HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
WEEKEND WRAP: Gloucester Skating Club’s David Shteyngart had the perfect ending to a perfect season Sunday at the Canadian novice skating championships in Calgary.
An on-ice leader for the entire 2021-22 competitive figure skating season, Shteyngart swept the novice men’s singles short program and free-skate final to produce a winning score of 131.84 points, which was about 12 points less than his top score at Skate Canada Challenge in Regina.
Shteyngart was clean on three of his five triple jumps and two of his three jump combinations, which allowed him to earn a 9.18-point victory over Quebec’s Edward Nicholas Vasii. Nepean Skating Club’s Edward Wang was 18th overall at 65 points, after placing 18th in the short program and 17th in the free-skate final.
“It has been a dream season for him (Shteyngart) and he is very proud of all he has accomplished,” Gloucester coach and director of skating Darlene Joseph wrote in an email interview.
The almost-two-year-old COVID-19 pandemic prevented Shteyngart, 15, from having any competitions from March, 2020, through July, 2021. But he used that time well to develop into an all-around better skater.
In his nine competitions this season, which range from championships to performance opportunities, he has produced seven short program wins, nine free-skate victories and one third-place, short-program showing.
“David has improved and achieved so much in the past two years,” Joseph added. “We have had the opportunity to train and acquire many new skills during the pandemic and this season we finally had the opportunity to compete. We always viewed the training as the ‘silver lining’ of COVID. (It was) time to become a stronger athlete.”
Shteyngart had club company on the nationals’ medal podium as Lilly Napier and Joshua Dore placed an impressive second in the four-team pairs competition with a personal-best score of 94.14 points.
Napier and Dore were second after the short program with 33.70 points, but won the free-skate final at 60.44 points. Despite their free-skate win, they fell 1.32 points short of winning the gold medal, which went to Manitoba’s Ava Kemp and Yohnatan Elizarov at 95.46.
Napier and Dore, who will graduate to the junior class next season, formed their skating partnership less than three years ago and have developed well under their main coach Julie Brault.
Reese Rose, 13, struggled through her first Canadian championship, partially because of a lower back injury, which has affected her skating the past 2½ weeks. She placed eighth in the short program at 39.14 points, and 14th in the free-skate final at 60.85 for an overall placing of 13th at 99.99.
“It was difficult for Reese to train daily without pain or risk further injury in the weeks leading up to the championships,” Joseph wrote. “Reese will take all the lessons learned at this event and come back with more consistent skills and an even feistier attitude.”
The Canadian novice championships were originally scheduled to be staged with the national senior and junior competitions last month in Ottawa, but were moved to Calgary due to COVID-19 considerations.
NAKKERTOK SKIERS SHOW WELL AT WORLD JUNIORS/U23 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Jasmine Lyons and Pierre Grall-Johnson of the Nakkertok Nordic Ski Club had three top-30 results in their respective classes during the world junior and U23 cross-country skiing championships in Lygna, Norway.
Competing in the women’s junior division, Lyons was the top Canadian in the 15-kilometre freestyle mass start, 26th in the five-kilometre classic and helped Canada to a seventh-place showing in the 4×3.3-kilometre relay.
Grall-Johnson raced in the U23 class, where he was 28th and a quarterfinalist in the sprint, 29th in the 15-kilometre classic and 14th as part of the Canadian team in the 4×5-kilometre mixed relay. His next race will be later this week on the World Cup circuit in Drammen, Norway.
Nakkertok’s Bronwyn Williams was 49th in the U23 women’s 10-kilometre classic and 52nd in the sprint.
At a World Cup race in Lahti, Katherine Stewart-Jones of Nakkertok was 30th in the women’s 10-kilometre classic, after a 30-hour trip to Finland from the Beijing Winter Olympics.
RAVENS, GEE-GEES COMBINE FOR 9 OUA NORDIC SKI MEDALS
The Carleton University Ravens and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees won six and three individual, relay and team medals respectively at the OUA nordic ski championships, which were held by Laurentian University in Sudbury.
Carleton’s two individual medals came from Katherine Mason, a silver in the women’s 10-kilometre mass start, and Devon Pegrum, a bronze in the men’s interval-start, 10.5-kilometre freestyle. The Ravens also earned bronze medals in the men’s and women’s 3×3.3-kilometre relays. Carleton finished with the silver medal in the men’s team standing and the bronze on the women’s side.
Competing in only their third OUA championships, the Gee-Gees had an historic meet, winning the women’s relay by a two-tenth-of-a-second margin over Lakehead University and seven-tenths ahead of Carleton. Relay anchor Magalie Daoust also won silver in the women’s interval-start freestyle 10.5-kilometre race. The Gee-Gees’ other medal was a silver in women’s team, while the men’s team was fourth.
Pembroke’s Guillaume Pelchat of Lakehead University spearheaded the men’s team with wins in the 10-kilometre mass start and relay as well as a second-place result in the interval-start freestyle 10.5-kilometre race.
The OUA All-Star list (combined top-10 finish) included Mason, Daoust and Gee-Gees’ relay racers Zoe Pekos and Erin Dunn as well as Pegrum, Pelchat and Carleton’s Edward Southward.
CARLETON EARNS BRONZE MEDAL AT OUA WOMEN’S CURLING
The Carleton University Ravens’ rink of skip Lindsay Thorne, third Mikayla Gemmill, second Jessica Thorne, lead Emily Kelly and alternate Hanna Gordon battled throughout the OUA women’s curling championship in Waterloo and emerged with the bronze medal.
The Ravens scored two in the sixth end and one in the seventh for a 6-3 win over Brock University in the third-place match. Wilfrid Laurier edged Waterloo 5-4 in an extra end for the OUA title. Ottawa’s Emma Artichuk is on the Laurier team, while Ottawa’s Adrienne Belliveau plays for Waterloo.
Carleton dropped its first two preliminary games, but rallied to defeat Ontario Tech 9-2 and Algoma 8-1 to advance to the quarterfinals. The Ravens counted two in the sixth and two in the eighth and final end for a 4-2 victory over Laurentian. In the semifinals, Carleton lost to Laurier for the second straight time by the identical 4-1 score.
SPRINTER GALE NAMED OUTSTANDING FEMALE ATHLETE AT CONFERENCE FINALS
Colorado State University Rams’ Lauren Gale of Ottawa continued her record-smashing season at the Mountain West Athletic Conference indoor track and field championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, winning the women’s 200 and 400 metres in dominant fashion and being named the outstanding female performer of the meet.
By capturing the 200-metre final in 23.00 seconds, she broke her own two-week-old Athletics Canada women’s and U23 indoor record of 23.08 and also lowered her university record by the same 0.08 seconds.
About an hour later, Gale won her third consecutive 400-metre conference title (fifth overall including two outdoor wins) in 51.78, which dropped the Mountain West record by 0.01 and also broke Kyra Constantine’s U23 Athletics Canada mark of 52.14.
Gale was the third female in conference history to win the 200- and 400-metre titles at the same championship and helped the Rams win the women’s team point title for the fifth time, including the fourth since 2016.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.
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