HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
The members of Team Homan had a lot of their minds Sunday and it wasn’t always centred on curling.
While Rachel Homan, skip Tracy Fleury, second Emma Miskew and lead Sarah Wilkes were going undefeated in their preliminary pool play at the Saville Shoot-Out in Edmonton and added two playoff victories to reach the final, the tight-knit group looked East and wondered on the final day.
They were anxious to know how Joanne Courtney, who stepped back from curling at the end of last season after an eight-year run with Team Homan, was doing in her first half-Ironman competition at Triathlon Esprit Montreal.
Courtney emerged a winner in many ways. Not only did she complete the gruelling swim, bike and run race in five hours, 22 minutes and 14 seconds, she also was the champion in her women’s 30-39 age class, seventh among all 35 women and 79th out of 180 competitors in the field.
Team Homan was hoping to match Courtney’s champion status, but its comeback fell one point short as long-time arch-rival Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg eked out a 5-4 win in the Saville Shoot-Out.
Jones stole two in the first end and one in the fifth for a 4-1 lead after five ends of the eight-end championship final. But Homan, who throws the fourth and final rocks, countered with one in the sixth and a two-point steal in the seventh to even the match 4-4.
Jones made the proper shots in the eighth and final end to secure the necessary, game-deciding point.
Homan and Jones have met 48 times in their curling careers and the former holds a slim 25-23 edge.
Team Homan reached the final by scoring one in each of the final two ends to defeat Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, AB., 6-4, in the semifinals, and Raphaela Keiser of St. Moritz, Switzerland, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
In the round-robin, Team Homan was undefeated in Pool A by outscoring Seungyoun Ha of Korea 7-2, Abby Ackland of Winnipeg 6-4, Kerry Galusha of Yellowknife 9-2, Kayla Shrlik of Calgary 6-3, and Kelsey Rocque of Edmonton 5-4.
Meanwhile at the D&R Custom Steel Gord Carroll Curling Classic in Whitby, ON., Lauren Mann of Arnprior reached the A-side championship game, while Emily Deschênes of Ottawa won the B-side final.
Mann and her rink of third Shelley Hardy, second Stephanie Mumford and lead Stephanie Corrado were a perfect 3-0 to win Pool B, which included a 6-5 decision over Deschênes, who finished at 1-2 in preliminary action.
In the playoffs, Mann turned back Krysta Burns of Sudbury 6-4 in the semifinals, but lost to Isabelle Ladouceur of Dundas, ON., 5-3, partially because the winning rink recorded three in the sixth end to lead 5-2. The final ended after seven of eight scheduled ends.
The Deschênes rink of third Adrienne Belliveau, second Emma Artichuk and lead Evelyn Robert needed three wins for the B-side title – defeating Breanna Rozon of Mississauga 7-6 in an extra end in the quarterfinals, Katelyn Wasyikiw of Whitby 7-6 by scoring a pair in the eighth end of the semifinals, and Abby Deschene of Acton, ON., 6-5 in the final.
RIDEAU CANOE CLUB PADDLERS EARN 7 OLYMPIC HOPES MEDALS
Rideau Canoe Club paddlers were at their best once again on the international canoe-kayak scene as they were major contributors to Canada’s success at the Olympic Hopes regatta on Lake Zemnik in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Olympic Hopes is the largest canoe regatta in the world for paddlers in the U15 through U17 age classes.
Canada won nine medals (two gold, five silver and two bronze) to finish sixth overall based on total medals, seventh based on gold medals won and sixth based on points. Hungary, as expected, was the dominant country with an unmatched 64 medals (29-26-9), while Germany was second at 6-3-10-19.
Canoeists Ruby Muhl, Julia Price and Abby Wojtyk led charge for Canada and the Rideau club, winning seven of Canada’s nine medals.
Muhl was the C1 women’s 16-year-old 200-metre champion, the silver medallist over 500 metres and teamed with Price for silver in the C2 15-16 200-metre race. Price earned her two other medals in individual C1 15 finals – first over 200 metres and third in the 1,000-metre final.
Abby Wojtyk was a double silver medallist, placing second in the C1 women’s 16 1,000 metres and the C2 17 over 200 metres with Veronica So of False Creek Canoe Club.
MILES, DAL-CIN, GEE NAMED TO WORLDS CYCLING TEAM
Ottawa riders Carson Miles and Matteo Dal-Cin worked hard, but couldn’t produce a final result, while riding for Team Canada in a pair of gruelling Grand Prix cycling races in Quebec City and Montreal on Friday and Sunday respectively.
But Miles did achieve one of his goals by going with the break of riders and being at the head of the pack for quite some time.
“The break took a bit longer than normal to get away and I was pretty committed to getting in it at the start,” Miles wrote in an email interview after the Quebec Grand Prix.
“After that, the group didn’t give us much leash as I was with some other really strong guys so we rolled quite hard all day. Was out front for about 150 kilometres and then came apart.
“I knew I didn’t have the KOM (King of the Mountain) jersey so when I was dropped for the peloton after, I pulled the pin so I could rest up and focus again for Sunday on a course that suits me a bit better.”
Miles was motivated in part by the insane noise of the spectators.
“Being the only Canadian up there everyone knows your name so it was special every lap.”
On Monday, Cycling Canada named Miles, Dal-Cin and Derek Gee of Osgoode, ON., to the 18-member national team for the world road racing championships Sept. 18-25 in Wollongong, Australia.
Miles will compete in the men’s U23 individual time trial and road race, while Dal-Cin and Gee will race in the same two races in the men’s elite category.
Michael Woods of Ottawa wasn’t named to the Canadian team as he recently finished the Tour of Britain and has three important single-day races for his Israel-Premier Tech pro team in early October.
Woods placed 29th overall in the five-stage Tour of Britain. His best individual result was a 26th in Stage 1.
6TH PLACE FINISH FOR LOCAL PAIR AT RUGBY SEVENS WORLD CUP
Ottawa’s Olivia de Couvreur started her first Rugby Sevens World Cup as Canada’s “travelling reserve” but the 22-year-old wound up playing her team’s most important moments of the Sept. 9-11 tournament in South Africa.
An injury to veteran Bianca Farella opened the door for de Couvreur, and the Ottawa Irish product wound up playing the full match in Canada’s narrow 10-7 defeat to USA in the quarter-finals.
De Couvreur then scored the tying and game-winning tries as Canada knocked off England 22-7 in their placement semi-final match. The Canadian women had earlier beat China 24-5 in the round of 16, and went on to lose 53-0 to Fiji in their final match to place sixth overall.
Pam Buisa, an Ottawa Irish alum as well, was also part of the Canadian team, but the Tokyo Olympian did not get on the scoreboard.
RAVENS, GEE-GEES HAVE MATCHING 2-1 OUA FOOTBALL RECORDS
Carleton University Ravens and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees improved their OUA football records to 2-1 in contrasting fashion.
The Ravens produced four touchdowns in the second quarter and powered their way to a 45-14 win over visiting York University Lions, while the Gee-Gees held off McMaster University Marauders 19-14 on the road.
Using three different approaches to scoring a touchdown, the Ravens accounted for a game-deciding 28 points in the second quarter – Kaseem Ferdinand, 25-yard pass from quarterback Tanner DeJong; Denny Ferdinand, 57-yard punt return; Eljames Aiguomudu, 41-yard interception; and Frederick Hachey, 75-yard pass from DeJong.
Fumble recoveries led to the other two touchdowns as Shaiheem Charles-Brown scored the opening six-pointer for Carleton in the York end zone and Ben Huckabone had the final touchdown off a 31-yard sprint.
Brandon Forcier kicked all six converts and a 13-yard field goal.
Meanwhile, Jean-Paul Cimankinda ran one yard and Daniel Oladejo hauled in a 17-yard pass from quarterback Ben Maracle for the Gee-Gees’ touchdowns. Campbell Fair booted a 12-yard field goal and added two converts.
In the Ontario Football Conference, the Ottawa Sooners moved into sole possession of second place in the six-team junior league, after a commanding 40-3 win over the GTA Grizzlies.
Ottawa Jr. Riders were hit with their first loss of the Quebec Major Junior Football League season, when they fell 33-8 at Minto Field to the undefeated South Shore Packers. The Riders, 3-1, and Packers are tied for first place with six points apiece.
CASSIDY, HOFFMAN ENTER TORONTO SPORT HALL OF HONOUR
Three-time Paralympian Josh Cassidy of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club and former Sport Canada executive leader Abby Hoffman have been selected to the Toronto Sport Hall of Honour.
The Ottawa-born Cassidy beat the odds and survived neuroblastoma, a non-congenital cancer, at birth and progressed to win 31 national wheelchair titles in track and field. He has won wheelchair marathons in London (2010), Chicago (2012), Boston (2012) and Los Angeles (2019). He entered the hall as Para Athlete of the Year.
Hoffman made a name for herself as a young girl, when she registered for boys’ minor hockey by altering her first name. As a young woman, she became one of Canada’s middle-distance running track stars, winning eight medals (including three gold) from four Summer Olympics, four Pan-American Games, two Commonwealth Games and two Summer Universiades.
She had an influential career with the federal government for more than 25 years in senior positions with Health Canada and was the head of Sport Canada for a decade. The first woman selected to Canada’s executive Olympic committee, Hoffman also has played a vital role with World Athletics for 30 years. She entered the hall in the Sport Legend category.
GLOUCESTER FIGURE SKATER DAVID SHTEYNGART 14TH AT RIGA CUP
Gloucester Skating Club’s David Shteyngart finished in the middle of the pack at his first international figure-skating assignment at the Riga Cup in Riga, Latvia.
Shteyngart had trouble landing his big jumps. He finished 11th in the men’s short program with 55.34 points at the International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix competition and 15th in the free skating program with 105.93 points. He finished 14th overall with 161.27 points.
All three of his marks were personal best scores. Shteyngart also was credited with extra marks in the second half of his free skating program for landing two triple jumps in combination and a double Axel.
AMY MILLAR THRILLED BY DOUBLE-CLEAR SHOW JUMPING EFFORT
Perth’s Amy Millar had a competition to remember at the $600,000 BMO Nations’ Cup show jumping meet at Spruce Meadows, AB.
Serving as anchor of the four-member Canadian for the first time in the Nations’ Cup, Millar had two clear rounds riding 13-year-old Truman. The daughter of 10-time Olympian Ian Millar, she was one of six riders to have a double-clear experience.
Amy Millar’s performance helped Canada finish the team competition with 24 points (three best scores count) and placed fifth overall. Sweden won the Nations’ Cup for the first time with four faults.
“It was very special,” Millar said about her double-clear effort. “My horse was unbelievable; he was flying today. I would like to thank my dad and Danny Ingratta, who works for me, for helping me to get Truman ready to fly.”
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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