HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
WEEKEND WRAP: When it comes to running the 400 metres, the longest and most gruelling event on track and field’s sprint program, Ottawa’s Lauren Gale is one of the best in North America.
The Colorado State University senior certainly is the best when it comes to managing and manoeuvring through that event in the Mountain West Conference.
Gale, who formerly attended South Carleton High School and also represents the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club, continued her dominance of the one-lap race, when she won the conference women’s 400 metres in a record 51.30 seconds.
Her time eclipsed the three-year-old Veteran’s Memorial Stadium (Clovis, California) venue record of 52.11, and narrowly missed the Mountain West Conference mark of 51.15. It also surpassed the 51.35 mark required for entry into July’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
Gale’s 400-metre victory was her third career conference outdoor title as she also won in 2021 and 2019. Combined with her three conference indoor 400-metre titles, she now has six career championships for that distance.
Colorado State Rams also received valuable points from Gale in the 200 metres and the 4×400-metre relay. The Rams placed second to San Diego State University in the women’s team standings – 157.5 to 153.5.
Gale posted the fastest time in the 200-metre race, but placed third in the final standings. In the heats, Gale ran a personal best and Rams’ record 22.82, which also was the best women’s 200-metre time at the championships and just 0.02 shy of the World Championships qualification standard. Gale placed third in the final in 23.33.
The Rams had a chance to win the women’s team title, but needed to beat San Diego State in the championships’ final event, the women’s 4×400-metre relay. Gale anchored her team of Yolanda Johnson, Grace Goldsworthy and Jessica Ozoude to a second-place finish in 3:34.57, while San Diego captured first.
Entering the NCAA West Preliminary meet May 25-26, Gale is ranked ninth in the 400 metres and 11th over 200 metres.
GABRIELA DABROWSKI JUST MISSES SECOND DOUBLES TITLE IN A ROW
A week after winning the WTA’s Mutua Madrid Open women’s doubles title, Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and new partner Giuliana Olmos fell a few points shy of making it two in a row.
After a pair of tiebreaker wins in the round of 16 and quarterfinals and a quick semi-final victory, Dabrowski and Olmos fell to unseeded Russians Veronika Kudermetova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 1-6, 6-4, 10-7 in the final of the Internazionali BNL D’Italia in Rome.
Dabrowski and Olmos, who will play in the two-week French Open which started today in Paris, dropped the final three points of the match to end their seven-game winning streak.
The defeat also was doubly crushing for Dabrowski, who is a major advocate for the promotion of women’s doubles.
Will Boucek, the host of the Doubles Only Tennis podcast, tweeted “there are about seven people in the stands for the women’s doubles final. Did they have to schedule during (Novak) Djokovic v (Stefanos) Tsitsipas (men’s singles final)?”
Dabrowski charged the net for this volley winner: “Honestly was so disappointing.”
FENCER ELEANOR HARVEY SECOND IN FOIL GRAND PRIX
Canadian women fared well on the piste at the Grand Prix senior women’s foil competition in Incheon, South Korea.
Fourth-seeded Eleanor Harvey of Hamilton, who occasionally trains in Ottawa with national coach Paul ApSimon, reached the final, but lost to second-seeded Lee Kiefer of the United States 15-5.
Harvey defeated top-seeded Alice Volpi of Italy 15-13 in the semifinals and fifth-seeded Francesca Palumbo of Italy 13-7 in the quarterfinals. Canadian teammate Jessica Guo of Toronto, the eighth seed, lost to Volpi 15-8 in the quarterfinals.
Tokyo Olympian Kelleigh Ryan of Ottawa was defeated by 46-year-old Aida Mohamed of Hungary 15-4 in the first elimination round to rank 34th out of 110 entrants. Ryan had been seeded ninth, while Mohamed was No. 56.
Mohamed, who is married to former Canadian Olympic pentathlete and epee fencer Laurie Shong, is a six-time individual and team medallist at the world championships and the only Hungarian athlete to compete in seven different Summer Olympic Games.
KATE MILLER EARNS TEAM DIVING GOLD MEDAL
Nepean-Ottawa Diving Club’s Kate Miller was part of Canada’s gold-medal winning team along with Ryan Wiens, Marco Eriam and Benjamin Tessier at the Future Cup in Plymouth, England.
The senior national team member helped Canada score 418.35 points, while Canada2 was second at 414.75 and the United States A team was third at 367.20.
In the women’s platform competition, she was a steady third in the preliminary (276.95 points), semi-final (529.55) and final (283.30).
GRUELLING WEEKEND FOR COMBINED-EVENT ATHLETES
Michelle Atherley of the United States and Ken Mullings of the Bahamas had productive visits to Ottawa, winning the women’s heptathlon and men’s decathlon respectively during the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Combined Events competition at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility.
Atherley, who placed second at the recent American track and field championships, scored 6,029 points, while Nicole Ostertag of Saskatoon was second with an impressive 5,801. Maude Leveille of Sherbrooke, Que., took third at 5,136, while two-time Canadian Olympic pole vaulter Alysha Newman was fourth in her heptathlon debut.
In the decathlon, Mullings accumulated an unmatched 7,537 points and was followed by Canadians Shawn Beaudoin of Windsor, 6,450, and Rostam Turner of Kelowna, B.C., 6,344.
During the Ottawa High Performance track and field meet, which ran concurrently as the combined events, three athletes from Ottawa’s C.A.N.I. club had impressive first-place showings: Thomas Becker, men’s high jump, 2.13 metres; Kayla Vieux, women’s 100 metres, 11.96 seconds (heats); and Eliezer Adjibi, men’s 100 metres, 10.28 (heats) and 10.26 (final).
3 OTTAWA YOUTH BASKETBALL TEAMS COLLECT BRONZE
Bronze was the colour of the day for three Ottawa teams at the girls’ U17 and U19 Ontario Cup basketball championships.
Nepean Blue Devils defeated Brampton Warriors 42-32 for their third win in four games and earned third place in the U17 division 2 tournament.
In girls’ U19 bronze-medal games, Ottawa Next Level (Elliot) turned back SBA 46-21 in division 4, while Ottawa Shooting Stars outscored Ottawa South Basketball 41-28 in division 6 action.
IMAN SHAHEEN CANADIAN JUNIOR SQUASH RUNNER-UP
Top-seeded Iman Shaheen of Ottawa’s Wallace Squash lost the girls’ U19 final for the second straight year at the Canadian junior closed squash championships in Victoria.
After posting three consecutive wins without losing a game, Shaheen fell 11-9, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6 to Calgary’s Jana Dweek. Shaheen also was defeated in four games at the 2021 national junior closed final by Molly Chadwick of Toronto.
In head-to-head competition, Dweek has won four of five matches against Shaheen.
ARIANE BONHOMME LEADS ROOKIES TO 4TH IN WOMEN’S TEAM PURSUIT AT TRACK CYCLING TOUR STOP IN CANADA
Ariane Bonhomme replicated her fourth-place result from last summer’s Olympics in Tokyo at the May 12-15 Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup, held at Team Canada’s home velodrome in Milton, Ont.
Racing alongside a new-look Canadian women’s team pursuit lineup, Bonhomme combined with Devaney Collier, Ngaire Barraclough and Sarah Van Dam to reach the event’s bronze medal final, where they were beaten to the finish line by USA in a rematch of the Olympic race for bronze.
Bonhomme, the 27-year-old Ottawa Bicycle Club product, was the lone returning member of Canada’s team pursuit squad this season, following the retirement of fellow Tokyo Olympians Allison Beveridge, Annie Foreman-Mackey and Georgia Simmerling.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 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 email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.
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