By Martin Cleary
Some things never change, like the No. 1 team in the U Sports men’s basketball team rankings.
That’s right. The Carleton University Ravens men’s team has started its OUA season as the school to chase once again, after winning its opening two games of the 2022-23 regular-season Friday and Saturday at home.
And one of those universities that will be casting a huge shadow over the Ravens will be the neighbouring University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, who are ranked No. 2. The Gee-Gees also had a perfect 2-0 record last weekend on their home court.
The Ravens and Gee-Gees women’s teams also were undefeated at 2-0 in their opening weekend. But the experts behind the weekly national rankings weren’t as kind to the two Ottawa women’s university squads. Carleton was placed ninth and the Gee-Gees didn’t make the Top 10.
Veterans Aidan Warnholtz and Grant Shephard were the driving forces behind Carleton defeating York University Lions 97-66 on Friday and McMaster University Marauders 82-68 on Saturday.
Warnholtz and Shephard had matching 20-point efforts against the Lions, while the former added nine rebounds and the latter contributed nine assists. Wazir Latiff also tossed in 16 points for the Ravens.
The dynamic duo had even stronger performances against McMaster as Warnholtz connected for 30 points, including five of seven shots from three-point range, and Shephard pulled down 20 rebounds and added 14 points.
The Ravens trailed the Marauders 63-56 after three quarters, but the Ravens were in full control for the decisive fourth, winning the quarter 26-5 for the overall victory.
“I’m really upset about the first three quarters but I’m really pleased about the fourth,” Ravens coach Taffe Charles said. “At the end of the day, we can look at one side and say ‘why are we getting so behind?’ but on the other side we can say well ‘we’re coming out with these wins’ so obviously there’s something there and we just need to figure out how to do better to continue that through the whole game.”
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees men were dominant offensively and defensively as they stormed past McMaster 97-67 on Friday and York 88-65 on Saturday.
Cole Newton led the Gee-Gees’ attack against the Marauders with 25 points and had ample support from Quincy Louis Jeune with 19 points, Guillaume Pepin with 17 and Kevin Otoo with 13.
In the game against York, Newton counted 20 points and added six rebounds, while Brock Newton had 19 points. Louis Jeune scored 18 points, Pepin chipped in with 10 points and Otoo recorded seven points and eight rebounds.
Kali Pocrnic was the main offensive threat for the Carleton women’s team as the Ravens downed York 69-57 and McMaster 73-57. She was comfortable at home in the paint and scored 29 points against the Lions and registered 25 points and six rebounds against McMaster.
Jacqueline Urban had a double-double effort for the Ravens women’s team with 14 points and 11 rebounds against the Marauders, while Dorcas Buisa notched 11 points and six rebounds.
Natsuki Szczokin scored a two-point field goal with three seconds remaining to give the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees a 68-66 victory over McMaster.
Szczokin finished with 12 points, while Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu led the Gee-Gees’ charge with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Oksana Gouchie-Provencher also counted 12 points and added five rebounds.
Lefebvre-Okankwu took her game to the next level against York, connecting on 11 of 13 field-goal attempts in a 24-point effort and also contributing nine rebounds and four steals. Szczokin tossed in 13 points and Nadine Katumbayi added 10 points.
9 GEE-GEES, 2 RAVENS NAMED TO OUA FOOTBALL ALL-STAR TEAMS
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees had nine players selected to the various OUA football all-star teams this week, while the Carleton University Ravens had two all-stars.
Running-back J.P. Cimankinda led the way for the Gee-Gees as he earned his third OUA all-star selection. He was placed on the OUA second all-star team in 2021 and was a member of the 2018 OUA all-rookie team, when he attended the University of Guelph.
Cimankinda had an OUA-high 159 carries, which resulted in 976 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns. He also scored one touchdown on a pass.
The other Gee-Gees on the OUA first all-star team were from the defensive squad: linebacker James Peter, SAM linebacker Emmanuel Aboagye-Gyan and cornerback Kevin Victome.
Queen’s University Gaels’ Richard Burton of Ottawa was named as a receiver on the first all-star team. He was fourth in the OUA with 557 yards from 34 receptions.
The second OUA all-star team included four Gee-Gees: receiver Daniel Oladejo, guard Tristan Fortin, halfback Eric Cumberhatch and kicker Campbell Fair. Carleton’s Kaseem Ferdinand was honoured as a receiver.
The OUA all-rookie team included offensive lineman Noah Fahey of Carleton and running back/special teams returner Charles Asselin of Ottawa.
FIGURE SKATERS HIT THE ICE FOR IMPORTANT COMPETITIONS
A pair of figure skaters with National Capital Region connections are in Graz, Austria, for this week’s IceChallenge senior and junior championships.
Ottawa-born Kaiya Ruiter of Calgary, who missed the 2021-22 season because of injury, is entered in the women’s senior singles draw. Gatineau’s Fee Ann Landry will compete in women’s junior singles.
In 2021, Ruiter won a pair of bronze medals in back-to-back ISU Junior Grand Prix meets.
Meanwhile at the Skate Ontario junior and senior sectional championships in Richmond Hill, Gloucester Skating Club’s David Shteyngart won the short and freeskate programs with respective scores of 60.99 points and 112.20 points to capture the men’s junior title with 173.19 points.
Nepean Skating Club’s Katherine Medland Spence placed second in women’s senior singles with 144.24 points. She was second in the short program with 56.37 points, but fifth in the freeskate (87.87 points).
KARANJA, HYNES SCORE CANADA ARMY RUN VICTORIES
Joshua Karanja and Alexandra Hynes won the men’s and women’s 10-kilometre races respectively at the Canada Army Run, which attracted more than 7,300 road racers.
Karanja finished the course in 32 minutes, 43 seconds, while Hynes stopped in 36:46. Five-time Paralympian Jason Dunkerley, a visually-impaired runner who was previously guided in his career by Karanja, was sixth in 36:42.
The five-kilometre race winners were Sebastian Saville in 16:25 and Lynda Gingras in 17:58.0. Gingras also won the five- and 10-kilometre challenge in 55:57.
The champions in the ill, injured and disabled 10-kilometre race were Evan Goodwin in 46:20 and Denita Hammond of Halifax in 47:08. Hammond also was first in the five- and 10-kilometre challenge in 1:09:29.
GOALKEEPER CREPEAU OUT FOR CANADIAN MEN’S SOCCER TEAM
Former Ottawa Fury goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau has been scratched from Canada’s lineup for the upcoming FIFA men’s World Cup of soccer in Qatar.
While playing for Los Angeles FC, Crepeau suffered a broken leg in extra time of the MLS Cup final as he charged out of his box and collided heavily with Philadelphia forward Cory Burke.
Crepeau had successful surgery Sunday on his right leg, but isn’t expected to return to the game for several months.
In 2018, Crepeau was the star goalkeeper in his only season with the Fury. On loan from the MLS’s Montreal Impact, Crepeau set a United Soccer League single-season record of 15 shutouts, was named goalkeeper of the year and a member of the USL All-League First Team.
Crepeau has played 33 games for Canada, including the last 15 with the national men’s team from 2016 to the present. He helped Canada win the CONCACAF qualifier to advance to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years.
No. 2 all-time Canadian men’s national team scorer Jonathan David of Ottawa is a shoo-in to be named to Canada’s World Cup squad when it is announced Sunday.
CANADA AIMING FOR FIRST MEDAL AT SITTING VOLLEYBALL WORLDS
Canada has already scored a best-ever result at the sitting volleyball world championships and is in a position to win its first-ever medal.
After capturing three of its first four games, the No. 6-ranked Canadian women defeated Italy 24-26, 25-22, 25-17 and 25-14 in Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Anne Fergusson of Carleton Place is a member of the team along with Jolan Wong of Pembroke.
Canada will face Slovenia on Thursday in its semifinal. In the preliminary round, Canada defeated Slovenia 25-18, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22. Canada entered the worlds with a previous best result of sixth in 2018. The national team also was fourth at the 2020 Paralympic Games.
NORDIC SKIERS STEWART-JONES, CYR PREPARING FOR WORLD CUPS
Olympians Katherine Stewart-Jones of Chelsea and Antoine Cyr of Gatineau are in the final stages of preparation for the first of four World Cup cross-country skiing competitions in Europe.
They are part of Canada’s team of six nordic skiers for World Cups in Ruka, Finland; Lillehammer, Norway; Beitostolen, Norway; and Davos, Switzerland.
Meanwhile, University of Ottawa biology students Zoe Pekos, Shilo Rousseau and Will Ng have been named to represent Canada in biathlon for the 2023 FISU World University Winter Games Jan. 12-22 in Lake Placid, New York.
Cara Pekos of McMaster University and Nakkertok Racing ENRG also will attend the FISU Games.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.
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