By Martin Cleary
The Carleton University Ravens’ basketball program is fast breaking down the road that could lead it to another elite environment.
There have only been five times when one university has won both the men’s and women’s national basketball championship in the same year. The Ravens are in a position to become the sixth team and the first in 38 years for the ultimate double.
The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds achieved that feat as soon as it was possible. The Thunderbirds won the first women’s national championship in 1972 and the men’s team stepped up as well.
The other four men’s-women’s Canadian championship sweeps belong to the University of Victoria Vikes in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1985.
Carleton threatened to join that exclusive list in 2018, when the Ravens won the women’s title. But the men had their national championship streak stopped at seven with a semifinal loss to Ryerson University Rams (now Toronto Metropolitan University Bold).
But five years later, the Ravens opened their OUA post seasons with contrasting wins at home to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals, which also will be played on their home court.
After the Ravens edged Toronto Metropolitan 67-64 in their Critelli Cup women’s quarterfinals, the Carleton men’s team ran past Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks 97-84 in its Wilson Cup quarter-final opener.
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees split their playoff matches as the men’s team edged Toronto Metropolitan 73-72, but the women’s team saw their season end with a 66-56 loss on the road to the University of Waterloo Warriors.
The OUA men’s semifinals will be Wednesday with No. 10 University of Windsor Lancers at Ottawa at 7 p.m. and No. 9 Queen’s University Gaels at Carleton at 8 p.m.
The OUA women’s semifinals will see No. 9 McMaster University Marauders at Carleton at 6 p.m. and Waterloo at No. 2 Queen’s.
The seniors stepped up once again as the No. 1-ranked Carleton men’s team led Laurier by 15 points after the first quarter and 13 points at the end of the third quarter.
Grant Shephard scored 32 points, collected nine rebounds and added two assists in 27 minutes of work. Aiden Warnholtz played 38 minutes and accounted for 17 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
“[Shephard] is at another level when he’s trying,” Carleton head coach Taffe Charles told goravens.ca. “He was really focused tonight and it showed. Didn’t want to settle for stuff. It was nice to have him there and I think we needed him tonight.”
“Definitely a fast-paced game,” Shephard said. “The key for us was controlling the pace. Laurier is a pretty sporadic team, so just keeping control of the pace, playing at our speed. We want to play our own way, so just making sure we kept control of that.”
Two other starters also played significant roles for Carleton. Connor Vreeken scored 20 points and added nine rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocks. Elliot Bailey also had a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Marjok Okado contributed 13 points.
The Ravens women’s team had five players score in double figures. Kali Pocrnic hit five of her 10 field-goal attempts leading to 14 points, while Emma Kiesekamp notched 13 points and five rebounds.
Teresa Donato added 11 points and three rebounds, Dorcas Buisa had 10 points, four assists and seven rebounds, while Jacqueline Urban tossed in 10 points and also recorded nine rebounds and two blocks.
The Bold moved within three points of the Ravens with 23 seconds left in regulation time. Eve Uwayesu of Ottawa took a three-point shot at the buzzer to tie the game, but it missed the netting.
In another OUA women’s quarterfinal, Queen’s University Gaels defeated Brock University Badgers 71-66. Queen’s Julia Chadwick of Ottawa scored 15 points and supported with 16 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks. Michelle Istead of Ottawa added eight points and two rebounds.
Cole Newton, who made a last-minute, steal-and-pass play to Kevin Otoo for a field goal and a one-point lead, had 22 points as well as a trio of rebounds, assists and steals for the Gee-Gees. Guillaume Pepin scored 12 points and added four rebounds and four assists.
“This is a special group. Games like this come down to one play,” Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin said after the game. “We got a big stop there at the end. Both teams deserved to win the game and we got a break there at the end.”
The Gee-Gees women’s team couldn’t recover from being outscored in the first and third quarters and Waterloo posted a 10-point win.
Oksana Gouchie-Provencher led the Gee-Gees with 12 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots. Natsuki Szczokin supported with 11 points, five assists and four rebounds, while Savannah Provo came off the bench for 11 points, four rebounds and three steals.
HOCKEY SEASON OVER FOR RAVENS MEN’S, GEE-GEES WOMEN’S TEAMS
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s hockey team went the distance losing its best-of-three RSEQ semifinal in overtime in the third game to the Université de Montréal Carabins.
Jade Picard scored 28 seconds into overtime to give Montréal a 3-2 victory. Ottawa received third-period goals from Alyssa Biesenthal and Alexe Clavelle to tie the game at 2-2 and force overtime.
In the other games, Abygail Moloughney, Taylor Sims and Kylie Lalonde scored to give the Gee-Gees a 3-2 series-opening win. Montréal evened the playoff round at 1-1 with a 3-2 decision as Clavelle and Sophie Gareau scored for Ottawa.
The Carleton University Ravens men’s hockey team dropped a pair of OUA second-round Queen’s Cup playoff games to the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes by scores of 3-1 and 6-3.
Alex Johnston scored the Ravens’ only goal in the opening loss and was one of three scorers in the second game with Brogan O’Brien and Parker Aucoin.
OTTAWA ATHLETES HELP UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH TO WOMEN’S TRACK TEAM TITLE
Sprinter Jacqueline Madogo and middle-distance runner Nina Whitford, who are both from Ottawa, played significant roles in helping the University of Guelph Gryphons win the women’s team title for the 10th time at the OUA athletics championships in Windsor.
The Gryphons’ men captured their team title for the eighth time.
Madogo repeated as the women’s 60-metre champion in 7.25 seconds. She also ran the second leg of the winning 4×200-metre relay team with teammates Zoe Sherar, Tyra Boug and Nicole McKenzie.
Whitford joined Cameron Ormond, Katie Blunden and Sadie-Jane Hickson to capture the women’s 4×800-metre relay. In her individual events, Whitford was second in the 1,500 metres in 4:28.52 and third in the 1,000 metres in 2:48.30.
University of Ottawa high jumper Thomas Sénéchal-Becker improved his men’s school record for the second week in a row to 2.17 metres as he placed second.
Ottawa’s Audrey Goddard, a first-year University of Western Mustangs student-athlete, was third in the women’s pentathlon with 3,564 points. She was second in the 60-metre hurdles in 8.81, third in the 800 metres in 2:31.51 and equalled her personal-best in the high jump at 1.61 metres for fourth place.
Queen’s University Gaels’ Gillian Porter and Elizabeth Vroom, both of Ottawa, ran the third and fourth legs respectively in the women’s 4×800-metre relay to finish third in 9:09.66. Vroom also was fifth in the women’s 1,500 metres in 4:35.31.
At the RSEQ athletics championships in Montreal, Carleton University’s Adam Nuradeen and Samuel Chilima won gold and bronze medals respectively in the men’s triple jump at 13.34 metres and 12.06 metres.
Chilima added a second bronze medal as he helped the Ravens men’s 4×200-metre relay team, which was completed by Michael Pinnock, Kanique Thomas and Lachlan Mahan, finish third in 1:36.10.
Connor Fraser of Carleton placed third in the men’s shot put at 14.43 metres.
Ottawa’s Vanessa Lu Langley of McGill University Redbirds earned the silver medal in the women’s 60-metre hurdles in 9.12, and was part of the bronze-medal-winning 4×200-metre relay team with Donna Ntambue, Lola Rose-McLennan and Bethany Walton-Knight in 1:42.96.
GATINEAU’S ANTOINE CYR FLIRTS WITH WORLD MEDAL IN TEAM SPRINT
Maybe Gatineau’s Antoine Cyr and Graham Ritchie of Parry Sound, ON., will reach the men’s team sprint event podium at the 2025 world nordic ski championship. All indicators are pointing in that direction.
After a seventh-place result in team sprint at their first worlds in 2021 and a fifth at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Cyr and Ritchie placed fourth at the 2023 worlds in Planica, Slovenia.
After skiing 1.4-kilometre laps three times each and passing off to each other, they finished in 17 minutes, 51.09 seconds and missed the bronze medal by more than six seconds. Norway’s Paal Golberg and Johannes Klaebo won the team sprint in 17:28.14.
“It is just the magic of the team. Like a good magician we can’t share our tricks as to why it works,” a jovial Cyr said, trying to explain the team’s success.
In the women’s 15-kilometre classic skiathlon, Katherine Stewart-Jones of Chelsea, PQ., and the Nakkertok Nordic Ski Club crashed early in the race, dropped to the back of the pack, but rallied to finish 25th overall in 41:38.3 or 3:26.5 back of winner Ebba Andersson of Sweden. It was her second-best result in her career behind 23rd showings at the 2021 worlds and Olympics.
Stewart-Jones tumbled after another skier fell descending a high-speed downhill. She fell into some off-course signage and lost valuable time on a day when the temperature was plus 7°C and the course had sloppy snow.
“It was a rough day with a big crash on the first lap,” Stewart-Jones told Nordiq Canada. “For the rest of the classic, I struggled to get into a good rhythm. I felt better when I transitioned to skate. I had some super fast skis and was able to close the gap on some women in front of me.”
The racers opened the skiathlon pursuit with 7.5 kilometres using the classic technique and then switched skis in the transition zone for a final 7.5 kilometres of skate skiing.
Ottawa’s Jasmine Lyons of Nakkertok and the University of New Hampshire made her world championship debut and was 34th.
EMILY DESCHÊNES’ RINK WINS FIRST GAME AT WORLD JUNIOR CURLING
The world junior curling championships have reached the midpoint of round-robin play and Canada’s Emily Deschênes of Ottawa, who is skipping the rink from Nova Scotia, has a 1-4 win-loss record in Füssen, Germany.
Deschênes, who is the skip for third Lauren Ferguson, second Alison Umlah and lead Cate Fitzgerald after Taylour Stevens aged out of junior, stole one point in the 10th and final end for a 7-6 decision over Scotland, giving Canada its first victory in the women’s event.
Canada threatened to earn a second win, but Latvia halted the Deschênes rally with two in the ninth end and stole three in the 10th for a 10-6 win. Deschênes rallied from 4-0 down after three ends to lead 6-5 after eight.
In the first two days, Canada lost to Norway 7-4, Sweden 7-5 and Korea 7-4. Canada completes its round-robin schedule over the next three days with games against Japan, the United States, Germany and Switzerland.
FORTUNE, CALABOGIE FREESTYLE SKIERS IMPRESS AT ONTARIO CHAMPIONSHIPS
Fortune Freestyle’s Darren McManus and Simon Lemieux-Latulippe were double gold medallists on their home Camp Fortune venue during the Ontario freestyle skiing championships.
McManus won the men’s U16 Moguls and Dual Moguls titles, while Lemieux-Latulippe placed first in the men’s U14 Slopestyle and Big Air classes. On Friday, McManus won the overall men’s U16 Moguls title on the Timber Tour.
Fortune Freestyle skiers dominated the Moguls competition in the three male classes. McManus was followed in the U16 division by Jacob Boyer-Lee and Evan Rudnicki.
The Dual Moguls competition saw McManus finish ahead of Camden Konkle of Calabogie Peaks Freestyle and Ewan Ingram of Fortune Freestyle.
In the men’s U14 class, the top three skiers were Alastair Crichton, Cardiff Tremblay and Reed Ingram. Marshall Crichton placed third in men’s U12.
Tao Durepos of Fortune Freestyle placed second to Lemieux-Latulippe in the men’s U14 Slopestyle and Big Air.
Fortune Freestyle’s Travis Ball finished third in men’s U18 Slopestyle. Oaklee Durepos was second in men’s U12 Slopestyle and third in Big Air.
Gerry Tomalty of Calabogie Peaks Freestyle was the only competitor in the men’s U18 Moguls event.
In the women’s Moguls age-group provincial competitions, Marieke Turnau was second in U16, Jade Guembes placed second in U14 and Quinn Camsell-Conroy was third in U12. They all represented Calabogie Peaks Freestyle.
BIG MEDAL HAUL FOR GO CAPITAL ARTISTIC SWIMMERS
Local artistic swimmers floated to the podium numerous times at the Feb. 23-26 Leslie Taylor Ontario Cup in Markham.
Winning gold medals were GO Capital’s Acrobatic, Adapted C3 Figures and Senior Technical and Free teams, the Youth (Age 13-15) Team of Dilara Baysal, Aubrey Benn, Kaylie Duc, Katelyn Godsell, Ariane Harvey, Monica Julien, Madison Murphy and Alyssa Tofinetti, Nanxi Jiang (Senior Solo Technical), Chloe McAllister (Senior Solo Free), Sonia Dunn (Junior Solo Free), and Ariane Harvey and Madison Murphy (Youth Age 13-15 Duet).
Taking silver were Nepean’s Brooke Rakoczy-Penney / Sadie Shouldice (Mixed Abilities Duet) and GO Capital’s Ariane Harvey (Youth Figures).
And earning bronze were GO Capital’s Junior Technical, Junior Free and Age 11-12 teams, Clara Grisim / Hana Lina Lalovic (Junior Duet Technical), Barbara Mount (Senior Solo Free) and Madison Murphy (Youth Age 13-15 Female Solo).
LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST
· Ottawa Curling Club’s Rachel Homan and second Emma Miskew were named to the second all-star team at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts national women’s curling championship in Kamloops, B.C. Representing Ontario as the provincial champion, Homan had a 6-2 record in the round robin for third place in its group, but lost its first playoff game 7-6 in an extra end to Nova Scotia’s Christina Black. The all-star teams were based on media voting and playing percentages.
· Canada finished the FIBA Americas men’s basketball qualifying tournament for the 2023 World Cup this summer losing to Argentina 83-72, but defeating Venezuela 74-57. Canada has qualified for the World Cup. Carleton grad Phil Scrubb scored 12 and 14 points respectively for Canada, while his brother Thomas counted a team-high 18 points against Argentina.
· Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club’s Bianca Borgella won the women’s T13 100 metres in 12.21 seconds with an illegal 3.0 metre-per-second wind during an international open meet for para athletes in Dubai.
· Ottawa’s Shilo Rousseau, a double gold medallist at the FISU World Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York, placed 18th in the super sprint and 28th in the sprint at the IBU Cup biathlon races in Canmore, AB. Zoe Pekos of Ottawa was 36th in the super sprint. Ottawa’s Zach Connelly was 28th in the men’s super sprint.
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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