By Martin Cleary
Whether on the water or on land, Brendan Edge has been pulling his oars with great success this season.
At the seven-day, 138th annual Royal Canadian Henley rowing regatta, which ended Sunday in St. Catharines, ON., Edge was one of two Ottawa Rowing Club entries to capture a gold medal, placing first in the men’s senior 64-kilogram single.
Rachel Weber, who represented Canada at the recent world U23 championships in women’s pair, and Gabrielle Yarema, combined for an almost six-second victory in the women’s championship pair.
ORC finished the highlight regatta of the domestic racing calendar with two gold, three silver and four bronze medals.
Edge, who was the Carleton University Ravens men’s rowing MVP for 2022, covered the 2,000-metre course in seven minutes, 33.940 seconds for his decisive victory, which earned him the R.G. ‘Bob’ Dibble Memorial Cup. Kingston’s Sean Whitehall was second in 7:42.860.
When Edge wasn’t training or competing on the water this season, he was putting his time and energy into a fundraising event for the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Society of Canada. The national body has raised more than $1.5 million towards its goal of $1.9 million to give hope and help to families affected by Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
ALS is a motor neuron disease that progressively paralyzes individuals, leading to their muscles breaking down and eventually death.
Edge staged his fundraiser – Brendan for Oars to End ALS – on June 9 and asked participants to dedicate the “kilometres or miles they row or erg to ‘Oars to End ALS’ enabling us to see just how far we’ve come to raise awareness of and support for ending this disease.”
ALS has a special meaning to Edge as his grandfather Pere, who was an active canoeist, died from the disease. Edge was only three years old at the time.
Donations are being accepted until Dec. 31, 2023, at www.alscanadawalktoendals.als.ca
Weber and Yarema completed the 2,000-metre course in 7:35.840 and were followed by pairs from Oklahoma, 7:41.750, and the University of British Columbia, 7:47.690.
They won the Suzanne and James Schaab Trophy.
In terms of medals, Kennedy Burrows was the club’s most successful, earning one silver and two bronze. She joined Anne-Andrée Sirois, who is training to represent El Salvador at the 2023 Pan American Games, to place second in the women’s senior lightweight double in 7:17.600.
Burrows and Sirois also were in the women’s senior lightweight four with Rosemary O’Brien and Anika Searle and earned a third-place showing in 7:08.950. In the women’s U23 lightweight single, Burrows also was third in 7:54.650.
Phillip Mitchell-Brule finished second in the men’s singles dash in 1:36.260 for a silver medal.
The ORC’s other silver medal came from the women’s U23 four crew of Rhiannon Crichton, Riley Richardson, Kendra Hurtubise and Abby Dyer. They stopped in 7:05.780.
Caitlin McMann served as the coxswain for a pair of bronze-medal-winning eight boats.
Madeleine Forcese, Adriana Caswell, Emelyn Rogers, Leona Smith, Melanie Coulson, Janelle Allanach, Rebecca Desaulniers and Rhiannon Murphy were third in the women’s senior eight in 6:29.270.
The men’s senior lightweight eight boat of Alexander Ladage, Andrei Vovk, Cooper Lowe, Devinder Sarai, Fabian Erazo, Mikhaeil Ibrahim-Qayyum, Paul Zaporzan and Ryan Hatcher took third in 6:30.720.
JORAI OPPONG-NKETIAH SETS LIONS RECORD WITH LEGION DOUBLE SPRINT GOLD
The Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club found the keys to success at the Royal Canadian Legion athletics championships in Sherbrooke, PQ., capturing two gold, four silver and two bronze medals.
Sprinter Jorai Oppong-Nketiah continued her sensational season, winning the girls’ U16 200 metres in a personal-best time of 24.65 seconds and the 100 metres in 12.07 seconds.
She became the Lions’ first female athlete to win the U16 sprint double at the Legion nationals. Oluseyi Smith holds that distinction on the male side from 2002.
Zachary Jeggo was a triple silver-medallist for three different races over 400 metres. He was runner-up in the men’s U18 400 metres in a personal-best 48.60 seconds and the 400-metre hurdles in a best-ever 55.30 seconds.
He signed off on his Legion nationals by anchoring the men’s 4×400-metre relay team, which was completed by Safwan El Mansari, William Sanders and Eric Zielonka, to a second-place result in 3:22.15.
Timeo Atonfo used a personal-best jump of 6.89 metres to earn the silver medal in the men’s U18 long jump.
Quinn Coughlin was a double bronze medallist in the women’s U18 class. She was third in the 400 metres in 57.11 seconds as well as the 400-metre hurdles in 1:02.84 seconds.
NEPEAN PLAYERS HELP BURLINGTON CAPTURE ONTARIO JR. A LACROSSE TITLE
The Burlington Blaze won the Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League championship best-of-seven final 4-2 over Orangeville Northmen and they had some help along the way from their affiliate team, the Nepean Knights.
Cameron York, Connor Nock, Owen Tasse and Thomas Kiazyk dressed and contributed in a variety of games against Orangeville and Mimico Mountaineers during the semifinal round.
Zach Thompson, who is from Nepean and will be attending Newberry College, scored two goals and added one assist in Burlington’s 9-6 win on Saturday to clinch the championship. Thompson’s second goal was the game-winner to make the score 7-5.
JORDAN SCHAEPPER, LYDIA JAMES-BRENNAN WIN NATIONAL OPEN WATER RACES
The Nepean Kanata Barracudas Swim Club produced two champions at the inaugural Canadian open water festival at the Welland, ON., Flatwater Centre.
While the 10-kilometre races were used to determine athletes for the 2024 world aquatics championships in Doha, Jordan Schaepper and Lydia James-Brennan were the respective men’s and women’s 3,000-metre winners on Sunday.
Schaepper was the boys’ 16-18 age-group winner in 37 minutes, 29.3 seconds and finished with a 3.2-second margin of victory.
“It was great, it felt really good,” Schaepper told Swimming Canada. “It was a fun experience.”
Competing in the women’s 19-29 class, James-Brennan posted the fastest time of 39:57.6.
In Saturday’s 10-kilometre race, Olivier Risk of ROC Swimming placed fifth in 2:11:16.0, while Schaepper was eighth in 2:11:38.8. James-Brennan took fifth place in the women’s 19-and-older class in 2:19:36.3 for 10,000 metres.
Brooke Beauchesne of the Greater Ottawa Kingfish was second in the 1,500 metres in 24:46.8.
TEAM HOMAN PRE-QUALIFIES FOR 2024 SCOTTIES TOURNAMENT OF HEARTS
Rachel Homan had that winning feeling last week and she didn’t have to make a game-winning shot.
Curling Canada announced last week the first three of four teams to automatically qualify for the 2024 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian women’s curling championship Feb. 16-25 in Calgary.
Kerri Einarson and Jennifer Jones are the other two pre-qualified rinks based on their 2022-23 Canadian Team Ranking System performances. Einarson, Homan and Jones were ranked one-two-three respectively, after the 2022-23 season.
Homan, third Tracey Fleury, second Emma Miskew and lead Sarah Wilkes won two Pinty’s Grand Slam competitions last season – the HearingLife Tour Challenge in Grande Prairie, AB., and the Kioti Tractor Champions Cup in Regina, SK. The Ottawa Curling Club rink had a win-loss record of 50-17.
Meanwhile, skip Lauren Mann and her new rink of third Stephanie Barbeau, second Abby Deschene and lead Candice Jackson will curl out of Timmins for the 2023-24 season and hope to compete in the Northern Ontario Scotties Jan. 23-28 in Little Current.
The road to the Northern Ontario championship for the former Arnprior Curling Club rink starts Aug. 23 at the Summer Series competition in Saguenay, PQ.
LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST
· Derek Gee of Osgoode, ON., was 18th in the elite men’s individual time trial at the combined world cycling championships in Glasgow.
· Luiji Vilain and Jonathan Sutherland were once teammates in their youth football days with the North Gloucester Giants. They met again last week, but on opposite teams, while playing in an NFL exhibition game. Vilain, a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings, had two tackles, one assisted tackle and one sack, while Sutherland, a safety for the Seattle Seahawks, recorded three assisted tackles in his team’s 24-13 win.
· Lise Jubinville needed two extra holes to defeat Diane Dolan in the all-Hylands Golf Club women’s final at the Ottawa Valley Golf Association match-play championships at Greensmere. Jubinville was three down after the opening nine holes. Brad Goodman, a public player, won the men’s title 3 and 1 over Cedric Hughes of Casselview, and John Taylor of eQuinelle won the senior title on the 18th hole over Peter Harrison of the Ottawa Hunt.
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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