful for Bradley, who qualified for the U17 Olympic Hopes Regatta in Poland this September, and the U18 World Juniors in Bulgaria at the end of July. Bradley capped off the Cup on Sunday with a gold medal in the two-person 500 m, sharing the winning kayak with Sarah Nagy. It was a Rideau-filled podium, with Hayley Conrad and Olivia Pucci taking silver, and Toshka Besharah and
Erin Demopolis earning bronze. In men’s canoeing, Isaac Finklestein of the home club earned gold in the single open canoeing 1000 m, and also in the four-man 1000 m that wound up being Saturday’s final race. On Sunday he added another gold in the two-person 1000m along with teammate Lucas Turnbull. Silver medals in canoeing were handed to Rideau’s Adam Richard in the U18 men’s single 1000 m, Ella Hodgson-Pageau in the U16 women’s single 500 m and Courtney Spratt in the open women single 500 m. On Sunday Hodgson-Pageau teamed up with Kate Pennyfather to win the two-person canoeing race. The host club also proved its ability to coordinate 15 athletes in a single canoe, winning the War Canoe race in both the U16 and U18 mixed groups. This year’s Canada Cup was the first to be split into eastern and western divisions. The West Canada Cup took place in Regina, Saskatchewan, also on Canada Day weekend.
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– COMMUNITY CLUBS – Warnholtz chooses hometown for next step By Michael Sun
Ottawa’s Aiden Warnholtz keeps ticking boxes in his home town: it’s where he won his first – and second – national championship, it’s where he got his first taste of Canada’s national basketball program, and now it will be where he takes the next step in his basketball career with the perennial powerhouse Carleton Ravens. Just before joining the Ravens, the Ottawa Elite and Canada Topflight Academy point guard leaped at the opportunity to further hone his skills as an invitee at Canada’s Under-18 camp. “The overall experience was pretty cool cause training camp was at Carleton (University) so it was nice for me because it was in my hometown,” he said. “I was disappointed I didn’t make the actual roster (but) I was happy with how far I’d gone and I thought I did pretty well for myself.” Warnholtz was a late cut from Canada’s team for the FIBA U18 Americas Champion-
photo: charlie pinkerton
ship. It’s still a major milestone for the Kanata-native who picked up the sport at fouryears-old. Warnholtz was the most valuable player of the Canadian Youth Basketball League (CYBL) in Grade 11, running the point for the Ontario-champion Ottawa Elite. This year he was Topflight’s playoff MVP in their second year as national champions. He also took part in the Sig-
nature All-Canadian Showcase in April – taking the hardwood with senior national team players Andrew Nembhard, Rowan Barrett Jr, as well as fellow Ottawan Noah Kirkwood. “I’m a point guard. I try to keep the team in order,” Warnholtz says of his play style. “I’m not exactly the biggest yeller and I don’t get crazy emotional on the court.” Warnholtz says he embraces the point guard role – “I like the feeling of giving assists and
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spreading the love” – but noted he’s been told he needs to be “meaner” on the court. “I kind of take my nice side off the court onto the court sometimes,” he adds. He’s played for Ottawa Elite for four years but wasn’t able to finish his time there with another championship as the team opted out of the CYBL playoffs because of a lack of players. Warnholtz called it “disappointing” but credits his teammates and coaches for making him a better player, as he does to Ravens’ assistant Aaaron Blakely, who he had several weekly practices and individual skill sessions with at Carleton. Ottawa Elite head coach Patrick Sullivan – who’s coached Warnholtz for four years – called him “the best player I’ve ever coached” and “the heart of the team” with the highest basketball IQ he’s ever seen. “He’s another coach on the floor and what’s so great about Aiden, if Aiden has an off night with shooting, it does not impact any other part of his game,” Sullivan said. “He’ll even work harder on defence, he’ll pass the ball to other players.” Sullivan also praised Warnholtz as a person: “ (He’s) just someone who cares.” Warnholtz says he enjoys the thrill of winning. However, there have been challenges with balancing school and basketball, and of course, a willingness to make sacrifices. “Sometimes if you have a tournament right over Christmas, (or) over Thanksgiving, sometimes you’re like I want to spend that time with the family and with your friends,” he noted. However, “if you can be busy with something you love and you enjoy, it’s just a benefit.” He says he’s looking to joining “an amazing basketball program” at Carleton and will try to earn as many minutes with the Ravens as possible, starting with the Can-Am Shootout against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Aug. 6. Both he and Ottawa Elite teammate Connor Vreeken will have the chance to debut for the Ravens. “Another bonus for me is that it’s in Ottawa so I’m not going to have to travel,” he noted. “I enjoy being near my family and having my family be able to come and watch my games.”
OTTAWA RIVERKEEPER 4K Are you ready to cross the provincial border in the most unconventional way possible? On August 11th, join Ottawa Riverkeeper for the fifth annual Riverkeeper Swim, one of 138 open water races in the internationally recognized Global Swim Series! The inter-provincial 4K is pretty well known, but Ottawa Riverkeeper also offers up two shorter distances: 750m and 1.5K. Whether you’re looking to get a feel for the longer distances, hoping to dip your toes into open water swimming, or just wanting an excuse to jump in the water - everyone is welcome!
ABOUT OTTAWA RIVERKEEPER Ottawa Riverkeeper is a registered charity that works to protect, promote, and improve the health of the river and its tributaries. Fundraising events like the swim help provide resources to community groups and enable Ottawa Riverkeeper to tackle issues that threaten the well-being of the river. A grassroots organization, Ottawa Riverkeeper works with communities throughout the watershed to keep the Ottawa River swimmable, drinkable, and fishable for generations to come. Swimmers who register have the chance to fundraise to help protect the Ottawa River. Fundraisers can win badges for each level they reach (starting at $50 raised) and the top fundraisers will even receive prizes! Would you rather be on the river than in it? Ottawa Riverkeeper needs your help! Paddlers are needed to escort the swimmers during their race. More details at the link below!
EDITORIAL & COMMUNITY CLUBS
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Contacts For News/Editorial: Charlie Pinkerton Editor 613-929-3681 firstname.lastname@example.org For Advertising/CAMPS Project Partnerships: Dan Plouffe Executive Director 613-261-5838 email@example.com The Ottawa Sportspage is a not-for-profit publication devoted to shining a spotlight on local amateur sport. Under the direction of the Ottawa Community Sport Media Team, our group also runs the CAMPS Project alongside the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s recLINK program. The Connecting Athletes of All Means to Paths in Sport Project links OCH children & youth to free opportunities with our partner sports groups, which receive heavily discounted advertising in exchange for offering the positions in their programs at no cost to our participants. CAMPS PROJECT PARTNERS Beaver Boxing Club Bytown Storm Triathlon Club Capital City Dance Capital Wave Water Polo Club Carleton Jr. Ravens Cumberland United Soccer Club ÉSP/Dome Louis-Riel FC Capital United Soccer Club Geng Table Tennis Academy Gloucester Griffins Lacrosse Kanata GymnoSphere Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club KV Dance Studio Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club Nepean Nighthawks Field Hockey Olympia Gymnastics Ottawa Gymnastics Centre Ottawa Lions Track & Field Club Ottawa National Diving Club Ottawa Rowing Club Ottawa South United Soccer Club Ottawa Table Tennis Club RA Centre Resolute Gymnastics Centre Rideau Canoe Club Royal City Soccer Club St. Anthony’s Futuro Soccer Club Tennis For Life Ottawa TMSI Sports Management Inc. Tumblers Gymnastics Centre YMCA-YWCA
Team of the Month: Gloucester Griffins Bantam 1 Lacrosse Team About: The Gloucester Griffins Bantam 1 Lacrosse Team celebrated Canada Day by playing our national summer sport, complete with the fireworks of a tournament victory to finish the day. At the June 29-July 1 Hamilton Lacrosse 2018 Super Series event, the Griffins advanced out of their pool with Wallaceburg, North Shore and Hamilton to reach the playoff round, and then downed Windsor in the semis and Niagara in the final to win their division crown. The team’s strong performances this year have put them in the running to qualify for the ‘A’ level provincial championships – thought to be the first Gloucester team in 20 years to do so.
Athlete of the Month: Valeria Rojas
About: Valeria Rojas is currently in Clearwater, FL with the Canadian junior women’s water polo team for the July 10-15 19-and-Under Pan American Championships, which serves as a qualifier for next summer’s junior worlds. The St. Matthew Catholic High School student practices 11 times a week in the Capital Wave Water Polo Club’s high-performance program, led by Canadian coaching legend David Hart. The #2 leading scorer in this season’s National Championship League U19 women’s division is also expected to represent Canada at the 18U FINA World Women’s Youth Water Polo Championships from Aug. 25-Sept. 2 in Serbia.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate your Stars! Courtesy of the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region, the selected Stars of the Month will receive free passes to the Y.
Aussie rugby squad returning to strength in Ontario By Brendan Shykora It’s been a rebuilding season for the Ottawa Swans women’s team, which returned to the Australian Rules Football League Ontario this year for the first time since its championship-winning 2014 season. The Swans have been on an unusual course over their six years of existence, winning the Ontario grand final in just their third season only to depart from the league the year after. Women’s Australian Rules football is a precarious sport in the Canadian athletic scene: In 2014 the roster numbers among other Ontario teams were dwindling, and the Swans found themselves in too small a pond. “We had about 20 girls on the team but we were only playing nine-aside footy against the Ontario teams,” recalled Amanda Paradis, the current captain of the Swans who has been with the team since their inaugural season in 2012. “We had a huge bench and a lot of people who weren’t getting a lot of playing time.” The Swans moved to the Quebec league and planned to field two teams, cutting down on bench extras as well as travel time. But hopes for a better situation in Quebec petered out over time. “There were a few players who decided to stop playing that year, so it was a bit of a struggle to get two full teams to play in the Montreal league,” Paradis said. The move had another ill effect: it drove the women’s team away from the men’s team. “It was really hard to get out and support each other,” Paradis said, referring to a schedule mismatch between the two sides of the club. “We could see the divide in the club, which is one of the major
Ottawa Swans Vivian Nguyen (left) and Holly Vachon.
photo: roman romanovich
reasons why I wanted to bring us back to the Ontario league.” With two wins and one loss so far this season, the Swans are tied for second place on the ladder with the Etobicoke Kangaroos (the team they’ll play their next match against on July 14). The roster has been restored to 2014 numbers, and the women’s and men’s teams are reunited. “Now that we’re back together it’s a sense of family again,” Paradis remarked. While this year has been a strong return so far for the Lady Swans, Paradis suffered a meniscus tear in a May pre-season game and will have to wait for an MRI on July 12 before planning her own comeback. “My knee is blocked, so I can’t fully straighten it or fully bend it, so we’re waiting on that,” she said. The injury kept her from going to the 2018 AFL Canada National Championships in Toronto over the Canada Day weekend. But the Lady Swans team was well represented: Michelle Huard, Rebecca Gomez, Krystal Novak and Vivian Nguyen qualified for Team Ontario.
“It went really well for us,” said Huard, the team’s vice-captain and women’s player representative. That’s putting it modestly: the Ontario women’s team beat Quebec in the final by a score of 64-7, one-upping the Ontario men’s championship margin of 45-15. Huard says the best part about nationals is the chance to play full 18-aside matches, something that rarely happens at the club level. “Regardless of the score of the game that’s kind of a highlight for most women, just because this is one of the only opportunities to play full-field like the men do.” Huard has been an important part of the Swans rebuild, this being her first season with the team after moving back to Ottawa from Toronto, where she played for the Central Blues AFC. She started playing in 2015 as a way to get back into competitive sports. “Coming out of high school and university as an adult, you kind of miss the team sport thing and you miss the competitiveness of it,” Huard said. “That’s what’s exciting about footy, because it’s so niche that you can play for Team Canada.” Since Aussie Rules players tend to retire early, there’s a constant need to recruit new players. Huard says she hopes to see the sport grow across Canada through high school programs and training sessions. “We’ve actually gone out to a couple high schools and did their demonstrations in gym classes,” she said. As an added way to attract more women to the sport, they might do well to sell its rough-andtumble style. The full-contact element of Australian Rules is what originally drew Paradis in. “Coming from soccer you always want to hit someone, but you can’t,” she laughed. “So that got me interested initially.”
OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE SNAPSHOTS RIDEAU CANOERS EXCEL AT NATIONAL TEAM TRIALS, FIVE SELECTED FOR TEAM CANADA Two members of the Rideau Canoe Club appeared on same podium at Canoe Kayak Canada’s National Sprint team trials on June 24. Stephen Frodsham won the men’s single-canoe 500 m race, and Drew Hodges took 3rd place. The 500 m race took place on the third and final day of the trials at the Basin Olympic in Montreal. Two days later, Canoe Kayak Canada announced its selected national teams. A total of five Rideau Club members made the list: Frodsham and Hodges are on the senior men’s canoe team, Rowan Hardy-Kavanagh made the women’s canoe team, and Natalie Davidson and Madeleine Schmidt will race for the women’s kayak team.
The St. Anthony Futuro File
Kids to adults score summer success at St. A’s
RYAN TAKES HOME SILVER AT PAN AM FENCING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ottawa’s Kelleigh Ryan was Canada’s top women’s foil athlete at the 2018 Pan Am Fencing Championships in Havana, Cuba. Ryan won her bout against American fencer Nicole Ross 14-5 in the semis. It took the world’s 3rd ranked fencer Lee Kiefer of the US to stop Ryan, who lost to Kiefer in the finals by a close 15-12 score to take silver. In all, Canada won eight medals at the championships – six silver and two bronze. Expect to see Ryan and other top Canadians at the World Fencing Championships in Wuxi, China from July 19-27.
OTTAWA ONE OF SIX CITIES TO HOST 2021 SOCCER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS Canada Soccer has decided on six locations for the 2020 and 2021 Toyota National Championships, and Ottawa is the chosen city for the 2021 U-15 Cup. Over 600 amateur clubs and 10,000 players compete annually in the championships. Ottawa was selected out of 15 candidates that were interested in hosting either the adult, U-15 or U-17 events.
BLONDIN NAMED FEMALE SPEEDSKATING ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Speed Skating Canada unveiled its 2018 award winners on June 15, and Ottawa’s Ivanie Blondin was honoured with the Catriona Le May Doan Award for the top female long track skater of the year. The award’s namesake implies a great deal of achievement: Doan won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in in 1998 and 2002 (500 m). This year Blondin, 28, competed at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, where she finished 4th in team pursuit, 5th in the 5000 m and 6th in the 3000 m. Speed Skating Canada also awarded the Guy-Marcoux Officials Mentor Award to Ottawa’s Sandra Chenard, and local skater Isabelle Weidemann won a Peter Williamson Memorial Trust Fund Bursary for her combined athletic and scholastic efforts.
WIEBE WRESTLES TO GOLD AT CANADA CUP Ottawa’s Erica Wiebe defeated 2017 World Championships bronze medalist Justina Di Stasio to win gold in the 76 kg weight class at the Canada Cup. Wiebe has had Di Stasio’s number of late, having also defeated her in a March matchup to secure her place at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Wiebe is best known for her gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics – the third ever in Canadian wrestling at the Summer Games.
NATIONAL ROWING TEAMS ANNOUNCED, THREE OTTAWANS MAKE THE CUT Rowing Canada Aviron announced its selections for the Junior, U23, U21, FISU and CanAmMex teams that will represent Canada internationally this summer. Alex Bernst and Alanna Fogerty of the Ottawa Rowing Club were among the selected athletes, both as lightweight doubles. Fogerty made the FISU World University Championship Team while Bernst will compete at the U23 World Championships. Ottawa native Louis Munro of the Kingston Rowing Club also made the U23 World Championships Team and will row as part of the four-person women’s squad.
– JUNIOR LEAGUES –
FUTURO PLAYER WINS DANONE NATIONAL FINAL
Time starts to tick for OPDL teams trying for titles By Charlie Pinkerton At the make-or-break midpoint of the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) season a collection of Ottawa soccer teams are still vying for their league’s top spots. West Ottawa’s Under-17 boys attacked relentlessly during a game against Richmond Hill on July 8, showing no signs that they’re just barely hanging on in contention in their league’s east division. Rebounding from a 3-0 loss from the day before against Hamilton United Elite, the west division’s top team, West Ottawa dominated in the second half of a 3-0 win of their own against Richmond Hill. West Ottawa’s players weren’t afraid to show off their passion for flashin’ in the victory with an array of signature goal celebrations. Before a teammate one-upped him by sticking a standing backflip to celebrate the team’s exclamation point third-goal, West Ottawa leading scorer Georges Musitu showed off his own favourite after scoring his 7th goal of the year. An ode to 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe, a star forward of France’s national team, Musitu stood arms-crossed, smiling to a group of his teammates after his tally. “He’s young, so he wants to be like him,” a teammate says of Musitu, while roughly translating from French to English after the game against Richmond Hill. Musitu moved to Ottawa from the Congo about two years ago and speaks little Eng-
School may be out, but learning continues throughout the summer at Futuro Soccer Academy. Part of our club’s 4-week Summer Training Camp are classroom sessions led by visiting coaches from top European professional youth academies. AS Roma Coach Claudio Ranzani and Swansea Coach Lee Hodge led presentations on deCelebrating 65 Years veloping resilience and a winon the Ottawa Soccer Scene ning mentality. Included in their year-round program, Futuro players make full use of their extra summertime hours to maximize their soccer development. Over a 4-week Summer Training Camp period in July and early August, Futuro members receive 140 hours of training. That includes technical and tactical sessions, player game analysis, a leadership program, the classroom presentations, and of course the opportunity to be scouted by professional academy coaches for trials in Europe. Congratulations to St. Anthony Futuro player Celina Bensebaa for being selected to attend the Canada Danone Nations Cup Training camp in Montreal from June 23–26. Celina breezed through the Ottawa trials, followed by an outstanding performance in Toronto to solidify her selection. She was one of just 12 players chosen to Team Ontario, which went on to beat Quebec and book its spot as Team Canada for the World Finals in Spain. Celina follows in the footsteps of previous Futuro players Ben Penticost (2005) and Claire Rea (2004) who have both played for Canada at the world finals in 2017 and 2016. The Danone Nations Cup is the world’s biggest football tournament for kids aged 10-12. Each year, 2 million children participate in the Danone event globally.
ST. A’S U5-8 DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE GROWS St. Anthony Soccer Club Under 5-8 Development League Program has been a great success this summer on Thursday evenings. From the inception of the program last summer, we have grown our numbers by 30%. Every session has a 1-6 player to coach ratio, with heavy emphasis on physical literacy skills to develop movement competence in our little children, which in turn will create great, confident players in the future.
MEN’S PREMIER INTO ONTARIO CUP QUARTERS
Georges Musitu lish. This is his second season playing for West Ottawa. The language-barrier isn’t something that West Ottawa head coach Kwame Telemaque struggles with, being fluent in French himself, instead its Musitu’s flashy playstyle, which he jokes is “a handful.” “(Musitu)’s a great kid. He has a big heart. You can see he’s still a little raw in
photo: adam robb
terms of within a team structure, but his individual skills and ability are unbelievable,” Telemaque says. “He’s a treat to work with and a treat to have.” OPDL Standings at the time of publication showed West Ottawa was in 3rd place in the east division at 4-2-2.
JUNIOR SOCCER continues p.14
Congrats to our beloved Men’s Premier team for winning their first 3 rounds of Ontario Cup play. The boys travelled down to Oakville for their first round match after a great week of prep work on the training ground and came away with a 4-1 victory. Boosted by lots of local support from our club’s youth teams and the Italian community, they downed Windsor Ciociaro Premier 3-2 back in town on June 28. Panathinaikos Toronto was next to fall to the mighty Italia, 2-1 on July 8. The boys are now into the quarter-final round, where we’ll face the Kitchener Polish Eagleson Aug. 12. St. Anthony’s Men’s Premier team has a storied past, including a national championship in 2006.
OttawaStAnthony.ca • FuturoSoccer.com
JUNIOR SOCCER: 11-sport athlete Roffey a backbone for OSU continued from p.13
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Ottawa South United’s U14 girls also continued their push for the top of the east division of their age group on the same hot and humid Sunday. Keeping OSU’s defence sturdy during the game was player of the match Carling Roffey. “She’s steady, and she’s one of the hardest workers in the group,” said first-year English coaching import Liam Hughes. Hughes said he’s been blown away by Roffey’s progress over the eight months he’s coached her. Roffey started playing soccer competitively at eightyears-old and played 11 sports at St. Mark High School this year. She says she thinks her ability to communicate well with her teammates is one of her strongest assets on the soccer field. “I can talk with my teammates and make sure that we’re organized, especially on the backline,” Roffey said. “I feel like I have a good understanding of the game, but
obviously not a great one because I’m still learning a lot,” she said with a laugh. Hughes said that though at the start of the season he didn’t think his team would be competing at this level, now he’s pushing for the top. “I want to win, but, we want to develop as well,” Hughes said. The girls were 2nd in the east with a 5-1-2 record at the time of publication, according to the OPDL’s stand-
ings. Other upper-echelon Ottawa teams in contention for the lead of their division include OSU U15 girls (1st, 6-0-1), OSU U17 girls (2nd, 3-2-1), OSU U14 boys (2nd, 7-0-2), OSU U15 boys (2nd, 4-1-3). Other local OPDL teams include the West Ottawa U14 boys (4th, 2-2-7), OSU U17 boys (4th, 3-1-4), West Ottawa U14 girls (4th, 3-4-2) and West Ottawa U15 girls (4th, 3-2-3).
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– ELITE –
Volleyball-turned-frisbee teammates to represent Canada at worlds By Brendan Shykora As far as sporting trajectories go, it’s hard to imagine a direct line between competitive volleyball and professional ultimate frisbee. But that was the path taken by Aidan Hayter and Scott Graham, who in their first season with the Ottawa Outlaws of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) also find themselves on Canada’s Under-20 World Junior roster. “I actually think a lot of players can go from volleyball to ultimate, or from ultimate to volleyball,” Graham said. There are likenesses between volleyball and frisbee that explain how the two 19-year-olds transferred so fluidly from one to the other. For example, a player’s sense of timing is crucial in both sports. “When you’re trying to read
the disk in the air and jump at the right time to catch at your peak height, that’s something a lot of players struggle with when they’re learning,” Graham explained. “I think that’s a really transferable skill coming from volleyball.” Timing isn’t their only advantage: at 6-foot-1 and 6-foot2 respectively, Hayter and Graham went from being diminutive on the volleyball court to being among the tallest on the frisbee field — a useful edge when challenging for a flying disc. In high school, Graham and Hayter spent three years on the same Ottawa Fusion competitive team. Around the time Graham was calling universities in search of openings on varsity volleyball clubs he joined Ignite, a competitive team within the Ottawa Carleton Ultimate Association. After deciding to focus on
Aiden Hayter (left) & Scott Graham.
frisbee in the summer of 2017, he persuaded Hayter to follow suit. “He’s the guy who really helped me get into Ultimate,” Hayter said. Graham would later push Hayter to try out for the Outlaws and the U20 national team in February, and to-
Playing at home a ‘dream come true’ for local Team Canada rugby players By Michael Sun For Eric Howard and Conor Keys, playing rugby for Canada in their hometown brought out their emotions – with Howard calling it “a dream come true,” and Keys saying it was “incredible” and “a little bit emotional.” Although Canada lost to Russia 43-20 at Twin Elm Rugby Park on June 16, the locally-raised duo milked the opportunity to play in front of family and friends in their hometown. “Having the opportunity to actually do that for me was obviously
pretty emotional and pretty amazing,” Howard said. “And getting some good game time during that was awesome, and hearing my best friends and my family cheering me on was awesome.” “I never thought we would get a game in Ottawa,” Keys said. Canada also lost to Scotland (in Edmonton) and the United States (in Halifax) on their summer tour. “We have to say it was disappointing,” Howard said, “but one good thing is we take something from each of those games.” Both players said they didn’t grow
gether they managed to crack both rosters. “I achieved higher than my expectations,” Hayter said, having only been playing the sport competitively for one year prior to the tryouts. Graham was less surprised by his teammate’s success:
up intending to focus on rugby, yet each ended up playing at the university level – Howard winning a championship in his senior year at Guelph. This year was his first as a hooker with the New Orleans Gold of Major League Rugby. Meanwhile, Keys, a second row forward, currently plays at the University of Victoria. Each also played for Canada at the Under-20 level, but in different sports: Howard playing soccer and Keys playing hockey. Howard picked up rugby at Earl of March S.S. and decided to keep with the sport at Guelph after falling in love with it while in Grade 12. “It became evident that I really enjoy soccer but I love rugby,” added the
“Aidan’s probably one of the most athletic guys I’ve ever met. I knew he’d be a contender.” The 2018 World Junior Ultimate Championships take place in Waterloo – where Graham goes to university – from August 19 to 25. Canada set a high bar at the most recent championships in 2016, taking gold in the women’s division and silver in the men’s. Graham and Hayter say they look forward to furthering Canada’s international reputation on home soil. “It’ll be a great experience playing in front of friends,” Graham said. “I can’t wait to see how we stack up against other top players in the world.” For now, they’re in the middle of their first season as professionals – a season that’s been an uphill grind for the Outlaws, currently last in the Eastern division with a 2-9 record. “We’ve had some really
Ottawa Beavers club player. “I love the physicality of it and everything about the sport really suits me as a person.” While coming back from an ACL injury in 2014, Howard said he nearly lost his passion for the sport. “It was really hard,” he described. “I was like, ‘Why do I keep doing this, why do I keep putting my body through this? I could have another big injury.’” After he joined the Brantford Harlequins, he rediscovered his love for the game. Howard recalls how after one victory he thought, “This is what I do this for... because I love what I do.” He noted how just enjoying the game instead of always focusing on taking the next step in his career has allowed him to be successful.
Fun-filled GymnoFest caps Kanata competitive team’s first-class campaign
close losses, so it kind of appears like we’re not doing well in the standings but we’re definitely giving good runs at teams,” Hayter notes. But even in a losing season, Graham and Hayter revel in the “spirit of the game” – a common phrase in the sport referring to its unique culture of sportsmanship. At all levels below professional, games are played without referees; their role is assumed by the players themselves. “The calls are all based on the players’ honesty and their integrity,” Graham said. “I think that’s super cool. It takes a real gentleman to be able to say ‘yeah, I fouled you,’ even if it might put the game on the line.” “The morals of the sport are really important in ultimate.” Hayter added. “It’s a lot different than a lot of other sports in that way.”
Keys and Howard agreed that it’s the sport’s social aspect that make it so enjoyable. “Being part of rugby community is best part of it,” Keys added. “It’s a really tight community.” Keys’ father, who plays rugby locally, got his family tickets for a 2006 Canada-Scotland match. Keys cheered for the Scots in that game because of his heritage. The next day, he signed up for the Barrhaven Scottish Rugby Football Club, inspired after watching that game and cheering against the team he would grow up to play for that night at Twin Elm Rugby Park. Canada’s last game of the qualifying tournament for the 2019 Rugby World Cup is in November.
kanatagymnastics.ca Athletes in Kanata GymnoSphere’s competitive program bravely put their best foot forward for the judges and picked up a pile of prizes this season, but come the year-end GymnoFest show on June 22, smiles and giggles ruled the day. Instead of obeying coaches’ commands, gymnasts were given the chance to come up with their own demos for GymnoFest. “It’s a whole lot of fun,” highlights Lauren Mooney, Kanata GymnoSphere’s Competitive Program Manager. “We’ve been going hard all year in competition season. Now there’s no stress. They just get to perform for their family and friends, who are such a big part of their success too. “Without their parents bringing
them to competitions, getting them to training, preparing late-night dinners and all that, they wouldn’t be here.” The dedication from all involved certainly bore fruit this season. Every athlete from Level 3 through 10 qualified for the Ontario Championships this year.
“It’s amazing to see kids come in not really having much competitive experience go on into provincials,” notes Mooney, whose competitive ranks more than doubled in size this year to roughly 75, as more and more families gravitate to the Hazeldean Rd. club that continues to grow in
popularity. The competitive crew features provincial and Eastern Canadian champions at the higher levels of the sport, while others are just beginning their journeys in the competitive side of the sport. “It’s really inspiring for the younger
ones to have great role models here to look up to,” signals Mooney. “We have quite a few younger gymnasts who are pushing to be just like them, if not better.” It takes a lot of commitment to excel – the athletes train most days of the week, even when they’re not feeling 100%, and their coaches manage their programs, and work on injury prevention, new skill development and refining the basics. “GymnoFest is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the progress they’ve made and all the work they’ve put in this season,” Mooney adds. “We’re so proud of everyone’s efforts and accomplishments this year, and we’re looking forward to seeing them grow even more in the future.”
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The July 2018 edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper.