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HIGH ACHIEVERS WEEKEND WRAP: University athletes Campbell Fair, Nathan Van Putten, Izzy Ferguson post highlight-reel moments

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

By Martin Cleary

Every so often, an athlete’s sports career is blessed with an unexpected “moment to remember.”

That experience played out for three university student-athletes on the weekend – University of Ottawa placement kicker Campbell Fair, Carleton University pitcher Nathan Van Putten and Simon Fraser University golfer Izzy Ferguson.

Fair sent his Gee-Gees teammates into a state of absolute craziness, when he kicked a 55-yard field goal with no time on the clock to give Ottawa a 21-18 road victory over the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.

After kicking a 44-yard field goal and having a 42-yarder blocked earlier in the game, Fair casually and confidently launched the ball 55 yards through the uprights with three yards to spare and no time on the clock. After being interviewed on 519 Sports Online, he was hoisted and carried into the Gee-Gees’ dressing room and received a water-bottle shower along the way.

“This is what kickers dream about, hitting the game-winner. Doing it from 55 yards is different,” Fair told 519 Sports Online. “I picked my target and followed that target.”

While the Gee-Gees were celebrating their fourth OUA football win in five games, the visiting Carleton University Ravens were sweeping a baseball doubleheader from the University of Toronto, 4-0 and 7-1.

Van Putten was the star of the opening game as he tossed a no-hitter against the Varsity Blues. He also didn’t allow a walk and had 12 strikeouts in the seven-inning game. (It’s uncertain if it was a perfect game as the box score was unavailable.)


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A fourth-year Raven, Van Putten has plenty of pitching experience. At age 15, he started throwing against men’s teams in the National Capital Baseball League and has coached 10 years in the Cornwall Minor Baseball League.

In Burnaby, B.C., freshman Izzy Ferguson was playing like a senior as she scored a hole-in-one Saturday and placed second overall at the Saint Martin’s Bishop Invitational in DuPont, Washington. She also helped the Simon Fraser Red Leafs finish second in the team standings.

Ferguson aced the 161-yard sixth hole at The Home Course and added four birdies in her one-under-par round of 71. She finished second in the individual standings at 76-71-147, which left her four strokes behind winner Megan Billeter of Western Washington University at 73-70-143.

“It was a great week for Izzy and she definitely has good vibes at The Home Course,” said Simon Fraser golf head coach Matthew Steinbach in a university press release. “She made an albatross (two on a par-five) in the practice round and then had the highlight of the tournament with her hole-in-one.

“In addition to the ace, Izzy did a spectacular job of managing her game over the two rounds to post her first top-five finish.”

J.P. CIMANKINDA GAINS 208 ALL-PURPOSE YARDS FOR GEE-GEES

Campbell Fair kicked the dramatic game-winning field goal, but the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees received an equally commendable, all-around effort from running back J.P. Cimankinda in their 21-18 OUA football win.

Cimankinda caught three passes for a total of 61 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown reception from Gee-Gees quarterback Ben Maracle, and ran for 147 yards on 23 carries.

Maracle also connected with Amlicar Polk for a 41-yard touchdown.

The Golden Hawks tied the game at 18-18 on a Quentin Scott six-yard run touchdown and a Dawson Hodge convert with 1:26 left in regulation time. But the Gee-Gees moved the ball 35 yards in three plays before Fair kicked the decisive 55-yard field goal from centre field with no time on the clock.

The Gee-Gees will play host to the Carleton Ravens on Saturday at TD Place in the annual Panda Game at noon.

The Ravens received touchdowns from Joshua Ferguson (one-yard run), Othman Brahm (50-yard interception return) and Harvey Mafuta (47-yard pass-and-run play with quarterback Tanner DeJong) to defeat University of Windsor Lancers 23-7.

Brandon Forcier kicked three converts and the Ravens earned a team safety. Brahm also added four solo tackles on defence and running back Matthew Morin rushed eight times for 72 yards.

The third-place Ottawa Sooners (4-3) will be looking to close their Ontario Football Conference junior regular season with a win against the Skyhawks on Sunday, after falling 31-6 to second-place London Beefeaters.

It was the second time the Beefeaters had handily defeated the Sooners this season. Earlier in the year, the Sooners lost 42-14.

The top four teams make the playoffs, which begin with the semifinals on Oct. 15.

Ottawa Jr. Riders improved their second-place record to 4-1 in the Quebec Major Junior Football League with a 26-23 victory over Quebec City Battalion (1-4).

OLYMPIC GOLD-MEDALLIST ROB MARLAND WINS AGAIN

The 2022 Head of the Rideau rowing regatta felt like old times for two-time Olympian and 1992 Olympic gold medallist Rob Marland of Ottawa.

Sitting in the No. 8 seat, Marland could look up the 20-metre men’s eight boat and see a crew rich in national-team, world-championship and Olympic experience. And the eight-man team plus coxswain Vanessa Wen hadn’t lost its enthusiasm or ability to move quickly on the water.

The crew of Larry Varga, Derek O’Farrell (2012 Olympics), Jim Fawcett, Robert Park (2001 worlds), Ed Fournier, Jason Blair, Michael Forgeron (1992 and 1996 Olympics) and Marland (1988 and 1992 Olympics) won the men’s masters eight in 18 minutes, 24 seconds.

The Ottawa Rowing Club boat not surprisingly posted the fastest time of the Ottawa-based race winners along the Rideau Canal course and was second fastest among all winning times in the regatta.

“Of the eight masters racers in the boat, seven are full-time residents in Ottawa and all were national-team calibre,” Marland said in a phone interview Monday. “It was fun, explosive and dynamic.”

Marland and Forgeron were part of Canada’s gold-medal men’s eight crew at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

“I have been in so many races – World Cups, World Championships, Olympics – but I still get excited about going to these regattas,” said Marland, who has been a lifetime rower and trains two to three times a week.

Marland, who wants to kick start a men’s masters program at the Ottawa Rowing Club to match the strong women’s masters program, praised the club for its new launch area this year at Mooney’s Bay beach.

“It was great, a complete success. It was really well organized. It’s all about the volunteers,” he added.

Kerin Hudson was a double winner for two different clubs, taking the women’s varsity single for the University of Ottawa and the women’s four as part of the Ottawa Rowing Club.

Kennedy Burrows of the University of Ottawa won the women’s lightweight varsity double and single. Carleton University’s Megan Elekes was part of the winning crews in women’s varsity four and eight with coxswain.

EARLY EXITS FOR RACHEL HOMAN, EMILY DESCHÊNES

The single-elimination PointsBet Canada Invitational curling tournament in Fredericton lasted only two games for Rachel Homan of Ottawa and a mere one for Emily Deschênes of Ottawa.

After Homan, who plays fourth for the rink skipped by Tracy Fleury, defeated Suzanne Birt of Summerside, P.E.I., 8-4, the Ottawa Curling Club player lost 7-6 to Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, AB., by a draw to the button rather than an extra end.

The quarterfinal match was tied 6-6 after 10 ends, which required each team to throw one shot closest to the button. Kristie Moore, who was filling in as skip for the working Scheidegger, used her advantage of being in the hammer position to pick either an in-turn or an out-turn shot and go first or second.

Moore chose the in-turn as most of the shots in the match were played on that area and to deliver her shot second. Homan had the difficult out-turn shot on a relatively unexplored side of the ice and she left it short of the rings. Moore put her shot in the rings for the win.

Deschênes lost her first-round match in the 16-team women’s competition to two-time Olympic gold medallist Kaitlyn Lawes of Winnipeg 10-8. Scoring deuces in each of the third, fourth, seventh and ninth ends, Deschênes trailed 9-8 entering the 10th end, where Lawes secured the victory with a single point.

At the KW Fall Classic in Kitchener-Waterloo, ON., Carleton Place’s Hailey Armstrong and Ottawa’s Mark Kean reached the semifinals of the women’s and men’s draws respectively.

The Dalhousie University Tigers and the University of Alberta Pandas were the respective men’s and women’s winners at the Canadian FISU Games curling qualifier, held Sept. 21-25 at the RA Centre. Both rinks will now wear the maple leaf at the FISU World Student Games, coming up from Jan. 12-22, 2013 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

JUDY ANDREW PIEL 4TH IN AGE CLASS AT BERLIN MARATHON

Ottawa’s K2J Fitness runners Judy Andrew Piel and Susan Ibach were part of double history Sunday at the Berlin Marathon.

While they were working their way to the finish line, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won the men’s race in a world-record time of two hours, one minute, nine seconds and two-time Olympian Natasha Wodak broke the Canadian women’s record with a clocking of 2:23:12.

Andrew Piel placed fourth in her women’s 60 age class in 3:28:27, while Ibach stopped in 4:19:06.

QUICKLY, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

• Canada dropped its first two matches at the world women’s volleyball championship in The Netherlands and Poland, losing 25-23, 25-15, 25-20 to Serbia and 25-19, 26-24, 25-15 to the United States. Ottawa’s Vicky Savard supported from the bench in both matches.

• Second-seeded Gabriela Dabrowski won her second WTA doubles title in as many weeks, but this time she joined Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos to defeat No. 4 Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez 6-4, 6-4 in the Pan-Pacific Open final in Tokyo.

• Ottawa centre back Vanessa Gilles has been loaned to the prestigious Olympique Lyon women’s soccer club for the remainder of the 2022-23 French season from Angel City FC of the National Women’s Soccer League.

• Anton Jacobs-Webb of Gatineau earned an assist as Canada defeated the International Para Hockey Team 5-2 at the International Para Hockey Cup in Ostrava, Czechia. Canada won its first game 3-0 over Czechia.

• Ottawa Rowing Club’s Josh King was in the No. 2 seat as Canada placed fifth in the men’s eight A final at the world rowing championships in Racice, Czechia.

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 martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.


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