By Martin Cleary
Life is good for Ottawa’s Avery Nordman, whether it’s as a student, a dancer or a golfer.
In her A.Y. Jackson Secondary School classroom, she understands her subjects and strives for success. She graduated Grade 9 with an 85-per-cent average.
On the dance floor, Nordman loves a variety of styles of movement from ballet to jazz to contemporary to hip-hop. By practising four hours a day for four days a week, she has helped her dancing groups earn a number of honours at Capital City Dance.
As a golfer, she has spent half of her 14-year-old life learning, playing and enjoying the game to the point where she has become one of the top junior girls’ players in the Ottawa Valley Golf Association. Her 2022 golf resume certainly is proof of her strength as a competitive golfer.
Competing in only her second National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association girls’ golf championship at Manderley on the Green, Nordman recently won her first high school title with an impressive three-over-par 75 to score a six-stroke victory in the 18-hole final.
Antonia Ho of St. Paul was second at 81, while Sophie Foulds of Nepean claimed third at 84.
At the 2021 high school championship at Manderley, Nordman placed second as a Grade 9 student-athlete and finished three strokes behind winner Isabella Ferguson of Saint Mother Teresa High School.
“I was incredibly happy with my performance,” Nordman said in a phone interview about her NCSSAA victory. “I remember telling my dad that last year I was second, but this year I really, really want to win the championship. I played very well and ended up winning.”
She made few mistakes getting to the greens and putting was a key reason for her success in the field of 13 golfers.
“I didn’t make a three-putt and that helped me keep my score low,” added Nordman, whose winning score was one stroke off her personal-best round of 74. “My accuracy with the irons to hit the greens also helped me keep my score low. And there was no stress with up-and-downs.”
During the past year, Nordman, who marked her first hole-in-one three years ago, has worked on strengthening her putting as well as her overall game with coach Dale Trafford at the Canadian Golf and Country Club.
“My putting has gotten much better compared to last year. All my practising has helped me out on the greens. And I’m also reading the greens properly,” continued Nordman, who won individual and team silver medals at the 2022 Ontario Summer Games and captured the 2022 OVGA Junior U19 Cup overall and girls’ bantam titles.
Nordman’s game has also been aided by her dance lessons and commitment to her competitive routines.
“It keeps me stretched, especially my back,” she added. “I’ve heard golfers get back injuries, but it has never happened to me.
“My coach keeps telling me a lot that both golf and dance compliment each other so well.”
Nordman could have concluded her 2022 high school golf season with the OFSAA girls’ provincial festival, which was Wednesday and Thursday at Flamborough Hills Golf Club in Copetown, but she had a schedule conflict.
For the first time in her career, she was invited to the Ontario Junior (U19) Tour championship and Super Camp at the Ambassador Golf Club in Windsor. She felt the 54-hole championship and testing camp, which started Monday runs through Friday, was better suited for her development than the OFSAA festival.
“It’s very disappointing,” Nordman said about missing the OFSAA girls’ golf festival. “My teachers and coach really would have liked me to go, but I couldn’t miss the super camp and tour championship.”
After the first two rounds of the provincial junior tour championship, Nordman carded back-top-back rounds of 87 for a 32-over-par 174 total. Emily McKee of the Toronto St. Georges Golf and Country Club remained on top at 71-77-148. Sophie Foulds of Royal Ottawa is tied for 18th at 78-85-163.
The top three finishers in the NCSSAA boys’ open golf championship at the Rideau View Golf Club – Isaiah Ibit of St. Peter, Ben Sheridan of Glebe and Graydon Laughlin of Glebe – also declined invitations to the OFSAA boys’ championship to attend the provincial tour championship and super camp.
Eighth-place finisher Max Corcoran of West Carleton followed the same course. All four players are in the top 10 at the Ontario Junior (U19) Tour championship, entering Friday’s third and final round.
Ottawa Hunt’s Laughlin tied for the second-lowest round on Thursday with an even-par 71 and is in a three-way tie for fourth at 147, after an opening round 76. Sheridan is three strokes back at 150 following rounds of 76 and 74 and shares seventh.
Ibit, a Team Ontario member for this season, and Corcoran are deadlocked in ninth place at 151. Ibit had rounds of 74-77, while Corcoran posted scores of 78-73.
Zachary Smith of Brampton Golf Club tops the boys’ leaderboard at 72-68-140.
At the OFSAA boys’ golf championship on the FireRock Golf Club course in Komoka, Yaorui Xu of John McCrae carded rounds of 81-85-166 for 37th place in the open division. West Carleton’s Luca Andreadis tied for 46th with scores of 90-89-179 in the high school division.
The high school division had representation from three West Carleton golfers – NCSSAA champion Brennan Shiposh, tied 18th, 86-78-164; Will McCulligh, tied 52nd, 94-92-186; and Carson Osborne, tied 56th, 95-95-190. Holy Trinity’s Ayden Gropp also was tied for 18th at 84-80-164.
St. Michael’s of Kemptville posted the second-best team score in Thursday’s second round and jumped five places to earn the bronze medal with a score of 467 (245-222). All three team players had significantly better second rounds: Rhett McLean, tied seventh, 78-73-151; Carter O’Brien, tied 12th, 83-72-155; and Cohen Adamson, tied 24th, 84-77-161.
The West Carleton team of Shiposh, McCulligh and Osborne was 18th out of 20 schools at 270-259-529. Crescent School of North York was first at 221-220-441.
Antonio Ho of St. Paul was the NCSSAA’s top player during the OFSAA girls’ golf festival. She finished tied for 10th in the open division with rounds of 77-80-157.
Competing in the high school division were Louis-Riel’s Amelie Ouellet, tied 15th, 93-84-177; Ashbury’s Esha Mital, 18th, 91-87-178; St. Francis Xavier’s Stella Orrbine, tied 26th, 95-97-192; and St. Mark’s Lexa Phillips, tied 29th, 91-103-194.
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 High Achievers “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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