By Martin Cleary
The Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club had “a call to arms” as its overland troops surged into Kingston’s Fort Henry for the Ontario cross-country running championships.
The club encouraged its runners to Storm the Fort on Sunday and seize as many team and individual medals as possible.
After the dust had settled, the Lions’ athletes earned eight of the nine medals won by Ottawa runners in the annual provincial championship.
The boys’ U16 runners led the charge to the finish line and podium for the Lions by winning three medals – team gold and individual silver and bronze.
Saul Taler, who won the OFSAA boys’ junior championship the previous weekend, placed second in the 4,000-metre race in 13 minutes, 7.7 seconds. He was 5.3 seconds behind winner Theo Cantelon of the University of Toronto Track Club.
Owen Siderus, the OFSAA boys’ novice silver medallist, was a shadowing third in the boys’ U16 test in 13:08.1.
Taler and Siderus provided the Lions’ leadership in the boys’ U16 class and were followed by teammates Charlie Mortimer (13th in 13:45.4) and Noah Smith (19th in 13:54.2) to win the team title with 37 points. They defeated runner-up University of Toronto by seven points.
The Lions girls’ U16 squad missed the individual medals, but showed strong depth, scoring a 56-point performance for the team gold medal. The top-four runners were Quinn Coughlin (fourth in 15:01.4), Evelyn Davies (10th in 15:27.8), Julia Van Wesenbeeck (14th in 15:30.4) and Ciara Villeneuve (28th in 16:00.2).
The girls’ U18 entry for the 6,000-metre race was impressive for the Lions as well, taking the team silver medal. The Lions scored 59 points and finished 11 points behind the University of Toronto.
The silver medallists were Olivia Baggley (eighth in 22:15.4), Lauren Alexander (12th in 22:46.4), Jocelyn Giannotti (15th in 22:52.3) and Louise Stonham (24th in 23:25.0).
Aria MacDonald of the Lions won the bronze medal in the women’s U20 race over 8,000 metres in 32:10.9, while teammates Elana Tyman and Freya Hurst were seventh and eighth in 34:48.9 and 34.57.3 respectively.
Ronan Lebel was the boys’ U10 champion with a 1,000-metre time of 3:38.9, while Kai Lebel was second in the boys’ U12 2,000-metre race in 7:24.7.
Ottawa’s Ellie McGregor of McGregor Training was the girls’ U14 bronze medallist, when she covered the 2,000-metre course in 7:27.4.
Kemptville marathon runner Lee Wesselius, an unattached competitor from New Brunswick, was fifth in the men’s open 8,000 metres in 24:47.1.
The other notable Lions’ team results were: girls’ U14, fourth place; men’s open, fifth; men’s masters, sixth; and boys’ U18, 10th.
OTTAWA GEE-GEES WIN 11TH NATIONAL WOMEN’S SOCCER MEDAL
The University of Ottawa scored three goals, goalkeeper Juliann Lacasse made three saves and the Gee-Gees finished No. 3 at the U Sports national university women’s soccer championship in Quebec City.
U Sports player-of-the-year Cassandra Provost, Angelina Gendreau and Katerine Delev scored one goal each as the Gee-Gees blanked Cape Breton University Capers 3-0 in the bronze-medal match.
The victory gave the Gee-Gees’ productive women’s soccer program its 11th national championship medal. It was the Gee-Gees’ fifth bronze medal to go with two gold and four silver.
“We’re really proud of our performance here at nationals,” Gee-Gees’ head coach Steve Johnson said after the game. “I think we showed the quality of our players. The program is in really good shape with the people that we have and the people we have returning.”
Provost, Kayla Kyle and Delev were named to the championship all-star team.
The Gee-Gees dropped into the bronze-medal game after a shootout, semifinal loss to the University of Montreal Carabins.
Gendreau and Olivia Allen scored for the Gee-Gees as regulation time ended at 2-2 and remained that way through two overtime periods. In the decisive shootout, the Carabins scored three times, while the Gee-Gees were unable to beat Catherine Langelier in three rounds.
In the quarterfinals, Ottawa defeated Trinity Western University Spartans 1-0 on a 79th-minute goal by Provost, who was the team’s player of the game.
The Gee-Gees won their 10th Ontario championship a week earlier on their home field.
BRONZE FOR KIANA GIBSON AT U SPORTS XC RUNNING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ottawa’s Kiana Gibson placed third in the women’s 8,000-metre race during the U Sports national university cross-country running championships in Halifax and helped the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds win the team silver medal.
The Thunderbirds’ Glynis Sim won the race in 28:19, while Gibson was third in 28:54. They sparked the Thunderbirds to a 50-point effort, while Laval took the team gold medal with 49 points.
UBC Okanagan Heat was fifth overall as Joanne Brown of Carp finished eighth in 29:14, which was the same time as seventh-place finisher Sophie Coutts of the University of Western Ontario.
Ottawa’s Elizabeth Vroom was the second-best runner for the 10th-place Queen’s University Gaels and 29th overall in 30:18. As the top freshman runner, she was named the U Sports rookie of the year.
Noemie Beauregard was 37th for the University of Ottawa during the women’s race in 30:36.
Andre Alie-Lamarche was the top Gee-Gee runner in the men’s 8,000 metres, 43rd in 25:48. Running for Dalhousie University, Will Cox of Ottawa placed 25th in 25:30 and helped the Tigers to a sixth-place team result.
ALL 4 RAVENS & GEE-GEES BASKETBALL SQUADS IMPROVE TO 4-0
The Carleton University Ravens and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees men’s and women’s basketball teams doubled their OUA win count and remained undefeated at 4-0 each during a Northern Ontario swing.
Connor Vreeken posted 23 points to spark the Carleton men’s team to an 86-69 win over the Nipissing University Lakers. The Ravens defeated Laurentian Voyageurs 80-64 as Aiden Warnholtz had a triple-double – 17 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists–_ while Grant Shephard contributed 19 points and 14 rebounds.
On the women’s side, Teresa Donato led the way with 17 points as the Ravens downed Nipissing 65-51. Carleton also beat Laurentian 69-63.
After the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees turned back Laurentian 79-53, they held off Nipissing 76-66. Cole Newton and Guillaume Pepin paced the Gee-Gees with 17 points apiece.
The Gee-Gees women’s team eked out a 49-45 win over Laurentian before dismissing Nipissing 73-56. Natsuki Szczokin, Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu and Brianna Iannazzo scored 12 points each for the Gee-Gees.
OTTAWA JR. RIDERS FALL SHORT IN FOOTBALL FINAL
The Ottawa Jr. Riders will have to wait until next year to strive for a 10th Quebec Major Junior Football League championship.
The Jr. Riders had that opportunity in Montreal, but were outscored 37-15 by the South Shore Junior Packers in the championship game.
In the regular season, the two teams defeated each other once as the Junior Packers won 33-8 before the Jr. Riders posted a 9-8 victory.
The Jr. Riders finished first overall in the regular season at 7-1 in the five-team league, while the Junior Packers were second at 6-2.
SILVER MEDAL FOR ANNE FERGUSSON AT SITTING VOLLEYBALL WORLDS
Carleton Place’s Anne Fergusson and Pembroke’s Jolan Wong are returning home as world championship silver medallists.
Canada lost to Brazil 3-2 in the gold-medal game during the sitting volleyball women’s world championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Canada led the best-of-five series after three games, but Brazil rallied for the gold medal, winning 25-23, 18-25, 21-25, 25-17, 15-6.
Fergusson, who was born without a left hand, has played on the women’s national sitting volleyball team since 2013. The attacker has represented Canada at the 2015 and 2019 Parapan Games and the 2021 Paralympics.
A graduate of Queen’s University in mechanical engineering, Fergusson also completed a fourth-month course at the Smith School of Business through a Game Plan scholarship.
Wong has been a member of the Canadian women’s sitting volleyball team since 2008. The 32-year-old libero who lost her right leg to bone cancer at age 13 is a two-time Paralympian.
It was Canada’s first-ever trip to the world championships podium in indoor volleyball.
MULTIPLE MEDALS FOR IVANIE BLONDIN, ISABELLE WEIDEMANN
Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann opened the 2022-23 World Cup long-track speed skating season in impressive fashion.
Blondin was the Canadian team workhorse with five finals and one semifinal and produced two gold-medal efforts and four top-10 performances.
While Dutchwomen Irene Schouten and Marijke Groenewoud were planning their last-corner attack, Blondin shot out from behind them and accelerated down the stretch to win the women’s mass-start final in 8:58.72.
Earlier, Blondin joined Weidemann and Valerie Maltais to win the women’s team pursuit in 3:01.81 by a 0.48-second margin over Japan.
Blondin also was fourth in the 1,500 metres in 1:58.25, seventh in the 3,000 metres in 4:10.24 and 12th in the 1,000 metres in 1:18.26.
Weidemann earned the bronze medal in the women’s 3,000 metres in 4:05.46, which was 2.35 seconds out of first place. She also was 14th in the 1,500 metres in 2:00.81.
Gatineau’s Cedrick Brunet made his World Cup debut with a strong 15th in the men’s 500-metre A final in 35.68. He was only 0.67 seconds out of third place and 0.98 from the gold.
SCRUBBS PROPEL CANADA TO BASKETBALL WORLD CUP BERTH
Carleton University Ravens products Phil and Thomas Scrubb boosted Canada to a berth in the 2023 FIBA World Cup and maintained the only undefeated record in Americas zone qualifying with a pair of victories in Edmonton.
The brothers played an identical 20:16 in a 112-71 win over Panama on Sunday, with Phil scoring 10 points and Thomas four. Thomas had 12 and Phil eight in Canada’s 94-56 win over Venezuela on Thursday.
A perfect 10-0, the Canadians have assured themselves of a spot in next summer’s World Cup in Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan. They’ll play two more games in February to close out the qualification series, with a chance to improve on their #15 world ranking.
CANADA PLACES FOURTH AT WOMEN’S RUGBY 15s WORLDS
The No. 4-ranked Canadian women’s team was held scoreless as No. 3 France rolled to a 36-0 victory in the bronze-medal game at the world women’s rugby 15s championship in Auckland, New Zealand.
Wing Maddy Grant started the third-place game for Canada and played 63 minutes, while Alexandria Ellis entered as a sub for the final 22 minutes.
Grant is from Cornwall, but attends the University of Ottawa. The Ottawa-based Ellis plays for the Barrhaven Scottish and Saracens.
The Canadians came close to knocking off top-ranked England in the semi-finals, in a 26-19 match. They won their first four matches of the tournament earlier to reach the semis.
INTERNATIONAL SILVER MEDAL FOR FIGURE SKATER KAIYA RUITER
Ottawa-born Kaiya Ruiter of Calgary captured the silver medal in women’s senior singles at the IceChallenge figure skating competition in Graz, Austria.
After skating a clean short program and placing sixth with 55.36 points, Ruiter won the freeskate program with 117.06 points. Her total of 172.42 points left her a close second to Italy’s Anna Pezzetta, who scored 174.49.
In the junior women’s singles competition, Fee Ann Landry of Gatineau was ninth overall with 130.42 points in the 32-skater field. She was fourth in the short program (47.86 points) and 10th in the freeskate program (82.56 points).
5 OTTAWA PLAYERS PICKED IN ARENA LACROSSE LEAGUE EAST DRAFT
The Whitby Steelhawks and Peterborough Timbermen had their eyes on Ottawa talent during the Arena Lacrosse League East Draft.
The Arena league is a high-development loop for players with professional aspirations. The Ontario-based teams for players 18 years old and older compete in a winter indoor season, using professional rules.
The Steelhawks selected Thomas Kiazyk, the goalkeeper for the national junior B champion Nepean Knights, in the first round. They also picked Jared Downey of Nepean in the second round and Cam Badour of the Gloucester Griffins Jr. B team in the sixth round.
The Timbermen picked Jacob Gasperetti of the Knights in the second round and National Lacrosse League pro player Jordan Trottier in the 10th round.
LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST
· Ottawa Rowing Club’s Kerin Hudson competed in her third Canadian rowing championships on Quamichan Lake in Duncan, B.C., and placed 14th overall in women’s singles.
· Canada finished eighth at 2-4 during the U18 Americas World Cup baseball qualifier. Ottawa’s Ty Hamilton, who has committed to the University of Utah, hit .263 and had six RBI.
· Izzy Fergusson of Ottawa fired a school-record-tying 69 at Simon Fraser University and finished tied for fifth place (76-69-145) during the Dennis Rose Invitational golf tournament at Waimea, Hawaii. She had one eagle and six birdies in her second round.
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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