HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
WEEKEND WRAP: There are many aspects to high school life and sports is one of them, whether a student makes a team or supports a team.
And, over time, every school builds a reputation for being good in one or several sports, which contributes greatly to filling the hallways with school spirit.
École secondaire publique Gisèle-Lalonde was noted for its play during the 2021-22 academic year in volleyball, soccer and basketball.
But one first-year student-athlete, Timeo Atonfo, capped the Gisèle-Lalonde varsity sport’s season by taking the focus off team sports and putting it on the individual athlete.
For good measure, Atonfo’s performances even produced an outstanding team result.
Competing in the boys’ novice category, Atonfo qualified for three finals at his inaugural three-day OFSAA track and field championships in Toronto and came home with two medals and a fifth-place result.
Atonfo was a dominant student/athlete last month in the three main high school championships preceding the OFSAA provincial finals. He competed in the 100-metre hurdles, the 300-metre hurdles and the long jump and won all three events at the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association East Conference, NCSSAA city and East Regional championships.
During the OFSAA championships, he was in contention for another Triple Crown, but still excelled with personal-best times for the 300-metre hurdles gold medal and a silver in the 100-metre hurdles.
Atonfo dipped under 43 seconds in the 300-metre hurdles with a winning time of 42.16, a seasonal best. He also went under 14 seconds in the 100-metre hurdles with the second-best showing in the final in 14.64 seconds.
In the long jump, Atonfo had four faults, but managed to register a jump of 6.14 metres in round five to finish fifth.
Atonfo’s performances in his three individual events earned enough points for Gisèle-Lalonde to finish tied for second place in the boys’ novice team standings with 22 points. Ashbury was 10th in the same class at 15.
Colonel By tied for 14th in the overall boys’ team point standings at 24 and the Cougars boys’ junior squad was ninth at 16 points.
NCSSAA student/athletes collected two gold and three silver medals on the final day of the OFSAA championships Saturday and finished with 18 medals in total – five gold, nine silver and four bronze.
Earl of March’s Amelia Van Brabant recorded a personal-best time of 9:47.94 to win the girls’ senior 3,000 metres in a race featuring four front runners from Eastern Ontario.
Carleton Place’s Maddie Seaby, who trains with Van Brabant at the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club, was second in 9:55.43, while Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s Elizabeth Vroom, the girls’ open 2,000-metre steeplechase champion, was fourth in 10:03.51 and Arnprior’s Louise Stonham took sixth in 10:09.13.
Luca Nicoletti of Paul-Desmarais added to his OFSAA medal collection by earning the silver medal in the boys’ senior 400-metre hurdles in 54.61. Ursula Franklin’s Ryder King won in 53.08. Nicoletti earlier took the bronze in the 110-metre hurdles.
Ashbury’s Preston Schwarz powered his way to the boys’ novice 200-metre silver medal in a wind-aided 22.74.
Isabella Chiumera of St. Pius X ran 10:19.71 in the girls’ novice 3,000 metres, which brought her the silver medal.
Here are the other top-eight Saturday results from NCSSAA athletes:
· Emily Brennan, Sacred Heart, girls’ senior 400-metre hurdles, fourth, 1:04.99
· John McCrae (Cora McQuinn, Shayla McQuinn, Rachel Hertz and Andie Harris), girls’ open 4×400-metre relay, fifth, 4:08.09
· Lauren Alexander, Glebe, girls’ junior 800 metres, fifth, 2:18.00
· Jocelyn Giannotti, Holy Trinity, girls’ junior 3,000 metres, fifth, 10:12.75
· Grace Streek, Merivale, girls’ novice 3,000 metres, fifth, 10:33.81
· Sadie Gilbert, Paul-Desmarais, girls’ novice shot put, fifth, 11.28 metres
· Leo Wallner, St. Francis Xavier, boys’ senior 110-metre hurdles, fifth, 14.68
· Audrey Goddard, Merivale, girls’ senior 400-metre hurdles, sixth, 1:07.84
· Jaida Courteau, St. Peter, girls’ junior high jump, sixth (tied), 1.45 metres
· Will Batley, West Carleton, boys’ novice 200 metres, seventh, 23.57
· Jay Yetman, Glebe, boys’ senior long jump, eighth, 6.37 metres
· William Sanders, St. Mother Teresa, boys’ junior 800 metres, eighth, 2:12.26
· Ibrahim Domiati, Louis-Riel, boys’ novice 200 metres, eighth, 23.80
THREE SATURDAY OFSAA PODIUMS FOR NCSSAA TEAMS
National capital schools won a combined three medals at OFSAA team sport championships that concluded on Saturday.
The St. Peter Knights claimed the highest prize of the local group with their silver medal performance at the girls’ AAA soccer championship in London.
The Knights blasted through pool play, recording four wins by a combined 13-1 margin. They then posted 2-0 and 4-0 playoff shutouts to reach the championship game before falling 1-0 to Hamilton’s St. Thomas More in the final.
The other two Ottawa schools rebounded from semi-final defeats to capture bronze medals.
The Louis-Riel Rebelles went to penalty kicks in each of their playoff games at the boys’ AA soccer championships in Walkerton, switching outcomes back-and-forth in all three.
The Rebelles prevailed over Toronto’s Father Henry Carr after a scoreless quarter-final, lost in an 8-7 marathon PK session against eventual gold medallist Holy Cross of Woodbridge in the semis, and then return the feeling of elation with a shootout win over Niagara Falls’ St. Paul for bronze.
A day after falling 14-7 to eventual champion Adam Scott of Peterborough, the Cairine Wilson Wildcats downed host St. Mary of Cobourg to claim third place at the boys’ A/AA rugby championships.
Earlier, the Glebe Gryphons had a similar experience at the May 30-June 1 girls’ AAA rugby competition in Kitchener. The Gryphons’ only loss in four games came against champion Mayfield of Caledon in the semis, but they took down Oakville Trafalgar 19-7 for bronze.
PAN AM TEAM GOLD FOR FENCER IN FIRST WIN OVER USA IN 7 YEARS
Ottawa’s Kelleigh Ryan had a disappointing 20th place result in the individual women’s foil competition on Sunday at the Pan American Fencing Championships in Paraguay, but she certainly made up for it in the team event today.
For the first time since the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, the Canadian women’s foil fencing team beat the United States of America to earn the gold medal.
Canada made easy work of Peru and Brazil in the quarter-finals and semi-finals with 20-point victories, and then took down the vaunted Americans 45-37 in the final.
Ryan was joined by individual gold and bronze medallists Eleanor Harvey and Jessica Guo, as well as Sabrina Fang, for the team event. The team is coached by Ottawa’s Paul ApSimon.
Earlier, at the May 20-23 national championships in Toronto, Sacha Vasiliev and Joel Gervais of Ottawa Fencing both claimed bronze medals. Both 18, Vasiliev’s medal came in the junior competition, while Gervais placed 10th in junior but came back to capture bronze in the senior event the next day.
GOLD MEDALS FOR TWO NATIONAL CAPITAL SQUASH PLAYERS
Gatineau’s Stephen Wren, a former Squash Canada president and New Zealand pro player and coach, won the men’s 55+ singles title at the Canadian squash championships in Vancouver.
His gold-medal performance was matched by Ottawa’s Lorraine Tetreault in the women’s 65+ division.
Wren, who has 10 national titles in Great Britain, Canada and the United States to his credit, outlasted Sean Ryan of Portland, Oregon, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3. He won his semifinal and quarterfinal by identical 3-0 scores.
Tetreault, a multiple national age-group champion, was undefeated in her women’s 65+ round-robin tournament, defeating Penny Wedd 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4, Sue Wastie of Vancouver 11-7, 11-6, 11-6, and Karen Stierhoff of Vancouver 11-7, 11-5, 11-9.
Dunrobin’s Samantha Cornett, a former player on the women’s pro tour, defeated Ottawa’s Iman Shaheen 11-6, 11-9, 11-2 in the women’s open round of 16, but lost 18-16, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8 in the quarterfinals to Nicole Bunyan of North Saanich, B.C.
Dominic Wren of Gatineau won his first two men’s U23 matches, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Ben Boulanger of Calgary 3-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6.
Catherine Giachino of Ottawa fell 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 to Sarah Aki of North Vancouver in the women’s U23 class quarterfinals.
After winning his men’s 75+ match in the round of 16, Vincent Taylor of Ottawa lost 15-13, 11-7, 11-8 to Robert de Valk of Niagara Falls in the quarterfinals.
In the men’s 50+ draw, Marc Kazimirski of Vancouver defeated Stephane Lussier of Gatineau 11-4, 11-5, 11-1 in the round of 16.
CANADA WINS FOURTH CANADA CUP WHEELCHAIR RUGBY SILVER MEDAL
Canada battled its way to its fourth silver medal in the ninth edition of the Canada Cup men’s wheelchair basketball tournament in Richmond, B.C.
After winning its five preliminary-round games by an average of almost nine goals a game, Canada lost 57-56 in overtime to defending world champion Japan in the final.
The Canadian team, which has veteran Patrice Dagenais of Embrun, ON., as a co-captain, defeated Japan 53-49 in pool play along with Great Britain 53-40, Denmark 56-46, Australia 65-58 and France 55-45.
Canada has never won the gold medal in the Canada Cup and placed fourth in the last two elite competitions in 2018 and 2016.
NEXT LEVEL FOURTH AT ONTARIO U19 BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Ottawa Next Level Dimillo went undefeated in the three-game, boys’ U19 Ontario basketball championship round robin, but couldn’t post a playoff win and finished fourth in Fonthill.
Next Level was edged 52-51 by Kingston Impact Wallace in its semifinal and dropped the bronze-medal game 61-55 to DK Dragons.
In the four-team Ontario Cup U19 division 5 championship, West Ottawa Prasal defeated South Muskoka Breakers 47-34 in the gold-medal match.
Nepean Blue Devils collected the silver medal after a 68-52 loss to QSLA in the Ontario Cup boys’ U17 division 7 final, and Ottawa Shooting Stars defeated Pen Midland Waves 32-21 for the bronze medal.
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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