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HIGH ACHIEVERS WEEKEND WRAP: Jonathan Sutherland signs contract with NFL’s Seattle Seahawks

By Martin Cleary

Ottawa safety-linebacker Jonathan Sutherland has closed one football door as a Penn State University Nittany Lion, and has already opened another door with one more on the horizon.

Which way will he go? Will he pick Door No. 1 or Door No. 2?

The Seattle Seahawks are the owners of Door No. 1, after the National Football League team signed Sutherland as an undrafted free agent.

The owner of Door No. 2 will be revealed Tuesday night during the 2023 CFL Draft. Sutherland is projected to go as a top-10 pick. The Ottawa Redblacks will have the first pick in the draft.

Sutherland, whose academic focus was international affairs as well as labor and employment relations during his six years on campus, was a significant contributor on the field for five years, after he redshirted his true freshman season in 2017.

During his 58 games as a safety and a linebacker in his two senior years, he recorded 78 solo tackles, 59 assisted tackles, two blocked punts (both in the 2019 season), one interception and one forced fumble.

Sutherland, a graduate of Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, was a four-year team captain and one of only two players to hold that honour for the Nittany Lions. The other was his quarterback Sean Clifford.

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In 2020, the Lions started a new team tradition by presenting the team jersey with the number 0 to the special teams leader and Sutherland earned that honour.

A three-time Academic All-Big Ten student-athlete, Sutherland also shared the team’s Bob Mitinger Memorial Award with Pat Freiermuth as “the ultimate teammate who exhibits courage, character and social responsibility.”

“The Seahawks are gaining a hard working, selfless and dedicated person and teammate,” Penn State head coach James Franklin posted on Twitter.

“I am excited for your future at the next level. Continue to trust the process and maximize every opportunity presented.”

Victor Tedondo, who has trained Sutherland in the off season at Ottawa’s Gridiron Academy, also congratulated Sutherland.

“Your hard work and perseverance have paid off. You’ve worked hard for everything you’ve achieved. Congratulations,” Tedondo wrote.


The Ottawa Jr. Senators are one victory away from their fourth straight Central Canada Hockey League championship and it could happen in Tuesday’s Game 6 at Smiths Falls.

After losing the opening two games of the best-of-seven final to the Bears, the Senators rebounded in a big way last week to win the next three games 7-1, 4-2 and 7-4.

Massimo Gentle was the team leader, scoring two goals in each of the three wins. Emile Villiard also contributed one goal in each game. The Senators saw nine different players score in the past three games.

Goaltender Rorke Applebee has been sharp, making 95 saves and allowing only seven goals.

Owen Watson was the Bears’ top scorer with two goals in the three middle games of the series.


Ottawa paddlers won two of five medals for Canada, all silver, at the Pan American canoe slalom championships in Tres Coroas, Brazil.

Lois Betteridge was second in the women’s senior C1 final, while Maël Rivard was runner-up in the men’s U23 K1 final.

Meanwhile, Canoe Kayak Canada has named 21 athletes to its national team for the International Canoe Federation Canoe Sprint and Para World Cup May 11-14 in Szeged, Hungary.

Six national team members are from the National Capital Region: Sophia Jensen, Cascades Canoe Club, women’s canoe; Toshka Bersharah-Hrebacka, Rideau Canoe Club, Maren Bradley, Rideau, and Madeline Schmidt, Rideau, all three women’s kayak; and Gabe Ferron-Bouius, Rideau, and Brianna Hennessy, Ottawa River Canoe Club, both para.

“I am extremely grateful for the winter training with my coaches and teammates, who have supported and helped me push through some difficult times for my family recently,” Hennessy, who won silver and bronze medals at last season’s world championships, said in a press release.

“I am honoured to have been selected for the team and am humbled to have another opportunity to compete on the world stage alongside so many phenomenal athletes that I admire in both kayak and canoe.”


Simon Fraser University freshman Izzy Ferguson of Ottawa tied for fourth place in the individual competition at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s golf championship, which helped the Red Leafs capture the women’s team title.

Ferguson had back-to-back rounds of five-over-par 76 for a 152 total at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf course in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which was seven strokes behind winner Ashley Bruland of St. Martin’s at 72-73-145.

Simon Fraser won the women’s title with scores of 306 and 303 for a 609 total and an 11-stroke margin over runner-up St. Martin’s.

The victory allows the Red Leafs to advance to the NCAA Division II Golf Championships May 8-10 in Dallas.


Carter DeVeer of the Ottawa Bicycle Club won the 42.9-kilometre Breve race during the inaugural Canadian Gravel Cycling Championships, which were held in conjunction with the 29th Paris to Ancaster race.

A member of the OBC youth racing program, Carter finished in one hour, 35 minutes, 10 seconds and had enough time to watch his father Craig DeVeer of The Cyclery place second in 1:35:36.

The Cyclery’s Jodi Wendland was first in the women’s 35-44 class in 3:41:00 in the Cento 108.9-kilometre challenge.

Gravel cycling is a race contested on largely unpaved surfaces. The Canadian championships course wound through fields and hills, with significant climbs, not to mention rain and mud.


· Ottawa Fusion left-side Owen Pickering was named a boys’ 18U Grand Prix All-Star, after the recent Ontario volleyball championships in Toronto, while Maverick Gold Rush left-side Elodie Lalonde was selected a girls’ 17U Grand Prix All-Star. The Ontario Volleyball Association also announced Ottawa and Waterloo will share the provincial championships in each of 2024 and 2025. Carleton University is also set to host the 2023 14U volleyball nationals this coming weekend from May 5-7.

· Ottawa Next Level defeated Nepean Blue Devils 31-27 in the U14 girls’ division 4 championship game at the Ontario Cup in Welland. West Ottawa Hornets earned the silver medal in the U14 boys’ division 10 Ontario Cup, after losing the final 55-51 to the Ancaster Basketball Club in Ottawa.

· Ottawa’s Lauren Hong won the women’s junior 63-kilogram bronze medal at the Cadet and Junior Pan American Taekwondo Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Nikola Samardzik of Ottawa reached the cadet 164-centimetre class quarterfinals, while Laila Khan of Ottawa stopped in the women’s junior 52-kilogram round of 16.

· Derek Gee of Ottawa has been named to the eight-man Israel-Premier Tech team for the Giro d’Italia multi-stage cycling race, which starts on Saturday. It will be the Tokyo Olympic track cyclist’s first road cycling grand tour competition.

· Anne Fergusson of Carleton Place will represent Canada at the ParaVolley PanAmerica Zonal Championships in Edmonton May 9-13. A berth in the women’s sitting volleyball draw for the 2024 Paris Paralympics is on the line.

· The defending Canadian-champion Nepean Knights kicked off their new Ontario Jr. ‘B’ Lacrosse League season with a pair of victories on the weekend, as did the Gloucester Griffins. The Knights took down Kahnawake 11-1 in their home opener Thursday evening at Howard Darwin Arena and then escaped with a 6-5 overtime win on Sunday at Akwesasne. The Griffins downed Akwesasne 14-9 in their Friday home opener at Earl Armstrong Arena and then beat Kahnawake 12-7 on the road. The two local foes will face off for the first of four times this season on Friday at Howard Darwin.

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

Martin can be reached by e-mail at and on Twitter @martincleary.

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