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HIGH ACHIEVERS WEEKEND WRAP: Double canoe gold in three-medal effort for Jensen, first international medals for Hennessy at World Cup

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

WEEKEND WRAP: Sophia Jensen of the Cascades Canoe Club is wasting no time building her reputation as a world-class senior paddler in women’s canoeing.

A week after winning the mixed C2 bronze medal in her sprint World Cup debut in Racice, Czechia, Jensen, who lives in Chelsea, Que., overcame challenging water conditions and a stiff international field during the event to capture three medals in four A finals in Poznan, Poland.

Jensen, who won 12 medals including eight gold in four world junior championships, must have had a flashback to those podium days, when she earned two gold and one bronze medals as well as a fifth-place showing on the second World Cup stop.

For the second week in a row, Jensen and Alix Plomteux of Lac Beauport, Que., were in the mixed C2 medal ceremony, but this time they received the gold medal instead of the bronze.

They completed the 500-metre course in one minute, 48.95 seconds to win the race by 0.41 seconds over Canadian teammates 2022 Olympic bronze medallist Katie Vincent and Connor Fitzpatrick.

Jensen and Vincent also joined Sloan MacKenzie and Julia Lilley Osende in a women’s C4 boat and won the 500-metre final against two Polish boats by 1.37 seconds in 1:50.24.

In her only individual race, Jensen placed third in the blanket finish of the C1 200-metre final in 47.28. The top six boats were only separated by seven-tenths of a second. Vincent was second in 46.95, while Cuba’s Yarisleidis Cirilo Duboys won the race in 46.85.

Jensen and long-time paddling partner Lilley Osende were fifth in the C2 500 metres in 2:00.52, which was 2.08 seconds behind Cirilo Duboys and Kathleen Nuevo Segura of Cuba in 1:58.44.

Ottawa River Canoe Club’s Brianna Hennessy had a double-medal performance in the World Cup paracanoe races.

Hennessy, who qualified for the KL1 200-metre and Va’a (canoe) 200-metre finals at the 2020 Paralympics and placed eighth and fifth respectively, was a top-three finisher in both races in Poznan.

In the women’s VL2 200 metres, Hennessy settled for the silver medal, after finishing 0.04 seconds behind gold-medallist Susan Speipel of Australia. Speipel was timed in 1:01.54, while Hennessy stopped in 1:01.58.

Racing in the women’s KL1 200 metres, Hennessy placed third in 54.88, which was 1.01 seconds behind Germany’s Edina Mueller, who was clocked in 53.87.

Read More: No post-Paralympic lag for paddler who’s hungry for new season featuring worlds in Canada

Rideau Canoe Club’s Toshka Besharah competed in two A finals. She joined Olympian Andreanne Langlois to place ninth in the women’s K2 500 metres in 1:46.53.

Langlois, Rideau’s Natalie Davison-James, Riley Melanson and Besharah raced to seventh place in the C4 500 metres in 1:36.08.


By winning its first two games at the OFSAA girls’ AAA rugby championship in Kitchener on Monday, Glebe has assured itself of a medal. By Wednesday, the Gryphons will know the colour – gold, silver, bronze or antique bronze.

On the opening day of the 12-team high school championship, the two-time National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association champion outscored Brantford 26-22 and Northern 27-5.

Glebe finished first in Pool C and will play Mayfield, the pool B winner, in its upcoming semifinal. The other semifinal will feature Oakville Trafalgar against Uxbridge.

At the OFSAA field lacrosse A/AA championship in Owen Sound, St. Mark finished second in Pool A, after defeating Bracebridge 14-3, but losing to Holy Trinity of Courtice 12-8.

The top scorers for St. Mark were Tristan Caldwell, five goals and six assists for 11 points (second best at the championship), Cameron Maunders, 2-3-5; and Dave Usher, 3-0-3.

Sacred Heart lost its two pool games to Toronto-based schools at the OFSAA field lacrosse AAA championship in Mississauga. The Huskies fell 13-10 to Humberside and Neil McNeil 10-6.


Two wins down and three to go for Gabriela Dabrowski, who is on track to capture her third career Grand Slam mixed doubles tennis championship.

Dabrowski and Australia’s John Peers are scheduled to play Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador and Luci Hradecka of Czechia in the Roland Garros Open (formerly the French Open) today in the quarter-final round.

It’s the eighth time in seven years Dabrowski has advanced to the mixed doubles quarters in a Grand Slam championship. She has two Grand Slam titles to her credit 2018 Australian Open and 2017 French Open.

In the first round of the Roland Garros Open, Dabrowski and Peers defeated Harmony Tan and Jonathan Eysseric, both of France, 6-0, 6-4. Dabrowski and Peers posted a similar 6-1, 6-4 result over the Polish duo of Lukasz Kubot and Alicja Rosolska in the second round.

Dabrowski wasn’t quite as fortunate with Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos in women’s doubles. After winning their opening two rounds, they fell 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 to Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the third round.


The return of the iconic Ottawa Race Weekend, after a two-year absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic, attracted more than 24,000 participants for its five major races over two days.

Here are the individual male and female race champions as well as the top National Capital Region male and female runners, if they weren’t the overall winner:

2-kilometre race

  1. Mackenzie Palmer, Gatineau, 6:57.6
  2. Anastasia Huot, Montreal, 8:17.7
  3. Ying Ma, Ottawa, top local woman, 9:02.3

5-kilometre race

  1. Andre Alie-Lamarche, Ottawa, 15:07.8
  2. Kim Krezonoski, Kingston, 17:15.1
  3. Olivia MacAskill, Ottawa, top local woman, 18:36.1

10-kilometre race

  1. Ben Flanagan, Kitchener, ON., 28:39.5
  2. Natasha Wodak, West Vancouver, 32:41.7
  3. Lee Wesselius, Mountain, ON., top local male, 29:57.6
  4. Rebecca Pieterson, Ottawa, 36:09.8, top local female

Half marathon (21.1 kilometres)

  1. Josh Jarpey, Ham Lake, Minnesota, 1:11:23
  2. Karine Lefebvre, Lac Beauport, Que., 1:22:51.6
  3. Logan Roots, Ottawa, 1:13:11.3, top local male
  4. Aditi Krishna, Chelsea, Que., 1:28:15, top local female

Marathon (42.195 kilometres)

  1. Andualem Shiferaw, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2:06:01.1 (record)
  2. Kinsey Middleton, American-born Canadian from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, 2:30:08.7
  3. Tristan Woodfine, Cobden, ON., 2:21:54.8, top local male
  4. Veronica Allan, Ottawa, 2:59.10.6, top local female


Ottawa youth basketball teams won a full set of medals plus a second bronze in the boys’ U16 category at the Ontario Basketball Association Ontario Cup championships in the Durham Region.

After going 1-1 in their pool play and upsetting undefeated Valhalla 63-59 in the semifinals, Gloucester-Cumberland Wolverines Hanna ran past SBA Team Deer 57-37 in the division 5, gold-medal final.

Undefeated Ottawa Next Level Hashi settled for the division 11 silver medal, after losing 60-48 to NF Red Raiders Zapata in the championship game. West Ottawa Hornets defeated Ottawa South Geldrez 72-64 in the bronze-medal game.

Nepean Blue Devils Burns picked up the division 12 bronze with a 55-54 win over Richmond Hill Gators Diaz in the third-place match.


Lauren Gale’s bid to return to the NCAA track and field championships ended a split second after the starter’s gun sounded to run the final women’s 400-metre qualifying race during the NCAA West Conference meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

While her opponents burst out of the starting blocks for the painful one-lap race, the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club athlete stood up and left the track with an illness. There was a news report that she had recently been feeling sick.

“Unfortunate for our school record holder,” the Colorado State University Rams posted on Twitter. “Hope for a speedy recovery.”

Gale, a senior, was aiming to compete in her first NCAA outdoor championships, after placing eighth in the 400 metres at the 2022 NCAA indoor championships. In Mountain West Conference track and field championships, she has won three outdoor and three indoor titles over 400 metres.

Ranked seventh entering the West Conference qualifier, Gale had won the fifth heat in the 400-metre preliminary round in 52.40 seconds, which was the eighth fastest time.

Earlier in the competition, she helped the Rams to a 14th-place finish in the women’s 4×100-metre relay in 44.78. But only the top 12 relay teams advanced to the NCAA championships.

Gale’s illness also forced her to withdraw from the 4×400-metre relay. The Rams were 19th in 3:40.35.


Kate Miller of the Nepean-Ottawa Diving Club placed fifth in the women’s platform final with 294.00 points at the 2022 Summer Senior Nationals diving championships in Victoria. She was eighth in the preliminary round at 270.45.

Miller also was 10th in the preliminary round of the three-metre competition with 225.75 points and didn’t qualify for the final.

Clubmate Kathryn Grant was 12th on one-metre at 201.00 and 16th on three-metre at 185.60 and didn’t advance to either final.


Jenna Lalonde of the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre put herself into consideration to compete for Canada at the 2022 Commonwealth Games or Senior Pan American Championships with a sixth-place all-around finish in the senior women’s high-performance division at the May 26-30 Canadian Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Richmond, B.C.

The 16-year-old’s top result was fourth place on the uneven bars, to match her fourth-place overall performance at Elite Canada earlier this year. Canada will send a team of five athletes to the July 11-18 Pan Ams in Rio de Janeiro, and five others to the July 24-Aug. 8 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

A pair of local athletes earned Canadian crowns in younger high-performance age groups. OGC’s Alexandra Reddick won the uneven bars event in the junior women’s category en route to a seventh-place finish all-around, while Kanata Gymnosphere’s Julia Read was also an uneven bars champion in the novice women’s division in which she finished 10th all-around.

OGC’s James Doucette was fourth all-around in the men’s national open competition, while Gymnosphere’s Emma Ireland finished on her teammate’s heels at 11th in the novice women’s all-around, and Gymnosphere’s Angelina Polegato was 15th in the women’s national open age 12-15 competition.


A pair of local wrestlers claimed podium spots at the May 26-29 Canadian Wrestling Trials in Edmonton. Ziad Saif El Nasr of the Carleton (University) Wrestling Club earned silver in the junior men’s 61 kg division, while Titus Diceman of the National Capital Wrestling Club took bronze in the cadet men’s 92 kg category.

Also earning top-six placements were NCWC athletes Kyler Keogh (fourth, cadet men’s 71 kg), Kai Harada (fifth, junior men’s 65 kg) and Ethan Fairchild (fifth, senior men’s 79 kg). El Nasr also placed fifth in senior men’s 61 kg and third in junior men’s greco-roman 63 kg.


Western Canadian teams domination at the May 26-29 Canadian 17-and-under water polo championships in Calgary, but several Ottawa players nevertheless made their mark.

Sarah Alexander scored 18 goals in five matches to lead the Ottawa Titans to a fifth place performance, and finished third in scoring nationally, with a total of 60 goals in 15 games. The Titans women were the lone local team to make it to the National Championship League’s final weekend.

Brooklyn Plomp had the highest goals-per-game average during Water Polo Canada’s NCL 17U women’s season at 4.55 (50 goals in 11 matches) and was the lone local female selected for summertime centralization with Canadian age group teams. The Capital Wave player will be seeking a place on Team Canada for August’s World Youth Championships.

Five Titans were chosen for centralization with the men’s youth national team – Thomas Andrijasevic, Andrej Gavric, Daniel Gonzalez, Liam Sterne and Jackson Taylor.


The local equestrian competition season got underway this past weekend at Wesley Clover Parks, with Ottawa’s Rayne Dubois scoring a win Saturday in the signature $15,000 Grand Prix category during the May 26-29 Ottawa Welcome event.

Dubois led a women’s sweep of the podium as she qualified for a jump-off alongside Kanata’s Julia Wiggins and Oakville’s Anna Bremermann after posting the only clear rounds out of the 10 riders entered.

Aboard Dublin, a 13-year-old horse formerly campaigned by Jonathon Millar out of Millar Brooke Farm, Dubois was last to compete in the jump-off after the previous two had knocked down a rail each.

“My plan had been to mosey my way to a clear round, but I had the first jump down, so I booked it the rest of the way around,” Dubois said in a competition recap by Jump Media. “It was really fun to be in the jump-off with two of my friends, we’re a pretty close-knit group.”

Dubois is a former student and still teaches young riders at Wesley Clover, which is set to host numerous competitions this summer, highlighted by an Aug. 24-28 Major League Show Jumping event that’s part of a 10-stop North American league featuring some of the world’s top riders and over $8.5 million in total prize money.

“It really feels like home,” Dubois said about competing at Wesley Clover Parks. “Everyone is so friendly, and it has incredible hospitality. They maintain the grounds so well, and it’s one of the best grass rings in North America.”

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

Martin can be reached by e-mail at and on Twitter @martincleary.

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