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STU rugby women face challenges ahead Despite early struggles, STU still believes in their Scott Hems The Aquinian

When the final whistle blew in last year’s ACAA Women’s rugby championship game, STU was on the right side of over a 30 point win. Within the next week coach Sherry Doiron revealed to the team they were to jump up a level the next season and compete in the CIS league against teams from all over the Atlantic, in the Atlantic University Sport conference. Though the step up to the higher level has had moments of frustration against much better opposition, STU still holds faith from a team that dominated competition the past 3 years, and now has raised to a level of very challenging opposition. The Tommies are currently the only New Brunswick representative in the CIS for the sport of rugby. This means they often have to travel over 4 hours to play other teams in Nova Scotia. After a very spirited affair in their home opener that saw them lose 27-15 to St. Mary’s, there has been hope in the squad despite a few heavy losses in the early half of the season. Part of the step up involves the Tommies being the only rugby team occupying the Scotiabank South artificial turf, national anthems before games, scoreboards, player introductions, and even Friday night games under the lights. However it’s the results on paper that show STU losing a 73-3 game to St. FX and a 74-0 loss days later at

RESULTS:

Women’s Hockey STU 3 U of Ottawa 0 transition to the AUS STU 4 UDEM 2 opposition as being better, we just see the game as faster STU 3 SMU 1

home to Acadia. “We didn’t expect to come into the league and dominate the way we did last year,” says Marissa Walcott, a third year outside center who brings experience from the Fredericton Loyalists. “The score doesn’t reflect the game. We focus on what we did right, take the small moral victories, and from here it can only get better.” On Sunday, STU were beaten 104-6 by Acadia who remain unbeaten and sit atop the standings. Their next game comes against current top two team in St.FX but their final two games of the year are against teams they found themselves in reach of causing upsets in UPEI and St. Mary’s. The Tommies have circled their home game against UPEI on their calendar as winnable. With the amount of youth on the team they aren’t seeing a few lob-sided losses as a negative. The idea from the start was to build from the ground up and load rookies with experience. A long-term goal always has its rough patches, but in the end, this is a team expected to be just as competitive two years down the road. When asked what the biggest thing to take from the 74-0 loss was, Walcott was direct in saying, “attitude.” A lot of practice is spent doing team stuff and building foundation off team chemistry, instead of fancy plays or surprising tactics. “We have to look at how we’re playing, and nothing else,” she said. “We don’t look at the

paced now.” The mid-point of their first season in the CIS is showing no regrets. Tough losses are out of the way and a twoyear program can only improve with experience as STU proudly take the lessons of what they’ve accomplished and what challenges lie between them, and a shot at nationals.

Women’s Basketball STU 73 Vanier College 76 STU 57 St. Laurent 64 SCHEDULE: Oct. 4 Men’s Hockey (Exhib) St. FX @ STU Fredericton Junction, 7pm Oct. 5/6 Golf ACAA Championships held at HC Oct.6 Cross Country @ ACA

The women’s rugby team has fallen flat on their face so far this season as they’ve lost every game in the AUS (Nathan Paton/AQ)

Rowing aims to take its grip in Fredericton

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Rowing NB now working with universities to expand rowing clubs Meredith Gillis The Aquinian

The more you complicate rowing the harder it is. For Rob Alexander it’s intuitive. Sliding forward and back in his seat with the three other men he calls his team. “It’s exhilarating. It’s never the same; every day is a new challenge. It’s really intense” said Alexander. Now in his fourth year at St. Thomas University, Alexander has rowed since 2006. “I’m one of those who jumped on the bandwagon after I saw it on the Olympics. I saw it and kept my eye open for it. A year or two later I saw a poster for it at my high school.” In the six years Alexander has rowed, he has filled different roles. Still an athlete, Alexander now coaches the rowing team at his high school, Saint John High. He has spent his summers working as the rowing club manager in Saint John,

and sat on the executive board of Rowing New Brunswick. Alexander has also competed in the Canada games where he earned a bronze medal. Alan Oldham is the high performance coach at Rowing NB. He moved to Fredericton in April to help develop local talent and put more New Brunswick athletes on the national team. One step in this is recruiting rowers from the universities. “Rowing is a really cool sport because you can start it in university with no experience,” said Oldham. An e-mail was sent out to students over the summer to recruit for the novice team, with some success. Rowing NB now has ten people from the universities learning to row. The men’s novice team includes five men from STU and three from UNB. The women’s novice team has one from each school. Because of the drastically different numbers the men’s and women’s teams

are learning to row in different boats. The men’s team is learning on an eight-seat and the women’s team is learning on a “quad,” a two-seat boat with two oars (blades) on each side. Both teams will be competing in novice events, including a race against St. Francis Xavier next weekend where Oldham hopes the Fredericton teams will “dominate” their competitors. His rowers competed in the Four Bridges race the weekend of Sept. 22 and won, but could not officially be given the title since they were down a man and had to replace him with an experienced rower, disqualifying the team from winning a novice race. “One of the things we’d really like to work towards is an annual STU/UNB battle of the river sort of event” said Oldham who is already planning to hold a test event in the spring. Novice rowers spend about six hours a week in training, while more experience

NB Rowing is now working with universities to improve rowing in the province (Ashley Swinton/AQ) rowers like Alexander can spend twice that many. “The worst part of it is the early mornings” said Alexander, who gets up before five every morning to catch the river while it’s calm. “Once it gets in to the fall, we’re out on the water before the sun and getting back to the dock as it’s coming up” said

Oldham. He’s seen hundreds of sunrises thanks to his involvement with rowing. For more information about rowing, e-mail Alan Oldham at hpcoach@rowingnb.com.

The Grant Harvey Centre is officially open

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside and St. Thomas University President Dawn Russell were on hand for the opening for the Grant Harvey Centre on Friday (STU Athletics/Submitted)

The ribbon cutting officially opening the Grant Harvey Centre. L to R; Craig Leonard, Kris Harvey, Brad Woodside, Danny Grant and Keith Ashfield. (STU Athletics/Submitted)


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