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Born to ball

Barrhaven’s Merissah Russell has had a meteoric rise from an unpolished local talent to a Team Canada threat


By Charlie Pinkerton


Violent protests in Nicaragua brought the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U17 Championship to a temporary halt.



Cadet national wrestling champion Ismail Ayyoub found his home on the mat after immigrating from Kuwait.



Ottawa’s Sarah Brown finished the ski season with a career-best performance at the Whistler Cup.

A lot has changed since Merissah Russell and Fabienne Blizzard met four years ago. Merissah Russell was in Grade 7 then and was at one of her older sister Maiyah’s touch football games. Blizzard was attending because her daughter played on the same team as the older Russell. Blizzard remembers watching the Russell sisters race down the sideline of the field after the game and thinking that the younger of the two must have been 15 years old. Merissah lost the race to her older sister -who’s now a member of the women’s volleyball team at the Royal Military College - but swears it was only because she was barefoot. “I’ll give her that one,” she says. “We’re a very competitive family.” The result didn’t matter to Blizzard, who then – like now – was heavily involved with youth basketball in Ottawa and throughout Ontario. Blizzard was wowed by Russell’s speed and approached her to find out what sports she played. “It was a, ‘Ya I play basketball, I’m pretty awesome,’ type of thing. (I was) tooting my own horn because I didn’t know who the lady was at first,” Russell says. Russell’s mother remembers it a tad differently. She remembers her daughter telling her future head coach an exuberant, “I’m a baller!” Blizzard asked Russell her age and got her answer: 12.

Merissah Russell played for Canada for the first time at the FIBA Americas U16 Women’s Championship last year in Argentina (pictured). The 16-yearold was the youngest member of Canada’s team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. “I was like, ‘what?’,” Blizzard says with a laugh. “Have your mum call me.” “After that it was kind of history,”

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RUSSELL: “A global player”


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Rockin’ Rebelles Wrap

5 Louis-Riel sports-study hockey players drafted by OHL clubs

They’re all in Grade 10, all members of the Louis-Riel sports-study hockey program, teammates with the dominant Rockland Nationals Midget ‘AAA’ team, and now Evan Boucher, Liam Cavan, Mason Carter and twins Simon and Vincent Labelle can add one more item to their list of commonalities: they are all Ontario Hockey League draft picks. Oh, and the five recently-recruited Rebelles are also all good friends – thankfully, since they spend a majority of their waking hours together. “Seeing them both on the ice and at school, I know they get along really well,” smiles Louis-Riel hockey program and Rockland Nationals Jr. ‘A’ coach Dan Sauvé, who was pleased to see his players recognized at April’s draft. “They just love being on the ice,” he adds. “And they’re always having little friendly competitions. If ever there’s a little bit of playtime on the ice, they’re never shooting pucks or doing individual things, they’re always battling with each other, fighting for pucks. They’re very, very driven.” The shared commitment is certainly paying off. This season, the quintet helped their Nationals team to a Hockey Eastern Ontario championship with only 2 regulation losses all year, and then represented HEO at the OHL Gold Cup in May.

On top of their 4 practices/games a week with their Nationals club team, they’re on the ice every second afternoon with Sauvé and the Louis-Riel hockey program, while the other half, they’re working out at the world-class Dome LR. The off-ice conditioning is the biggest tool provided by sports-études, Sauvé indicates, since it ensures players can maintain their muscle mass throughout the season, develop proper weightlifting techniques, and work on mobility/flexibility, which can often be overlooked. On ice, it’s a similar focus on individual skill development – such as receiving passes on the backhand, in skates, or tipping pucks. “Specific skills that coaches don’t have time to work on during practices where it’s a lot of team concepts, like the powerplay,” explains Sauvé, who works alongside longtime Louis-Riel hockey guru Mark Dregas. “It’s good for them to zone in on little details.” Selected by five different teams, it’s possible the OHL draftees may have less time together in the near future, though they are all eligible to return to the Rockland Midget team next year, or move up to the Nationals Jr. ‘A’ team. “I think all those kids will either play OHL or get a scholarship and they’ll be able to continue on playing hockey way past their junior days,” signals Sauvé. “They have the natural talent and ability. From here, it’s about their desire and drive to get better. “We’re proud to have them at our school, and within our Jr. ‘A’ program. All five are wonderful people.”

5 joueurs Rebelles repêchés par la Ligue de hockey de l’Ontario

Les Rebelles repêchés par la Ligue de hockey de l’Ontario (gauche à droite) : Simon Labelle (Sudbury), Evan Boucher (Flint), Liam Cavan (Ottawa), Mason Carter (Mississauga) et Vincent Labelle (London).

Ils sont tous en 10e année, tous membres du programme de hockey du programme Sports-études de l’école Louis-Riel et coéquipiers champions des Rockland Nationals au niveau midget AAA. Evan Boucher, Liam Cavan, Mason Carter et les jumeaux Simon et Vincent Labelle peuvent désormais ajouter un élément à la liste de leurs points communs : ils ont tous été repêchés récemment par la Ligue de hockey de l’Ontario. Qui plus est, ces Rebelles sont tous de bons amis – ce qui est une bonne chose puisqu’ils sont ensemble le plus clair de leur temps. « À l’école et sur la glace, ils s’entendent très bien », déclare en souriant Dan Sauvé, entraîneur au programme de hockey de Louis-Riel et aux Rockland Nationals Jr. A. « Ils adorent jouer au hockey et se livrent sans cesse à des mini-compétitions amicales. Ils sont très, très motivés. » Leur engagement commun a certes porté ses fruits. En effet, cette saison, nos cinq amis ont aidé leur équipe à remporter un cham-

pionnat de la ligue Hockey Eastern Ontario, en ne perdant que 2 parties réglementaires pendant toute la saison puis, en mai, ont représenté la HEO à la Gold Cup de la LHO. En plus de leurs quatre parties ou séances d’entraînement hebdomadaires avec les Rockland Nationals, ils sont sur la glace avec leur entraîneur un après-midi sur deux dans le cadre du programme de hockey de Louis-Riel. Les autres jours, ils s’entraînent dans le Dôme de Louis-Riel, une installation de calibre mondiale. Le conditionnement physique hors patinoire est l’outil le plus efficace du programme Sports-études, précise Dan Sauvé. Sur la patinoire, on met également l’accent sur l’acquisition de compétences individuelles : recevoir des passes du revers ou sur ses patins, ou encore faire dévier la rondelle. « Des compétences précises que l’entraîneur n’a pas le temps de leur montrer pendant l’entraînement, qui se consacre plutôt aux notions que l’équipe doit connaître, comme l’avantage numérique », explique

Dan Sauvé, qui travaille aux côtés de Mark Dregas. « C’est pourquoi ils doivent eux-mêmes porter attention aux petits détails. » Repêchés par cinq équipes différentes, les recrues de la LHO passeront peut-être moins de temps ensemble dans un avenir rapproché. Cela dit, ils pourront tous se joindre de nouveau aux Rockland Nationals de la Ligue de hockey midget l’an prochain ou être promus à l’équipe Nationals Jr. A. « Selon moi, ces cinq jeunes vont soit jouer dans la Ligue de hockey de l’Ontario soit décrocher une bourse qui leur permettra de continuer de jouer à des niveaux bien supérieurs à celui du hockey junior », déclare Dan Sauvé. « Ils possèdent les capacités et le talent naturel pour le faire. Nous sommes fiers de les compter parmi nos élèves et parmi les membres de notre programme junior A. Ils sont tous plus épatants les uns que les autres. »


While also playing Nepean Blue Devils basketball, Russell started training regularly with Blizzard’s Gloucester Cumberland Wolverines Grade 9 boys team. “The first few days were tough because she couldn’t do a left-handed lay-up and she couldn’t do some other things because she was only in Grade 7; she was just very athletic,” Blizzard says. “But after six months she was ballin’.” Russell cracked Team Ontario’s U15 team the next season. They won bronze at the 2016 Canadian National Championships. As a member of the team again last year, Russell won national gold. A month prior, she helped Canada’s national team to a silver medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Women’s Championship in Argentina, in her first tournament play with Canada Basketball. After spending her Grade 9 year at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School, Russell leapt at the opportunity to join the upstart Capital Courts Academy program that is coached by Blizzard. Russell and Blizzard now start each day together when Blizzard picks her and other players up from around the city to bring them to Cairine Wilson Secondary School for their day of school and training that, during the season, regularly lasts 12 hours. Russell was the lone Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) all-star on the Blizzard-coached Capital Courts Academy team this year. She led a squad of only eight girls to a 6th place finish in the team’s debut season in the OSBA. When asked to explain her and Blizzard’s relationship now, Russell smiles and lets out a deep sigh. “Oh my goodness… She’s the best everything for me,” she says. “She knows my goals and how to get me there. Sometimes it’s not going to be translated the nicest way. Sometimes I’m not going to like her, and she tells us that, but I know it’s totally out of love. I love it.” Capital Courts was bounced from the OSBA playoffs in the first round on March 3, which was also Russell’s 16th birthday. Just one week later she says she was woken by a call from Canada Basketball’s director of

women’s high-performance Denise Dignard, offering her a spot on the country’s Commonwealth Games team. “I jumped out of bed, said that I accept, and didn’t really hear anything else after that. I hung up the phone and went and celebrated with my mom. It was the best experience ever.” Russell says. She was the youngest player on Canada’s 2018 Commonwealth Games’ roster. Russell found the floor in each of Team Canada’s five matchups at the Games, playing alongside fellow Ottawa-area native Catherine Traer, who Russell first met while attending a GeeGees camp years ago. Canada finished just shy of a medal in 4th place. “Getting that chance to step foot in a competitive environment where it’s not just high school or even provincial – these are like real women that have experienced life, and you’re playing besides them and they’re smarter than you, they’re faster than you, they know how to use their body in the right way because they’ve been playing for such a long time… It’s just a fast type of pace and you have no time to feel nervous, you just enjoy the moment. It was beauti-

ful,” Russell said. The Grade 10 student donned the Maple Leaf again in May in the all-star invitational Across Border Global Games. As one of four players in the younger 2020 class on the underclassmen team, Russell led all scorers with 36 points in Canada’s 109-96 win against the United States and was named Canada’s MVP. Blizzard says it’s Russell’s skill, confidence and maturity that, on top of the athleticism she first saw in the girl four years ago, inspires such praise of her potential. It may not be long before she suits up for Canada again. The FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup will be held in Belarus late this July. Russell is currently in the late stages of the team’s tryout process. And though Russell is years away from graduating high school, she’s got high hopes for her on-court future. “(I want to) hopefully go to the WNBA and then in the other season it would be overseas,” Russell says. “I definitely believe that those goals are attainable,” Blizzard says. “I always tell her: ‘you’re not great now, you’re good’. But I do believe she’ll get to that point where she will be great, and she will be a global player… To me, she will end up going to one of the top schools and will end up going to the WNBA because when Merissah puts her mind to doing something, I don’t think anyone can really stop her because she’s so driven when she has a goal.”

Jr. Sens surge to RBC CUP

photo: charlie pinkerton

Ottawa Junior Senators Captain Owen Guy chases the puck around the net against the Edmundston Blizzard in the Fred Page Cup, a game the Junior Senators won 4-1. As host of the tournament they went undefeated to advance to the National A Championship RBC Cup in Chilliwack, B.C.



Wiebe repeats as Commonwealth champ By Michael Sun

Erica Wiebe

Erica Wiebe was “happy” after winning gold again at the Commonwealth Games. The 28-year old came to Australia with the expectation of taking 1st place and did just that with a first round pin of Nigeria’s Blessing Onyebuchi in the 76-kg freestyle wrestling finals. “I thought the Commonwealth Games was really great to get back in the swing of competing in multi-sport games and dealing with the different expectations as the defending champion and Olympic champion,” Wiebe noted. “I had a great experience overall.” The Stittsville native’s accomplishment adds to her growing list. She won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 as well Olympic gold in Rio in 2016. Despite all of her success, she’s still looking to improve and learn by diversifying her offence on the mat. “Wrestling’s a really humbling sport in the sense that every single day, I’m challenging myself,” she said. “I’m wrestling people from all different skill levels.” This includes wrestling high schools boys “all the time”, which she calls a very different challenge. “I’m professional in the way that I engage in the sport, but I don’t think of myself as a champion every single day I wake up…” Wiebe added. “I wake up and think about what the next steps are going to be and what I want to accomplish that day.” Having played a variety of sports growing up, Wiebe started wrestling in Grade 9 at Sacred Heart High School. She says her motivation is the pursuit of excellence and the thrill of competition – “I also get

Are YOU Canada’s next great triathlete? Come out to Triathlon Ontario’s Talent ID Event and find out! Sunday, June 3 • 7:30 a.m.-noon Goulbourn Recreation Complex Space is Limited – Register Now at:

photo: steve kingsman

really excited about putting it on the line and challenging myself,” she adds. Wiebe says she’s struggled with self-confidence before and seeks positive solutions through mental training. Her go-to method is writing down key positive words and repeating them to herself, she says. “My biggest challenge has been believing in my own capabilities,” she noted. “That’s something that I can control but it’s sometimes difficult to live and breathe with as I evolve in dealing with those inner demons.” Wiebe moved to Calgary 10 years ago. She says her confidence has grown with her accomplishments. “Every experience is unique and it’s cherished,” she said. “Winning Glasgow (2014 Commonwealth Games) is the first time I won gold on a big multi-sport games on a huge stage and it really gave me the strength and the confidence. I knew what it was like going into a major final.” Her expectations in 2018 were higher than 2014 but she views pressure as fun rather than a burden. “I just think the pressure’s a privilege and I’ve had a lot of experience in high pressure situations and I find it’s like a fun little test,” she said. “I get to see how I respond and I get to kind of manage

that emotional experience and it’s quite the journey.” Wiebe is heading to Toronto for the Women’s World Team Trials on June 9. She also has her sights set on reclaiming gold at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. However, for her, wrestling is about happiness and emotions as much as accolades. “It just comes from within as an expression of yourself,” she said of the joy. “Sometimes I think I’m just happy because I struggle a lot in wrestling so it’s like that juxtaposition that I feel I can overcome my challenges or work to overcome challenges or learning a new wrestling move.” For her, adversity is essential to her happiness and success. “The process of that journey kind of sucks while you’re going through it but when you get onto the other side, it’s like ‘Ah,’ it’s the most incredible feeling of accomplishment,” she described.

MORE MEDALS Other Ottawa medallists at the Commonwealth Games were: Joanna Brown (bronze, triathlon), Arianne Bonhomme (bronze, cycling, track cycling), Derek Gee (bronze, track cycling), Tim Nedow (bronze, athletics), Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson (bronze, swimming), Jean Emmanual Pierre-Charles (silver, basketball) and Munis Tutu (silver, basketball).

BytownTriathlon.com/Talent-ID-Day.html Talent ID Event Overview Young athletes will have the chance to map out a new path to the podium when Triathlon Ontario hosts its first-ever Talent Identification Event the morning of Sunday, June 3 out of Goulbourn Recreation Complex. “It’s exciting,” says Triathlon Ontario’s Provincial Development Coach Greg Kealey. “This is the first time it’s been done, certainly in our province, and we think in Canada too.” With an opportunity to be analyzed by top triathlon coaches and sport science experts, the groundbreaking event could be of particular interest to teenaged athletes with a competitive training background, in any sport. “They don’t have to be great swimmers or fantastic runners,” notes Kealey. “If they are good athletes, they tend to adapt fairly quickly to different sports.” Organizers wouldn’t expect to athletes to leave their current sport in pursuit of triathlon – particularly if they’re excelling – but it could be appealing for someone looking for other options, or simply the chance to get a taste of their triathlon potential. “If there’s someone who’s invested 7 years of their life into swimming and isn’t at the provincial or national level, at a certain point, they may think, ‘Where do I go?’” outlines Kealey. “Well, you can be a second-level swimmer in the province and probably be a front-pack swimmer in triathlon. That’s an example of someone we’d like to see at the Talent ID event.”

Fri, May 18 - 8 pm Sat, June 9 - 7 pm vs Nepean vs Orillia Tue, May 22 - 8 pm Sun, June 10 - 2 pm vs Kahnawake vs Oakville

Gloucester Griffins Home Games at Earl Armstrong Arena

Sat, May 26 - 7 pm Tue, June 12 - 8 pm vs Green Gaels vs Akwesasne

Nepean Knights Junior ‘B’ Home Games at Bell Arena

JUNIOR ‘C’ GRIFFINS Sat, May 5 - 3 pm vs Barrie

Wed, May 23 - 8 pm vs Cornwall

Sun, May 6 - 2 pm Sun, May 27 - 4:30 pm vs Huntsville vs Eastern Townships Fri, May 11 - 8 pm vs North Shore

Fri, June 1 - 8 pm Sun, June 17 - 2 pm vs Kahnawake vs Halton Hills

Tests at the event will include general athletic strength/movement screening, swim/run assessments plus time trials (200 metres in the pool and 1,200 m around the track), and the WINGATE Bike Test to measure peak power and cardio capacity. The performance analysis will be led by PEAK Centre for Human Performance Sport Science Experts alongside Ottawa-based Kealey, also the Head Coach of the local Bytown Storm club. Each participant will receive feedback based on the high-tech tests. All can then connect with an appropriate program or coach if they’re interested in the sport, and those that show great potential can jump right into the competitive environment. “We are serious about continually developing athletes like Simon Whitfield (2000 men’s Olympic champion) and Joanna Brown (2018 Commonwealth Games women’s bronze medallist from Ottawa),” underlines Kealey. “We want to see if we can provide you with the right environment to continue looking at that high-performance pathway to the Pan Am Games or Olympics. This event could be that first step.”




Sun, June 3 - 2 pm vs North Shore

Sun, May 20 - 3 pm Wed, June 6 - 8 pm vs Eastern Townships vs Cornwall Fri, May 25 - 8 pm vs Gloucester

Wed, June 6 - 8 pm vs Kahnawake

Tue, June 12 - 8 pm vs Kahnawake

Sun, May 27 - 2 pm vs Green Gaels

Sat, June 9 - 7 pm vs Oakville

Sat, June 16 - 8 pm vs Halton Hills

Thu, May 31 - 8 pm vs Akwesasne

Sun, June 10 - 2 pm vs Orillia

Mon, June 18 - 8 pm vs Gloucester





Mailing address 345 Meadowbreeze Dr. Kanata, Ont. K2M 0K3 Website SportsOttawa.com Contacts For News/Editorial: Charlie Pinkerton Editor 613-929-3681 editor@sportsottawa.com For Advertising/CAMPS Project Partnerships: Dan Plouffe Executive Director 613-261-5838 execdir@sportsottawa.com The Ottawa Sportspage is a not-for-profit publication devoted to shining a spotlight on local amateur sport. Under the direction of the Ottawa Community Sport Media Team, our group also runs the CAMPS Project alongside the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s recLINK program. The Connecting Athletes of All Means to Paths in Sport Project links OCH children & youth to free opportunities with our partner sports groups, which receive heavily discounted advertising in exchange for offering the positions in their programs at no cost to our participants. CAMPS PROJECT PARTNERS Beaver Boxing Club Bytown Storm Triathlon Club Capital City Dance Capital Wave Water Polo Club Carleton Jr. Ravens Cumberland United Soccer Club ÉSP/Dome Louis-Riel FC Capital United Soccer Club Geng Table Tennis Academy Gloucester Griffins Lacrosse Kanata GymnoSphere Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club KV Dance Studio Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club Nepean Nighthawks Field Hockey Olympia Gymnastics Ottawa Gymnastics Centre Ottawa Lions Track & Field Club Ottawa National Diving Club Ottawa Rowing Club Ottawa South United Soccer Club Ottawa Table Tennis Club RA Centre Resolute Gymnastics Centre Rideau Canoe Club Royal City Soccer Club St. Anthony’s Futuro Soccer Club Tennis For Life Ottawa TMSI Sports Management Inc. Tumblers Gymnastics Centre YMCA-YWCA


Athlete of the Month: James Doucette

About: James Doucette completed an unusual double at the May 11-13 Eastern Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Oshawa. Last year, Doucette was an Eastern Canadian champion in synchronized trampoline. This year, the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre athlete was champion again, but this time in the men’s artistic gymnastics competition. Competing in the Level 4, Age 13+ category, Doucette won the Team Members: Ahmed Abdelaziz, Sebastien Beauchesne, Francis Bessette, Kylar Code, William Des- all-around gold medal. Outscoring the entire field by a wide gap, Doucette’s dominant pommel horse champs, Dillan DiTomaso, Olivier Ducharme, Jacob Ferland, Tristan Godmaire, Maxime Gratton. routine was the big key to his victory in the overall About: The 16U Maverick Longhorns won the division 1, tier 1 championship at the Ontario Volleyball standings, along with 2nd and 3rd-place perforChampionships in April. Including provincials, the team won four of the five OVA age division events mances in the floor and high bars events. Alongside they competed in. As well, they posted a season record at their age group of 27-4. The team will be a OGC clubmate Max Parker, Doucette also spurred Number 2 seed at the 2018 Volleyball Canada Nationals, which starts May 16. Ontario to the top in the team competition. E-mail editor@sportsottawa.com 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.

Team of the Month: Maverick Volleyball Club 16U Boys Longhorns

New Canadian captures country’s cadet wrestling crown By Brandi Awad When Ismail Ayyoub moved from Kuwait to Ottawa with his family in February 2013, he had no idea what his future would hold. At 10 years old he left behind friends, family, and two sports that he adored: soccer and water polo. Like many families who immigrate to Canada, Ayyoub says that his hoped to find a better life in their new country. For Ayyoub, the move meant learning a new language, making new friends, and living in a completely different environment. Fast forward five years: Ayyoub has found his home on the mat, becoming both an OFSAA and national champion in wrestling. His infatuation with the sport began just one year ago when he was inspired by his older brother Ibrahim. When their family moved to Ottawa, Ibrahim became the first Ayyoub to take up wrestling as a member of the National Capital Wrestling Club. He saw success as a wrestler, placing 3rd in his 2017 OFSAA campaign, but as his younger brother pointed out, that’s often all he would see. “I remember when he was wrestling, he would always come back from tournaments and he would never get a gold medal; he would always get a silver or a bronze. When OFSAA time came, he went there and got 3rd and I was really upset because I love my brother and I wanted to see him win 1st,” he explained. “I

Ismail Ayyoub takes an opponent down at the 2018 OFSAA Wrestling Championships.

photo provided

just didn’t want to see that happen anymore, so I told him, ‘I’m going to work my ass off every single day so I can get you that medal that you deserve.’ From that point on, the younger Ayyoub says he dedicated himself to his wrestling club and his high school team at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School. By March, Ayyoub achieved his goal of bringing his brother a gold medal by winning 1st place at the OFSAA wrestling championships, dominating the boys 83 kilogram category. “When I gave it to my brother, he was crying, I was crying… It was the

best feeling in the world, it was the feeling of winning a million dollars,” Ayyoub said. “You work so hard all year, you sacrifice a lot of things to go to practice… and in the end, you have to make sure it pays off and I’m glad that paid off for me this year.” Following his OFSAA win, Ayyoub was invited to the 2018 Junior Canadian Wrestling Championships in Edmonton, held April 13-15. But, as a recent immigrant, Ayyoub lacked the financial support needed to back the $1000 price tag attached to the tournament. Ayyoub decided to set up a Make A Champ (a sports crowdfunding site) page seeking donations to fund

his trip. “All I asked for was $800,” he said. “I thought the maximum I would get would be maybe $400.” After passing it along to friends and family and sharing it on social media, Ayyoub surpassed his goal, raising a total of $1,300. Among the donors was 2016 Olympic Wrestling Champion, Ottawa’s own Erica Wiebe, who pledged $150 towards Ayyoub’s trip, writing, “Best of luck Ismail!! This is just one small step in your long journey in this amazing sport!” “I had posted it in the morning and by the end of the day it was full. It was like wow, people really support me, and they really believe in me. I was really surprised,” Ayyoub explained. Heading into nationals, he says the support he received from others only motivated him further. There, Ayyoub became a national champion, winning the cadet (Under 17) men’s 80 kg category in freestyle, blanking his opponent 11-0 in the tournament final. He also won gold in the cadet men’s greco 80 kg category. Now Ayyoub’s got international aspirations. “I want to try out for the [national] team next year and represent my country,” he said. “This is just the beginning.” He continued: “I thank my parents every single day for making that move… I wouldn’t have been wrestling if I stayed in Kuwait.”


About the The Connecting Athletes of All Means to Paths in Sport Project is an initiative that provides free sports opportunities to youth living in Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhoods. Featured within this unique guide are the sports organizations that offer the free summer camps or seasonal programs positions in exchange for advertising in the Ottawa Sportspage and on OttawaSportsCAMPS.ca. The CAMPS Project is run in collaboration with the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s recLINK program, which employs sport and recreation as a tool to of-

The CAMPS Project vision

fer at-risk children and youth a brighter future. Worthy participants are identified by recLINK’s family coordinators, who work in OCH communities to actively

Ottawa Community Sport Media Team

engage children and youth. They work to overcome barriers to sports participation such as finances, language, knowledge of sports systems and supporting organizations,

The CAMPS Project functions under the guidance of the incorporated not-for-profit Ottawa Community Sport Media Team, which also operates the Ottawa Sportspage. Our goal is to help build community sport. Housing neighbourhoods, and sparked interest in hunIn 2017 alone, the CAMPS Project offered over 175 dreds more thanks to a series of introductory clinics. We look forward to further growth in 2018 and beyond positions in sports camps/programs (worth roughly $50,000) for free to youth from Ottawa Community working hand-in-hand with the local sports community.

Sports offer not only health benefits from physical activity, but also help teach resiliency, discipline, confidence and self-esteem, and create a sense of belonging. Our program connects children and youth to free sports opportunities with our partner organizations, primarily community sport clubs, who are leaders in athlete and character development, and community building. This setting engages the youth in positive activities, exposes them to role models, and aids in integration to Canadian society for new Canadians. It combats isolation within their own community and allows them to discover available opportunities. For talented athletes, the program can open the door to university athletic scholarship opportunities and sports careers, and for all, it teaches an active lifestyle and fosters an interest to be part of next generation of sport volunteers, coaches and mentors in our community. The program links cross-sections of our community that otherwise may not interact frequently, allows participants from diverse backgrounds learn from one another, and helps build stronger communities.

parental capacity, transportation and social isolation. The CAMPS Project would not be possible without the efforts of many, including Canadian Tire Jumpstart and our partner clubs in particular. The organizations featured in this guide not only provide exceptional sports experiences, developmental opportunities and loads of fun, they are also committed to giving back to their communities. Each of these CAMPS Project partners have offered free program positions to OCH children or youth. We thank them for their collaboration and encourage you to support these groups in turn!

recLINK & the OCH Foundation

OCH Foundation, goes beyond the bricks and mortar in order to help each of its 32,000 tenants achieve personal success through education, employment, and community engagement. Amongst the OCH Foundation’s initiatives is recLINK. recLINK helps

children and youth (ages 6 to 18) participate in sport and recreation by helping them identify and overcome complex and intersecting barriers.

RIDEAU SPORTS CENTRE RideauSportsCentre.com CAMP DATES: June 25-Aug. 31 AGES: 5-14 COST: $175-$265 Location: 1 Donald Street, on the Rideau River

All kinds of new sports at the Gem on the Rideau in Central Ottawa There is a long sporting history of 100+ years at 1 Donald Street (formerly the Rideau Tennis Club), but this summer will mark the first time ever that a full slate of summer camps across many sports will take place at the new Rideau Sports Centre. “We’re really excited to show off all the great things that will make summer camp special at RSC,” highlights Nicki Bridgland, who purchased the former Rideau Tennis Club last year and has already invested $3 million into upgrades. The facility now features a new multi-sport dome, which paved the way for dedicated volleyball, basketball and soccer camps this summer. Tennis remains central at RSC, while the multi-sport camp mixes everything together. All campers also get the chance to swim at the large onsite outdoor pool. Though it’s the first time for summer camps, it’s not a rookie undertaking by any means for RSC. Bridgland hired a director with deep roots in delivering camp programming locally, who was able to bring along many seasoned counsellors. “Their enthusiasm level and their experience working with children is phenomenal,” Bridgland signals. “I feel so proud of the team we’ve built.” At the end of the recent March Break camps, parents received feedback forms and were asked to give a rating out of 5. RSC scored an average of 5. “I know we did it right and we’re just building on that foundation,” adds Bridgland, also the founder of the Ottawa Sport and Social Club.

Home to after-school sports programs as well, RSC strives to be as accommodating as possible to parents’ needs. Included with summer camp registration is childcare from as early as 7:30 a.m. and as late as 5:30 p.m. (formal programming runs from 9-4). There are multi-week and sibling discounts, and a lunch plan for the week is available from The ClubHouse Restaurant onsite.

‘STUNNING’ 4 ACRES IN THE HEART OF THE CITY The ClubHouse Restaurant is one of the newest additions to the 4-acre property along the Rideau River. “It’s absolutely stunning and beautiful here,” underlines Bridgland, who is pleased to have advanced the Rideau from the private members club model. “It’s really great to open it up to the public and introduce more diverse sports so that we can all enjoy this wonderful space together.” RSC is also enthusiastic to give back to the community through initiatives like the CAMPS Project. “It’s nice to be able to open the doors to all socioeconomic backgrounds, and make sure we’re supporting them,” Bridgland indicates. “It’s been wonderful to witness the Rideau’s storied past blend with the future. “We’ve got a fantastic community property here and we’re looking forward to having more new people join us and experience everything that makes this place special.”

OTTAWA SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS GUIDE OTTAWA NATIONAL DIVING CLUB CAMP DATES: Weekly from July 23 through August 10 AGES: All Ages Welcome COST: $250/week ($200/4-day week) LOCATION: Nepean Sportsplex WEB SITE:





July 3-6 & July 23-27, July 16-20 (competitive players only) at Algonquin College.


Ottawa City Soccer Camps

are modeled based on our Club’s values:

Ottawa City Soccer Club camps are run by our Club Technical staff & University coaches. Our Camp Director is Craig Fannan, who brings years of experience & expertise with Global Premier Soccer.

Respect. Pride. Passion.

August 13-17, August 20-24 & August Aug. 13-17, Aug. 20-24 & Aug. 27-31 27-31 at Trend Arlington Field. at Trend Arlington Field. 9 a.m.-4 (early drop-off/late 9 a.m.-4 p.m.p.m. (early drop-off/late pickup service is available forfor a $50 pick-up service available $50fee) fee)

AGES: 5-14 COST:

$200/week at Algonquin College ($160 – 4-day week, $135 half days) 1 1 $165/wk at at Trend Arlington ($115($115 /2 days) /2’s) $165/week Trend Arlington

Players can expect to work on technical fundamentals, play games, try new things, and in general have a great time!

WEB SITE: OttawaCitySoccer.com




COST: $265/week & tax (4-day weeks: $212) Golf, Archery, Soccer, Basketball, Water (Lunch and Pre/Post Care Included) LOCATION: Thunderbird: 1927 Richardson Side Rd. Amberwood: 54 Springbrook Dr. WEB SITES:

ThunderbirdSportsCentre.com Amberwood.ca

Games & Much More FUN!


Lunch & Pre/Post Camp Care Included at Both Sites!



Swimming, Tennis, Archery, Basketball & Much More FUN!

amberwood.ca Register through our websites, or call us at




The Ottawa Lions T&F Club’s SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM provides an introduction to track and field, and develops all-round athleticism & fitness through speed, strength, endurance & agility training. Find out more at:

AGES: 6-11


CAMP DATES: Weekly from July 10 through August 24 COST: $250/week, $450/2 weeks LOCATION: Terry Fox Athletic Facility PHONE: 631-247-4866 E-MAIL: info@ottawalions.com

RA CENTRE CAMP DATES: All Summer, June 25-August 31 AGES: 4-17 COST: Varies by camp type. LOCATION: RA Centre 2451 Riverside Dr. WEB SITE:


OTTAWA ROWING CLUB CAMP DATES: Weekly from July 2 through August 24 AGES: 12-17 COST: $261/week LOCATION: 10 Lady Grey Drive on the Ottawa River WEB SITE:


OTTAWA SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS GUIDE TENNIS FOR LIFE OTTAWA | 613-203-8818 | TennisForLifeOttawa.com CAMP DATES: July 3-Aug. 31 COST: $259/week

AGES: 6-14

Discover the joys of tennis this summer! Fitness | Confidence | Lifelong Friendships | Community | FUN


Tennis Camps Private and Group Lessons Junior Tennis Tournament After-School (May/June) Stroke of the Week Clinics Doubles Tactics Clinics Cardio Tennis


Britannia Yacht & Tennis Club Amberwood Golf & Country Club Valley Stream Tennis Club Craig Henry Tennis Club Long Park Tennis Club Rideau Sports Centre City View Tennis Club

Much more than a tennis camp What do basketballs, soccer nets, rope ladders and paintbrushes have in common? If you answered “tennis camp”... then you must have cheated and read the headline to this article. Either that, or you’ve been to a camp operated by Tennis For Life Ottawa. “It’s a tennis camp, but there’s a lot more to it,” signals founder Nick Patterson, who is well-recognized for his enthusiasm that spreads like wildfire – particularly with young players. “Yes, of course they’re hitting balls quite a bit,” he explains, “But we also get them moving in all four directions. Lateral movement is huge in tennis, up and back too. “We’re big on skipping, and ladder work. We’ll have all kinds of cones on the court, in a triangle – all kinds of footwork drills. And we’ll do relay races, which the kids absolutely love.” There is plenty of time of time on the tennis court each day, but many other engaging sports as well, such as soccer net, basketball, swimming, pickleball or the always-popular tennis-baseball. “If you’re training for tennis the way I do it, you get quicker feet for other sports too,” notes Patterson, highlighting volleyball, basketball and football as examples. “Those same skillsets are very applicable.” Tennis For Life camps also include unique activities like painting tennis photos with the help of a local painter. “It’s really fun,” underlines Patterson, an instructor of 35+ years locally who also offers lessons in a variety of formats at many clubs across the city outside of the camps. “The kids are always excited and they always have lots of energy. You can tell when they’re signing up for the next camp or the next season that you’re doing something right and that they’re having a good time.”

HIGHLY-QUALIFIED TENNIS INSTRUCTION Tennis camp of course does include a lot of tennis too. Under the watch of quality instructors certified by Tennis


AGES: COST: LOCATION: 3-12 $275/week 330 Vantage Dr. Half Day: $35.50/day in Orleans




summer camps have been in operation. It’s a bright atmosphere where campers can make new friends and progress their gymnastics skills on a daily basis. Crafts and outdoor play time are also part of the equation, not to mention the guest speakers and special events, which all take place on-site at the large Tumblers facility in Orleans. The week always ends with Friday pizza day, which the campers will have earned after exercising all week.


The camps run for 10 weeks total. Half days are available for the youngest campers CARNIVAL, WORLD TOUR & MORE! aged 3-5, while single-day rates are possible For MAD SCIENTISTS week, participants for parents who may need child care on a parwill explore the wonders of gravity, balance, ticular day. and science through gymnastics, while mak“For us, it’s really about being there for the ing their own lava lamps and slime. Other community and meeting their needs,” indicexamples of themes are WILD WILD WEST, ates the director of the not-for-profit club that BEACH BASH and CIRQUE DU TUMBLERS. has served the community for 25+ years. Appropriate for beginners and seasoned Pre- and post-camp care is included with gymnasts alike, children enjoy seeing the fa- registration, with drop-off as early as 7:30 a.m. miliar faces of experienced Tumblers camp and pick-up as late as 5:30 p.m. for the 9 a.m. staff, who have all been trained by High Five to 4 p.m. scheduled activities. – a leading organization in ensuring quality Oftentimes, convincing the campers that standards for children’s recreation and sport. it’s time to go home can prove challenging. “Our staff are really part of our family,” un“If the parents come early, it’s like, ‘Aww, derlines Groleau, noting many staff have been c’mon, it’s not finished yet!’” Groleau smiles. present for the bulk of the 10+ years Tumblers “They love it. They’re never ready to leave.”


Astronauts, cowboys, princesses and pirates – “Holy Hawaiian Luau, Batman! I thought this was Gymnastics Camp!?!” If you thought gymnastics camp was only about practicing somersaults and walking on the balance beam, then you sure haven’t seen Tumblers Gymnastics Centre summer camps. “Every week has a theme,” explains Tumblers Gymnastics Centre General Manager Christine Groleau. “I remember all the kids coming in disguised as superheroes and just being so excited to fly through the air and act like them during their superhero training. It’s really something special to see.”

Canada, participants work on their skills throughout the week, building towards a Friday tournament finale. The players receive a report card at the end of the week, graded on items such as racquet contact point, serve, the 6 core strokes (forehand and backhand groundstrokes, forehand and backhand volleys, lob and drop shots) and court movement. There are also teacher comments so players know what they can continue to work on in the future. “The parents often really like getting the feedback in particular,” Patterson indicates. “It’s fun first and foremost, but they also want to see that they’re learning the sport.” Many of the campers’ parents are tennis players themselves and want their children to experience the sport’s great attributes that they enjoy. That includes the social camaraderie ingrained in tennis, and the sport’s affordability – with many public courts and low-cost club memberships available citywide. Running at many west-end sites, the Tennis For Life camps feature a half-day option popular for parents who would like to have the morning or afternoon with their kids – that time sometimes spent rallying themselves. “It’s a really unique sport with the family aspect,” highlights Patterson, who has many lifelong friends from tennis. “There aren’t too many sports where you can all play together. The age disparity doesn’t matter in tennis. It’s really a sport for life.”


AGES: 5-13

COST: $169/week

LOCATIONS: Sawmill Creek, Pinecrest Park, Brewer Park, A.Y. Jackson SS, Portobello Park, Jockvale Elementary

Royal City soccer camp teaches life skills on top of soccer The benefits of soccer camp for kids might seem obvious – healthy, physical activity. But at the Royal City Soccer Club, soccer camp is so much more. Boys and girls will learn life skills at soccer camp which extend far beyond the one or two weeks of their camp session. Kids will learn leadership and team building skills while gaining self-confidence that doesn’t come easily in some environments. You don’t have to be a great soccer player. In fact, you don’t need any soccer experience at all to attend our soccer camp. Whether your son or daughter wants to improve his/ her skills or simply want to try soccer in a non-competitive, fun environment, our summer day camp is the right choice for you. While, yes, soccer is the focus for most soccer camps…it is hardly the most important thing that is taught. The most important things taught at a soccer camp are personal development and life skills all while having the fun. After all, if your child is not having fun doing it…what is the point? The Royal City Soccer Club hosted a meet and greet community event with Canada’s Olympic team captain, Christine Sinclair. Sinclair was able to share her upbringing in soccer and inspire kids to pursue their dream in soccer and sport. Sinclair knows that the

development of soccer and sport in our youth starts at the grassroots level.

OVER 25 YEARS IN CANADA! The Royal City Soccer Club is excited to host our 26th year of offering summer soccer camps. Having hosted over 100,000 campers in over 100 locations nationwide, our grassroots soccer camps are the most popular in Canada. Our program is designed to promote personal development, team building and of course, FUN! Our camp program is uniquely designed to offer a soccer focus in the morning and a leisure swim with other camp activities in the afternoons. We encourage all boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 13 to register for full day, morning and afternoon sessions. Each camper receives a camp soccer ball, tshirt, excellent camp ratios and much more. We also offer early drop off and late pickup times fully supervised at no extra charge. Our camps operate during the months of July and August. We have several camps in the Ottawa region including ones in Kanata, Nepean & Orleans. Call us for more information at 1-800-4270536 or register online by visiting our website at www.royalsoccer.com.

YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region | ymcaywca.ca Camp Dates: July 3-Aug. 31 Ages: 4Y-16Y Cost: Varies by Camp type Y Outdoor Day Camp Location: Camp Otonabee – Dunrobin Y Neighbourhood Day Camps Locations: Carlingwood Y, Clarence-Rockland Y, Ruddy Family Y, Taggart Family Y

Bold adventures. Confidence. Lasting friendships. It starts here, at Y Camps. Register online today! ymcaywca.ca



AGES: 7-12 COST: $310/week LOCATION: 804 Hog’s Back Rd. on the Rideau River WEB SITE:


Fun-Filled Canoe Kids Summer Camps Competitive Summer Programs Introductory Programs for All Ages Canoe | Kayak | Dragonboat | SUP

“RCC is m daughter’s y happy place. She always enjoys spe n there and re ding time a her coache lly enjoys s’ and team mates’ com pany!” –Bantam P rogram Parent

613-225-5546 • RIDEAUCANOECLUB.CA OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED SOCCER CLUB CAMP DATES: Weekly from July 3 through August 17 AGES: 5-14 COST: Varies by camp type (see osu.ca) LOCATION:

Barrhaven/Riverside South/Manotick




Gymnastics Trampoline Tumbling

CAMP DATES: Weekly July 3 through August 3 and August 13 through 24 AGES: 4-12 COST: $270/week ($150 half days)

Summer Camp!

LOCATION: 44 Iber Rd. Between Kanata & Stittsville WEB SITE:


613-836-9149 olympiagymnastics.ca

Swimming at GRC Outdoor play at Fringewood Park Trips to: Karters’ Korners, Saunders Farms & Valleyview Little Animal Farm



CAMP DATES: Weekly from July 3 through August 24


AGES: 6-12

COST: LOCATION: $195/week 1659 Bearbrook Rd. Half Day: $165/wk


RECREATIONAL CAMP DATES: COMPETITIVE PROGRAM CAMP DATES: July 3-6 & July 9-13 Weekly from July 16 through Aug. 31 COST: $260/$320 AGES: 4-12 LOCATION: Roch Carrier Elementary 1 /2 Day: $160/$130 WEB SITE:



HAVE A BALL! with the

Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club DATES DES CAMPS

JUILLET : 3–6*• 9–13 • 16–20 • 23–27 • 30 juillet–3 août AOÛT : 7–10* • 13–17 • 20–24



JULY: 3–6*• 9–13 • 16–20 • 23–27 • July 30–August 3 AUGUST: 7–10* • 13–17 • 20–24 *4 day week

*semaine de 4 jours

OPEN HOUSE Sat. June 23 Le Dôme à Louis-Riel est l’endroit idéal pour s’amuser tout l’été! Loin du bruit et de la circulation. Notre camp multisports offre un millieu divertissant où les enfants peuvent jouer et apprendre en toute sécurité.

ENSEIGNEMENT DE QUALITÉ DANS PLUSIEURS SPORTS Soccer, Badminton, 2 sorties à la piscine/baignade, Volleyball, Basketball, Touche Football, Athlétisme et autres sports



195 $ - 9 h - 16 h 165 $ - 9 h - 12 h ou 13 h - 16 h 165 $ - semaine de 4 jours 140 $ - 4 demi-journées

50 $ semaine de 5 jours 45 $ semaine de 4 jours

The Dôme at Louis-Riel is the ideal place to experience and enjoy a multitude of sports year-round! Our qualified instructors will teach and develop new sports skills in a fun, safe and entertaining manner.


Soccer, Badminton, 2 swim sessions, Volleyball, Basketball, Touch Football, Track & Field and many other sports


$195 - 9 AM - 4 PM $165 - 4 day camps $165 - 9 AM - 12 PM or 1 PM - 4 PM $140 - 4 half days

CHILD CARE SERVICE: $50 - 5 day week $40 - 4 day week

INSCRIPTIONS EN COURS | ONGOING REGISTRATION 1659 Chemin Bearbrook, Ottawa ON K1B 4N3 | 613-830-1993, poste 222 (Lotfi) ou poste 221 (Myrna) I dome@cepeo.on.ca


Safe, Reliable and Friendly Transportation for Children

Performances Information Registration for 2018-19 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bridlewood Elementary 63 Bluegrass Dr.


Advanced Program Auditions – June 16


Recreational Summer Camp Registration Open



About actKIDvity transportation services | actKIDvity.com Transportation provider actKIDvity shuttles CAMPS Project participants to and from their sports activities. actKIDvity CAO (Chief actKIDvity Officer) Abdul Sadiku has gone above-and-beyond not only to get our kids from Ottawa Community Housing to their programs, but he also

does everything possible for them to have great experiences. actKIDvity offers safe, reliable and friendly transportation for children. Before- and after-school transport and 12-seat charter rentals (perfect for smaller sports teams) are offered at affordable rates.

To all our 2018 CAMPS Project partners:


Become a CAMPS Project partner today! 613-261-5838 • execdir@sportsottawa.com


The following organizations have generously provided free spaces in their programs for youth from Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhoods. See OttawaSportsCAMPS.ca for more detailed information on each of them. BEAVER BOXING CLUB



































































OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE SNAPSHOTS FIVE FROM RCC TO PADDLE FOR CANADA AT WORLD CUPS Canoe Kayak Canada announced that five Rideau Canoe Club athletes will be in boats to represent the nation at the 2018 Canoe Sprint World Cups at the end of May. Ottawa’s Drew Hodges will be in the senior men’s canoe, Stephen Frodsham will race in the Under-23 men’s canoe, Rowan’s Hardy-Kavanagh will be in the U23 women’s canoe and Madeleine Schmidt will race in the U23 women’s kayak. Rideau Canoe Club’s Natalie Davison, of Manotick, will race in the senior division of the women’s kayak. The World Cups will be held in Szeged, Hungary and Duisburg, Germany over the month’s last two weekends. About two months ago, the Rideau Canoe Club announced it would be a new home to Canada’s national men’s canoe sprint team.


A couple of Ottawa muggles will represent Canada at this year’s 2018 IQA Quidditch World Cup. Ottawa natives Alex Naftel (pictured) of Carleton University’s Quidditch team, and Katie Brown, who plays for Valhalla Quidditch in Toronto, will play from the national team at the tournament in June to July in Florence Italy. The University of Ottawa’s Karen Douglas, originally from Brazil, and Raphael Roy-Laurore, from Montreal, will also be part of the 42-person Team Canada squad.


The Recreation Association announced that the Rideau Tennis Club’s Junior Development Fund would be diverted to the National Capital Tennis Association. National Capital Tennis will benefit from more than $18,000 in funding as well as some tennis equipment. The Rideau Tennis Club was sold in August 2017 and has since been redesigned and reopened as the Rideau Sports Centre.

WELDON DEBUTS IN 5TH IN OPENING PARALYMPIC TRIAL The Ottawa-adopted Robbi Weldon placed 5th in the tandem individual time trial at the first round of the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Ostend, Belgium, held May 3-6. It was the first event for the 43-year-old four-time Paralympian that counts towards qualifying the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Weldon moved to Ottawa from Thunder Bay with her family ahead of the 2016 Paralympics.

ONDC ATHLETES MAKE A SPLASH A CUBA INVITATIONAL Ottawa National Diving Club athletes returned from Matanzas, Cuba with enough medals to fill a small pool following the Copa Yumuri Invitational in April. Kathryn Grant (pictured) and Talia Wootton swept the top spots of the U15 category, with Grant winning three golds and Wootton winning three silvers. Audree Howes won a silver in the tower in U13. Catherine Boyer won a bronze on the tower and beat the reigning Pan-American champion to capture and gold medal on the 3m in U13. Ottawa’s Henry McKay made a splash of his own at April’s Dresden International diving competition, claiming gold with his partner Victor Povzner of Maple, Ont., thanks to a risky dive in their final attempt in the 3m synchro. McKay also placed 5th in the 3m of the 16-18 age group.


The Ontario Jr B Lacrosse League has begun, and Ottawa teams are off to opposite starts. The Nepean Knights bolster a winning record five games in at 3-2, while the Gloucester Griffins have failed to record a victory, registering an 0-5 start to the season. It’s a much better start to the 2018 campaign for the Knights than last season when they opened the year with 11 consecutive losses.

16U CAPITAL WAVE GIRLS TAKE SILVER AT EASTERNS The 16U Capital Wave girls fell just short of a gold medal at Water Polo Canada’s Eastern Con-ference Championships in early May. The Wave lost 5-4 in the tournament’s finals to CAMO. Regardless of the loss, Capital Wave’s season continues at the National Finals, where they’ll first take the pool on May 25. Meanwhile, Ottawa Titans 16U boys ended their season with a one-goal loss, falling just short of a bronze medal and finishing 4th. After losing to the Montreal Machine 10-7 in the semifi-nals, the Titans came up short against Dollard Black in the battle for third place, losing 12-11.

– ELITE – Level 8 GymnoSphere duo crush comp By Dan Plouffe Kanata GymnoSphere teammates Grace Kelly and Madison Capretta were part of a dominant showing for Team Ontario’s women at the Eastern Canadian Gymnastics Championships, held May 11-13 in Oshawa. Ontario swept all age categories of the women’s Level 8 competition. With an uneven bars gold medal and floor silver, Kelly was 3rd all-around in the Novice division, while Capretta was 2nd in Open, also winning bars. “I was really happy competing as a team, for Ontario,” underlines 15-year-old Capretta, who followed in her sister’s footsteps as Eastern Canadian champ,

Grace Kelly

photo provided

Mackenzie Capretta having won a pair of medals and a team title for Ontario last year. “(Mackenzie) was kind of mad because she wanted to go there,” notes Capretta, whose sister was sidelined this season with a back injury. “But she is still happy for me.” Kelly’s end-of-season success came after plenty of early strug-

gles. The 14-year-old jumped up 2 levels from last year when she was a provincial medallist in L6. “It was hard to have those consistent routines because the skills were much harder,” Kelly indicates. “Before, I was really nervous, but come the championships, I had the confidence knowing I could do my skills. I was like, ‘Alright, I made it here, and I know I can do this.’” On the men’s side, Christopher Farley was Ottawa’s top performer at Easterns. Along with pommel horse bronze, the Tumblers Gymnastics Centre Level 5 athlete was a team champion as well.

EASTERNS continues p.14

Kanata GymnoSphere program doubles in participation & provincial prizes

Last year was an impressive premiere for Kanata GymnoSphere, but year 2 under competitive coaches Fiodor Martea and Lauren Mooney was twice as nice. The competitive ranks at GymnoSphere more than doubled in size (to roughly 75 athletes) this year, as did the number of qualifiers (13) for the Level 6-10 Ontario Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Championships. “I’m really, really pleased with the evolution of the competitive program here,” signals Mooney, the Competitive Program Manager. “I think we offer a very good program, definitely striving towards being the best in Ottawa – not just in terms of results, but everything we do and what we’re all about, our whole philosophy.” Kanata GymnoSphere’s entire Level 6-10 team (featured below) hit their marks to qualify for provincials. That’s no small feat, Mooney highlights, given the commitment required from all involved to make the success possible. “It’s a lot of work,” underlines the coach of 20+ years. “To me, they’re all little champions.” EMMA IRELAND - Level 6, Age 9 What was it like going to your first provincials compared to other competitions? “It was way different. There were 2 gyms. I felt nervous, and really excited, but I just told myself to think of it like I was in training.” B Floor MILA DWIVEDI - L6, A10 What do you enjoy most about gymnastics? “It’s really fun – especially tumbling. And going to provincials was really fun too. It was a lot bigger.” TEHYA HOPKINS - L6, A11 How do you like having many teammates to train with? “It’s really great. We all get along really well. We cheer each other on and help each other out. And we comfort and support each other.” ANGELINA POLEGATO - L7, A9-10 What makes it worthwhile for you to come in from Morrisburg? “It’s really fun, and I have really good coaches. We get to do a lot of really fun stuff and there is a lot of equipment you can just play on.” ABBY MARTIN - L6, A12 What do you think of your club? “I love it here. It’s a really good gym. They care about you. And if you work hard, they’ll really help you get better. It’s great to have people who you know will be there for you.” FREYA COPE - L7, A11 What are your favourite memories with your teammate Monica? “One time, she was 1st and I was 2nd, so we held hands when we went to present. And the other time, I was 1st and she was 2nd. During every routine, I yell ‘C’mon Monica!’ really B Floor loud. And she does the same to me. B Bars She always supports me. I love her.” GRACE KELLY - L8, A14 What was it like moving up 2 levels from last year? “It was a big jump. My first few competitions were not my best, but I think I did a good job making up for that at provincials. I hit all B All-Around my skills in my routines, so I was really happy.” S Bars

SAMANTHA STAFFORD - L6, A10 What was your reaction to becoming provincial champion? “I thought I was going to get maybe 5th, but I ended up on the podium, so I was very surprised, but I had hit all the skills in my G All-Around routine, so I was expecting a good result. I’m really happy for everyG Bars one on my team. They all did a S Vault great job.” VICTORIA BEAUDIN - L6, A11 Why is your team so successful? “It’s because of our coaches. They’re so good. They make sure we do proper techniques, not sloppy. And they’re really nice. They help you learn new skills, and if you have any little setbacks, they’ll help you get through it.” SANDRINE DWIVEDI - L6, A12 Is it helpful to have other gymnasts here at a similar level to you? “Yes, we always encourage each other to try new things. We’re really good friends, and we understand each other. They actually know what you’re going through. We G Bars train hard every practice, but I think it’s worth it.” CASSIDY VRHOVNIK - L6, A12 Why did you decide to pursue gymnastics at a high level? “It’s different. A lot of people do hockey or something like that. I started gymnastics when I was really young and I wanted to keep on going into competitive. I find it’s a really exciting sport and a lot of fun.” MONICA BORRELLO - L7, A11 How much time do you and Freya spend together? “We train together almost every day at the gym. And for provincials, we drove 9 hours together. We have sleepovers and we have a lot of funny moments together.” B Vault MADISON CAPRETTA - L8, A15 What do you think of taking part in Easterns with Team Ontario? “It’s a little bigger, and you’re competing as a team as well as competing by yourself. It’s exciting to have Grace with me too, to be able to see her and cheer each G All-Around other on.” S Bars




OSU Force Academy Zone

OSU League1 men set to impress in Year 2

With a 3-0 road win and a scoreless draw against last year’s Cup champions, the OSU Force have begun their sophomore season in League1 Ontario on the right foot. This year’s squad is built in large part out of the 2000 age group that won numerous titles in their years at youth levels, and graduated several players into MLS academies (some of whom are now back and figure prominently in this League1 team). “I think we’ll learn something every consecutive year,” OSU Technical Director Paul Harris said in previewing the season. “Some matches, the bounce of the ball didn’t go our way and we may have been lacking some of the soccer savvy in that first season. “We’ve also got around 11 eleven provincial level teams between our OYSL, OPDL and League1, so it’s a balancing act that we’re always working at. “The head coach Peter Mapendere had two 2000 groups in OYSL last year, and we took the best pieces to make this squad. They have been training all winter and this should help them greatly. “So Peter has come in, he has a UEFA B and has worked with this 2000 group for some time. As much as we are promoting the group into League1, we are also in a sense promoting the coach. “We have also brought in a previous Fury tech staff Jay Bhindi on as part of the coaching staff. I’ll also be around this program, offering some mentorship in this senior environment.”

OSU LINEUP BOASTS ASPIRING PRO TALENTS On-field, OSU receives veteran leadership from Dario Conte, who’s been joined by a number of talented newcomers to the League1 scene. “Centre-back Tony Mikhael, he has been with the club since 14 years of age,” Harris outlined. “His 2000 group were one of the most successful groups in Ontario throughout youth levels, winning the Ontario Cup, and Tony’s been part of the provincial teams. He’ll be important to us. He’s a strong defender and likes to play out from the back. “Sopious Quasos is a player that was with Aspire and came over to the Fury and has been with us since the beginning of the winter. He’s a left-footed winger, midfield player, very nice on the ball and a little bit older as well. I think he has good quality and will help us in games. “David Chung has been with the club since ten years of age. He was part of the CSA camp at U15 and went to Vancouver Whitecaps. It just hasn’t quite worked out for him in the pro environment yet, but we feel that it will work out well for him in League1 and he would be a good CPL target for the future. “We’ll add Ryan Massoud. Again, has been with the club since 10/11 and again a member of the 2000 team that won the provincial titles. He’s also been at the Vancouver Whitecaps and has real electric pace. He just needs to turn his good work into goals more regularly but I think he’ll be a real threat this season.” The team’s overall objectives “are always to promote youth above all aspects, and be as competitive as possible,” Harris concluded. “We want to use the League1 team as a stepping stone to CPL or even higher level. “Many of these players have had experience in MLS academies and although it hasn’t worked out to get to the first team, League1 can help them be showcased and scouted and moved through to pro channels.”

OSU Force 2018 League1 Home Games at Quinn’s Point Field – 3:30 p.m. Kickoff Sat May 19 Sat July 14 Sat July 21 vs Sigma FC vs Unionville vs Toronto Milliken S.C. Skillz FC

Sat July 28 vs Master’s Futbol


Sat Aug. 25 vs Alliance United FC

– JUNIOR LEAGUES – Nil-nil: Local soccer orgs start season slate By Charlie Pinkerton It’s soccer season. The Ontario Player Development League and League1 have kicked off, some community clubs are testing professional partnerships, Ottawa academies are looking to gain steam as new entrants to the Ontario Soccer Association’s academy league, and a youth festival-circuit has emerged as the solution to what was a shaky last summer for the sport. Here’s more on what’s in store in the city this season.

OPDL There are eight OPDL divisions: Under-13, U14, U15 and U17 for both boys and girls. The U13 leagues do not keep scores or standings as part of Ontario Soccer’s focus on player development. Ottawa South United (OSU) leads local clubs with a team in all eight divisions. Paul Harris, the technical director for OSU, pointed to his club’s U14 boys, U15 boys and U17 girls as teams that he has especially high aspirations for. The U14 boys, a team of more than 20 players, are off to a 2-0 start in league play “We think (the U15 boys) are going to be close (to be repeating as champions) on the eastern side overall,” Harris said. The U17 girls team is made up primarily of 2002-born girls who have won provincial championships in back-to-back years. West Ottawa has six teams playing in the OPDL: U13 boys, U14 boys, U17 boys, U13 girls, U14 girls and U15 girls. “If there’s growth and development and strong retention, we know that we’ve had a pretty good year. Of course, we want to see some results, that’s always important, but it’s not our primary focus at that level,” West Ottawa’s outgoing technical director Kristina Kiss said. Kiss will be leaving West Ottawa after five years as its technical director to pursue non-soccer interests once the club fills the opening. Cumberland United is entering the OPDL for the first time with its U13 boys and girls. “Those groups are in our after-school program… so I think training wise they’re quite ready,” Cumberland United general manager Pavel Cancura says. Cumberland’s U13 boys won the Elite U13 division of the Nike Challenge Cup held in Dublin, Ohio at the end of April. They outscored opponents 17-6 in four games in the tournament. “I think they feel pretty good coming into the season,” Cancura said. Cumberland is also debuting an “alliance” with Capital United this year. Originally announced last fall, the partnership brings coaches from each club to the other to share their expertise. Raz El-Asmar, Capital United’s technical direc-

Sunday festivals will be a popular destination for the top U9-U12 club teams this year. tor and club head coach, was one coach announced to be assisting with Cumberland’s U13 girls team in the OPDL.

LEAGUE1 This will be the second season for OSU’s League1 men’s team and West Ottawa’s League1 women’s team, both of which were the first teams from Ottawa to represent the city in their respective leagues last season. Harris said that OSU is discussing adding a League1 team in the women’s division, nodding to the club’s strong group of girls born in 2002 as a class that may be fit to carry them into the league.

PRO PURPOSE Two Ottawa clubs, the Gloucester Hornets and Ottawa City, are testing a new professionalized format. Ottawa City announced a partnership with Global Premier Soccer (the self-described Official North American Youth Partner of FC Bayern) last fall. The partnership promises to open up opportunities for the club’s players while furthering its commitment to player development. Global Premier’s Craig Fannan also joined Ottawa City as its technical director. Similarly, the Gloucester Hornets have brought on James Parry of the Vancouver Whitecaps as their new head coach and technical director as part of a new partnership between the organizations. A notable pledge by the Whitecaps’ new leadership of the Hornets is a vision of the club becoming “the best non OPDL alternative for players across the city.” “We’re not here to make money and leave,” Parry said. “I wouldn’t be a part of it if that was the case. It’s 100 per cent definitely for the development of (Hornets) players.” Parry says that professional partnerships in Ottawa follow similar collaborations that are common in Europe.

ACADEMY ENTRANTS Kevin Nelson Soccer Academy (KNSA) and FC Barcelona Ottawa have joined the Ontario Academy Soccer League this year for what is the second season of its two-

photo: dan plouffe

year pilot project league. The league was founded through a partnership between Ontario Soccer and the Soccer Academy Alliance of Canada will feature 45 academies – up from 13 in its first year. Three KNSA teams, the U15, U16 and U17 boys, will play in the OASL this season. “It’s based around the development aspect,” Kevin Nelson, who serves as his club’s technical director, said about his goals for his academy’s teams in the OASL. “And with development the results will come.” There will be five teams from FC Barcelona Ottawa playing in the OASL this summer. The academy will field U10, U12, U13, U15 and U16 boys teams. “We’re expecting they’ll do well,” Hernani Eleuterio, the program’s project manager, said. “Are they going to win their division? We doubt it. But it will give them some competition that was needed for these players and I think they’re going to do quite well.”

FESTIVAL FOCUS It’s no secret that youth soccer turned sour in the city last summer. As a result, the Ottawa Player Development Program is no more. But the top U9 to U12 teams of clubs like OSU, West Ottawa and Cumberland – among others who were found not guilty of misconduct by Ontario Soccer in a July ruling stemming from accusations of holding illegal friendlies last summer – will not return to their former home in the East Region Soccer League. Each of the community clubs contacted for this story said their top teams at the U9 to U12 levels will participate in formal Ontario Soccer-sanctioned festivals held on Sundays during the summer. Host clubs will be responsible for confirming team registrations and festival divisions and format. The East Development League will also be hosting four tournaments during the summer. Three will be played at FC Barcelona Ottawa’s home, the Louis-Riel Dome. Eleuterio says the tournaments are open to any teams to register.

– ELITE – Cancelled: Teams sent home amidst riots By Michael Sun Carmen Marin went to Managua, Nicaragua for the CONCACAF U-17 Championships but received a much more profound experience than she expected. Marin is originally from Tamarindo, Costa Rica, but moved to Ottawa as a child. She was playing midfield at the tournament for her home country. Marin was joined by Ottawa-natives Ariel Young and Olivia Cooke at the tournament who both represented Canada and had hopes of clinching a spot in the 2018 U-17 World Cup in Uruguay in November. The top three teams from April’s tournament would qualify. But just days after opening, the tournament was cancelled on April 22, due to violence and civil unrest in Nicaragua. It will resume in June in Florida. “We were grateful we could get out while we still could, and our prayers are with all the people and all the families that lost their lives,” Marin added. “We felt really sorry for all the Nicaraguans that had to go through that. It was just really chaotic at the time.” There were nationwide protests in Nicaragua in reaction to the government’s social security reforms that increased taxes and decreased social benefits. More than two dozen people were killed in violent street protests. “It was just a shock,” Young, a central defender, noted of the cancellation. “We had no idea it was going to happen. We woke up the day of our game against Costa Rica…everyone was just shocked. We had no idea it was even a possibility to happen.” Cooke said she was aware

of the situation but said she “wasn’t quite fazed by it because I was there for the soccer, so my sole focus was on the soccer.” Cooke, Marin and Young have grown up playing with each other. Cooke, a fullback, is close friends with both of them and roommates with Young at the Ontario Soccer Regional EXCEL program in Toronto. “Having friends like that is awesome because they’re going to know exactly what’s happening with you and it’s someone you can go to,” Cooke described. “It’s just awesome to have people that are in the same position as you because you guys can always depend on each other.” Costa Rica and Canada played one game each before the tournament was abandoned. Costa Rica lost to the United States 4-0. Canada beat Bermuda 3-0. Canada and Costa Rica were set to face off against each other in the second group stage. Cooke noted how they were all excited for the occasion and talked about it, only for it to be dashed due to the cancellation. Marin, who has represented Costa Rica since she was 12, has played internationally at

Ariel Young (left) and Olivia Cooke.

EASTERNS continued from p. 13 Farley acts as an inspirational elder for a budding Tumblers boys’ team that won 24 provincial medals this season – mostly in the beginner levels, including 8-year-old L1 champion Samuel Cain, who scored a perfect 10 on parallel bars. “Chris shows them what they can do, and he really wants to get better,” highlights Josh Loucks, the Tumblers men’s program manager of 2 years. “We’ve got a nice pool of young athletes coming up. I’d like them to surpass what Chris is doing now when they get to his age.” Grace Gorman of the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre completed Ontario’s 1st

the U-15, U-17 and U-20 levels, and dreams of playing for the senior team. Cooke made her international debut as a substitute in the game against Bermuda. “That was an incredible experience,” she said. “It was my first cap and my first chance to represent Canada at the international level and it was incredible and something I will never, ever forget.” Young was an unused sub against Bermuda. She’s represented Canada at multiple tournaments before and made her senior national team debut against the United States last November. She said that her past experience lessened the disappointment of missing out on playing. For Cooke and Young, the shortened championships still provided a chance to improve individually and with team chemistry. “We all got so connected though the camp at this tournament and I think that’s definitely something that we’ll be able to bring to this next CONCACAF, that we’re all so tight as a team,” Cooke noted. Unlike Cooke and Young, Marin couldn’t focus solely on soccer. The Costa Rican team played several friendlies in the

photo: canada soccer

through 4th place sweep of the women’s Level 7 Open individual standings, while OGC men also collected a pile of prizes themselves at Easterns. James Doucette won a medal of each colour for pommel horse (gold), floor (silver) and high bar (bronze) en route to the Level 4 Age 13+ all-around crown, while OGC teammate Max Parker won rings gold and vault bronze to lift Team Ontario to L4 victory. All-around bronze medallist Riley Gonzalez and William Khawam helped Ontario to L3 Under-13 bronze, while Carter McNamee was 2nd with the Ontario L3 Age 13+ crew. Another three OGC men are in their final preparations for the May 22-27 Ca-

Carmen Marin


The St. Anthony Futuro File

Top-notch education extends off field at Futuro

photo: u.s.soccer / becca saag

Nicaraguan capital of Managua – a centre of the riots - before the tournament (the Canadian team was in Mexico pre-tournament). Everything seemed “fine” then to Marin. “Eventually, as days had passed, we saw smoke out of a teammates window,” she described. “There were different fumes in the air and there were gunshots at night. We knew it was bad.” Marin said she was also concerned about the safety of her mother, who travelled there as well. “Obviously, you think twice about where you’re staying,” she said. “I was obviously worried about everyone else and my teammates and my coaches but the whole time, I was thinking of my mom because she was there with me and she was alone… so I was calling her every single day and she was the one thing that was going through my head.” It provided an enlightening experience as she learned more than she ever expected. “It was good that I learned about world issues and about different politics and what really happened,” Marin reflected. “Not just that people died but everything behind the government and how it all started and the huge process.”

nadian Championships in Waterloo. Sam Zakutney, an NCAA parallel bars medallist and All-American at Penn State, will compete in the senior high-performance division, while Ontario champion and runner-up Eric Gauthier and Ben Astorga are entered in the National Open class. Nationals will be the last competition of Astorga’s career. The high school senior plans to move to Montreal and pursue theatre in university after this season. Overseas, OGC athlete Meaghan Smith repeated as Irish senior national champion in May. Smith’s grandfather was born in Ireland and she became Irish citizen 2 years ago.

St. Anthony Futuro is home to a wide spectrum of players and programs – from the diverse group of adults compelled to represent the storied club in Premier play because of what St. Anthony’s stands for, down to the boys and girls as young as age 3 taking part in physical literacy programs. Under the direction of TechniCelebrating 65 Years cal Director Sanjeev Parmar, the on the Ottawa Soccer Scene club covers all aspects required for effective player development. That includes classroom sessions at the St. Anthony Clubhouse, where leading experts speak to members on a wide range of soccer topics. In the past month, for example, Futuro hosted a university coaches forum with the Futuro girls’ program, while the Futuro ‘07 boys – recently recognized as Myers Team of The Week on CTV – learned the 4 steps of unconscious and conscious thinking on the field.

FREE COACHING WORKSHOP WITH QUEEN’S U On the evening of Wednesday, May 23, Futuro will welcome coaches from all sports for a free Effective Coaching & Transformation Coaching Workshop at the St. Anthony Clubhouse. The Workshop was developed by Jean Côté, PhD and Jennifer Turnnidge, PhD from Queen’s University – leading researchers in best practices on the subject. The Transformational Leadership Workshop is designed to enhance coaches’ leadership skills, and ultimately improve the quality of their interpersonal relationships with athletes both on and off the field. “This is a great opportunity for coaches from the area involved in all kinds of sports – not just soccer – to learn from some of the best researchers in the field of coaching development,” notes Parmar. “It’s really exciting to be able to put on something like this for the community and contribute to elevating the quality of local sport. That’s always been a goal of ours and something we’re really proud of.” The workshop will run from 6-9 p.m.


The Futuro ‘07 boys won the Neymar Jr’s Five took down all local challengers to win the open five-a-side tournament on May 5 at TD Place. The team will now move on to the national finals on May 26 in Toronto where they’ll have a chance to win a trip the world final, set for July 21 at the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr. in Praia Grande, Brazil outside Sao Paulo. The Red Bull-sponsored event features 10-minute matches with no goalkeeper, and whenever a team scores, the opposition loses a player. “It is a fast, technical and fun competition,” Neymar Jr., the Paris Saint-Germain star, says in describing the event. “It brings players from all corners of the world together to celebrate their shared passion: football.” Globally, over 100,000 players on more than 30,000 teams from 62 countries participated in qualifiers this year.

OttawaStAnthony.ca • FuturoSoccer.com



Division 2 provincial championship “disappointing” for Fusion By Charlie Pinkerton Ottawa’s two major competitive clubs had a strong showing at the 2018 Ontario Volleyball Championships, capturing a combined 12 medals at the April tournaments. Ottawa Fusion’s 18U boys won the division 2, tier 1 gold at the provincial championships on April 29. Fusion 18U boys head coach Jay Mooney praised his team as a whole for their effort at the championships. “Grady (McClure) on our right side provided us with some heavy attacks to both the front court and back court, which put a lot of pressure on the oppositions block,” Mooney said. “(Setter) Frank (Albert) ran a great offense and distributed the ball really well. Our middles Devon (Hart) and Milo (Hawke) really stepped up and provided us with some timely kills that forced their middle blockers to hold the middle court.” The Fusion rolled over competition going 9-0 in the tournament. They only lost one set in playoff play, which they dropped against Toronto’s Galaxy Ghosts in a 2-1 semifinals victory, before defeating the London Volleyball Club in straight sets by scores

The division 2 provincial champion 18U Ottawa Fusion boys. of 25-22 and 25-16 to claim gold in their division. Despite their 1st place divisional finish – and in part because of how they crushed competition throughout the tournament – Mooney said his team was discouraged by not having the chance to compete against the province’s best in division 1. “They were proud of their performance but disappointed that they weren’t able to show they were peaking at a time where they needed to and just didn’t have the opportunity to test themselves against the top teams in the province,” Mooney

photo provided

said. “It was a little bit disappointing.” The Ontario Volleyball Association moved to a model at the 18U level this year in which the top eight boys’ teams were entered into a separate high-performance division at the Ontario Championships. The Ottawa Fusion did not finish in the top eight before provincials. “They have an argument to their peers and the OVA that they did belong in division 1,” Mooney said. The Fusion had three more teams that were

medallists: the 16U boys won div 1, tier 2 gold, the 15U boys won div 1, tier 3 bronze, and the 15U girls won div 4, tier 2 silver. Ottawa’s Maverick Volleyball Club had eight teams that won medals at provincials. The 16U boys won div 1, tier 1 gold; the 15U boys won div 1, tier 1 silver; the 15U girls won div 1, tier 1 silver; the 16U girls won div 1, tier 3 silver; the 13U boys won div 1, tier 2 bronze; the 14U girls won div 2, tier 2 silver; the 15U girls won div 3, tier 2 silver; and the 14U girls won div 4, tier 1 bronze. Mooney will coach Fusion teams at the 2018 Volleyball Canada Nationals in Edmonton over May’s final two weekends. “This is their last time together,” Mooney said about the 18U boys team. “It’s really not about the club so much at this point as it’s a celebration for them to go out and compete hard with each other for the last time before they go on to universities and other endeavors.” Fusion’s 16U boys, two Maverick 15U girls’ teams, Maverick’s 16U boys, and two Maverick 16U girls’ teams will compete at nationals May 1719. Maverick’s 17U boys and 18U girls as well as Fusion’s 18U girls and 18U boys will play at nationals from May 20-22.

Ottawa skier medals twice in career-best weekend to end season By Anil Jhalli Sarah Brown’s ski season couldn’t have ended in a more memorable fashion. The Ottawa skier won two medals at the 26th annual Whistler Cup last month, including gold in the Under-16 women’s slalom. It was quite the moment for the 15-year-old, who said she never envisioned herself winning on that stage. “I came out there with the intentions of just doing my best,” Brown said. “I would have been happy with a top 10 finish, so this is all just crazy to me. Obviously I am super happy and just so proud of my entire

season.” The annual competition hosted more than 400 of the world’s best skiers aged 12-15. Competitors came from 20 different countries and competed in the super-G, slalom and giant slalom. Brown beat Switzerland’s Sarah Zoller by just 0.74 seconds to claim 1st place in the slalom with a combined time of 1:20.25 in her two runs. She also had the second fastest run of the competition, breaking the 40-second barrier in her second run, which was only 39.88 seconds. She admitted she was surprised by her gold medal winning performance and said she hopes the performance

Sarah Brown races at the Whistler Cup.

photo provided

helps further her career. Earlier in the competition she won bronze in the giant slalom, finishing with a two-run combined time of 2:12.26, just a hundredth of a second behind Switzerland’s Durrer Delia. The Whistler Cup was not only the final race of the season but also the last time Brown will race as a U16 competitor. “It was really special to finish the way I did and to have my best results ever,” Brown added. “I just wanted to go out there and give it my all.” Brown says her love for skiing came at a very young age and stems from her family’s passion for the sport. Her parents were active skiers and often skied in Mont Tremblant. Brown was four years old when she picked up the sport. She skied recreationally then, but as she got older began to pick it up more heavily on the weekends with her friends. She continued to show a keen interest and wanted to develop in the sport. “I started to race, and I just fell in love with it,” she added. She’s now focused on the next stage of her career: competing at the U18 level. She said that meant not allowing herself to be distracted by her victory at the Whistler Cup. Brown was back to training as soon after she returned

home from the competition. But when her performance finally sunk in, Brown said she saw it

as a learning experience that she can apply at the next level. “I’m looking forward to what

comes next,” she said. “It is a different program, and every race certainly matters.”

Profile for Dan Plouffe

Ottawa Sportspage  

The May 2018 edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper.

Ottawa Sportspage  

The May 2018 edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper.