Ottawa Sportspage

Page 1

The Heartbeat of the Ottawa Sports Community

Vol. 2, #6

March 2013


Who will be in Sochi? P. 3

With major backing from family and friends in nearby Kingston, Team Homan won their first Scotties curling crown.


P. 2

All three Ottawa schools reached the semi-final round of the OFSAA girls’ volleyball championships at De La Salle.


(Clockwise from top left) Ottawa athletes Margarita Gorbounova (paranordic skiing), Alayne Chartrand (figure skating), John Morris (curling), Craig Savill (curling), Marc Dorion (sledge hockey), Nick Carrière (bobsleigh), Claude Giroux (hockey), Dan Boyle (hockey), Cody Sorensen (bobsleigh), Ivanie Blondin (speed skating), Dustin Cook (alpine skiing), Perianne Jones (cross-country skiing) and the newly-minted Scotties Canadian women’s curling champions (centre, from left) Rachel Homan, Emma Miskew, Alison Kreviazuk and Lisa Weagle are all strong contenders to compete at the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A dozen or more Ottawa athletes could represent Canada in Sochi, with numerous medal contenders By Dan Plouffe

P. 3

The Nepean Wildcats are set to challenge for an Ontario crown when provincials come to town April 4-7.

The Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games are now under a year away, and over a dozen athletes from the nation’s capital could be in line for a trip to the other side of the globe, with several of them carrying hopes of finding gold, silver or bronze at the Russian resort town on

the Black Sea. Leading that list of potential medal favourites are, naturally, Canada’s curlers and hockey players, while Ottawa speed skaters, bobsledders and cross-country skiers carry legitimate hardware hopes as well. Area athletes collected two gold, a silver and a bronze at the 2010 Olympics, but there’s a good chance

that haul could be larger in Sochi. Rocketing their names into that discussion thanks to an exceptional 12-1 performance at the Feb. 16-24 Scotties Tournament of Hearts women’s curling national in Kingston were Rachel Homan, Emma Miskew, Alison Kreviazuk and Lisa Weagle. The young Ottawa Curling Club rink not only cemented their place as

a favourite for the Roar of the Rings Canadian Olympic curling trials, they made a case to be looked upon as Canada’s team of the future. Coach Earle Morris was thrilled to see the girls he previously helped to a 2010 world junior silver medal claim their first Canadian senior crown. SOCHI HOPES continues on p.10



Titans top OFSAA volleyball, Ottawa claims 3 of top-4 spots By Dan Plouffe

Led by the Gisèle-Lalonde Titans’ third consecutive ‘AAA’ title, local high school girls’ volleyball teams flexed their muscles to the max and achieved an almost unfathomable performance as all six Ottawa schools participating in OFSAA championships walked away with medals from their respective March 4-6 tournaments. The Louis-Riel Rebelles won silver at the ‘A’ championships in Lakefield, the Franco-Cité Faucons took ‘AAA’ bronze in Windsor, the Glebe Gryphons earned ‘AAAA’ antique-bronze for fourth place in Mississauga, and all three national capital entries from Gisèle-Lalonde, De La Salle and Samuel-Genest reached the ‘AA’ semi-finals in Ottawa. “We couldn’t ask for better than this,” smiles convenor Yves Leroux, also an assistant to his brother Yan, De La Salle’s head coach. “We had a lot of comments from other coaches saying, ‘What a gym. What a crowd.’ It was really fun.” For the undisputed queens of OFSAA girls’ volleyball, the Titans’ third provincial crown in a row was perhaps the most unexpected. The team struggled early and finished just 6-4 in regular season league play. With a pile of graduates from last year’s champion team, the new players didn’t immediately gel. “About a month ago, they blended together and I knew I had a team,” recounts coach Marcel Martin, who was awestruck by the fact his school managed to win for a third time in a row. “I didn’t know if I had a winning team, but I knew I had a team.”

University of Ottawabound Kaly Soro (left) helped De La Salle to OFSAA bronze.

photo: steve kingsman

Gisèle-Lalonde won its third OFSAA ‘AA’ girls’ volleyball title on March 6 at De La Salle.

What he also had in his back pocket was a dominant trio of seniors – the powerful hitting tandem of sisters Rebecca and Sabrina Roy, and their surrogate sister at setter, Catharine Loranger. “I trust them, I love them, I set them, and they always score. We have that chemistry,” describes Loranger, emotion evident in her voice and eyes as she spoke of her connection with the Roys. “We’re like sisters. We’re neighbours and we’ve known each other since we were young. We’ve grown up together. It’s like family.” Once the Titans got rolling and pulled out a 25-22 first set win in the gold medal match against Windsor’s General Amherst, there was no stopping them. Gisèle-Lalonde’s superior energy and momentum carried them on to 25-13 and 25-20 set wins to earn the three-peat.

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photo: steve kingsman

“This is the best one,” says Loranger. “It’s in my hometown and this is my last year in high school. It feels awesome. I love it.”

CAVALIERS CONQUER LASER FOR BRONZE With eight graduating players, the De La Salle Cavaliers also got to take away a lasting moment from their high school volleyball adventures. Having endured a tough four-set defeat to Gisèle-Lalonde in the semi-finals just two hours earlier, coach Yan Leroux simply wanted to see his bright group of girls smile again before their bronze medal match. So he pulled out a team photo of when they all started playing together in Grade 7 and 8. “It pumped the girls up, and wow,” marvels Yves Leroux, whose girls went on to defeat the Samuel-Genest Laser for the first time this

year, in straight sets no less. “They did it in front of a packed house. What a show. What a final memory, man.” Despite the defeat earlier in the day to the Titans, the Cavaliers were in their arch-rivals’ corner nonetheless in the championship match, cheering them on from the stands. “They deserve it. They honestly deserve it,” highlights De La Salle star Kaly Soro, who plays on the same Maverick club volleyball team as the Roy sisters. “They work their butt off, and why not cheer for an Ottawa team? They represent our region, so kudos to them.” Several other Ottawa teams and athletes also earned OFSAA championship medals. The St. Patrick Irish won ‘AAA’ boys’ basketball silver and the Ashbury Colts took ‘A’ boys’ basketball antique bronze. Immaculata’s Monica Slobozianu won gold and South Carleton earned four team podium finishes at OFSAA alpine skiing.


Dream takes form for Homan mates By Dan Plouffe They each wore a small gold pin on their jackets that read “Champions Start Small.” For Team Homan, it was a way to get behind the Sandra Schmirler Foundation for neonatal care during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Feb. 16-24 in Kingston. It was also an appropriate symbol for a rink that began throwing rocks together at the Ottawa Curling Club when they were kids wearing snowpants, and by the end of the week, the newly-crowned Canadian women’s curling champions carried a bigger gold medal around their necks to match it. “It’s so cool to do it with the girls I’ve been with forever,” smiles Rachel Homan, who skipped the home Team Ontario to the title with a 9-6 victory over four-time Scotties champ Jennifer Jones of Manitoba. “And it’s unbelievable to do it in front of everybody. I love my family and my friends and it means a lot to me to have them here. I’m just so proud that we played so well for everybody.” Homan became the youngest skip since Colleen Jones – who owns the record for most career Scotties wins at six – to earn a national title, but despite their young age, Team Homan has a long history together. “We know each other in and out,” highlights second Alison Kreviazuk.

Rachel Homan salutes the Kingston crowd after beating Heather Nedohin.

photo: dan plouffe

Emma Miskew celebrates with Alison Kreviazuk (left) and Lisa Weagle (right).

“It’s a big advantage because when someone is struggling, you know exactly what to say to them. Curling is a huge sport for dynamics.” The four Ottawa girls share remarkably congruous personalities – they are all dedicated and intensely focused, but they’re also easy-going and capable of handling the pressure in high-stakes situations by sneaking in a grin or a joke. The newest addition to Team Homan, lead Lisa Weagle, was welcomed into the fold two seasons ago, and meshed right in with the group. “Everyone was so supportive of each other. Even when things happen – like me burning a rock – everyone still rallied around me and was really supportive,” shares Weagle, whose fifth-end sweeping blooper in the final was forgotten as she wound up holding the Sandra Schmirler Award as most valuable player. “It was unexpected. I’m really pleased to win, and honoured.” In the season before joining Team Homan, Weagle had been focused on building her career in Sport Canada’s communications department, playing only in a local league at the time. “It was really watching the Vancouver Olympics on TV that made me want to get back into playing competitively,” explains the Nepean High School and University of Ot-

photo: dan plouffe

tawa grad. “When the opportunity arose, I was super excited to join a team that had a really good shot at getting to Sochi.” Team Homan will compete at the March 16-24 world championships in Latvia, and then next year will enter the Roar of the Rings Canadian Olympic curling team trials as a favourite. The Scotties victory represented the start of a long-held dream coming true, but as they peeled away the final stones in the 10th end at K-Rock Centre, the longtime friends couldn’t believe they were living a reality. “When Rachel was throwing her last one, I was just thinking, ‘watch the line and see what we need to do,’ but as soon as it was coming in, that’s when it sort of started,” recounts third Emma Miskew, who was overtaken by tears of joy along with her teammates, fifth Stephanie LeDrew and coach Earle Morris. “We were curling together when we were 11 and 12,” Miskew continues. “We were good then, and it was always this goal that we wanted to go to the worlds and the Olympics. But it was so far-fetched then, and now we’ve accomplished Goal #1. “It’s hard to describe how that feels, but it’s just amazing. It’s really surreal right now. I’m choked up just talking about it. It’s so many emotions, and I’m so proud of my team.”

Doc Hockey Corner

Eric Karlsson’s Achilles Heel

--By Dr. Shayne Baylis, Doc Hockey Right now the name Matt Cooke makes the majority of hockey fans in Ottawa shudder in disgust – right Mr. Melynk? It was an unfortunate incident to an extraordinary player. The outcome of how Eric Karlsson’s Achilles tendon laceration injury will affect his effortless skating and explosiveness is yet to be determined, but everyone in the whole hockey world is hoping for a full, quick recovery without hinderance of his explosive player growth that we’ve experienced in the past two years. Karlsson’s injury was due to direct trauma to the Achilles tendon, which is often a rare incident. In this article, we will be talking about Achilles tendinosis, which is a more chronic problem. You might remember David Beckham’s Achilles tendon rupture when he merely stepped back as he was about to kick the soccer ball. Muscle and tendons are not that easily injured, therefore it is apparent that there was definitely chronic degeneration of the Achilles tendon before the injury.

SYMPTOMS GROW GRADUALLY Tendinosis is a repetitive strain injury – the same as scar tissue in the muscle but instead occurs in the tendon and is a much longer and harder condition to treat. Often muscle and tendon ruptures are caused by eccentrically loading muscles as Beckham did when he stepped back with the knee bent and lengthening the calf muscle and tendon and at the same time as it was contracting.


Wildcats top local contenders for home provincials glory By Dan Plouffe The Nepean Wildcats are ready to make some noise at the highest levels when the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association provincial championships come to town April 4-7 alongside the IIHF women’s world championships. “I’d been lying if I said we weren’t going in trying to win it,” smiles Wildcats Midget ‘AA’ coach Jody Campeau, whose team is one of about eight strong contenders for their division prize with no clear favourite. “We’ve been talking about winning provincials all year. That’s

been the goal.” The Midget ‘AA’ Wildcats earned a stellar 15-3-2 record in league play, while the Midget ‘A’ side was even better at 17-1-2. A big reason for those squads’ success was the influx of players into the Wildcats’ Provincial Women’s Hockey League Intermediate ‘AA’ program – six came from the Ottawa Senators club, plus a couple from Gloucester-Cumberland and another pair from Cornwall. “It really strengthens the team at the top, so it’s really hard to crack the lineup,” explains Campeau, highlighting a trickledown effect

for the Midget ‘AA’ and ‘A’ groups. “The talent pool is a lot stronger.” Many of the PWHL Wildcats – who grabbed home-ice advantage in the first playoff round with an eighth-place regular season finish out of 20 teams – earned university hockey scholarships, but several from Midget ‘AA’ will also play CIS hockey, including Chelsea Lefebrve (Carleton), Mackenzie Irvine (Nipissing), Maggie Brennan (Laurentian) and Rebecca Bourgeois (University of Toronto). “It’s been a really great season,” says goalie Kelsey Biron, identifying team chemistry as a key


ingredient to success. “We bond really well. We’re all friends, so that helps a lot.” The ‘AA’ Wildcat Midgets are driving to win the first provincial crown of their careers. Some have silver medals from Atom and Bantam, but no gold. The OWHA championships have always been on the road for Ottawa teams in the past, however, and being at home can be an especially big advantage in a tournament that features six matches in three days if they reach the final. OWHA continues on p.10

Symptoms can start with just tightness in the calf, but eventually it usually localizes to an inch above the top of the heel where tenderness can be elicited when squeezed. The different stages of progression include: — Mild pain clears after 24 hours — Pain after exercise (>48 hrs), resolves with warm up — Pain with exercise does not alter activity — Pain alters activity — Pain by heavy activities of daily living — Intermittent pain at rest that does not disturb sleep — Pain light ADLs — Constant rest pain and pain that disturbs sleep Resolving tendinosis depends a lot on how long you have had the condition, how much degeneration is in the tendon, and how many other symptoms you have.

EARLY TREATMENT TO RECOVER Prognosis of tendonosis is much longer than muscle tears and scar tissue accumulation and varies depending on the individual. Treatment involves: eccentric heel lowers on a step – two sets of 15 repetitions, twice daily – Graston and Active Release Technique, and decreasing activity and load on the calf. Early treatment is the best option. If you are having some tightness in the calf or Achilles, then don’t wait until you are so sore that you are limping. Get it looked at right away and save your body from a more severe injury. Contact your local Active Release Technique® provider now. Visit or call 613-371-4774.

@doc_hockey doc hockey PREVENTION - PERFORMANCE - RECOVERY


Histopathologic comparison of normal tendon and abnormal tendon as seen under a polarized light microscope (x100). Normal patellar tendon (A) consists of tightly bundled collagen fibers with a characteristic golden reflectivity. In an abnormal patellat tendon from a postsurgical patient with chronic tendinopathy (B), loss of collagen continuity, loss of reflectivity, and frank collagen defect (arrows), are easily seen. Figure courtesy of S.F. Bonar, MD. Laura-Marie Bianconi and the Nepean Wildcats Midget ‘AA’ team earned their berth in the OWHA provincials with a playdown victory over the Ottawa Senators.

The Wildcats were also the regular season league champs with a 15-3-2 record.

photo: dan plouffe photo: dan plouffe



Sport dropped from Olympics alive in Ottawa By Ian Ewing Ottawa has never been seen as a real hotspot for high school wrestling. The public school teachers’ job action cut participation by a third or more this year. And last month, the International Olympic Committee blindsided the sport with possible exclusion from the 2020 Games. But you’d never guess any of that from the atmosphere at the national capital high school wrestling championships on Feb. 20. In a boisterous, jampacked gym at Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School, students crowded around three large, worn mats, shouting encouragement and tips to their teammates and friends. The scene showed teens at their best, hugging, high-fiving and congratulating their opponents.

Still, ask around, and the undercurrent of disappointment about the IOC executive’s move to throw wrestling out of the Olympics wasn’t hard to detect. “It’s not fair,” said 14-yearold Dimitri Palombo, who took home gold for Sacred Heart in the 51 kg boys’ category. “It’s discouraging knowing that once you get to that level of sport, that’s the highest you can take it.” Parents, especially, were concerned about the possible effect on participation and enthusiasm. Amie Beausoleil worried that it could “kill the fire” for young athletes. “When kids shoot for something,” she noted, “they shoot high.” Beausoleil’s daughter, however, wasn’t as concerned. “It’s not really about going

as far as you can,” countered St. Pius’ Taylor Robinson, who had just won the 83 kg girls category. “If wrestling is really something you want to do, you’ll keep going whether you’re going to go far or not.” Among organizers and coaches, the same duality was evident. “For our national program, it would be catastrophic,” highlighted Louis-Riel coach Derek Kossatz. “For the high school league, I don’t know that it would affect it at all. Kids in high school want to participate in an activity, and wrestling is very rewarding.” Wrestling isn’t out of the Olympics just yet. The executive’s recommendation still needs to be ratified by the full IOC board in September. WRESTLING continues p.9



The Gloucester Devils earned a trip to the Canadian Ringette Championships with a National Ringette League playoff series sweep of the Quebec City Cyclones March 2-3 in Ottawa. Ashley Rheaume scored a hat trick in the Devils’ opening 5-4 victory, while Alyssa Mainwood and Jennifer Gabel both scored a pair in a 4-3 win to advance to the March 31-April 6 national finals in Fredericton, N.B. The Ottawa Ice fell to Richmond Hill in their playoffs, but team members Jenna McBride and Jayme Simzer were selected to Ringette Canada’s senior national team roster, along with Devils Jasmine LeBlanc, Kaitlyn Youldon, Kelsey Youldon and Colleen Hagan. 22 of the 27 selected players will compete in the 2013 world championships, to be held in North Bay in December.


The Gloucester Concordes Speed Skating Club bid farewell to Dave and Lynne Morrison on Feb. 15. Volunteers in coaching, mentoring and club development for over 20 years, the Morrisons are off to Richmond, B.C. to head a Speed Skating Canada program.





Friday, May 24

Ottawa Fury vs. Real Boston Rams


Friday, May 31

Ottawa Fury vs. CFC Azul


Saturday, June 1

Ottawa Fury vs. Western Mass Pioneers


Wednesday, June 12

Ottawa Fury vs. Laval Comets


Saturday, June 15

Ottawa Fury vs. London Gryphons


Wednesday, June 19

Ottawa Fury vs. Vermont Voltage


Saturday, June 22

Ottawa Fury vs. K-W United FC


Wednesday, June 26

Ottawa Fury vs. Vermont Voltage


Sunday, July 7

Ottawa Fury vs. Quebec City Amiral


Wednesday, July 10

Ottawa Fury vs. Laval Comets


Friday, July 12

Ottawa Fury vs. Seacoast United Phantoms


Saturday, July 13

Ottawa Fury vs. Toronto Lady Lynx


Friday, July 19

Ottawa Fury vs. GPS Portland Phoenix


Local rhythmic gymnastics clubs celebrated National Gymnastics Week along with over 700 clubs from all over Canada Feb. 13-19. The Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club capped its week of events with an in-house competition in advance of their March 9-10 Kanata Cup meet, while the Pirouette Rhythmic Gymnastics Club opened the doors at Pierre Elliott Trudeau School to get as many people as possible doing gymnastics across the country at the same time for an hour.


Eugene Zhen Wang of Ottawa won a bronze medal at February’s Swiss Open in Lausanne. Wang’s charge to the podium came in a table tennis event that featured three past world championship and Olympic medalists.


The head coach of the half-year-old Capital Wave Water Polo Club was chosen in February as an assistant coach for the Canadian youth girls’ national team. Celso Rojas will help lead the ‘95-born players this season.


Cumberland’s Vincent De Haître earned four top-10 race results at the world junior long-track speed skating championships Feb. 22-24 in Italy. The 18-year-old Gloucester Concordes athlete’s top result came in his first 500 m race where he placed fourth, followed by seventh in the 1,000 m, eighth in the team pursuit and 10th in the 1,500 m.


Parmar Sports Training and Louis-Riel high school hosted their third-annual Eastern Canada Boys’ Showcase Feb. 21-22 in Blackburn Hamlet. Coaches from U.S. and Canadian post-secondary schools and scouts from pro clubs came to check out some of the best local soccer talent.



Kayaker goes Tits Deep for women’s extreme sports to think of, but for us, it’s totally do-able.” Respect and camaraderie amongst competitKatrina Van Wijk loves going to the magical ors runs high since they’re all facing the possibpart of the world where only the best whitewa- ility of serious injury or death. ter kayakers can be. Like the Inferno Canyon on “That builds an insane trust and friendship,” the Rio Futaleufu in Patagonia, Chile, where she notes Van Wijk, who’s on water around 300 took part in December’s Whitewater Grand Prix. days a year. “You share the same passion, so off “You feel like a little speck with massive the water, we’re all best friends.” walls of whitewater around you. It’s so cool. You With an even smaller portion of those athfeel tiny,” describes Van Wijk, whose boat can be letes being females, Van Wijk immediately found found within the waves of the photo below. “You support for the group she started up called Tits feel like you’re on a rollercoaster. Sometimes Deep, which seeks to promote, empower and exyou feel it in your stomach because when you’re cite women to push their limits in extreme sports. in the trough of the wave, sometimes you’re go“There’s sort of a stereotypical image of ing like 30 feet up. It’s crazy, and it’s amazing.” women that we shouldn’t get dirty, or beat In Van Wijk’s sport of extreme whitewater ourselves up, or be out there running the (exkayaking, the fastest time down the course wins. treme whitewater) like the boys,” explains the A major challenge for competitors can be find- 22-year-old who grew up paddling at her paring the balance between going as fast as pos- ents’ Madawaska Kanu Centre on the Ottawa sible, and ensuring they’re not out of breath and River. “I just want to show women that we can tired when they encounter danger in a technical do it. Whitewater is a perfect opportunity.” section like a big drop over a waterfall. Tits Deep is a play on the expression “going “There’s a fine line there,” Van Wijk ac- balls deep.” Not everyone loves the name – the knowledges. “It’s crazy for the average person group received some negative comments on its Facebook page. “They think that we might be promoting women by using our bodies and our image,” Van Wijk explains. “I kind of agree with them, but I think it’s a good thing. We are women and we do have tits, and every woman is beautiful. I think that’s what we should be proud of instead of shying away and think that we might be feeding the men out there.” In February, the first Tits Deep video was posted on – featuring clips of Van Wijk and two Kiwi friends, both named Louise, in North Carolina, West Virginia and Kentucky. The next video is set to come out in mid-March with footage from Argentina and Chile. Van Wijk, who will lead a 10-day overnight camp for advanced teenagers at Madawaska this summer, has applied to study film and graphic design at Vancouver’s Emily Carr University of Art & Design this fall. She’d like to Katrina Van Wijk is one of 10 make a future women’s extreme sports kayakers traveling down the film that would capture mountain bikInferno Canyon on the Rio Futaleufu in Patagonia, Chile. photo provided ing, rock climbing, skiing and snow-

By Dan Plouffe

Katrina Van Wijk

file photo

boarding on top of kayaking. It’s possible the Glebe Collegiate Institute grad will make a career out of her current video-making hobby, although she’s pleased at the moment that her videos help to promote her

sport. Extreme whitewater kayaking is not governed by the International Canoe Federation, so the Grand Prix events – organized on the back of Arnprior’s Patrick Camblin – are as big as it gets, and Van Wijk is amongst the best. In Chile, the former Ottawa River Runners slalom athlete was the fastest-moving “little speck” in the fourth of five stages en route to an overall bronze in the women’s standings. “I was really happy,” notes Van Wijk, adding she’d like to finish higher in the future, but is pleased with the third-place showing for now. “I’m super stoked, and I was just happy to be a part of it. And to make it down in one piece.”


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MKC’s family programs are a great opportunity for all ages to learn and enjoy the thrill of whitewater paddling together — weekend and week-long courses are available four times a summer in both canoe and kayak.

Full immersion of FUN! Starting at MKC on the Madawaska River, we will focus on technical skills—slalom and creeking. Then hitting the big waves of the Ottawa River for freestyle. Gearing up for a multi-day river trip, experiencing more than just paddling: trip prep, river rescue skills, outdoor cooking and group dynamics. For ages 13 to 19. JULY 29 TO AUGUST 9. Basic skills and a whitewater roll in class II are required.



e h t n e k a w A


Event reconnects newcomers with soccer By Dan Plouffe

in you!

Come and join some of the best athletes and coaches at the West Ottawa Soccer Club. Visit to register for summer programs, camps, March break, and much more! Why join WOSC? · We offer development programs and camps for all ages and abilities that put the players first · We are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all players · We believe in the Canadian Soccer Association’s Long Term Player Development and are proud champions of True Sport · We have qualified and competent Club Lead Coaches · We are proud to have developed provincial, OYSL, and R5 players · We offer affordable programs that are fun, build fitness, and teach life skills · We are Ottawa’s largest Soccer Club

Coming Soon… · March Break MultiSport & Soccer Camp · Open House March 6th

Visit our website at to register now and awaken the Warrior in You! R0011920476

If you’d asked Andrae Duhaney where he’d be on Family Day 2013 three years ago, he’d likely have answered, “What is Family Day?” And about the last place he would have guessed was the Louis-Riel Dome in Blackburn Hamlet. At the time, he was working for a software company in his native Jamaica. Soon though, the company was acquired by Canadian ownership and his entire team was moved to Ottawa. So for 10 Jamaicans and their families, a new life began in Ottawa. “I left all my friends and family back home. It’s a little tough at times,” describes 28-year-old Duhaney, whose wife joined him for the move. “But that’s one of the main reasons I’m reaching out through soccer – to make new connections and meet new people.” Duhaney first entered a team into the wintertime Footy Sevens league with some of his fellow Jamaicans, and wound up winning their division in the first year. “A lot of immigrants here love soccer,” notes Duhaney, who’s used to seeing every field and playground filled with kids kicking a soccer ball every day of the year in Jamaica. “It’s a really good avenue for them

Around 40 young newcomers to Canada were introduced to organized soccer during a Family Day event at the Louis-Riel Dome.

to get in touch with other people and make friends.”

CONNECTING WITH LOCAL CLUBS While Duhaney – who’s now a skier as well – met many people through his own play, what he missed was helping kids learn the game, which he did informally back home. So that’s what led him to take part in the Family Day event organized by Capital United Soccer Club and the Ontario Soccer Association’s Soccer and Settlement project. Around 40 newcomers to Canada aged 6-12 were introduced to an organized soccer setting. Duhaney assisted Capital United head coach Traian Mateas in demon-

Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club Since 1970

Developing players and the “Beautiful Game”

Make the Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club your choice! The Hotspurs are pleased to offer programs for all ages and skill levels. For more information, call 613-723-5762 e-mail: visit our web site at or drop by the club house: Unit 6, 200 Colonnade Rd. S.

Summer Registration Now Open!

photo provided

strating skills and running drills. “I was very impressed,” Duhaney highlights. “A lot of kids came out and they were definitely having fun, which was the main objective. It was a good time.” Duhaney, who recently completed a refereeing course, plans to expand his involvement in local soccer come the summertime. His story was not uncommon at the event, as five newly certified coaches were also present at the event – just a small portion of the 80+ referees and over 120 coaches who have been certified and joined Ottawa soccer clubs under the Citizenship and Immigration Canada-funded Soccer and Settlement pilot project.

UNIVERSITIES Ottawa basketball teams rule Ontario bed for basketball in Alyson Bush celebrates Ontario here.” her March 2 was a storied day for It’s not a coin- Ravens’ Ottawa basketball as local teams con- cidence that each of longawaited tinue to write new groundbreaking the teams has blos- playoff chapters in a proud tradition. somed under leaders breakthrough The Carleton Ravens and Ottawa who grew up playing/ in an OUA final Gee-Gees men and women met in coaching in local high East win over matches as deep as they could into schools and clubs, the Ottawa their Ontario University Athletics and now universit- Gee-Gees. playoffs, while the Algonquin Thun- ies – the Gee-Gees’ der women’s team earned its second Andy Sparks and the of three weekend victories to cruise to Ravens’ Charles on a third Ontario college crown in a row. the women’s side, “It means Ottawa basketball is and men’s coaches alive and well,” Ravens women’s James Derouin (Geecoach Taffe Charles says. “We have Gees) and Dave Smart four really good (university) coaches (Ravens). with good programs and good schools. “All the head coaches are deeply It bodes well. We’ve got a little hot- entrenched in the Ottawa community,” underlines Gee-Gees women’s Johnny Berhanemeskel and the GeeGees men’s basketball team would assistant coach Mario like to spoil the Ravens party at Gaetano, who coaches the March 8-10 CIS Final 8 at Scotiabank Place. both boys and girls at St. Peter Catholic High School. “Each team pushes each other to be better. The rivalry is part of that. And it just means great basketball for Ottawa.” Asked for her view on how all four local teams could reach their finals, former St. CHS Tiger photo: dan plouffe Matthew

By Dan Plouffe


OSU Force Academy Zone

OSU soccer phenom Dylan Lawrence headed to St. FX X-Men

photo: steve kingsman

After playing for the Ottawa South United Force Academy for the past three years, Dylan Lawrence is now ready to move on to the next stage in his life. The Holy Trinity Catholic High School senior recently signed with the St. Francis Xavier X-Men, and will now spend the next four to five years of his life playing Canadian university soccer in Nova Scotia. St. FX Head Coach Graham Kennedy considers the talented OSU product a coup for the X-Men. “We are absolutely delighted to have a student-athlete like Dylan join our program,” Kennedy says. “I am excited about his potential. We are ‘the little school than can,’ and with recruits like Dylan joining our team, we will succeed.” It was at the 2012 OSU Showcase Tournament that X-Men associate coach Miroslav Novak saw Lawrence play. Strangely enough, however, it was St. FX’s women’s team coach Trevor Reddick who first noticed Lawrence at a local soccer event six years ago. Impressed by then 12-year-old Lawrence’s soccer tricks, Reddick casually mentioned to the young boy that he should play for St. FX one day. Lawrence’s soccer skills have gotten him even more attention recently as he is the co-star of two Youtube videos that feature Lawrence and teammate Stephen Veenema performing tricks around various locations in downtown Ottawa. The first video has over 14,000 views, while the second was officially sponsored by Ottawa Tourism. “We definitely did not expect the outcome we got from the first video,” recounts

Lindsey Suprunchuk agrees that it starts with the coaches. “Seriously, all the coaching staffs are incredible,” emphasizes Suprunchuk, part of a deep group of local talent playing for their hometown universities. “I’ve played basketball in Ottawa my whole life, so it’s really nice to stay home. And the fans here are great.” Led by fifth-year guard Alyson Bush’s 19 points, the Ravens women finally earned their long-sought playoff breakthrough as they grinded ahead in the late stages for a 50-43 OUA East Division final victory at uOttawa to clinch a berth in the March 15-17 Canadian university championships in Regina. “ I ’ m just thrilled for them,” Charles smiles. “Honestly, they’ve put so much hard work into this. Getting to be there with the opportunity Celebrating our 10 Year Anniversary C to win means the world.” Dylan Lawrence says he’ll miss his OSU teamThe Geemates and coach Mahmut Adulovic most. Gees men punched their ticket to the CIS hosts, will be chasing a ninth title in Final 8 March 11 years, and could potentially meet 8-10 at Scoti- the #3 Gee-Gees in the final since th abank Place with they’re on opposite sides of the draw. a 78-58 semi-fiThe Ravens and Gee-Gees women nal win over are less likely to meet up at nationals Windsor and put since uOttawa needs to be granted a a major scare into wildcard entry, although if Charles the defending na- was given a vote, he’d pick them desSpace is limited... So sign up now! tional-champion pite the heartache his arch-rivals have Ravens for the caused his squad in the past. Developmental Soccer Ages 4-8 second time this “They had a tough injury, and I Recreational Programs Ages 9-18 season in a 72-69 don’t like to see that,” Charles says, OUA final. alluding to Gee-Gees starting point Youth Competitive Ages 9-18 Top-seeded guard Kellie Ring’s torn ACL knee Adult Competitive and Recreational Programs Carleton, already ligament. “Those guys had a great assured of a place year. I’d like to see them there. HopeFor full information on our programs and registration visit our in championship fully they get the opportunity as well.” website at or call 612 692-4179 ext. 114 tournament as Also making noise on the uni-


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Lawrence, who helped with editing and production of the videos. “Having CTV and CBC radio contact us about the video, that really motivated us to make another one.” Lawrence has parlayed his video editing skills into his own company: Tacklebox Productions. They are currently filming promotional videos for Jumpstart Canada, a program dedicated to helping less fortunate children get involved in sports. While he would like to polish his production skills during his time at St. FX, Lawrence knows that his new teammates will be counting on him to produce on the pitch as well. “Hopefully, I can help them win a championship because it’s been a few years since they’ve won one,” highlights the playmaking midfielder. “My long-term dream is to play in the MLS, and I hope my route through St. FX will help me reach it.” Lawrence credits his time at OSU for giving him the foundation to reach for the next level. “I loved playing for the OSU. They treated me really well and gave me every opportunity I could get to help me get a scholarship and it paid off,” explains the captain of the ’95 Force boys’ team. “Anybody who is planning to play at the university level, they provide you with opportunities like tournaments and showcases that get you the chance to be seen by university coaches.” While Lawrence is already developing a solid relationship with his new coaches at St. FX, including head coach Graham Kennedy, he says he’ll definitely miss his teammates and mentors from OSU. “I loved all the coaches at OSU, especially my head coach Mahmut Adulovic,” Lawrence notes. “I have great relationships with them and they’re people that I’m going to stay in contact with throughout my years.”

Adrienne Sukunda


file photo

versity scene was the Gee-Gees women’s volleyball team, who captured the OUA championship and went on to place fourth nationally. Led by Adrienne Sukunda’s sabre gold, the Ravens women’s fencing team won its third overall team title in four years at the OUA championships.


Hockey players take talents from ice to field


Water skier earns world junior bronze By Anne Duggan

Rohan Chopra and Braedon Muldoon live and breathe hockey all year round – whether it’s in the arenas as Nepean Raiders ice hockey players, or when they’re tearing up the field hockey pitch for the Nepean Nighthawks and Team Canada. The 15-year-olds started out playing our national winter sport, but have found another summertime love in field hockey. “It’s certainly transferable skills,” says Sandeep Chopra, who coaches the boys with his Nighthawks Field Hockey Club. “It’s not a coincidence they’re both called hockey.” Around 90% of the Nighthawks boys are also ice hockey players, which Sandeep “loves” since they’ve already got discipline and determination engrained in them. Sandeep has found in recent years that field hockey is becoming more and more appealing to competitive hockey players who may not be destined to play junior hockey or necessarily grow into the

body required for the next level. “Hockey is fun for now, but you know, we’re not going to ‘the show,’” Rohan explains. “We have a long way we can go in field hockey. There’s age group after age group, all the way up to the senior national team.” Rohan’s Raiders teammate Braedon joined him in field hockey at age 12, and discovered he was a big fan of the outdoor game as well. “It was pretty fun. It was new, and different,” Braedon recalls. “I liked it, so I stayed with it.” He eventually started to narrow the gap between his skills and Rohan’s to the point where they both wound up playing for the Ontario provincial youth team that won a national title last year. Rohan, along with fellow Nighthawk Liam Manning, were then selected to play for the Canadian under-17 team in an exhibition series last December against the U.S. in Los Angeles, where Canada posted a trio of convincing wins.

“It was the greatest feeling I could have,” Rohan smiles. “It’s hard to believe that it can get better, but I could definitely see more of those types of experiences coming for me and Braedon.” Playing field hockey has its benefits for ice hockey too, primarily with improved hand-eye coordination and puck-handling. The two sports mesh well logistically too, Sandeep highlights, since field hockey season ends before ice hockey begins, and doesn’t start up until the ice hockey playoffs are through. “It’s the perfect kind of match,” adds Sandeep, whose club is committed to keeping the sport affordable at $150 for its spring league. “We encourage our kids to play ice hockey, and I don’t know if that’s true in other competitive sports.” The Nighthawks are keen to welcome more ice hockey players to the fold in hopes that more young players will find a new passion like Rohan and Braedon, and reach for the highest levels of the sport.

In local water skiing champion Jonah Shaffer’s case, a short rope is a good thing. In late February, Shaffer’s rope was short enough to win a bronze medal at the world junior championships in Mulwala, Australia, a career-best result, although he still wants more. “I knew exactly what score I needed for gold but I fell too early,” recounts the 16-yearold Canadian junior national record holder. . I just tipped over. It happens.” Slalom water skiing is Shaffer’s speciality. The length of rope he uses is key to winning events. In slalom, the course features six fixed buoys on the left and right sides of a centreline, which is the path allotted to the motor boat. The skier must successfully pass through the entrance gate, on the outside of each of the six buoys and then exit the end gates. With each successful pass, the rope pulling the skier is made shorter, raising the degree of difficulty. The final score is determined by speed, rope length and number

Jonah Schaffer

of buoys completed. The fact that his sport isn’t well-known in Canada hasn’t slowed Shaffer down. The Cairine Wilson Secondary School student travels at around 58 mph on slalom skis, he’s a three-time Canadian junior champion, and is currently the third-ranked junior in the world for the sport that is part of the Pan American Games program. Still, Shaffer has realized there is much to improve before this summer’s Canadian championships in Calgary. “I need to work on focus. I get pretty nervous at competitions,” highlights Schaffer. “I want to break my own record and get all six buoys (with the rope 10.75 metres long).” To water ski at this level, Shaffer must follow the summer sun across the globe. He

photo provided

hasn’t been home since the beginning of January, but that’s an aspect of water skiing that suits him fine. “I like travelling the world and Australia is a bit nicer than Ottawa right now,” Shaffer shouts into his cell phone as he competes with the early morning ruckus of the bird population Down Under. There is a strong family connection to water skiing for Shaffer. His aunt and uncle of McClintock Waterski School in Cambridge, Ont. have provided the coaching and venue for much of his training. Locally, he usually trains at Sunset Lakes in Greely. Shaffer says his family’s backing, both morally and financially – from dad Joe Shaffer, mom Karen and stepdad Jim McClintock – plays an enormous role in his success.

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Refreshed Wreck MMA 2.0 returns

Randy Turner

The local Wreck MMA promotion is back in business, with its Wreck 2.0 card set to go for March 28 at the Casino Lac Leamy’s Hilton hotel. If you’d asked promoter Nick Castiglia five months ago whether he’d have seen this event coming together, the answer would have been a flat-out no. “I was burnt out and we kept on losing money over and over again for years,” Castiglia shares candidly. He said that it would be the last card of a 10show run, but as soon as he’d pulled the plug, that’s when a groundswell of support suddenly came together in support of the organization that provides a stage for many local fighters looking to make a name for themselves and advance to greater levels in the sport. “I guess I was kind of surprised because I didn’t realize so many people cared,” recalls Castiglia, who’d returned his focus to instructing at the Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts. “I was just receiving messages non-stop, so eventually I had to address it.” There were two major pieces of the puzzle that made a renewed Wreck more viable – the increased support of Giovanni’s Restaurant as

lead sponsor for the card, and the Casino lending some help as well, plus there is a larger group working to organize the show. The main event features ‘Relentless’ Randy Turner making his debut in the 125-lb. division against ‘Dirty’ Benny Vinson of Portland, OR. Turner was Wreck’s 135-lb. champion previously, but is hoping the lighter frame may lead to greater opportunities. “Hopefully he wins this fight and UFC gives him a call,” remarks Castiglia, whose promotion has seen four fighters move on to compete in Ultimate Fighting Championship events. “That’s the plan.” One of those athletes who competed in UFC will also be on the card – Mark ‘Boots’ Holst from OAMA. Other Ottawa fighters on the card include Anna Barone from Victory Performance Centre taking on Kelowna, B.C.’s Sarah Moras in another showcase bout, Pablo Santos of Siam No. 1, and several products of Experience MMA & Fitness, plus Ashley Nichols and Robert Thomas out of M.A.S. Academy of Martial Arts in Cambridge, Ont. are ones to watch. Tickets to the event are available through .



continued from p.4 “I’m hoping that there will be a groundswell of opposition, and that different countries will start to poll their IOC members and it will get voted down,” said Lee MacKay. The Canadian international referee and city championships convener, did wonder about the effect on young kids just starting sports. “It will lose that high profile,” he noted, adding that losing coaches long-term remains a bigger threat to high school wrestling. “If they don’t come back, it’ll be tougher for wrestling. It’s one of those sports in which the coaching has to be a little bit more technical.” Kossatz, who runs Tsunami Academy wrestling club, is optimistic though. “If we can get the teacher issue behind us, I see wrestling continuing to grow in both size and calibre,” he maintained. “Enthusiasm is actually probably higher than normal this year. We have a lot of parents coaching; it’s new blood. There’s a lot of good energy.” Although quite a few schools did not participate this year – including some national-calibre athletes – new faces will try to make their mark at OFSAA and beyond. Robinson, for one, will be competing at both the high school provincials March 6-7 in Guelph, and at April’s juvenile nationals in Saskatoon. Other OFSAA medal hopefuls include National Capital Wrestling Club members Augusta Eve (Hillcrest) and Quinlan Walker (Canterbury). Meanwhile, in London, Ont., former NCWC athlete Ilya Abelev won the Canadian university men’s 72 kg title for the host Western Mustangs.

67’s face Lindros-led Generals in ’91 classic

In the days before the return of NHL hockey to the national capital (1992), an OHL game was the hottest hockey event in town. This was especially true on the eve of March 1, 1991 when more than 9,500 Ottawa fans packed the Civic Centre to watch their beloved 67s take on the visiting Oshawa Generals. The Generals (named after General Motors who were the major sponsors of the team’s 1937 reincarnation) were not only unbeaten in thirteen games, but also featured Eric Lindros,

dubbed “The Next One” and widely considered the best junior hockey player in North America. (He was selected number one in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft.) While Oshawa were heavy favourites to win the game, the third contest between the two teams that season (1990-1991), Ottawa was a worthy opponent. ...

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But he also saw major importance in getting to play in a world championships a year outside Sochi. “If you play in front of packed crowds and you play for important things where there’s lots of pressure, that’s valuable experience,” notes the father of Olympic gold medalist John Morris. “It means that you when you get further down the line at the Olympics, you’re more prepared to stay calm under those circumstances. “Mind you, there’s no pressure like Olympic pressure. I was able to see that with the Kevin Martin team in Vancouver.” Martin’s rink are contenders to get back to the Olympics, although recent history would suggest Martin’s third John Morris may have to take a back seat to a former world junior champion teammate of his, Craig Savill. The Kanata resident won a world championship last year as lead for Glenn Howard’s Ontario rink, and were off to an undefeated 7-0 start at the March 2-10 Brier, while Martin slumped along at 3-4. Savill’s heard plenty from Morris about his incredible Olympic experience in Vancouver – perhaps a little too much. “He told me some stories and made me really jealous and made me want to be there even more,” cracks the 34-year-old. “Since I was a little kid, I’ve always been glued to the TV when the Olympics is on. I will watch 24/7 until it’s done. “It’s a dream of mine, just to be there. But as soon as you’re at the Olympics as a Canadian curler, you’re ultimately one of the favourites.” The same holds true for Canadian hockey players. San Jose Sharks defenceman Dan Boyle was part of the men’s hockey team that helped Canada break the record for gold medals won at the Winter Olympics in 2010. He could potentially be part of the 2014 squad, while Philadelphia Flyers star Claude Giroux is basically a lock to make his Olympic debut after finish-

Team of the Month: Gloucester-Cumberland Wolverines Age Group/Level: Junior (U19) ‘AAA’ Girls Team members: (Top, from left) Head coach Karina Navarro, #11 Nicola Hadwen, #23 Olivia Harris, #12 Amanda Presley, #8 Shaudae Murray, #9 Sarah Collie, # 14 Amelie Baaklini, Assistant Coach Mike Snow (Front, from left) #5 Teeghan Rambo, #7 Emilie Lachance, #10 Erin Poter, #13 Mel Bourgon, #4 Mel Blanchard.

Athlete of the Month: Rebecca Roy

About: The Wolverines are undefeated in Eastern Ontario Basketball Association play this sea- Sport: Volleyball son and recently won their home Mike O’Connor Memorial Tournament, beating a couple of the top-ranked teams in Ontario and Quebec in the semi-finals and final, including the 41-39 Club: Maverick Volleyball Club championship game victory over the St. Bruno Cougars. School: ESC Gisèle-Lalonde To nominate Stars of the Month, go to and follow the link on the right-hand bar under the Stars of the Month feature. Courtesy of the Ottawa Sportspage and the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region, the selected Athlete of the Month will receive a one-week Family Pass to the Y, while each member of the Team of the Month will receive one-visit passes.

ing third in NHL scoring last season. Marc Dorion will certainly be in Sochi as an emerging leader with a younger Canadian sledge hockey team, who are out to make amends for their playoff round heartbreakers in Vancouver where they wound up in fourth. “We’ve come a long way in our preparation for Sochi,” highlights the 25-year-old who’s played for Canada since age 16 and owns a gold medal from the Torino Paralympics. “Everything I do on a daily basis is done towards the ultimate goal – winning that world championship, or winning that Paralympics.” The woman responsible for Ottawa’s last two medals in 2010 won’t be back for Sochi. Silver and bronze medalist speed skater Kristina Groves has retired, but 22-year-old Ivanie Blondin could be ready to pick up the slack in the women’s team pursuit. “(Groves) is definitely someone I looked up to, and still look up to,” notes Blondin, who collected her third team pursuit World Cup medal of the season on March 3 in Germany. “It just makes you want to train harder and follow in her footsteps.” Their sports have little in common, but cross-country skier Perianne

Jones and bobsledders Cody Sorensen and Jean-Nicolas Carrière do share more than just local roots. They both had disappointing performances at their recent world championships – Jones finished 48th in her sprint event and 13th with fellow Canadian Dasha Gaiazova in the team sprint, while Sorensen and Carrière were 17th aboard Chris Spring’s Canada-2 sled – but then produced superb results at World Cups that served as Olympic test events in Sochi. “It was a great experience to be there racing on the Olympic course,” says 28-year-old Jones, who earned bronze in Sochi with Gaiazova and has posted career-best results this season. “Winning a medal there was an added bonus. We know the course there and we know how to do well on it. It’s exciting leading into the Olympics.” After struggling through “the most inconsistent and disappointing” season of his bobsled career with Team Rush, Sorensen suddenly found himself teamed up with Spring and Carrière – a World Cup rookie who’d earned a promotion from the Canada-3 sled – for the final two races of the season. After just two weeks together, the new teammates placed seventh

Grade: 12 About: Rebecca Roy was a key contributor for her GisèleLalonde Titans in winning the OFSAA ‘AA’ girls’ volleyball championships March 4-6 in Ottawa. Regularly a setter with her Mavericks club, Roy was a force at left-side to capture her third-straight provincial high school gold.

overall on the Sochi track, including a second run that was third fastest. “The whole season, it was kind of hard to stay motivated, and then that last race, boom, we have a pretty good result, and the motivation is back almost instantly,” Sorensen describes. “The season probably couldn’t have ended any better. Getting a run that’s ranked third – if Chris can do that in three of the four runs at the Olympic Games, I think that’ll be pretty close to an Olympic medal.” The podium would be a more distant hope for them, but making it to the Olympics is a realistic possibility for emerging international athletes Alaine Chartrand, an 18-year-old figure skater, and 24-year-old alpine skier Dustin Cook, while Vancouver 2010 para-nordic ski veteran Margarita Gorbounova is also a strong candidate to appear in Sochi. The odds are longer for the likes of speed skater Lauren Maguire, women’s hockey player Stefanie McKeough, wheelchair curler Katie Paialunga, para-snowboarder John Leslie, snowboarders Natalie Allport and Quincy Korte-King, and alpine skiers Dominique Garand, Mikaela Tommy and Victoria Stevens.

OWHA: Ottawa teams savour home provincials continued from p.3 “It’s definitely survival of the fittest by the end,” Bourgeois notes. “It’ll be nice to sleep in your own bed and not have to travel. You won’t have the car legs going in.” The Wildcats are enthusiastic about having a larger group of family and friends in the rink pulling for them, and they’re also psyched by the added buzz this year with the women’s worlds coming to town. “It’s so exciting,” Bourgeois adds. “Seeing all the banners up everywhere – it’s quite the hype.” Many other local teams will chase provincial glory from the ‘C’ through to ‘AA’ competitive levels. Last year, Nepean beat Kanata 1-0 in the Peewee ‘C’ final, while Kanata earned Midget ‘C’ gold. The Gloucester-Cumberland Stars and Ottawa Ice also won 2012 OWHA medals. Visit for online coverage during both events.



OGC mates sweep all-around podium at home qualifier By Dan Plouffe It was a parade to the podium for many local athletes as the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre hosted a women’s artistic gymnastics provincial championships qualifier Feb. 22-24, and nowhere was that more evident than in the Level 8, Age 14+ category. When all the powder had settled, three gymnasts from the host club were standing side-byside-by-side displaying gold, silver and bronze medals, having earned the top three all-around positions in their 10-athlete division. “It was fun,” recounts Mackenzie Cox, who finished second, in between OGC teammates Nathalie Joanette in first and Bradey Rosettani in third. “There we were – 1, 2, 3 – all of us together.” Each of the three athletes achieved their personal-best scores – including Cox, who missed the early portion of her competitive season due to a back injury – while OGC teammate Sahara Frojmovic also celebrated a gold medal on uneven bars in the same category. “It was a really good feeling knowing that we represented our club really well,” adds Joanette. “We all did our personal-best.” It was a memorable moment for a trio that’s trained together for the better part of a decade. Although they are pitted against one another in competition, they do pull for each other since they’ve become such close friends. “I want them to do well because I care about them as well,” notes Joanette, who was fueled

Bradey Rosettani

Nathalie Joanette

Mackenzie Cox

by her teammates’ strong performance before she’d then tackle the same apparatus. “You feel more comfortable because you’ve got friends around you to cheer you on.” The OGC girls began on the rotation that carried the greatest potentially for trouble since they were each performing brand-new vaults. “It’s something that was really, really challenging for them in the past,” highlights coach Sara Baker. “Seeing them perform so well on their vault was probably my proudest moment.” It was a meet full of standout performances for the home club. Adrianka Forrest and Sofia

photos: dan plouffe

Baggio combined to win every apparatus in L9, A12-13, with Baggio conquering vault, balance beam and floor, although Forrest’s bars routine sent her to the all-around title. Lily DiTomasso was the AA winner in the L6, A13 class, while Natalka Forrest (with the best score in the province this year) and Bella Musca placed 1-2 in L7, A9. Rebecca Richardson swept every L7, A16+ discipline and took over the top provincial ranking from Les Sittelles’ Emilie Dubuc. Mackenzie Capretta was third all-around and Cecily Whitlaw won gold on beam and floor in L6, A9. Maya Frojmovic took L6, A10 beam

gold, Grace Boxer was golden in the L7, A10-11 vault, beam and floor for third AA, and Mackenzie Connelly earned floor gold and placed second AA in L7, 12-13, while Emma Christie claimed gold on vault and beam in the same category. In L9, A14+, Meaghan Smith won bars and was second AA, Taylor Pyefinch won vault, and Christie Boswell-Patterson – in her return from a second major knee surgery – competed in bars and beam, winning the beam event. “They all did fantastic,” Baker smiles. “It was so nice. They were on their home turf, or home carpet. They had that advantage and they definitely delivered.” Perhaps no one delivered in a bigger way than Suzana Diacomescu. The L6, A11 athlete had been ranked 23rd in the province before the competition, but wound up posting the best total score in Ontario this season. “She just peaked,” Baker explains, highlighting Diacomescu’s exceptional floor routine and clean performances in other events to preserve points lost to falls. “Being here at your own gym, you have that comfort level.” Only a handful of gymnasts from other Ottawa clubs competed at the lone local qualifier on the calendar, due to the schedule change from the meet’s usual place at the start of the year. Corona’s Megan Wilgosh won bars and beam en route to a L5, A11 all-around victory, Olympia’s Meghan Heer’s score in winning L6, A14 beam gold showed the potential for a provincials podium, and Mackenzie Lewis from Tumblers Gymnastics Centre was second AA in L5, A12.



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