Ottawa Sportspage

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the heartbeat of the Ottawa sports community Ottawa race weeKenD recaP

vol. 9

June 2012

Ashbury Colts rugby dynasty’s latest chapter comes at home OFSAA By Dan Plouffe

P. 11

From record-breaking racing to personal fitness to unique fundraisers, Ottawa Race Weekend produced endless storylines.

fury begin chase fOr gLOry

P. 3

The Ottawa Fury are finished with being bridesmaids as they set out to win a title on home turf in this season’s W-League.

seasOns sPiKeD with siLvers

P. 10

The Ottawa Fusion and Maverick volleyball clubs both won silver medals at the largest national championships ever.

Commitment, dedication, passion, camaraderie. Those are the words coach Jen Boyd uses to explain the reason behind Ashbury College’s exceptional rugby tradition. Her Colts girls’ team has won OFSAA gold four times in the past 10 years, and also collected four more provincial high school medals. They enter the ‘AAA/AAAA’ ranks to face the strongest schools even though their smaller population classifies them as an ‘A’-level school. There are 220 girls at the Rockcliffe school and of them 40 play rugby. There is a family feeling to the Colts, who are all wearing T-shirts with a quote on the back: “You are not what you did, but what you will do.” Ashbury players are always intent on carrying on the tradition, and that’s a cause they’ll embrace when they compete in the 2012 OFSAA girls’ rugby championships June 4-6 at Twin Elm Rugby Park in Richmond. “There’s a legacy,” highlights Colts senior Charlotte Dunlap, who’d already heard a lot about the program’s reputation before she joined up in Grade 9. “We live off the idea that Ashbury tries hard at rugby and comes out strong with its girls’ rugby program. It gives us a big push.” The tradition includes a record of just one loss in national capital league play over the past decade. But that one defeat came in last year’s semi-final, which caused the girls to come back with even more fire – something their coach didn’t believe was even possible. “I don’t think there’s a team that

Visit on Facebook for more photos from the girls’ rugby city finals.

Queen Colts

photo: dan plouffe

National capital champs nine of the past 10 years, the Ashbury Colts will chase a fifth provincial crown and ninth medal at the 2012 OFSAA girls’ rugby championships June 4-6 in Ottawa.

works harder than us, I really don’t,” says Boyd, noting her squad often outlasts opponents by the end of games, which is exactly what happened in their 28-3 city final victory over the St. Peter Knights on May 24. Physical preparation has always been a major emphasis for the Colts coach of 12 years, who has her players run 4 km three days a week before the games start, while putting them through circuit training the other days.

Legacy incLuDes team canaDa “Oh my gosh, I remember running fitness non-step pre-season,” laughs Ashbury grad Julianne Zussman, now a member of the Canadian senior women’s national rugby team. “We would just do lengths and lengths and lengths of the field. That was definitely part of Boyd’s philosophy. It was definitely necessary, and always useful at the end of the season.” How Zussman started playing rugby is a familiar story for many Colts players. The 25-year-old told Boyd she was a soccer player through and

through, but wound up getting hooked on a new sport in her very first practice. The OFSAA title she won in Grade 10 remains one of Zussman’s favourite career highlights. “We were underdogs going into that tournament,” recalls the former McGill Martlet. “I remember us beating teams that outweighed us by like 100 pounds in the scrum.” That’s another Ashbury trait – they’re never the biggest team, but they are always fit, fast and skilled. Zussman got to see that was the case firsthand when she welcomed the current team to the Canadian team’s Langford, B.C. training facility during the Colts’ April pre-season tour. “That was awesome,” says Zussman, who will more than likely be playing for Canada in a 2013 Rugby World Cup 7s Qualifier this August in Ottawa. “It was really inspiring to remember where I came from and what a great program I was a part of when I fell in love with rugby. “That’s always with me – the fact that I love the sport so much.”


cOLts PrimeD fOr Ottawa Ofsaa

Despite the history of success, there remains a piece of unfinished business for the current Colt seniors. They own OFSAA two silvers, but that’s not the colour they want this time around. “We all want to finish with a gold medal in our last year,” emphasizes Dunlap, a key team leader along with Katrine Lightstone, Mary-Liz Power and McMaster University-bound players Stephanie Black and Quincy Batson. “We’re pretty pumped,” Dunlap adds. “It’s going to be really exciting. We’re going to try our best and represent Ashbury as best we can.”

many Ottawa meDaL hOPes There’s no question the Colts are the better bet to try to follow Mississauga’s Applewood Heights Secondary School as OFSAA champions, but the St. Peter Knights are also ready to battle for a place on the podium against the province’s best. RUGBY continued on p.10




Golden finish to breakout season for Ottawa athlete By Dan Plouffe

Heartfelt thanks

(From left) Ottawa Gymnastics Centre athletes Nathalie Joanette, Sofia Baggio, Nick Maikail, Adrianka Forrest, Bella St George and Meaghan Smith produced a club record medal haul from the Eastern Canadian championships.

The Eastern Canadian gymnastics championships provided a rare opportunity for athletes involved in an individual sport to compete in a team setting – and there was loads of success for Ottawa gymnasts on that front – but it also acted as the perfect stage for one athlete’s final triumph of a breakout season. Adrianka Forrest of Ottawa Gymnastics Centre completed a remarkable year by capturing the Eastern Canadian all-around title that included silver medal performances on bars and beam, and gold on vault and floor. “She went 4-for-4,” smiles OGC coach Tobie Gorman. “She just rocked.” Forrest was the “anchor” of the Ontario squad that won team gold May 10-13 in Quebec City, Gorman adds. And all this from an athlete who was in recreational gymnastics just a year-and-ahalf ago. Last season in her first foray into the competitive gymnastics world, Forrest was last in her category provincially. This season in a higher division, she topped the Level 7, Age 11 provincial qualification standings and won all-around gold at the Ontario championships in Ottawa. “I toughened myself up. Last year was OK, but this year I knew what to expect and I was ready for it,” explains Forrest, who carried no thoughts of reaching the Eastern Canadians – let alone winning it – at the start of her season. “Easterns was like a bonus for me and to know that I was picked out of all the other girls was

amazing.” Sophie Paquin from Tumblers Gymnastics Centre was also a key contributor to Ontario’s gold rush in the Tyro P3 category. The Grade 6 Arc-en-ciel elementary school student finished less than a point and half behind Forrest’s total to earn bronze in the individual allaround competition. “I really enjoyed being with team. We cheered each other on,” recounts Paquin, who had her own hometown cheering section made up of family that live in the Quebec City area. “It was pretty cool. It was a really great experience.” Julie-Anne Fiset of Tumblers also had support from family members who live in the region as the Grade 5 Alain-Fortin student participated

Summer camps begin June 25th

Registration begins April 1st

Michelle Baggio, mother of Eastern Canadian allaround bronze medalist Sofia Baggio (right), says their “second family” at OGC helped them keep positive through all the turbulence of losing just about everything in an April housefire. The Baggios gave a heartfelt thank you to all those that supported them. See SportsOttawa .com for this full story.

photo: dan plouffe

in her first-ever Eastern Canadian event. “All my family came to see me compete. They were the best,” recounts Fiset, who placed fifth in the pre-novice elite category. “They were like, ‘You’re incredible, how do you do that?’” Paolo Nera also represented Tumblers at the event, earning a top result of silver on rings and bronze on floor, while Spring Action athlete Steven Wade earned silver medals in trampoline and double mini-trampoline events. Along with Forrest, five other OGC athletes

helped their club to a record medal haul from the Eastern Canadian event. Nick Maikail chipped in a team silver to go alongside his rings title, while Sofia Baggio (third all-around), Bella St George (fourth), Nathalie Joanette (second) and Meaghan Smith (third) also celebrated team gold with Ontario. Each OGC athlete spoke fondly of the bond they created with their provincial counterparts over the course of the event. “My teammates were really, really nice,” Baggio notes. “They were lots of fun. To have them to compete with was awesome.” “That’s the best thing about gymnastics,” Gorman echoes. “Those kids will be their friends for life.”

4 OGC coaches lead Ontario at Easterns

The Eastern Canadian gymnastics championships were not only a benchmark moment for the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre’s athletes, but the club’s coaches as well. Four OGC coaches – Lynne Ethier, Holly Dawe, Siarhei Bialkovich and Sara Baker – directed Team Ontario gymnasts at the event. Also making the trip to Quebec City were the veteran OGC leaders – women’s program head and 2004 Olympic coach Tobie Gorman and general manager Kellie Hinnells, who was recently named chair of the gymnastics competition for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. “To have such a great staff that is able to take on a team, look after all their needs – sleeping, training, competition – it’s a very proud moment for the gym club,” notes Gorman, who was in turn thankful to her athletes for earning the coaching spots by qualifying first in Ontario for the event. “We wouldn’t have been there without them.”

Ottawa Gymnastics Centre women’s artistic head coach Tobie Gorman.

file photo

Hinnells believes the club is “pretty lucky” to have such quality coaches that embrace the motto: “We teach children, not skills.” “They all fully believe it and they live it every day. They want the kids to excel not only as athletes, but also as human beings,” Hinnells describes. “It makes a huge difference because if the kids are happy, they’re successful.”

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By Dan Plouffe There’s no question what the objective is for the Ottawa Fury this summer. After hammering through The Fury’s Mallory Outerbridge is the reigning W-League MVP and scoring champion.

file photo

this year’s team is even better than the last. “Our focus immediately turned to the next year and on fixing what happened.” The Fury received a big boost in that quest when they were awarded the 2012 W-League final four championship, which will take place July 27-29 at the Algonquin Soccer Complex. Ottawa carries a home undefeated streak of 25 games, and if that record alone wasn’t intimidating enough for opponents, the club plans to pack as many seats as possible on all sides of the Algonquin field, boosting capacity to at least 2,000. “Wherever we can put a bleacher and fill it, that’s what our intent is to do,” says Fury owner and CEO John Pugh, whose team gets It was a big step forward for Tumblers, notes a guaranteed coach Nick Grimard, who also had Scott Macsemi-final berth farlane competing in the National Open class. as hosts. “The “The goal this year was to qualify at least fans will be alone athlete for nationals,” highlights Grimard, most too close who also enjoyed the learning experience of to the field, and attending his first Canadians as a coach. “So I think they’ll get having two of them was amazing. I’m now just behind the home looking forward to getting back to the gym to team.” start preparing for next year.” On top of Ottawa Gymnastics Centre’s Bruno Webster getting to eat earned National Youth silver in the rings event final, while teammate Taylor Jackle Spriggs was a National Open champion in the pommel horse event and won bronze on floor. Spring Action trampolinist Jonathan Arsenault teamed up with Benjamin Tyo to earn novice men’s synchro bronze. Tyo also claimed double mini-trampoline gold, while his younger brother Vincent won trampoline silver and DMT bronze in the novice men’s 11-14 class. Ottawa was also represented in the rhythmic gymnastics competition, as Lucinda Nowell participated in her first senior women’s national championships. The 15-year-old Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club athlete placed ninth in hoop, 12th in ball, sixth in clubs and fifth in ribbon en route to a seventh-place finish allaround against the country’s top individuals.

the USL W-League regular season and conference playoffs last year, the Fury were forced to settle for a silver medal – the third in franchise history. That leaves only one option for this season. “Win it all – that is the only goal,” states Mallory Outerbridge, the W-League’s reigning MVP and top goal scorer. “Everyone wants to have fun too, and the more you’re winning, the more fun it is.” The 5-1 defeat to the Atlanta Silverbacks in the championship final remains a painful memory for the team, but it’s also a distant one. “It seems like years ago now. We’ve moved so far beyond that,” says coach Dom Oliveri, who believes

Zakutney wins unlikely repeat title

Samuel Zakutney is a national champ again. But unlike last year, the standout National Capital Competitive Boys Gymnastics athlete’s victory was quite a bit more improbable this time. Zakutney acknowledges that thoughts of a Canadian title were far from his mind earlier this season when he was forced to miss the Elite Canada meet due to a back injury. Add to that the fact that the Grade 8 Franco-Cité student had moved up from the Argo high-performance age class to Tyro and had lower start values for degree of difficulties than his older competitors and the odds for a gold medal grew longer. “The reason I won was that I was so clean,” says Zakutney, who was solid in placing second on every apparatus outside of an 11th on high bar and first on parallel bars en route to allaround gold. “I was just really impressed. I was surprised. And I’m just really happy that all that hard work paid off.” Eric Gauthier earned a piece of Tumblers Gymnastics Centre history by becoming the first athlete from his club to compete in a Canadian championship event final, where he placed sixth in the National Youth floor competition. Samuel Zakutney was the all-around champion in the Tyro high-performance category at the Canadian gymnastics championships May 22-26 in Regina. file photo

15-year-old Lucinda Nowell of the Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club competed in her first senior women’s national championships, placing seventh overall. photo provided

and sleep in familiar surroundings, Outerbridge is expecting the homet- Melissa Busque is one of the key reown support will turning players in provide a big lift as the Ottawa Fury’s W-League lineup. well. file photo “Last year when we had the playoffs to get to the final four, the crowd was just unbelievable. They were so behind us the whole time. It was awesome,” recalls Outerbridge, “I’m thrilled to be back,” O’Kane a key offensive weapon along with says. “The PDL is something I care Melissa Busque for the squad that also deeply about, and when I had the opfeatures several strong goalkeepers. portunity to coach again, it was a no“And we do so well when we play at brainer decision. home. I can’t wait. It’s going to be so “I have two kids at home and the much fun.” PDL feels like a third kid, so the last few years not being involved with my O’Kane wants PDL turnaround third kid was absolute agony.” The Fury PDL lineup features The Fury USL Premier Development League men’s squad also has plenty of homegrown talent, includhigh hopes despite a sub-par 2011 ing reigning CIS soccer MVP Robbie season where they finished below Murphy and Duke University-bound .500. Stephen O’Kane, who resigned goalkeeper Chad Bush. The squad also after leading the club to its first-ever boasts players from Sweden, Jamaica, post-season on the shoulders of an England, Spain and Brazil. Both Fury teams kick off their undefeated regular season in 2009, rehome schedules on Saturday, June 2. turns as head coach.


W-League title at home ‘the only goal’ for Fury




Ottawa tO hOst canaDa game arOunD wOmen’s wOrLD cuP

In early May, Ottawa was officially unveiled as a host site for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The announcement was made at Parliament Hill as enthusiastic youngsters stood alongside national team athletes, including former Ottawa Fury W-League player Rhian Wilkinson. Those local players will get to see their Team Canada heroes in action at some point. The Canadian Soccer Association plans to have the national team play in each host city in the lead-up to the event or during the tournament itself.

surPrise OLymPic triP LiKeLy fOr river runner

Ottawa River Runners paddler Cameron Smedley looks to be in line for an unexpected trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games. A C-1 Olympic berth will likely end up in Canada’s hands, and Smedley has first dibs on it since he won the men’s canoe singles event at the national team trials. Meanwhile, Liam Smedley earned a place on Canada’s canoe slalom world junior championships team. Thea Froehlich and Kathleen Tayler of the River Runners will also race at the July 11-15 event in Wausau, WI in the women’s U23 worlds K-1 event. Rhys Hill of the Rideau Canoe Club won a bronze medal at the second flatwater World Cup stop in Germany as part of Canada’s men’s K-1 200 m relay team.

mccann cracKs tOP-10

Ottawa-based modern pentathlete Melanie McCann earned a career-best seventh place finish at the World Cup finals May 26 in Chengdu, China. The London Olympics-bound athlete recorded the most wins to place first of all athletes in fencing en route to a total score of 5,180 points – just 20 points short of the podium. McCann also placed 32nd at the world championships earlier in May in Rome.

gOLf tOurney wiLL heLP fight chiLDhOOD Obesity

The fourth-annual Greco charity golf tournament for the Foundation to Fight Obesity in Children is set for Monday, June 18 at Rideau View Country Club. Founded in 2008 by Tony Greco, the organization will direct proceeds from event to two community parks. Visit for more information.

sPeciaL OLymPics wins

Glebe Collegiate earned the top result out of OCDSB schools that traveled to Waterloo for the 4 Corners Special Olympics basketball tournament in May. Bujar Bullaku, Biko Melville, Jacob Cameron, Richard Kalonji and Jamie McKnight, and coaches Stephanie King and Angela Nixon celebrated a silver medal victory, while Woodroffe and Bell scored bronze medals in their divisions. “Their representation of the Ottawa region was stellar,” King notes. “They played the game to the best of their ability every second they were on the court.” See for more.

gee-gees PicK uP eXPerienceD rePLacement fOOtbaLL cOach

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees may have unexpectedly lost J.P. Asselin to the Carleton Ravens, but they wound up finding a very experienced replacement in Gary Etcheverry. A long-time CFL coach, Etcheverry has worked in Saskatchewan, Toronto, B.C. and Ottawa.

eastern OntariO histOry

As part of the selection process for the U14 provincial team, Eastern Ontario’s U13 boys’ regional team played friendlies in Toronto against other Ontario Soccer Association regions. For the first time ever, the Eastern Ontario Region 5 team won all four of its games.

Orienteering festivaL

Eric Kemp of the Ottawa Orienteering Club topped the elite men’s field at the local club’s annual O-Fest on the boiling hot May long weekend, besting a field that included participants from the U.S. and Sweden. Ottawa’s Jennie Anderson was third amongst elite women at the competition that attracted over 150 participants.

D.i.f.D. sKate4Life acrOss canaDa

Ashley Gilbank will start a coastto-coast trip on skates in Newfoundland on June 4 in support of the Do It For Daron initiative. Gilbank plans to rollerblade 10,000 km across Canada to raise funds and awareness for youth mental health. “I need to grab everyone’s attention in a big way; to get people talking about mental health,” Gilbank says. “If I can save just one life during this journey I know that it will have been worth every stride.” Visit for more.

ringette PLayer tO cOmPete at Jr. wOrLDs

Jennifer Gabel of Nepean has officially been selected to the Team Canada East squad that will compete in the U19 world junior ringette championships Dec. 28-Jan. 3 in London, Ont. The 18-year-old frequently dresses for the Gloucester Devils National Ringette League team.

Showing off their skills

photo: dan plouffe

The Parmar Sports Training Eastern Canadian girls’ soccer showcase continued to grow in its third edition as numerous universities and clubs came to look out for the next big talent. Organizer Joé Fournier says the quality of players participating is up, and with athletes traveling from as far as Thunder Bay and Halifax, it was far from only Ottawa players taking part in the event at the LouisRiel Dome. The two-day affair also featured educational seminars designed to give young athletes knowledge of what is required to play at the next level. has more on this story.



By Anne Duggan This year, Ethan Stroud came up with a new goal, literally. Recently, the Broadview Public School student was able to watch his favourite soccer team – the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer – practice and compete before a game in Montreal. It was at that time that Ethan committed to becoming the best soccer player he could be. With less than a year of soccer under his belt, the seven-year-old has reached a skill level far beyond his years, says his coach. “He is really good,” says Sanjeev Parmar of the Futuro Soccer Academy. “He is with the U9 group as an underage player. Most of his team has been training for a couple of years.”

rOugh rOOts, bright future There is a reason behind Ethan’s passion for the Chicago Fire. The Windy City is also the place Ethan was born – the difficulty of this event making his goal that much more impressive. His adoptive mother, Allison Darke, was there for his birth and describes it as “devastating.” Lack of prenatal care and cocaine use by Ethan’s birth mother left him with long-term consequences. Blue

at birth with torn nerves along his arm, Ethan will always have little use of his right arm, and both his arm and shoulder will be proportionately small. When he reaches the age of 15, Ethan’s arm will be the size of a 12-yearold’s. “Oh Lord, what did I wish for,” was Darke’s first thought as medical personnel rushed into the delivery room. Ethan’s recovery from cocaine withdrawal and his birth-related injuries meant an eight-day stay in a Chicago hospital. “It was a long battle,” Darke recalls. “Ethan really struggled hour-byhour.” Of course, none of this matters to Ethan: his eyes are focused on the soccer ball. In addition to the four training sessions per week he attends at his academy, Saturday mornings are dedicated to a special kind of soccer league. A chance encounter with a Hull-based team for black players, ages 14 to 24, immediately led to an

West Ottawa Soccer Scoop

Kevin Nelson’s journey to WOSC

photo provided

invitation for Ethan to join them – an important development, says Darke, as this weekly opportunity for more soccer experience comes with a dose of Ethan’s heritage. Ethan is the only black member of an eclectic and blended family. Each of the five children, ranging in ages from 3 to 24, have their own culture – Italian, Aboriginal, Afro-American, Asian and Westboro white. When Darke married her husband Earl, they decided to add more children to her first two through adoption. Darke describes her family as a threering circus with a twist. “It is so alive,” she says. “Everyone is so different. When you look at a photo of us, nothing is the same but all you see is family.” It was, in fact, the size of Ethan’s adopted family that led him directly to soccer. Unable to pay for hockey, Darke was pleased to see Ethan had developed an obsession with a soccer ball from Walmart. “He was kicking the heck out of every other kid in the neighbourhood,” Darke recounts. So, she called up the local soccer leagues to find out there was only one spot left: on a U9 Ottawa Royals team. Lack of experience and a bum arm were mere details to Ethan, who quickly earned his spot on the squad. “Ethan shows us that we can overcome adversity,” Darke says. “And soccer seems to be what God gave him.”

Kevin Nelson traveled the world chasing his dreams as a professional soccer player. From his native Trinidad and Tobago to Australia, to Venezuela, and even to Stittsville during his run with the former Ottawa Wizards Canadian Soccer League franchise that played out of the Oz Dome. But one very powerful experience while in Vietnam changed his dreams very suddenly in 2008. “One day, I was sitting and waiting for my train and I saw a little girl, nine years old, digging in the garbage can for something to eat,” Nelson recounts, with tears in his eyes as he recalls the memory. Nelson didn’t speak the girl’s language, but he gestured to ask if she wanted something to eat. “I took her around to the store and they wouldn’t let her in because she was dirty. So I said, ‘Hold on,’ and I went and bought her a sandwich. “We sat on the pavement and she ate the sandwich, and she started to smile.” It didn’t happen for some time in practice, but that was the moment Nelson became a soccer coach. He called his agent and said forget about the contract in the works for Malaysia, it was time to make a change in his life, and to start helping kids. Deciding where to do that was easy since he had two kids of his own near Ottawa – “Princess Olivia,” now 8, and “King Caleb,” almost 7. Without a university education, it was initially tough for Nelson to find work besides construction, but wound up landing his first coaching gig through a former Wizards teammate. Known for bringing his enthusiasm, sim-

plicity and professionalism to every session, Nelson joined West Ottawa Soccer Club near the time of its formation as club lead coach. “West Ottawa is the second largest club in Canada. There is huge, huge potential to develop players, to be a leading model in Canada that everybody can follow. And red stands out,” smiles Nelson, who still captivates young WOSC players with his fitness and abilities at age 33. “I’m eight months into the job now, and oh my word, it’s magical. The kids want more. You can see it in their eyes – feed me, feed me, feed me.” How to best develop young players is the hot debate in Canadian soccer circles, but for Nelson, the answer is very simple: “love.” “There needs to be love,” Nelson explains. “Love amongst administrators, amongst managers, amongst coaches, amongst players, amongst parents. Love is everything.” What that means is allowing players to believe and dream by building them up and never knocking them down, and educating coaches to be the best teachers possible. And it also extends to investment in facilities to provide a place for young players to reach for the top. If it’s possible to have topnotch residences and training grounds in a place like Vietnam, Nelson believes it should be possible in Canada. “Why are they not showing them the light?” Nelson says. “There’s so much potential around Ottawa and in Canada. They can have all of it. They need love.”

Kevin Nelson at his pro team’s training facility in Vietnam, 2008.

Off-field champs

photo: dan plouffe

Recognized for jumping full-heartedly into a Cleats 4 Kids campaign to send soccer shoes to India, the Ottawa Royals Futuro U10 boys were feted as BMO Team of the Week. They donated the $500 they received from BMO to the Ottawa Boys & Girls Club. From Aug. 13-27, online voting begins to determine one Team of the Week that will receive $125,000 for a soccer field refurbishment. Visit to read this full story.


Birth defect can’t stop love for soccer




Cap U takes aim at OYSL’s top rung By Dan Plouffe

Early-season predictions may not be worth much, but there’s no doubt the Capital United under-17 girls’ soccer team is a true threat to challenge for the top of the Ontario Youth Soccer League standings. “We’re shaping up nicely. The unit is very strong together,” says coach Raz El-Asmar, noting many players grew up with the club, and are now ready to blossom after living through a year of OYSL play last season. “We’re more experienced and stronger. I feel good about the season.” Capital United began the year with a 3-1 loss on the road, but a come-from-behind 2-1 victory on May 26 got them back on the right track. Star striker Arielle Kabangu scored in the home-opening victory, while centre back defender Asha Mohiddin also got in on the fun with a goal of her own. “We tend to control most games. Even at that level, we sort of carry the rhythm and tempo of the game,” high-

OSU Force Academy Zone

Ottawa South United players make a name for themselves abroad

lights El-Asmar, noting his team maintains possession with a strong midfield that includes Miranda Smith, an underage player who used to score two goals per game at the regional level. El-Asmar is a big believer in letting his players determine their own objectives, but the answer they provided was simple after finishing third in their maiden OYSL campaign. “The team goal the players had

photo: dan plouffe

is they’d like to finish first this year. It’s a lofty goal, but I think it’s within their reach,” El-Asmar says. “We’re blessed with the talent in this group, and then also the desire. These girls really want to do more and push themselves. It’s great to be amongst athletes like that as a coach.” The Ottawa South United U17 girls have a loss and two ties through their first three OYSL contests.

OSU expects early lessons to pay off It was an unfamiliar feeling for the Ottawa South United Force U14 boys – their first league play loss in

ages on the heels of a 13-0-1 season against regional opponents last year. Not that the Force weren’t expecting a greater challenge moving up to OYSL. After all, the team selected its lineup back in November, and had been preparing to make the jump long before that. The 2-1 loss to Dixie was more a lesson about the need to capitalize on scoring opportunities that don’t come as frequently at the top level. “We had a good five chances,” laments OSU coach Abe Osman, whose team opened its campaign with a 3-1 out-of-town photo: dan plouffe win over North London.

Mitchell Kurylowicz has struck for goals twice this season, but the team’s true strength lies in its ability to build up to those occasions. “We’re a very good passing team,” Osman highlights. “We move the ball quickly and we have some offensive guys who are very good at going forward.” Now that the Force have got their feet a bit wet in the OYSL, Osman expects the fruits to come eventually. “Keep checking up to see how we’re doing this season,” Osman advises. “I think we’ll end up middle of the pack to top half. I think we stack up pretty good.” It’s been a rough start for the Capital United U14 OYSL boys, who lost to first-place Richmond Hill by a football-like score and were blanked in their two other contests.

The Ottawa South United name will continue to gain wider recognition across the province, throughout Canada and around the globe as many club players earned exciting opportunities to play on various big stages. Four members of the ‘98 girls Force Academy squad were selected to the U14 Ontario provincial team – the most players from a single team out of any Ottawa clubs. Priscilla Domingo, Alexis Martel-Lamothe, Hailey Martin and Anna Munro all traveled to Barcelona in March with Team Ontario to play a series of exhibitions, which has only helped them gear up for a run at the top of the OYSL standings with OSU. After two consecutive undefeated league seasons against regional opponents, it comes as no surprise that many players from this group have now been chosen as the province’s best. Two younger OSU stars will also have the chance to win a trip to Europe as they suit up for the Eastern Canadian Danone Nations Cup team. Over 5,000 players tried out for the 12 coveted spots on the squad. An unprecedented six players from OSU were invited to the final selection phase and two were ultimately selected to represent Eastern Canada – midfielder/striker David Chung (U12B Force Black) and goalkeeper Mollie Eriksson (U12G Force Black). The Danone Nations Cup is the world’s largest international soccer tournament for U12 players. On July 14, the east meets the west in Toronto to determine which team will

Four members of the OSU Force U14 girls’ team that went undefeated in league play and won last season’s ER Cup earned places on Team Ontario.

represent Canada at the Danone Nations Cup world tournament in Poland this fall. Three members of the ‘97 boys Force Academy Black squad also experienced a unique opportunity as they participated in the 2012 Nike Manchester United Cup U.S. finals in Portland, Oregon at the end of May. Through OSU’s affiliation with the Dallas Texans – the #1 youth soccer club in the United States – Sanchit Gupta, Charles Andrascik and Yousef Aldaqqaq dressed for the Texans as guest players for the U15 event. Despite going undefeated with two wins and four ties, their team did not advance to the finals. The U.S. tournament winner qualified to play in the Manchester United World Cup at Old Trafford where champions from each continent face off. OSU has sent boys to this event for the past four years and remains committed to offering opportunities of this nature to its athletes. “We’re very proud of all our players for their achievements and for representing the club with such distinction at these prestigious events,” says OSU club president Bill Michalopulos. “That we’re able to place kids at the highest level is a clear result of our player development program. Our ambition is that our club can hopefully one day develop players for the national program – both the girls and the boys.” The OSU family would David Chung like wish all our players and Mollie the best of luck, as well as Eriksson of the Danone congratulating the others Nations Cup who have earned similar Eastern Canadian U12 team. opportunities at their side.

Cobras make strides in 1st L1 season

An 0-3 record wasn’t exactly the way they pictured the start of their first OYSL season, but the Cumberland United Cobras U16 Level 1 team remain on track to fulfilling their objective of being a competitive team, says coach Simon Birch. “I still think we can have a good season,” Birch adds. “In skill level, I don’t think we’re far off. Conditioning, we’re there with everybody. Tactically, the boys play hard and they can manage. I think we’re close.” There was evidence of that promise in their home opener when the Cobras gave undefeated Spartacus a big scare in a 2-1 defeat. “I think we outplayed them,” Birch maintains. “They’re a more experienced team – probably one of the top two or three teams in Ontario. This is our first time at the L1 provincial level.” It’s been quite the path for these Cobras, half of whom

played on a Level 5 team only a few years ago and made their way up to the province’s top division. “It’s an accomplishment for the boys. It’s pretty big for them,” Birch highlights. “These boys have really worked hard as they’ve grown up.” The faster game is still something Cumberland is adjusting to, and the team is still on the lookout for quality players willing to make the tremendous commitment required to play Level 1 soccer. But there’s no question what the team’s ultimate goal in OYSL is. “The number one thing is we want to have fun,” Birch says. “This doesn’t come around a lot.” The Ottawa South United U16 OYSL team also fell to Spartacus 2-1 at home, but carry an even 1-1 record thanks to a 2-1 win over Windsor. Premices Luanda has scored twice this year for OSU, while Trysten Larabie has also found the back of the net.

Cumberland put a major scare into favoured Spartacus with a lastminute Tristan Proulx header that went just wide in a 2-1 match.

photo: dan plouffe

By Dan Plouffe Major changes are coming to the top level of youth soccer in the province. The new Ontario Player Development League will replace the current Ontario Youth Soccer League format starting with the under-13 league in 2014 and continuing with subsequent age groups. The biggest change the new OPDL will bring is abandoning the promotion/relegation system in favour of clubs applying to field a collection of OPDL teams through all age groups. “This is a huge paradigm shift,” says Ontario Soccer Association Chief

Technical Officer Alex Chiet. “We need to get away from promotion/ relegation because winning is not the best measurement for a child’s development at the younger ages.” Clubs that apply to take part in the OPDL will be required to meet stringent standards. They’ll need to demonstrate compliance with the national Long-Term Player Development model, OPDL coaches will need a National ‘B’ license or higher, they must maintain connections to goalkeeper and strength and conditioning coaches, plus athletic therapists. Adequate training facilities, proof of player, coach and referee development and respect

Breaking the ice

photo: dan plouffe

The host Ottawa Internationals claimed two division titles at their Icebreaker girls’ tournament on the May 26-27 weekend, earning U10 and U12 crowns. West Ottawa also celebrated two titles, topping U15 and U16 categories. Other local champions included U11 Nepean City Green, the U11 Gloucester Hornets, the U15 Ottawa Royals and St. Anthony’s U18s. The 18th-annual edition of the popular early-season tournament attracted 144 teams. The boys’ Icebreaker will take place June 2-3.

for proper practice to game ratio are also part of the package. The OSA believes that no club in the province likely meets all the criteria at the moment, but the objective is to raise the bar and provide the right environment for the talented players to progress, Chiet explains. “The OPDL isn’t for everyone,” notes Chiet, who expects maybe 10% of clubs will reach for those levels. “What we’d like to see is clubs passing on players to the clubs that are in this environment so there’s appropriate relationships and clubs are making decisions about what’s best for the players, not their own interest.” The end goal, Chiet adds, is to develop improved top-level talent so Canada can compete better internationally, and to counteract current trends where many young athletes drop out of the sport.

Osu reaDy tO face changes For Ottawa South United, the local club that fields the most OYSL entries, news of the dramatic changes was rather surprising. “My own personal philosophy is that you have to earn whatever you do in life, whether it’s sport, work or personal life. Promotion and relegation is something I espouse and it reflects what soccer is like around the world,”

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says OSU president Bill Michalopulos. “That being said, we are going to support whatever the Ontario Soccer Association wants to try. I think it should raise the level of soccer over time.” Despite concerns should three or four Ottawa clubs be granted OPDL entries, OSU plans to take part in the new league. “OSU is very well prepared for it,” Michalopulos adds, noting they will have

photo: dan plouffe

to upgrade some of their coaching designations since the new standards are higher. “Essentially from an infrastructure and program and physiotherapy perspective, we already meet most of the criteria. It won’t be too much of a gap for us to close.” 613-580-2473 or


COMMUNITY CLUBS Promotion/relegation to be phased out of top Ontario soccer league




Ottawa players to live long-time ultimate dream By Ian Ewing Seven years ago, a group of Ontario women with a lofty goal came together. Five years ago, their dream was nearly realized, but a heartbreaking loss dashed their hopes. Finally, though, eight local Ottawa athletes and 17 teammates from across the country will be heading to Sakai, Japan this summer to represent Canada at the World Ultimate Championships. The Capitals, a joint Ottawa-Toronto competitive women’s Ultimate team, won the Canadian Ultimate Championships last August, avenging their 2007 loss to Vancouver-based Traffic by beating them in the finals at Keith Harris Stadium. The victory also earned them the right to form Team Canada this year. Canada is one of 11 nations represented in the women’s division at the world championships. Canada will also have teams in all other divisions – open, mixed, masters open, and masters women. Eight members remain from the 2007 Capitals team that fell just short. The opportunity is especially sweet for those women. They’ve been preparing and training in earnest for years now. At this level, the athletes take their training seriously. The Ottawa and Toronto contingents practice, separately, twice a week. Athletes are in the gym lifting weights once or twice a week and go on team runs once a week. The whole team plays together at tournaments or weekend training camps. In addition to the eight Ottawa players and 11 from Toronto, the Capitals picked up six out-of-

Ottawa’s Sarah Bobak and her fellow Team Canada members have traveled to many tournaments, including last year’s U.S. championships, to prepare for July’s world championships in Japan.


region players for the July 7-14 worlds. Those women – one each from Calgary and Montreal and four from the Vancouver area – play with their local clubs and join the rest of the group as often as possible.

“It’s such an accomplishment, because we have been working so hard to do this,” notes 25-year-old Danielle Fortin. She saw the Canadian women win gold in 2004, when she was at the tournament in the junior division. Now

Pilypaitis preps for final shot at London Olympics By Dan Plouffe

It’s a do-or-die scenario for Courtnay Pilypaitis and the Canadian women’s basketVermont Catamounts grad Courtnay Pilypaitis of Ottawa will play for Team Canada in their 2012 Olympic qualifier. file photo

ball team at the last chance Olympic qualifier June 25-July 1 in Turkey, but the 24-year-old St. Peter Catholic High School grad doesn’t feel at all nervous about the situation. “We have a really good draw and we feel confident in what we can do,” notes Pilypaitis, whose team will face France and Mali in the first stage of group play as they seek one of five berths available to the 12 participating nations. “We just want to get there and prove what we can do.” A former record-setting guard with the NCAA’s University of Vermont Catamounts, Pilypaitis has recently played professionally in Lithuania, where her family has roots. “It’s a lot more of a business there. It is

your job,” explains Pilypaitis, who shudders when she sees photos of herself on a motorcycle in promotional materials for her team’s sponsor. “But I still have fun, and I’m doing what I love.” Pilypaitis had a month off at the end of winter, but has been back at the national team’s home in B.C. since the end of April. Ranked 11th in the world, the Canadians fully intend to be one of the 12 teams in London come late July. “It’s going to be a very exciting summer,” Pilypaitis adds. “So many people don’t get to live out their dreams. And if we get to qualify for the Olympics, it’s a great honour and we have a good chance.”

co-captaining this year’s team, going to worlds is the fulfillment of a goal the Ottawa native set for herself eight years ago. Team USA and Japan will likely be Canada’s toughest competition at the tournament. At the last world championships in 2008, those two countries met in the final of the women’s division. Traffic, as Team Canada, won bronze. Every player on Team Canada this year has played in an international tournament – experience that the captains were looking for, due to different styles of play elsewhere. The North American game, Fortin explains, is more aggressive than elsewhere in the world. Australian teams try to isolate players on offence to exploit one-on-one matchups. Japanese teams are very patient with the disc, but very quick, “and they throw insanely accurately,” she adds. The team has scouted their opponents to better prepare. They’ve also spent time since 2007 improving weaknesses they noticed in that losing effort. The captains had the team work on their confidence and composure in the big-game scenarios, says long-time Capitals player Josée Guibord. A former Capitals captain herself, Guibord describes going to worlds as the culmination of her ultimate career. “It’s extremely exciting. To wear the maple leaf, it’s pretty cool,” grins the 35-year-old lawyer. “It means everything,” agrees civil servant Kate Cavallaro, also 35. “I’ve been preparing for this for years. The whole team has been preparing for this.”

Grey Hawk hosts CJGA Laval’s Annie Lacombe (left) spoiled Marlies KleknerAlt’s chance for a hometown victory, earning the girls’ division title by five strokes over the Louis-Riel high school student at the Canadian Junior Golf Association’s Nike Golf Junior Series/Stephen Ames Cup Qualifier event May 12-13 at Grey Hawk Golf Club. Kanata’s Nicholas Brisebois had better luck, shooting rounds of 73 and 80 to win the boys’ 14 & under category by eight shots. The CJGA returns to Ottawa Aug. 2021 at Loch March Golf & Country Club. photo: dan plouffe

By Ian Ewing “It legitimizes my training. It proves to me that all the training that I’ve done throughout my life has been working.” That’s the reason martial artist Fred Stonehouse gives for taking his second sanctioned Muay Thai fight, at Throwdown Gatineau on June 16. The Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts product enjoys the challenge of competing, but he especially likes knowing that his training is effective. “The things I’ve learned – if I can do it against somebody who’s also been training and who knows what I’m doing and knows how to defend it, then I should be OK if something were to happen on the street, against somebody who doesn’t know.” Not that he’s expecting to find himself in street brawls. In addition to training there, Stonehouse has built himself a life at OAMA working and instructing. The credibility he hopes to earn in the ring isn’t just for himself – it’s for his students, who he calls his biggest fans. “I’ve known since a young age that this is what I want to do for the

Fred Stonehouse (right) won his Muay Thai debut.

rest of my life. I love teaching,” he adds. The 23-year-old athlete has been involved in martial arts since the age of three, but has only been doing Muay Thai, or Thai kickboxing, for a little over two years. Prior to that, he was involved in taekwondo, karate, boxing, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It was almost an accident that the up-and-comer tried out Muay Thai. He came to OAMA from a karate gym, feeling like he’d reached the limit of what he could learn there.

photo: igor milasin

He jumped into BJJ, a mixed martial arts favourite, as quickly as he could. Stonehouse began training with some of the big names in Ottawa MMA, including Mark ‘Boots’ Holst and ‘Relentless’ Randy Turner. But when nobody showed up for BJJ for a few days, another instructor, Kru Jeff Harrison, told him to grab his gear. Without explaining, they began sparring. “We started off with boxing,” Stonehouse smiles. “I was like, ‘OK, I can do this.’ And then he kicked me in the leg! “I didn’t know anything, at all, about leg kicks. I got beat up, over and over, day after day, until I learned how to check a kick.” Eventually having figured that out, he was next subjected to the clinch, and still without warning, knees to the head. “That was my introduction to Muay Thai,” Stonehouse recalls. Acknowledging that some people might be discouraged by such an unforgiving approach, the Algonquin College business administration graduate claims he found it refreshing. “I had done 10 years of solid striking before that. Then I come here, and it tells me, really, I’d only just started learning about striking.” Getting beaten up so soundly lit a fire in his belly, and he resolved to keep coming back until he learned how to defend this new style of attack. He’s a quick study. Stonehouse won his first sanctioned amateur Muay Thai event in February, defeating Ronin MMA fighter Armin Eshtabi. He describes feeling more relaxed heading into this match, where he’ll face Team Bushido’s Andre Aitken – one of around 15 fights on the upcoming Casino du Lac Leamy card. The OAMA fighter doesn’t know anything about his opponent, but believes his hard work training with experienced teammates prepared him well.

Doc Hockey Corner

What’s up with Stretching?

--By Dr. Shayne Baylis, Doc Hockey “Hi, can I help you? “ “Yes, is this the massage booth? My son just raced and would like to get a massage.” “Well, Active Release Technique is like a therapeutic sports massage geared to specific areas of complaint.” “Oh, my son does not have any injuries.” “Your son looks like a good athlete, is he able to touch his toes?” (Son reaches down, 8 inches from the ground) “That is not good! How old is he?” “12 years old.” “He should have better flexibility than that. I worry about future injury.” This was just one conversation I had with a parent who was at the Brockville triathlon last year with her son. We all seem to think we don’t have a problem unless we can physically see it or we feel some sort of pain and discomfort. I am often asked about stretching, and consistently have people telling me they stretch all the time but do not seem to be making any gains in flexibility. If we are all really healthy and had normal muscle tissue, stretching would be perfect and everyone would be more flexible by just stretching. However, we have a substance called adhesion, or scar tissue, that accumulates in our soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, fascia, nerves) decreasing our flexibility, weakening our muscles, and causing pain in our body.

THERAPY HELPS PERFORMANCE When stretching, we are basically only lengthening our healthy normal muscle tissue, but this is not able to break down the limiting factor that is adhesion. The adhesion is caused by a repetitive contraction or long

Regardless of how the fight turns out, Stonehouse plans to stay involved in martial arts for a long time. “If they want me to, I would teach (martial arts) for the rest of my life,” he says. The best compliment Stonehouse has ever received, he adds, came from a student who ran up to him after a fight. “This combo you showed me worked!” exclaimed the excited student. “I’d taught him that three or four months earlier,” the instructor says. “He still remembered it and appreciated it enough that he put it into his fight. It’s amazing to see what you teach get passed on.”

holding postures, like sitting, that decrease the oxygen to the muscles. Without the flexibility, there is more pressure placed on the joints and injury is more likely to occur. This is why it is so critical for the athletes to have a good soft-tissue therapist to maintain good flexibility and force production for speed and strength during performance.

DYNAMIC STRETCH KEY TO WARMUP When asked about stretching before and after activity, I propose to warm up with the activity you are going to do. Running you jog, skating you skate. When I do stretching before activity I focus on the major muscle groups (quads, hamstrings, groins, calves, glutes etc.) utilizing a dynamic stretch where I stretch until I feel the tension in the muscle and then I back off and repeat for 10 reps. Static stretching with long holds before activity can actually decrease your power and speed. I perform 10-metre sprints 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%, then 5 forward long jumps, 5 side jumps (both sides), 5 backward jumps. These are all done just before activity or the game to warm muscles and especially to excite the nervous system. That’s why sprinters do the high knee jumps rapidly just before racing. After exercise, I will then perform static stretching with long holds and will flush out the muscles with a foam roller for better muscle recovery. If you are unable to touch your toes or you want a little more information on flexibility and health, come to Fit Day at the Ottawa Convention Centre on Saturday, June 16th and visit Doc Hockey and the Orleans Chiropractic Booth. Visit for more information.

@doc_hockey doc hockey PREVENTION - PERFORMANCE - RECOVERY

Frost prevails

Ottawa deaf-blind speed skater Kevin Frost added two more titles to his collection by winning the 500 metre & 1,500 m events at a competition in Scotland organized by Impaired Skating, file photo a body that seeks to promote the sport internationally. The 44-yearold lone Canadian representative bested racers from Russia, the UK and Finland.


COMMUNITY CLUBS Beat up day after day, Stonehouse rises




Visit Your Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame

RUGBY continued from Front “The girls are really hungry for success, especially knowing that Ashbury is one of the best in Ontario and that we can hang with them,” says Knights coach Pat Thompson, who believes the 40-minute mini-games format could favour his team. “Our program has been growing, and I think we’re at a point now where we can definitely compete with teams like Ashbury for sure.” The Merivale Marauders also represent a solid medal threat in the ‘A/ AA’ ranks. Led by Barb Bitchoka, who scored five tries in the city final, Merivale boasts nine athletes headed

to CIS rugby schools next year. “We knew from the start that we have a shot at a medal at OFSAA,” highlights Marauders coach Jon Leboutillier. “We’ve got the physical talent and size. And they’ve certainly put in the time and effort.” Come OFSAA, the Marauders will have had 49 practices under their belt this season. “I feel like they deserve it for the work they’ve put in, but we’ll see how it goes,” adds Leboutillier, who’s hoping for a good seed after coming closest to knocking off four-time defending-champion Trenton High School at last year’s OFSAA, falling by five in their second match of the

Ottawa is home to many athletes who have gone on to reach the greatest heights of their chosen sport. Whether it’s Steve Yzerman, Denis Potvin, Elizabeth Manley, Russ Jackson, or Barbara Ann Scott, Ottawa boasts an impressive list of champions. To recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of these hometown heroes we have the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. This used to be located at Scotiabank Place but since November OFSAA girls’ rugby is in town. Brush up on your terminology. it has been conveniently located in the centre of the City on the ground floor of the Heritage Building at City Hall. Here you will see a plaque dedicated to each and every inductee into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame as well as exhibits displaying items such as an Olympic torch from the Vancouver and Calgary Olympics, Daniel Alfredsson’s uniform from an NHL All-Star Game, and Elizabeth Manley’s skates among others. We have more memorabilia than we have space to display it, allowing us to update the exhibits every few months which is good for visitors. So next time you’re at City Hall or looking for somewhere new to visit in our City, drop by the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. It’s a fun way to learn about the success of the well-known athletes of Ottawa as well as some you may not yet be aware of. The Ottawa Sports Hall of AdvantageBlind Side Blind Side DropDrop Dummy Advantage KickKick Dummy Fame is open Monday-Sunday Free Kick Knock On Lineout Maul Free Kick Knock On Lineout Maul from 8:30am-8:30pm and admisObstruction Place Kick Penalty Kick Punt Obstruction Place Kick Penalty Punt sion is free. Ruck Scrum Try Kick Hooker Ruck Props ScrumLocks Try Flankers Hooker Fullback —Jim Watson, Props Fly Half Locks Number Eight Flankers Fullback Mayor of Ottawa

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Fly Half

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Number Eight

tournament. “I feel we’re just a little bit stronger as a team than last year.” Merivale will be up against 15 opponents in the ‘A/AA’ ranks, while another 16 ‘AAA/AAAA’ Ontario schools will occupy a total of 200 rooms at Algonquin College’s residence during the event. Rounding out the Ottawa entries are the Elmwood Eagles, featuring a young lineup of Grade 9s and 10s alongside three seniors – Sam Fonberg, Alice Bifield and Claire Racette. “This is a big building year for us and we’re thrilled to go to OFSAA,” says Eagles coach Elmwood coach Erin Derbyshire. “It’s going to be amazing.”

902 Pinecrest Rd. Ottawa, K2B 6B3 Dan Plouffe Editor 613-261-5838 Larry Ring Director of Business Development 613-293-1730 The Ottawa Sportspage is printed the first Tuesday of every month by Ottawa Sports Media, the locally-owned and operated publishers of the Ottawa Sportspage and


Name: Sheniz Eyuzlu Sport: Tennis School: All Saints CHS Grade: 12 About: A city champion with Jon Willemsen last season, Sheniz Eyuzlu repeated as national capital mixed doubles champ with Willemsen’s younger brother, Joseph, this year and now wants an improved OFSAA result after reaching the 2011 quarter-finals.

Name: John Roscoe Sport: Track-and-Field School: Earl of March SS Grade: 9 About: Also a competitive golfer out of Kanata Lakes, John Roscoe won four medals in all four of his midget boys’ events – sprint and distance hurdles, long jump and 4x100 m relay – at the national capital west conference trackand-field championships. Name: Charlotte Dunlap Sport: Rugby School: Ashbury College Grade: 12 About: Also a ‘AA’ ringette player for the Ottawa Ice, fullback Charlotte Dunlap will cap her athletic career at Ashbury College – which also included volleyball and cross-country running – with a final appearance at the OFSAA girls’ rugby championships.

16U Fusion & 17U Mavericks claim national silver medals to cap volleyball campaigns

awa Fusion 16-and-under boys and the Maverick 17U boys, getting the They both came one step short chance to play in the final game for a of gold, but for the underdog Ott- national title provided an unforgettable memory. It was an opportunity very few of the record 10,000-odd participants got to experience at the largest Canadian volleyball championships ever on the May long weekend at the Direct Energy Centre in photoS: traCY lamB Toronto. Simon Smyth (left) and Ben Harper were Fusion national all-stars. “For those

By Dan Plouffe

guys to be that mentally strong, on the biggest stage with that many people watching, was outstanding,” says Fusion coach Colin Walker. “I was full of pride for them.” There was even more added drama for Walker’s boys as they went to a third and deciding set against a big, physical Fraser Valley, B.C. club in the championship final. They wound up falling by the minimum, 15-13. “We’re supposed to play every game like it’s just a practice, but it was definitely more stressful for me,” says setter Simon Smyth, a tournament allstar along with middle Ben Harper. “It was really a special experience.” Despite a taxing schedule featuring nine matches in three days – seven of which went three sets – and the 6:15

a.m. shuttle bus departure time, the Fusion showed no ill effects in the final. “I wasn’t tired at all,” highlights Harper, a Grade 10 Lisgar student whose father’s office at Parliament Hill overlooks his school. “I was just so excited to be able to play in the biggest game I’ve ever played in my life.” It was tough to lose the final by two points, Harper adds, but the close team of “brothers” took pride in finishing second in the country, which provides some extra motivation for the future.

mavs siLver eQuaLs reDemPtiOn Winning silver provided a large dose of satisfaction for the Mavericks. They’d won a big tournament at Penn State this season, but since the Ontario Volleyball Association ran an event

the same weekend, they docked the Mavs for missing it and kept them in the Tier 2 division prior to provincials. “We were focused on proving that we were one of the top teams,” notes coach Karch MacLean. “Having not played in a single Tier 1 tournament all year and then finishing second at nationals is huge.” Libero Thomas Marshall and middle Warren Taylor were national all-stars, while many players stepped up to fill in for leader Phil Piché, who couldn’t play due to a broken wrist. “There was so much fight in them this tournament,” MacLean says. “The whole weekend was about the team – from start to finish, it was about what they owed each other and the work they put in all year.”



By Emily Panetta

Ottawa was bumping for the 38th-annual Race Weekend. As runners traveled to the Ottawa Convention Centre to pick up race kits and size up the competition, you could almost smell the anticipation – or perhaps that was sweaty race gear – in the air. A record 42,205 people participated, some setting personal bests and others falling short of their goals. But most relished the beautiful weather, scenic route and friendly spirit of competition.

A mother’s motivation Every runner has their own story, but there may not be many who enjoyed racing more than Nancy MacDonell. The 55-year-old Ottawa mother has come a long way, and not just because she recently ran the 42.195 km marathon. MacDonell has only been running for three years and already holds an impressive running resume, which includes races in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Florida and just recently, the 2012 Boston Marathon. Along with daughters Chelsea and Chloe, MacDonell started her running

career in March 2009, when her sister challenged them to run in the Ottawa Race Weekend 5k race. The trio joined the Running Room’s Learn to Run clinic on Bank Street, and they haven’t looked back. “What fun it was to train and run a race together crossing the finish line smiling,” MacDonell says. “And having that great feeling of accomplishment.” After getting the running bug, they quickly doubled their distance to 10k, again using a Running Room clinic to make the jump. But the trio didn’t just train together. During races, they actually dressed in the exact same outfits. “My whole purpose was to spot the girls in a crowd in case we lost contact with one another during our race,” MacDonell explains. While Chloe says she runs to stay in shape and Chelsea runs for an excuse to travel, MacDonnell’s main motivation is her two girls. “Doing all this together as a family makes me the happiest mom in the world,” she smiles. What does MacDonell’s advise anyone interested in taking up running? Simple. “Don’t talk about. Do it!”

Three-time Paralympic medalist Jason Dunkerley finished the Race Weekend 10k in 35:26.7. photo: dan plouffe

There was a hitch, however, as it was not possible to sort race results for this category on as of press time. The winner of the category was not hard to pick out, however, as three-time Paralympic medalist Jason Dunkerley placed 42nd overall amongst able-bodied athletes in 35:26.7. Dunkerley’s Achilles Ottawa organization that matches parasport runners with guides helped push for the new category.

Runners with a cause

Practicing what she preaches, MacDonell is already looking forward to the Canada Army Run half marathon in September 2012. Running with her daughters of course.

Record-breaking race result Speeding away at the front of the marathon pack was Laban Moiben of Kenya. The 28-year-old won the event for the second straight year, and broke the race record of two hours, nine minutes and 12 seconds (19 seconds faster than the 2009 mark).

Ottawa’s Nick Best was the winner of the half-marathon in 1:11:05.5.

New category for blind runners The Tamarack Homes Ottawa Race Weekend introduced a new category in its 10Km race for runners with visual impairments. While the event has always had a policy to accommodate all runners, this new category enables these athletes to see and understand their results in relation to other runners who have entered in the same category, organizers explained in a press release.

While Ottawa Race Weekend officially supports numerous charities including the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, some individuals used the event to fundraise for other initiatives. Two of the more unique fundraisers were the 46-member Run for Biodiversity group that supported farmers in Nepal, and six-year-old Luis-Eduardo Grijalva, who is determined to raise $20,000 for the Canadian Athletes Now Fund in advance of the London 2012 Olympics. See and for more on Grijalva, and visit run-for-biodiversity/ottawa/ for more on the Run for Biodiversity.

Financial hardship dampens pinnacle moment By Dan Plouffe

It was a career highlight for Ottawa weightlifter Isabelle Després: competing in her first international event. But the mid-May Pan American championships in Guatemala was a bittersweet moment as well. “I loved it so much – the experience of being there with all these other countries, the competition itself, the intensity. The effect it had on me, I can’t even describe,” recounts Després. “I felt awesome being on the stage and having them announce my name, and then, ‘Canada.’ It was amazing to be there representing my country. That was one of my dream goals and I’ve achieved it now.” However, there was also an ever-present dark feeling. Instead of wearing a proper Canada singlet, Després only had an old T-shirt with Canada on it that her mom had bought her several years ago. It was a reminder of the self-financed journey the 31-year-old has undertaken to reach for her dreams. Després covered all costs for the trip to Guatemala, which acted as a continental Olympic qualification competition. And there’s also a mounting debt-load of around $40,000 that’s only grown since she dropped down to part-time physiotherapist hours to focus her main energy on sport. “That’s been a huge stressor. It’s put a grey cloud over all of it,” says Després, who is currently run-

Weightlifter Isabelle Després just competed internationally for the first time last month in Guatemala.

ning an online fundraising campaign through with sponsorship packages available that range modestly from $25 to $500. “When the credit card people or the tax people come knocking at your door saying we’re going to repossess all of your things... I’ve had those letters. It’s pretty tough to keep going.” With a track-and-field background, the New Brunswick native discovered competitive weightlifting while studying at the University of Ottawa. She has steadily improved in recent years and was ready to make a serious run at the London Olympics until back and hip injuries struck this past fall. Després couldn’t squat for three months and missed key training building blocks leading up to this season. While a standout performance in Guatemala could have earned her one of Canada’s three Olympic berths, Després realized her fate was likely sealed in advance. She placed

photo: dan plouffe

eighth at the Pan American championships in the women’s 58 kg class, lifting a respectable 177-kilogram combined total for the snatch and clean-and-jerk. “I did well enough,” says Després, who faced a new set of challenges that aren’t present in domestic competition such as predicting time between lifts. “It was great experience. I want to do it again and again and again.” For the moment, Després is focused on the June 2-3 national championships where she’d like to establish a new personal best above 183 kg. Beyond that, she’d love to shoot for Commonweath Games, Pan Am Games and world championships, plus Rio 2016. “They’re all something I can do. It’s well within my reach,” notes the sister of 2006 Canadian Olympic bobsledder Serge Després. “But we’ll see. I might not get to because I’m already too broke.”


2012 Ottawa Race Weekend creates memories of all kinds




National capital athletes storm ahead to OFSAA By Anne Duggan

Ottawa will send a pile of medal contenders down the 416 to Brockville for the 2012 OFSAA track-and-field championships June 7-9, many armed with the confidence of new records from the national capital meets at Terry Fox Athletic Facility. That is certainly the case for Erinn Stenman-Fahey. The Grade 9 student from Canterbury came away from city finals with new records of two minutes, 18.93 seconds in the midget girls’ 800 metres and 58.54 in the 400 m. Joining the Ottawa Lions club made her see running in a different light. “I started at Lions to help with soccer but I really like it so I stayed in order to help my track results,” explains Stenman-Fahey, who would like to make event finals at OFSAA. “That would be really awesome.” Lycée Claudel’s Lucas Trapeau heads to OFSAA fresh off a new personal best time of 1:57.69 in the 800 m. Plagued by hip and knee injuries in the

Visit on Facebook for more photos from the track&field city finals. Louis-Riel’s Asha Mohiddin, also a Capital United soccer player, was the OFSAA junior girls’ long jump champion last year and is a podium contender in the senior girls’ event along with Jaimee Loh of Cairine Wilson for the 2012 provincial championships June 7-9 in Brockville. photo: dan plouffe

last year, the junior boys’ athlete is now healthy and has a huge OFSAA goal. “I want to win it,” states Trapeau, who placed fifth in the 800 at last year’s provincial championships. Soaring to Hard work has new heights brought confidence and good results to Emma Galbraith. The Franco-Ouest senior broke the city 1,500 m record with a time of 4:31.34. “I have had a few tough training sessions where I was on the verge of vomiting,” details Galbraith, who is coached by veteran Vince Fay with the Lions. “That’s really good. It makes a real difference with race results.” It didn’t take Grade 9 John McCrae student Hannah-Kelsey Smith long to make her mark on photo: dan plouffe the local track-and-fi eld Mark Chenery rose to the challenge and placed fourth overall in the men’s decathlon at the Pan American scene. Having moved combined event championships May 26-27 in Ottawa. His 7,123 point total was just 26 away from the po- from Whitby last year, dium. Ottawa Lions teammate Patrick Arbour was fifth. Smith won the midget

girls’ 80 m hurdles, won the long jump and then broke the triple jump record with an 11.05 m leap. “My goal is to beat my sister when she was my age,” highlights Smith, who needs another .27 m to reach her sister’s standard. “It’s still a little ways to go, but I’ve got a couple meets.” He’s not a city champion in either the 800 or 1,500 m, but Holy Trinity’s Mickey Day remains a strong bet for OFSAA finals or the podium. The firstyear senior has been working on his endurance and speed alongside a pair of talented distance runners and Lions teammates – Sebastian Saville of Colonel By and Glebe’s Yves Sikubwabo. Saville, the reigning OFSAA senior boys’ 800 m bronze medalist, wants gold this time around. “It’s been my goal for a long time,” notes the Grade 12 student who felt “relaxed” in posting a 1:55.34 time to win the city title. “Who knows what I can do when pushed, but there’s lots of good runners going to OFSAA.” John McCrae’s Kayla Maduk is officially a triple throwing threat after the city championships where she earned junior girls’ gold in shot put, and sil-

vers in javelin and discus. The standout taekwondo athlete is feeling positive about OFSAA after finishing third in javelin last year despite a hip injury. “My distances are improving each time I throw,” Maduk notes. “Things are going well. I have no injuries.” Smashing the steeplechase record in 5:07.52 was part of Erin O’Higgins’ last appearance at city championships. “I have improved hugely,” says the Bell High School student. “That makes everything more fun than last year.” Sikubwabo, the defending OFSAA senior boys’ 1,500 and 3,000 m champion, is finally running healthy after a fall and winter filled with injuries. “His last injury, an ankle injury,

Sibling switcheroo

A year after his brother won a mixed doubles tennis city title with Sheniz Eyuzlu, All Saints’ Joseph Willemsen (above) did the same. has more.

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convinced him to stop playing soccer,” notes Glebe coach Kirk Dillabaugh. “He just needs to get a little zip back into his legs.” Sikubwabo’s current amount of zip was enough to completely dominate the national capital 3,000 m and 1,500 m races. Sikubwabo plans to “stay cool and confident and maybe I can win OFSAA again,” he says. The phenom who came to Ottawa from Rwanda as a refugee will head to university in Guelph this fall and compete for the Gryphons. “I came here alone but after a couple of months I was not alone,” explains Sikubwabo, who received tons of attention from schools south of the border. “I love Canada.” Other strong OFSAA contenders from the nation’s capital include LouisRiel sprinters Regina Remadji and Lia Hendricks, St. Paul sprinter Paul Shermar, Glebe sprinter Courtney Dwyer, A.Y. Jackson distance runner Brendon Howard, Hillcrest sprinter Amelia Brohman, Immaculata sprinter Denray Jean-Jacques, Sacred Heart hurdler Alexandra Tierny, and long jumpers Asha Mohiddin of Louis-Riel and Jaimee Loh of Cairine Wilson.

Off to the promise land

The national capital high school sports association’s long-time athletic coordinator, Laura Gillespie, is set to retire after a fulfilling career teaching, coaching and administrating. SportsOttawa .com has more.