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TENNISFORLIFEOTTAWA.COM Your Not-for-Profit Voice for Local Sport

June 2018


Gaby glows


Mike Woods improved upon his finish at last year’s Giro d’Italia despite a slew of setbacks.



In her final OFSAA track meet Ashbury’s Sharelle Samuel left with just what she came for.


photo: steve kingsman

Gabriela Dabrowski found her way to a third Grand Slam final in the space of a year at the French Open By Dan Plouffe


The Bell twins - Maya and Anastasia (pictured) - helped GO Capital Synchro medal at nationals.

Ottawa native Gabriela Dabrowski came agonizingly close to a third Grand Slam tennis title within the space of a year when she lost by the absolute minimum in the

French Open mixed doubles final on June 7 at Roland Garros. After dropping just one set in four victories to reach the championship match, Dabrowski and partner Mate Pavic of Croatia fell 8-10 in the final-set super tiebreak on the

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heels of 1-6, 7-6(5) scores earlier. “It definitely sucks – wish I could have hit a couple of shots better,” Dabrowski said via Tennis Canada. “But in Australia we were down match point, and Mate came up with two aces and then I hit a re-

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turn winner to win it. “That’s tennis. Unfortunately the beauty of it is that one week it’ll go in your favour and the next week it might not.”

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– COMMUNITY CLUBS – Capital Wave 16U girls snag silver at nats By Chelsea Robert Ottawa Capital Wave’s 16U girls finished just a splash short of a national championship, falling to the perennial water polo powerhouse, Quebec’s Dollard Black 6-3 in the National Championship League finals on May 26. Ottawa Capital Wave’s 16U and 19U girls teams qualified for nationals by finishing in the top two of the National Championship League eastern conference and won the right to take on the nation’s best at the championships held in Montreal. Celso Rojas, Capital Wave 16U and 19U girls head coach, said that cracking the national championships alone was the goal for both teams. “The girls had achieved this, and at the first meeting we said it, the girls should be proud to already be in the top four at national championships, so now it was to keep learning and have fun at nationals.” Rojas said. Capital Wave was only established six years ago, and Rojas described the club as being still in its infancy. “Some of these girls have only played four or five years and it’s hard when the other girls in this age group have been playing water polo for eight years,” he said. In the final minutes of the 16U gold medal game, Rojas called a timeout to calm the girls down and remind them “to just have fun.” “He would really try to motivate us and keep our heads up because depending on what quarter it is, you can really come back from a couple points difference,” Capital Wave’s 16U goalie, Abigail Gasparotto said.

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National silver medallist Capital Wave 16U girls. Gasparotto, 15, played with both the 16U and 19U teams at nationals. She described the final as an “amazing” experience considering some of her teammates have only been playing water polo for a couple years. It is the first silver medal for Capital Wave in the 16U girls age group. Gasparotto also won an award for being the tournament’s top goalie. “Winning had never been the particular goal, instead it was just doing your best, having fun, playing as hard as you could and putting everything out there on the water,” she said. “It was the most exciting thing, being in the gold medal game at nationals with such an inexperienced team.” Gasparotto added, “It makes me more determined than ever to get a gold medal next year.” Gasparotto said she will be moving up to 19U next year, but is “thankful” to have played with such a great group at 16U and that they were able to grow together “emotionally and physically leading up to nationals.” The 19U girls team also swam their hearts out placing fifth after being defeated in the bronze qualifier. However, Kait-

photo: jeff greco

lyn Palmer, 17 is determined to swim at nationals next year. Palmer has been playing water polo for eight years and for Capital Wave since it was formed. “It was a really good feeling, the past two years we had come really close to qualifying but it hadn’t happened.” Palmer added, “even though we didn’t do as well as we hoped it’s just going to push us a lot harder to try and go again next year and do better.” “I think we definitely just never gave up, we played hard until the end of each game no matter what the score was and we stayed positive… that’s something we’ve always needed to work on and I think that’s really important.” Rojas will be coaching Team Ontario this summer, which includes Palmer, Gasparotto and seven other teammates, along with six girls from the Greater Toronto Area. The team will travel to Spain to play in July. “We get to play a bunch of European teams and see different skills and styles of every aspect of the sport, so we’re really excited to go train with them and play in Spain,” Gasparotto said.

– JUNIOR LEAGUES – Global 5v5 finalist seeks Canada colours next By Dan Plouffe A number of local soccer players have parlayed next-level pre-season experiences into hot starts with their club teams. For Keera Melenhorst, it was a trip to Barcelona alongside a handful of West Ottawa Warriors teammates for the Global Gatorade 5v5 Finals, where she was named tournament MVP en route to a runner-up finish. “It was quite an experience,” recounts Melenhorst, who played her games at the 1992 Olympic Stadium. “Knowing the people that had played there before you... It’s something I’ll never forget.” The under-15 team of Melenhorst, Taylor Dempster, Taylor Heard, Kelsey Pokoj, Sage Rocha and Emma Steen earned the trip thanks to their victory at the Canadian qualifier in Toronto. The Warriors girls beat Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Honduras in the preliminary round, then topped Honduras again in semi-final before falling 1-0 to Brazil in their rematch. “We definitely got better as we went on,” notes Melenhorst, who previously represented Canada at the Danone Nations Cup in Morocco as a 12-year-old. “We really got to develop as a team, and losing the finals I think helped us get mentally stronger.” Melenhorst has most of her Ontario Player Development League season ahead of her with the Warriors, though she will move to Toronto come the start of the fall school year in order to join Canada Soccer’s REX national program. “It’s going to be hard” leaving her team and moving away from friends and family, signals the Grade 9 Franco-Ouest high school student, but it wasn’t a difficult decision to make in the slightest since it moves her a step closer to her long-held goals. “Getting into the national program in Toronto was for sure something I wanted, and now it’s hopefully to play for Team Canada,” she underlines.

OSU’S PROVINCIAL SPARK Melenhorst also played for the Team Ontario U15 girls in the springtime alongside a pair of Ottawa South United players. Juliann Lacasse and Marissa Gravel, who also have U14 Team Ontario member Claire Rea on their U15 OPDL side, credit their time with the provincial team for helping to launch their 5-0 start in OPDL play. “We had a great preseason and we trained really hard, so I think we’re going to have a really good season here,” explains Rea, who previously played with Futuro boys’ teams before joining OSU, as did Gravel. “We want to win the league, or come close. It’s a big goal, but I think with the way we’re playing right now, there’s hope.” The OSU group finished middle-of-the-pack last season, but there’s a different feel now, says goalkeeper Lacasse. “I feel like we’re training a lot harder this year,” notes the past Gloucester Hornet. “Because we have a flicker of hope, it’s kind of kicking in with some girls that this is happening and we can win it.”

COBRAS DEBUT IN OPDL The Cumberland Cobras are now officially OPDL participants. The new local additions to the provincial high-performance loop kicked off their home schedules with back-to-back U13 boys’ and girls’ games on June 2, plus a BBQ and 4v4 festival for U9-U12 players. “There is a sense of pride that Cumberland is finally here,” highlights Cumberland girls’ club head coach Jessie Burgins. “We’ve always strived for this, regardless of whether it’s OPDL or not. This is the level most of the girls should be in. Now it’s like second-nature, honestly. We’ve been training that way, and the mentality has been at this level.” No standings are kept for the U13 age group, so the season objectives are focused on “learning the basics, to be hon-


OSU Force Academy Zone Four latest OSU players hit next level

(L-R) Tony Mikhael, Ali Jabara, David Chung & Ronan Kratt. Ottawa South United Soccer Club is pleased to announce a quartet of player advancement successes early this season, with Tony Mikhael headed to Carleton University, Ali Jabara to Acadia University, David Chung to the University of Waterloo, and Ronan Kratt to a U.S. Soccer Develop-

Juliann Lacasse (left) and Keera Melenhorst. photo: dan plouffe

est,” says Liam Hughes, coach for the OSU U13 girls. “They’ve never played 11v11 before, so it’s actually getting used to the size of the pitch more than anything,” adds the OSU coach of 8 months, who had to endure adaptation of his own, having landed in Ottawa from England just in time for winter. “It was a bit harsh, wasn’t it, with all the snow?” chuckles the past Manchester City academy coach. “But once we’ve got outdoors, it’s been nothing but a pleasure.”

LOCAL TRIO ON TEAM CANADA Ottawa soccer products Theo Bair, Jonathan David and Kris Twardek helped the Canadian U23 men’s soccer team to a 6th-place performance at the 2018 Festival International Espoirs Provence. Canada missed out on the semi-final behind 2-1 Turkey despite their group’s only undefeated record, with a 0-0 draw against Portugal, a 1-0 win over Turkey, and 1-1 tie with Japan. Canada then fell 2-1 to host France to finish 6th overall. Bair got on the scoresheet, while Twardek served as captain at the event.

CONCACAF COMFORT It was stressful to the final moment, but Ottawa players Ariel Young and Olivia Cooke scored a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup berth for Canada at the CONCACAF Championships, which wrapped up on June 12 in Florida. An 89th-minute Canadian goal broke a 1-1 tie with Haiti in the bronze medal match as Canada grabbed the region’s last available FIFA berth. Political instability in Nicaragua forced a mid-tournament postponement after Canada’s 4-0 opening victory over Bermuda on Apr. 20. The Canadians resumed play with a 2-1 win over Ottawa-raised Carmen Marin and Costa Rica, followed by a 1-0 defeat to USA. A 2-1 loss to Mexico in the semi-finals forced Canada into the do-or-die contest.

ment Academy team. Tony was scouted into the Ravens Men’s Soccer Program, and will study Finance while at Carleton. Tony has been with OSU since the age of 14, and was a key player in the successful OSU 2000 Force Black team, which has won the OYSL League Championship, the Quebec-Ontario Cup and Ontario Cup. He now plays for OSU in League One Ontario. Meanwhile, our League One Ontario team captain will head east to Acadia. Ali was scouted and selected to be a part of the Axemen’s Men’s Soccer Program along with studying in business. Ali, who has been with OSU since the age of 9, was also a member of the 2000 Force Black squad. Ali’s journey through OSU began in house league, before entering competitive on the U9 Titans team. He quickly rose his way up the ranks to competing at the provincial level. Thank you to his house league coach, Courtney Anderson, for getting him into competitive. This summer, Coach Ali will serve as a club coach for our U9 Titans team, along with assisting Pre-Academy. David, also a current OSU League One player and past 2000 boys champion, will join the Waterloo Warriors. David started playing with OSU at U10. Individually, David has featured in the U15 Boys National team program as well. Ronan, a 2003-born player, has joined Barça Academy in the renowned U.S. Soccer DA league. Barça Academy is the new North American extension of FC Barcelona’s famed escola – a residential academy directed by La Masia coaches now located at the club’s Casa Grande, AZ facility. Ronan was invited to join the U15 team midseason. Brought in as a striker, he has started in his first 6 games, scoring 4 goals. Competing in the DA’s southwest division – often noted as the most competitive division in this nationwide league – Ronan was recently recognized by Top Drawer Soccer as a weekly standout player. Ronan began playing recreational soccer at the age of 6 at OSU before progressing to the competitive rosters. He has been a member of the Force Academy since U9 in which he has been a consistent goal scorer each year. In his U14 and final season at OSU, Ronan scored 18 goals in the OPDL as his team’s top scorer and third in the league. We send our best wishes to all our players in the next stages of their career and thank them for their contributions to OSU over many years!

OSU SENDS 15 TO DANONE NATIONS CUP CAMP A younger group of OSU players is also pecking at next-level opportunities. A total of 15 players made it to the final round for selection with the Danone Nations Cup program and attended a June 9-10 camp in Toronto. We are proud of all the OSU players who attended the try-out in Ottawa and represented our club so well! Our finalists were: Ameera Abualsamh, Olivia Chen, Ashlee Delaney, Ella Kettles, Olivia Lehto, Anna Swyers, Isaac Charbonneau, Andrianos Dagres, Luca Domanico, Aleksandr Guboglo, Jefferson Jerome, Theo Krnjevic, Lucas Mongeon, Simon Rochon & Alessandro Silenu.

TWARDEK CAPTAINS TEAM CANADA Younger Force players are all lining up in hopes of following in the footsteps of OSU Alum Kris Twardek, who recently captained the Canadian U-23 Men’s National Team to a 6th-place finish at the 2018 Festival International Espoirs Provence. Twardek’s troops narrowly missed the semi-finals despite their their group’s only undefeated record (0-0 vs Portugal, 1-0 over Turkey & 1-1 vs Japan).



Future looks bright for Elite U19 boys despite CYBL playoff stall By Michael Sun Despite their season success and a bright future ahead for many of their players, the Ottawa Elite Under-19 men’s basketball team saw their season end on a low. The team finished 10-0 in the Canadian Youth Basketball League this season before injuries ultimately cost the defending champs a chance at a repeat title, with coach Patrick Sullivan declaring the team unable to participate in the CYBL playoffs because of a lack of players. For guards Aiden Warnholtz and Connor Vreeken, there’s a silver lining: Vreeken is making his debut with the Canadian U-18 team at the FIBA Americas in St. Catharines while Warnholtz was named a reserve. They’re both going to Carleton next year, where Sullivan will continue as part of the Carleton coaching staff. “When I saw that the roster was released and I was on it, it kind of made me think that all the work I’ve put into get to this point was really worth it,” Vreeken said. “It was just a pretty amazing feeling.” Sullivan noted the team’s dedication is crucial to their success. Vreeken credits Ottawa Elite for making him the player he is today. He calls Sullivan’s practices “meticulous and organized,” which the coach says stems from his military background. Sullivan is a captain in the Canadian Forces, whoere he coached the military’s women’s basketball team before taking on the Elite four years ago. “What the military taught me was teamwork, discipline, hard work, working with others, communicate with people,” he said. “That sense of belonging and direction.”

In terms of what motivates him, he says it’s the joy the game brings. “I can’t wait to be on the court because it’s not a job,” he said. “I get to work with young men and I get to see them grow, I get to see them get better.” Sullivan calls Warnholtz, who won CYBL MVP last year and playoff MVP for Canada Topflight Academy this season, “the best player I’ve ever had.” He’s coached him for four years. Sullivan said Warnholtz is like another coach on the team and the glue that holds the team together as a point guard. “We’re not having the success we’re having at Ottawa Elite without Aiden Warnholtz,” he said. Sullivan credits’ Vreeken’s dedication as the Kingston native travels to Ottawa twice a week for practice. Vreeken, who moved from point guard to shooting guard after joining Ottawa Elite in Grade 10, also won gold with Team Ontario at the Canada Games last year. Growing up, Vreeken recalls how he was never the most athletic player but made up for it with skills. “That was definitely a big hurdle for me... when all my friends were growing and getting stronger and I wasn’t, I was definitely behind the pack and then as soon as I caught up, I kind of leapfrogged them in a way I guess just because the work I put in on my own,” Vreeken adds. He admits it is a struggle at times with travel and school but sees basketball as an escape. “I just found a lot of comfort being alone, playing and then it turned into training basically full time

and trying to pursue it to a higher level,” he said. For Vreeken, another enjoyable part is that his basketball career has been all self-motivated. “I’d definitely say that I’m able to enjoy the game a lot because the people around me don’t pressure me to play I guess,” he said. “It’s really been mainly a game and I decided to pursue it. I didn’t have people telling me that I had to.” Without that enjoyment, he says players can be burned out from basketball. Vreeken commended the Elite’s resilience this season in battling through injuries and adversity. “I really believe that the group we had last year and this year [had] kind of saw a bigger picture and that if we all work together as a team in order to photo: michael p. hall be successful…it’s kind of like the term ‘everybody Ottawa Elite’s Connor Vreeken is making his eats,” he said of how the commitment would even- debut for Canada at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship. tually lead to individual successes as well. Vreeken calls the Elite a “tight knit group,” For Vreeken, making the national team is something you don’t see with some club teams. the pinnacle of his career so far – something he “The other thing I get to see – which is the high- wouldn’t have ever believed growing up. light for me – is that they’re friends off the court,” “If someone had told me when I was in Grade Sullivan adds. “They develop that friendship.” 7, 8 or 9 that I was going to be representing the Other Elite players will also head off to start country or our province, I would have laughed at university careers. Fellow Kingstonian Brennan them,” he adds. Laidman is heading to McGill while Aron Masilingi Him and his teammates will head off to differis going to Heritage College. ent universities and colleges, ending their Ottawa For Sullivan, he says that’s what’s best and Elite careers. Vreeken said he recognizes the magmakes him the proudest. nitude of the moment. “The championships and stuff like that is really “In a way, I’d say it’s kind of sad to be closnice…but the end goal is to get these kids to go ing this chapter with Ottawa Elite and high school to university or college and play university or col- basketball,” he said. “We have experienced a lot lege basketball,” he said. “That’s where I see the of success and I’ve built a lot of relationships with success.” these guys that I think will last a lifetime.”

Ukraine world juniors next stop for local diver By Jenna Adlam The Nepean Ottawa Diving Club’s Henry McKay made his mark at the 2018 Speedo Junior Elite National Diving Championship in Winnipeg. McKay has won plenty of medals since he began diving 12 years ago when he was only six years old, but at the beginning he did not think he would go this far; especially with the

sport that started as a babysitting technique and something he could do while his older sisters swam. Even his parents were quite surprised when his coach told them just how talented he was at such a young age. But with his results at this year’s national championships and how far he has come, it is evident that he was meant to be diving. The national champion-

ships took place May 31 to June 3. McKay’s first dive was the open 3 m synchro, with partner Victor Povzner. McKay and Povzner were first paired by Dive Canada about nine months ago to compete at the 2017 Pan American Junior Diving Championship. In Winnipeg they won gold in the 3m synchro. McKay and Povzner competed against each other in



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each of their next two dives, the 1 m individual dive and the 3 m individual dive. In the 1 m, McKay earned a silver while falling short behind Povzner, who earned the gold medal. But, In the 3m dive, McKay bested his partner with a silver, while Povzner finished a spot behind him with the bronze. “Sometimes it is tough [to compete against Victor],” McKay said, adding that in diving there is a family-like atmosphere. “We all have fun competing against each other. Victor and I are still quite competitive towards each other, but we always support each other,” McKay prepared for the national championships with plenty of mental work to help boost confidence and practice. Closer to the meet, he said started focusing on pin point corrections needed on his dives. He says that he has never gotten used to the feeling of placing when it is big competitions such as this one. Throughout the competi-

Henry McKay supplied photo

tion and when it is completed, he is filled with adrenaline and emotion. “It almost feels automatic until the last dive, then everything is released,” McKay states. “It is a pretty amazing feeling that I chase at every competition.”

Winning gold and two silvers also qualified McKay for the FINA World Junior Diving Championships to be held in Kiev, Ukraine in July. Kathryn Grant of the Ottawa National Diving Club also won a bronze medal in the 1 m of girls ages 14-15.

– COMMUNITY CLUBS – Penn State’s Zakutney is happy to be back By Charlie Pinkerton Sam Zakutney wasn’t disappointed by finishing just shy of the podium at the national championship for gymnastics as it marked a successful return to form for the athlete with international aspirations. The Ottawa Gymnastics Centre-bred athlete finished 4th all-around at the 2018 Canadian Artistic Gymnastics Championships and was only 0.05 points away from tying the all-around bronze medallist. That mark would have tied his placing from last year. Zakutney had only positive things to say about his finish, which punctuated his return from an achilles injury that plagued him throughout the second half of his NCAA gymnastics season. “For the most part I wasn’t too worried about the outcome because I haven’t been the most prepared this year (because of the injury),” the Penn State sophmore said. The 20-year-old won still walked away from the national championships with some hardware. Zakutney won bronze medals in floor and the parallel bars. He also finished 8th in high bar, 15th in rings, 18th on pommel horse and 18th on vault, which though was tied for his worst finish, was what he said he was most happy with. “I completed a front-handspring double front (flip), which is a fairly new vault that I only competed well in January,” Zakutney said. “Once I got injured I just haven’t worked it for a while. To have done it really well and to have landed on my feet without falling


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Sam Zakutney two days in a row, I was pretty happy with that.” Zakutney said he hurt his achilles near the beginning of March. His preparation for all-around competitions took a blow because of the injury and he was forced to gradually rebuild his ability to compete across all six of the sport’s events. “It was a fairly slow process, but I got basically back to my prime right when the major (NCAA) championships came around,” he said. He said as of June he’s fully recovered from the injury. Coming off a freshman year in which he won the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award for gymnastics, Zakutney poured in an equally impressive second season with that Nittany Lions. He was named to the Academic All-Big Ten and was a 2018 All-American in parallel bars and high bar, which he finished 3rd and 7th in at the NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships. Zakutney will head to Mersin, Turkey for the FIG World Challenge Cup from July 6-8. He’ll also be attending a world trials training camp in Montreal at the end of July. If

file photo

Zakutney cracks Team Canada, he will debut at the world championships this year. “I know I can do well on parallel bars and high bars, those are my better events – floor as well. But if I could make my vault a lot more consistent, like as consistent as the national championships were, then I think that will definitely seal the deal for me (to make Canada’s team),” Zakutney said. A world championships appearance would bring Zakutney one step closer to his ultimate goal of competing at the Olympics. “Nothing would make me happier,” he added with a laugh. Zakutney’s teammate Ben Astorga came 2nd in vault in the national open division at nationals. Three Rideau Gymnastics athlete had podium finishes in single events at the national championships. Nathanael Teng placed 1st in the pommel horse in the national open division. Competing in the same division, Philopateer Malek placed 2nd in floor. Aidan Li placed 2nd in the pommel horse in the 16-17 age group.

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Ashbury star strikes twice at last OFSAA By Charlie Pinkerton

Rockin’ Rebelles Wrap

Winter home at Dome LR launches local track-and-field triumphs It was a strong showing once again this year by local high school athletes at the OFSAA Trackand-Field Championships, and for many of the region’s medallists, their path to the podium began indoors at the Dome LR. “It can be hard for some athletes, especially if they’re not running in clubs, to get access to the tracks and meets during the winter,” underlines Sébastien Lalonde, the Louis-Riel Rebelles athletics coach and lead timing official for the Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club. “Having the Dome is really great for us, and for the national capital students.” A wintertime home to Canadian Olympians such as sprinter Segun Makinde, hurdler Sekou Kaba, and distance runner Lanni Marchant, the Dome LR features Canada’s only 400-metre indoor track – an internationally-recognized Mondo surface. The crew of 15 Rebelles who qualified for OFSAA 2018 train at the Dome on a daily basis, integrated into their school day as part of the school’s renowned sports-study program. “It’s beneficial for our student-athletes because their classroom is a few strides away from the track,” adds Lalonde. “Every day, we get to train at the best indoor facility in North America.” Louis-Riel also regularly welcomes athletes from around the region and beyond, particularly for its se-

ries of meets held in late-winter/early-spring. The nine Louis-Riel-run meets in 2018 drew roughly 3,000 participants, bringing the season total (combined with cross-country running) to 11,898 entries, 7,675 athletes and 1,226 starts in 20 meets. Alongside its seasoned starters and organizers, Louis-Riel also owns a FinishLynx photo-finish timing system, which allows the school to deliver professional-quality meets to the grassroots levels. “We’ve got it all down to a science now,” Lalonde notes. “There are very few schools in Canada that can do what we do.” At OFSAA June 7-9 in Toronto, Louis-Riel athletes won 5 medals: Eliezer Adjibi (senior boys’ 100 & 200 m bronze), Caroline Poirier and Annabelle Gagné (senior girls’ pole vault silver & bronze), and the senior girls’ 4x100 m relay team of Gagné, Megan Roy, Kadiatou Wann & Kayla Vieux (silver). The Rebelles scored a dozen top-10s in total, which would have placed them 3rd overall in aggregate standings (which are no longer officially tabulated) and the top school out of 3 that ranked teams of both genders in the aggregate standings. “We were sort of in a rebuilding phase this year actually,” signals Lalonde, noting many graduates moved on to college track. “But it’s great to see some awesome individual performances, especially from our strong group of first-year seniors, and the nice depth we have on our team to be able to qualify 3 relay teams for provincials. It was a fun year, and I’m looking forward to what we can achieve next in this sport.”

One of Ottawa’s most promising high school athletes reclaimed double-gold at OFSAA this year because of a no-brainer: she learned how to hurdle. Even prior to this year’s provincial high school track and field championships Sharelle Samuel had an OFSAA resume that would trump most. But for Samuel to match the two OFSAA gold medals she won two years ago, it took adding a neglected skill. “I didn’t have hurdle technique before,” the Ashbury College student said with a laugh. “I learned how to hurdle basically.” She said she nearly dropped the hurdles as an event altogether after last year’s nationals. At that event she won bronze in the U20 women’s 400 m hurdles. She also won gold in the 4x400 m relay, silver in the 4x100 m relay and bronze in the 400 m. “I thought… this is not

Sharelle Samuel breaks away down the stretch at the national capital finals. working for me,” Samuel said. But instead she opted to stick with the hurdles and after last year’s Commonwealth Youth Games decided to dedicate herself to properly learning the skill. “I was like, ‘okay,’ maybe if I learn how to hurdle properly then I’ll race,” Samuel said. She’s certainly never lacked the necessary spring

supplied photo

for the event: one of Samuel’s two golds at the 2016 OFSAA Track and Field Championships was in long jump. Her other 1st place finish at that meet was in the 400 m. She decided to drop long jump because she found that it often conflicted with her running events at meets.

OFSAA continues p.7

Le Dôme LR propulse les athlètes locaux au triomphe sur la piste Cette année, les athlètes des écoles secondaires locales ont encore une fois présenté d’excellentes performances aux championnats provinciaux d’athlétisme. Pour un grand nombre de médaillés de la région, leur chemin vers la victoire a débuté au Dôme Louis-Riel. « Il peut être difficile pour certains athlètes d’avoir accès aux pistes de course et de participer aux compétitions pendant l’hiver, surtout s’ils ne courent pas pour un club », souligne Sébastien Lalonde, entraîneur d’athlétisme des Rebelles de Louis-Riel et chronométreur en chef pour le club des Lions d’Ottawa. « Il est bénéfique pour nous et pour les étudiants de la capitale nationale de pouvoir utiliser le Dôme. » Le Dôme de Louis-Riel, où s’exercent pendant l’hiver des olympiens canadiens tels que le sprinter Segun Makinde, le coureur de haies Sekou Kaba et la coureuse de fond Lanni Marchant, présente la seule piste intérieure de 400 mètres au Canada, une surface Mondo de première classe. Le groupe des 15 Rebelles qui se sont qualifiés pour les championnats provinciaux de 2018 s’entraîne au Dôme tous les jours, et ceci est intégré à leur journée d’école dans le cadre du programme sportsétudes de renom de l’école. «  Cela est bénéfique pour nos étudiants-athlètes, car leur salle

Eliezer Adjibi.

de classe est à quelques pas de la piste de course », ajoute Lalonde. « Nous pouvons nous entraîner tous les jours dans la meilleure installation couverte en Amérique du Nord ». Louis-Riel accueille également régulièrement des athlètes de la région et au-delà, particulièrement à l’occasion des séries de compétitions qu’elle organise à la fin de l’hiver et au début du printemps. Les neuf compétitions d’athlétisme organisées au Dôme de Louis-Riel en 2018 ont attiré près de 3 000 participants au total. En plus de ses organisateurs chevronnés, Louis-Riel dispose également d’un système de chronométrage et de photographie d’arrivée de type FinishLynx, qui permet à l’école d’organiser des

compétitions de qualité professionnelle pour les athlètes de sa communauté. « Nous nous en tenons à la science maintenant », a dit Lalonde. « Très peu d’écoles au Canada peuvent faire ce que nous faisons ici ». Aux championnats provinciaux du 7 au 9 juin à Toronto, les Rebelles ont remporté cinq médailles au niveau sénior : Eliezer Adjibi (bronze au 100 & 200 mètres masculin), Caroline Poirier et Annabelle Gagné (argent & bronze, saut à la perche féminin), et l’équipe de relais 4x100m avec Gagné, Megan Roy, Kadiatou Wann & Kayla Vieux (argent). « Nous étions en quelque sorte en phase de reconstruction cette année, en fait », affirme Lalonde, indiquant que de nombreux diplômés sont passés à l’athlétisme universitaire. « Mais il est formidable de voir des performances individuelles éblouissantes, surtout de la part notre groupe solide d’athlètes de la première année séniore, ainsi que la profondeur impressionnante de notre équipe qui nous a permis de qualifier trois équipes de relais aux championnats provinciaux. Ce fut une année agréable et j’ai hâte de voir ce que nous pourrons réaliser dans le futur dans ce sport ».

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OFSAA: Samuel eyes world juniors continued from p.6 Samuel won silver in the 400 m, placed 5th in the 400 m hurdles and 200 m at least year’s OFSAA. Because of the toll that so many events in one day took on her she dropped the 200 m as well, finding the perfect combination in running the 400 m and its hurdling equivalent. The Grade 12 student won gold in both at the 2018 OFSAA track and field championships, held June 7-9 at York University. “I haven’t been able to push myself fully, but I feel like in the future that hurdles is probably going to be my better race,” Samuel said. Ashbury track and field coach Michelle Holman called Samuel’s stride “effortless,” and praised the Grade 12’s leadership ability, calling her a “fantastic role model and leader… for our track and field athletes and program.” “She has made an incredible impact over the past four years,” Holman said in an email. Samuel said her finish is the best part of her race, but she

never needed to completely kick it into gear at OFSAA. She said she realized that both races were hers to lose after coming around the track’s final bend. “I just ran my hardest, well almost my hardest,” she said. Samuel said that going into OFSAA she had a goal greater than gold in mind: running a fast enough time to crack Canada’s team for the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships. Based on her national rank-

ing following high school provincials Samuel is expecting to make the roster for the world junior meet in Finland. If things don’t work out, she says she won’t mind competing at track and field nationals here in Ottawa. “It would be another good meet to compete at,” she said. The Canadian Track and Field Championships will be held at Terry Fox Stadium July 3-8.

NATIONAL CAPITAL 2017 OFSAA TRACK-AND-FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS MEDALLISTS GOLD Joe Fast – Ridgemont (JB 1,500 m) Madison McLean – St. Pius X (Girls’ javelin) Joshua Foster – Longfields (JB triple jump) Emma Betty – Lisgar (JG 3,000 m)

SILVER Andre Alie-Lamarche – (Boys’ 2000 m steeplechase) Annabelle Gagne, Kadiatou Wann, Megan Roy and Kayla Vieux – Louis Riel (Girls’ 4x100 m relay) Jeremy Elliott – Sacred Heart (JB shot put) Brandon Ovington – West Carleton (Boys’ discus) Joe Fast – Ridgemont (JB 3,000 m) Caroline Poirier – Louis Riel (Girls’ pole vault)

BRONZE Jeremy Elliott – Sacred Heart (JB discus) David Adeleye – Ashbury (JB 100 m hurdles) Emma Betty – Lisgar (JG 1,500 m) Sophie Barber – Gloucester (Girls’ javelin) Marty Van Reenen – St. Patrick’s (MB javelin) Eliezer Adjibi – Louis Riel (Boys’ 200 m) Annabelle Gagne – Louis Riel (Girls’ pole vault)

Where Canada’s Elite Teams Come to Prove Themselves...

August 4 -6 Where Canada’s th

BYTOWN STORM BULLETIN Best chance to try triathlon coming up at Youth Series

June 30

August 12

2018 Bytown Storm Youth Triathlon Series From first-timers as young as under-5 to elite-level teens racing in draft-legal Ontario Youth Cup competition, the Bytown Storm Youth Triathlon Series is set to welcome hundreds of athletes for a pair of exciting events this summer. First up is the Stittsville Youth Triathlon on June 30 at Goulbourn Recreation Complex. With the swim portion taking place in an indoor pool, Stittsville provides an easy introduction to the sport for newcomers. The more seasoned athletes, meanwhile, get to test themselves in a grand prix-style event featuring three shorter races (200-metre swim, 4 km bike, 1,200 m run) throughout the day. The speed-centric format reflects Triathlon Canada’s focus on qualifying a mixed relay team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – a super-sprint distance competition (300 m swim, 6.6 km bike & 1 km run for each of the four racers). “We’re looking to develop fast athletes,” signals Greg Kealey, Triathlon Ontario Head Coach and a lead organizer for the local races. “Many get shot out of the sport in the U23 category because they relied more on fitness than ability to get their early success. We weren’t really producing fast, talented athletes, we were just promoting athletes that were fit.” The shorter distance puts more emphasis on skill development and speed, Kealey adds.

“I think our sport has too much of an emphasis on endurance, and it actually scares some people, especially young people, that they need to be this uber-fit person,” he explains. “Now we’re looking at: can we develop fast athletes at a young age and develop fitness later?”

DASHING DUNROBIN SETTING Recognized by many as the province’s most picturesque triathlon course, the second local race will take place on Aug. 12 out of the YMCA-YWCA Bonnenfant Outdoor Centre. Already exceptionally popular as a destination race, this year’s Dunrobin Youth Triathlon has an added attraction thanks to its designation as Triathlon Ontario’s Youth Club Championships. The event also draws young athletes from a variety of sports who don’t necessarily focus on training for triathlon. “It’s really fun. I love it every time we do it,” underlines Kealey, who was drawn into triathlon because of the unrivalled camaraderie he’d never before experienced in sport. “It’s nice to bring 200 kids and their families out and no one is arguing,” adds the past Triathlon Canada coach of the year. “Parents are running around the course trying to encourage their kid. They’re cheering for their kid, but they’re also cheering for other kids as well. It’s very positive. “It’s fun and there’s a really great spirit there.” See for more information and to sign up.



Elite Teams U13 - U18 Boys &Come Girls Teams

to Prove Themselves...

Tournament Features: 3 Games Minimum, Finals & Consolation on Aug. 6 University Coaches from the United Canada th States & th College Seminar Presentation and Combine

August 4 - 6 U13 - U18 Boys & Girls Teams

Tournament Features: 3 Games Minimum, Finals & Consolation on Aug. 6 University Coaches from the United States & Canada College Seminar Presentation and Combine




– COMMUNITY CLUBS – GO Capital Synchro capture national bronze

Condors creators crowned Sunshine


By Brendan Shykora

photo: dan plouffe

photo: charlie pinkerton

(In photo:) Cloé Charette rises for a serve during sunny Saturday play at the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club, which served as a pit stop for Ontario Volleyball’s 2018 Beach Tour. Teams from the 12U division to the Youth Open (20U) age group competed during the weekend of June 9-10. The 2018 Volleyball Canada Nationals were played in Edmonton between May 17-23. Ottawa teams had a tough time, with none competing in the top division able to bring home a top tier medal. For a story on Ottawa Fusion’s 16U boys, vist

Ottawa’s newest synchronized swimming club made waves at this year’s Espoir Canadian Championships, taking the bronze medal in the 13 to 15-year-old division. GO Capital Synchro improved on last year’s seventh place finish, finding the podium in only its second season. The championships took place in Surrey, BC from May 30 to June 2, at the same time and in the same pools as the seventh leg of the 2018 FINA Artistic Swimming World Series. For the young girls who hope to one day compete internationally, sharing the stage with some of the world’s biggest synchro stars was a chance to see the top-level skills they aspire towards. Among those young and aspiring swimmers is GO Capital’s Meaghan Lapierre, who first competed at provincial championships when she was seven years old. Now 14, she’s focused on reaching the highest level of synchronized swimming.


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“I train about 26 hours a week,” said Lapierre. “I love being in the water.” That’s been true for about as long as she’s been able to walk. Lapierre’s mother, Nancy Vaillancourt, says her daughter could “do a front crawl and back crawl at three years old.” Before long it became clear that Lapierre had an affinity for synchro. “You could only ever see her toes out of the water,” said Vaillancourt. “She was always somewhere at the bottom of the pool.” 2016 was a banner year for Lapierre, who won gold as a soloist at the Pan Am Games in Puerto Rico and the Espoir championships in Winnipeg. That year she was recognized by the Ottawa Sports Awards as the city’s top athlete in the sport of synchronized swimming. Lapierre brings an acrobatic skillset to the GO Capital team. Playing the role of ‘flyer,’ she’s capable of performing triple backspins and two and a half sidespins, with technique that’s well beyond her years. GO Capital found success in Surrey on the back of a strong routine performance, with a score that ranked behind only the gold-winning Waterloo Regional Synchro team. Athletes Kailey Lapointe, Anastasia Bell, Maya Bell, Noemi Guindon Riopel, Anna Tait, Gillian McIlwaine, Sascha Motz and Meghan Vrkoc rounded out a roster that came together when it needed to. “The girls really worked as a team to pull off those performances,” said Genevieve Beauregard-Ross, the lead coach of GO Capital who has 18 years of coaching experience. She said

Meaghan Lapierre

supplied photo

the team impressed the judges with their highlights—the pivotal moments in a synchro event when flyers are lifted out of the water to show off their spins. “Our team is known for having the most spectacular highlights in the competition and they were all very well performed.” Anastasia and Maya Bell were both competing in the national team event for the first time. The 15-year-old twin sisters anchor the team’s base and help propel Lapierre through the air. “I’m quite excited about how much we’ve improved this year,” said Maya Bell. “It’s good to see your hard work turn into something that you’ve been striving for.” The pair also competed in the 13-15 duet competitions, in which they finished 5th. “The beauty of our duet is that we never stop practising because we’re always together,” said Anastasia Bell. As it hap-

pens, the pair won’t be taking a break from practising just yet: they planned to go to Toronto for the provincial junior team tryouts the weekend after the Espoir championships. As for Lapierre, she’ll be one of 16 girls in the country to compete for the final 10 spots on the national team that’s heading to the 2019 Canada Winter Games, and If she gets that far she doesn’t plan on stopping: “my dream was to go to the Olympics ever since I started this sport.” If not as a synchronized swimmer, Vaillancourt says her daughter could find her way to the Olympics on a trampoline, which she began practising on to work on her highlights in the pool. Whether swimming or trampolining, Lapierre is not short on self-confidence. “You’ll definitely be seeing my name again,” she said with a laugh. “I’m not going to go away.”

Don’t miss the

Ottawa Riverkeeper 4K August 11, 2018

A unique inter-provincial swimming event across the Ottawa River. Three distances available: 4K, 1.5K, and 750m. More of a paddler? Register as an escort paddler today! Details: riverkeeper-4k


OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE SNAPSHOTS JR. SENS HALTED IN SEMIFINALS OF JUNIOR A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS The magical run of the Ottawa Jr. Senators came to an end at the hands of the eventual national champs in the semifinals of the RBC Cup, the junior A national championships. The Jr. Senators advanced to the championships after winning the Fred Page Cup, the regional championship for eastern Canada. The Jr. Senators played in tightly fought games at nationals, winning 2-1 and 5-4, and losing 3-2 and 4-3, in preliminary play. In the semifinals they lost 3-2 to the Chilliwack Chiefs, who overcame the Wellington Dukes to claim the national championship.


The St. Anthony Futuro File

Preston St. Cage Soccer personifies St. A’s

Ottawa’s Philip Turcanu was named as one of the first of two athletes to represent Canada at the 2018 ICF Sprint Junior World Championships held in Bulgaria next month. The 18-year-old won the right to represent Canada with a victory in the C-1 1000m at the second national team sprint trials in Dartmount, Nova Scotia in May. Also in the world of paddling in May, there were nine athletes from Ottawa named to Canada’s teams for the 2018 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cups and the 2018 ICY Junior, U23 and Senior World Championships. They are: Cameron Smedley, Spencer Pomeroy, Liam Smedley, James Risk, Lois Betteridge, Michael Taylor, Ben Hayward, Keenan Simpson and Mael Rivard. The first of the world cups is in Slovakia beginning June 22.

With standout experiences in town, down the road and abroad for international play, it’s been a busy month for St. Anthony Futuro soccer, but our club is excited to bring it all back home for our expo during Italian Fest. With 65 years of tradition on the local soccer scene, and the city’s only football clubhouse, Celebrating 65 Years there is no better time to get a taste for Ottawa St. Anthony on the Ottawa Soccer Scene Italia Soccer Club than on June 15-16 when we setup our 1v1 Cage Soccer display in Little Italy. Oh, and did we mention it’s also FIFA World Cup Opening Week?



Three of the Carleton Ravens men’s basketball team’s recent stars will be back to ballin in the nation’s capital, but this time donning the Maple Leaf. Phil and Tommy Scrubb as well as Kaza Kajami-Keane are familiar names on a Canada team stocked with current and former NBA talent that will play the U.S. Virgin Islands in an exhibition matchup ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers. The Scrubbs and Kajami-Keane will take the court at TD Place on July 2 – Canada Day’s holiday Monday.

Futuro welcomed some of the world’s leading experts for a pair of recent seminars at St. Anthony Clubhouse. Ciara McCormack went through the 10 steps to getting the right exposure to land a university scholarship with young players seeking to reach the next level in the women’s soccer world. McCormack played NCAA Div. 1 soccer at Yale University and University of Connecticut, followed by a 14-year professional career in Denmark, Norway, Australia, Canada and the U.S. And Dr. Jean Cote from Queen’s University led a session on Effective & Transformational Coaching, providing a great opportunity to learn and grow for our club as well as local coaches from many sports.

The Canadian Cancer Society will celebrate people who quit smoking with a community run Sunday, June 17. Break Free 5km will be hosted at Andrew Haydon Park in Bayshore, where participants in the Walk or Run to Quit program will culminate their journey to a smoke-free life by crossing the race’s finish line.

GLEBE COLLEGIATE HEALTH AND FITNESS DAY A HIT Glebe Collegiate Institute celebrated National Health and Fitness Day a few days early on May 30 with a showcase to promote nutrition and wellness. Other high schools, community members, former athletes including Sue Holloway, and MPs attended for two hours of activities that culminated in a faculty vs. student soccer game.


SUPER SHAINAH TAKES SILVER IN WOMEN’S CHALLENGE CUP Shainah Joseph of Ottawa won silver with Canada’s women’s volleyball team at the Women’s Challenge Cup in May. Joseph was part of a team that lost to Puerto Rico in a tight fought five set match at the tournament held in Edmonton. Earlier this year in her senior season Joseph helped propel the University of Florida’s women’s volleyball team to the division 1 NCAA volleyball championship.

TWO-TIME OTTAWA OLYMPIAN ELECTED TO COMMITTEE ATHLETES COMMISSION Ottawa’s Seyi Smith was elected to the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission. The two-time Olympian will serve as a representative of all Olympic and Pan American Games athletes in the country. As a member of Justin Kripps four-man bobsled crew, Smith finished sixth in PyeongChang. Smith was also part of Canada’s 4x100m relay team that momentarily won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics. His team was disqualified for a lane violation minutes after winning. He was one of four athletes who competed in PyeongChang who was selected.

TENNIS: Gabby a “tremendous inspiration” continued from COVER For Dabrowski, there remains beauty in the fact that she can be disappointed by only reaching a Grand Slam final. The 26-yearold doubles specialist now enters all tournaments as a top seed who’s expected to go deep. Dabrowski became the first Canadian woman to win a Grand Slam when she earned last year’s French Open mixed doubles crown alongside Rohan Bopanna. She followed that up with an Australian Open triumph with Pavic to kickoff 2018. There was a time not so long ago when Dabrowski was struggling to keep up with expenses while travelling to compete in lower-tier International Tennis Federation events, questioning whether it was all worth it when she’d get knocked out early. Even if it’s not a gold trophy, the silver plate still shines nicely in contrast to her struggles as a young pro out of the junior ranks, and provides a nice reward the sacrifices she and her family endured along the way. “It’s really special,” the Rio 2016 Olympian said of her advancement up the ranks. “The paycheque is bigger, and you do feel a sense of relief: ‘Yes, it’s OK – I’m here.’”

BUZZ ON LOCAL TENNIS SCENE Back on the other side of the ocean, many local junior players got their seasons underway with tournaments in town. For

PAYING IT... BACKWARD As part of the Futuro leadership program, younger players are tasked with the task of introducing games to older players during practice sessions. The training includes six different games with various objectives. At the end of each 10-minute game, one player has to stay behind and tell the next group the objectives and organization of the game. Developing leadership skills and Socially Confident individuals is one of the club’s seven key philosophical pillars alongside Spiritually Grounded, Mentally Strong, Educationally Sound, Physically Capable, Technical Genius and Tactically Intelligent.


photo: dan plouffe

Manotick Tennis Club hosted an Ontario Tennis Association junior tournament from May 25-27. Division champions included: Neda Rahimkhani (U12 girls), Vlad Andrei Pirusca (U12 boys), Mariya Dobreva (U14 & U16 girls), Alexander Lungu (U14 boys), Tudor Lungu (U16 boys) and Gabriel Dattels (U10), who then celebrated by running the 5k at Ottawa Race Weekend. At the June 8-10 OTA event at Barrhaven Tennis Club, Steve Vuong (U10), Rahimkhani (U12 girls), Lior Waldman (U12 boys), Andrea Pergel (U14 girls) and Pirusca (U14 boys) were champions. them, the dream is to become the next Dabrowski. “Gabby’s a tremendous inspiration,” underlines Nick Patterson, a local coach and volunteer with the National Capital Tennis Association. “When the kids see one of their own who grew up on public tennis courts in the city, and who trained at the very clubs they train at – it’s a great story.” Manotick and Barrhaven Tennis Clubs hosted recent Ontario Tennis Association junior tournaments, while the NCTA has launched a local inter-club circuit that runs on Saturday afternoons throughout the sum-

mer. “They enjoy being on a team,” highlights Patterson. “It’s a fun environment and also a competitive environment.” Top-tier provincial, national and pro tournaments will also come to the area this summer (see for an overview). Enthusiasm for tennis is high locally, Patterson signals, spread across a wide range of ages and levels. “It’s really the best time of year for tennis,” adds the instructor of 35+ years. “The weather’s beautiful, the days are long, and everyone is out playing.”

They narrowly missed winning a trip to Brazil for the world finals, but a Futuro crew nevertheless captured memories of a lifetime with their deep run at the Neymar Jr’s Five national finals on May 26 at BMO Field. On the heels of taking down all challengers to win the local qualifier in the open five-a-side tournament on May 5 at TD Place, the Futuro gang advanced all the way to the national semi-final in Toronto before falling 1-0 in overtime to an Edmonton team. “It was a real pleasure for me personally to play with my boys,” says St. Anthony Technical Director Sanjeev Parmar, who donned the cleats with his young proteges. “An amazing experience for our boys as we were the only team full of high school kids playing against fully-grown men.”

COSTA RICAN NATIONAL SCORES AT CONCACAF Futuro product Carmen Marin made her mark with the Costa Rican women’s under-17 soccer team at the CONCACAF championships, which wrapped up June 12 in Florida. Playing for her birth country, the Ottawa-bred player went 90 minutes and put a scare into the favoured Canadians in a 2-1 group stage match that kept Costa Rica from reaching the knockout stages. Marin played 64 minutes in her team’s finale, exiting the game with a 4-0 lead over Bermuda and having scored a goal. The Florida International University-bound player would like to continue representing Costa Rica at the U-20 and senior levels. “There isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not working for the pride of my country and wanting to build something and to build a name for us, for all of my teammates,” underlines Marin. •



Mailing address 345 Meadowbreeze Dr. Kanata, Ont. K2M 0K3 Website Contacts For News/Editorial: Charlie Pinkerton Editor 613-929-3681 For Advertising/CAMPS Project Partnerships: Dan Plouffe Executive Director 613-261-5838 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


Athlete of the Month: Myra Fauchon

Team of the Month: Glebe Collegiate Junior Women’s Doubles

Teammates: Rachel Weber and Mackenzie Mihorean

About: The Glebe Collegiate Grade 10 duo of Rachel Weber and Mackenzie Mihorean were their school’s top finishers at the 73rd annual Canadian Secondary School Rowing Association Regatta. At the event held June 1-3 in St. Catharines the pair won the women’s junior doubles with a finals time of 8:31.72. The girls also raced in other boats for Glebe: Weber finished 4th in the women’s senior doubles with a time of 8:06.72 and Mihorean placed 6th in the semifinals with the team’s women’s junior eight.

photo: shane croskery photography

About: 13-year-old Myra Fauchon squeaked out a narrow 1st place all-around finish at the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Ontario Championships. Despite a 14th place finish in vault, strong performances on the bars and floor – both that she won a silver medal for – propelled her to the top spot of Level 5 athletes in her age group. The Tumblers Gymnastics Centre athlete also placed 8th in bars supplied photo at the meet.

E-mail 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.

Woods improves Giro d’Italia finish in spite of sickness; crash By Curtis Rafter Ottawa native Mike Woods recently competed in the first Grand Tour of the cycling season - the Giro d’Italia where he finished 19th in the general classification despite dealing with a brutal case of bronchitis and crashing on Stage 11 of the race. Woods was hit by a chest infection near the beginning of the Giro, but he certainly didn’t show it, taking 2nd place in Stage 4 of the race. “I made a big effort on Stage 4, came 2nd, but I think going so deep means my allergies really started kicking in... it’s kind of been hampering me on the longer climbs, from a respiratory perspective,” explained Woods in a previous interview with CyclingNews. Weeks after the competition, Woods says he’s still dealing with the infection. He was unable to maintain his breakneck pace after Stage 4, with his next best finish being 9th in Stage 8. While his respiratory infection made climbs more difficult, Woods still felt as though he had a good opportunity to move up in the rankings. He was in 15th place heading into the final five-kilometre stretch of Stage 11 and saw an opportunity to strike. “I knew if I took the risk and moved up, I’d be in position five,” said Woods. Unfortunately, the gap he tried to shoot closed earli-

Mike Woods er than Woods anticipated and he was launched into a fence. The crash left him with banged up knuckles, some road rash, and a 40th place finish. Woods persevered through the back half of the Giro, finishing as high as 10th and as low as 139th, eventually landing in 19th place overall. He spent more than 90 hours on his bike and finished just an hour behind Chris Froome, holder of the top spot in the general classification. Woods was ultimately disappointed with his performance, though he was reluctant to use his illness as a scapegoat. “If you don’t try you’re never going to win,” he said. Woods’ unwavering effort through the Giro d’Italia opens a portal to the story of his career. Since the very beginning

file photo

he’s had to overcome challenges ad nauseam.

SHAKY CYCLING START Woods originally competed in track as a runner - and still holds several junior records from those days - but recurring foot fractures ended his promising career early while he was still at the University of Michigan. The injuries forced Woods off his feet so he took up cycling simply as a way to stay in shape and quickly fell in love with the sport. Given his late entry to cycling, Woods found it quite difficult to turn pro, especially after breaking his collarbone during an amateur race in Alberta. “It was a depressing fall. I went from teams being interested in me to radio silence. No one was communicating with me,” recalled Woods.

Eventually he received an offer from an Italian team called Amore an Vita. His tenure with the team was largely forgettable, save for a devastating crash that left him concussed for six weeks and a minor doping controversy in which then teammate Luca Benedetti was busted for the use of performance enhancing drugs. Woods has said in a previous interview with the Ottawa Sportspage how difficult it was to work with someone who was obviously cheating, having to be “fake happy for a teammate” who was clearly breaking the rules. “I’d gone through so much crap that season. I got super sick in Mexico, I had all these mechanical troubles in every race I did, I smashed my face in Italy - I just felt I couldn’t catch a break,” mentioned Woods glumly. “Now I’m proud of my-

self for at least not losing all hope.” The Hillcrest High School graduate would go on to make his Grand Tour debut on Cannondale’s team in the 2017 Giro d’Italia where he finished 38th overall. He followed that up with a historic performance in the final Grand Tour race of last season - the Vuelta a Espanã. Woods finished 7th in the general classification, which is the best finish for a Canadian in the Vuelta, and 5th best performance for a Canadian in any Grand Tour ever. Heightened expectations surrounded Woods heading into this year’s Giro following his phenomenal rookie season on the tour, and while he didn’t quite meet them in his first major race of the year he will have a few more opportunities to redeem himself this summer. Woods told the Ottawa Sportspage that he intends to race in the Tour of Utah between August 6th and August 12th as a way to prepare for this season’s Vuelta a Espanã, which is scheduled between the end of August and September. He’ll then travel to Austria to compete in the UCI Road World Championships between September 22nd and September 30th. While the Tour de France isn’t in the cards for Woods this summer, he admitted that it’s one of his top goals and one that he says he will complete in it at some point in his career.

Club Club




Coach “not surprised” that Knights are eying playoff run in turnaround season By Mat LaBranche

The Nepean Knights are turning heads as they find themselves making a playoff push in the Ontario Junior B Lacrosse League for the first time since the summer of 2015. After finishing last and second last in their conference in the past two seasons, the Knights have turned the tide, and currently sit with a winning 8-6 record as they enter the home stretch of the regular season. “I’m not surprised at all,” said second-year head coach Matthew Firth. “I kind of saw it coming. We were 5-5 down the stretch last year and lost a lot of close games at the beginning of the season. I attributed that to a lack of experience, and now that we’re a year older and a lot of guys have had some years of junior B under their belts, you can see that experience goes a long way.” The Knights have improved their game at both sides of the rink since last season, averaging a full goal per game more and almost a full goal against per game less, which has given them their first positive plus-minus in three years. With six games remaining this season they’ve almost surpassed their goals for total from 2016. “(The last two seasons) built some resiliency, a hunger to win and an appreciation for the thin line between success and failure,” revealed Firth. “We’re winning the tight games and we probably have a bit more depth this season throughout the lineup. We’re stronger offensively and stronger defensively, and playing with more poise and composure. Winning helps in that regard, because there’s no panic in our game.” Knights captain Jordan Hendrycks echoes his coach’s statements. He sees the silver lining in the previous two seasons, with them serving as lessons learned rather than lost time. “It takes some hard losses, especially for a young core team, to build experience of how to win,” admitted the Ottawa native. “I believe that success comes from a lot of failure before you can start doing well. I’m lucky that the guys we have work their tails off and are constantly hun-


Dylan Kloek of the Junior B Nepean Knights.

supplied photo

gry.” Hendrycks also credits the team’s turnaround to the chemistry that they’ve built over the years, where a family-like atmosphere has been created, both literally and figuratively.

“We’ve all been playing together (and) growing up for a really long time, so there’s definitely a lot of chemistry. But we have a very young flare, especially on defence,” said the transition player. “It feels a lot like a family out there, especially

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because my younger brother is in his first year (on the Knights), and there’s also another pair of siblings on the team.” With it being his last year of eligibility, Hendrycks is grateful to see how the team has progressed, but more importantly, he’s eager to see how the Knights further develop, as he envisions a very bright future for them. “I’ve always tried to put the team before myself at all times. That’s one thing I pride myself on, being the best teammate possible,” disclosed Hendrycks. “So above all, personally, I want to see this program do well. In four or five years from now, the guys that I have an impact on and maybe taught a thing or two, can hopefully go far. I think the guys have done everything they can to give Denzel (Moran-Weekes, also in his final season of eligibility) and I one last hurrah.”

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Saturday, September 15 G R AY R O OU DO Te n n i s • Vo l l e





6 1 3 • 74 9 • 6 1 2 6




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Ottawa Sportspage  

The June 2018 edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper.

Ottawa Sportspage  

The June 2018 edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper.