Truth be told, there is neither the time nor adequate space available to do justice to the vast array of local sporting events and accomplishments that are worthy of coverage. That said, it is nice, from time to time, to have access to a forum that enables us to jam as much information into 800 to 1000 words as possible. This monthly feature is merely a step in that direction.
Deadlines being what they are, there was a sense of “unfinished business” as I forwarded my most recent high-school sports column earlier this week, with a couple of competitions not quite completed as I endeavoured to recap one of the busiest weeks of the year in terms of SDSSAA, NOSSA and OFSAA activities.
Good news on that front as the Horizon Aigles girls’ volleyball team overcame the disappointment of a heart-breaking five set semi-final loss to the Franco-Cité Patriotes, securing themselves bronze medals at the OFSAA Girls A Volleyball Championship in Welland, sweeping aside Hamilton District Christian H-S 25-16, 25-22, 25-19 in the battle for third place.
Meanwhile in Thessalon, the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes girls will join the White Pines Wolverines boys as the NOSSA representatives at OFSAA, taking place from March 22nd to the 25th in North Bay.
The CND team of Valérie Ouimet, Justine Toner, Avery Forsyth, Gabrielle Marquis, Samantha Phillips and Rheanna Crépeault pulled away from the Korah Colts, taking the gold medal game by a final score of 9-4 and earning the all-Ontario bid to go along with the regular season title they claimed a few weeks back.
At the same time, the SDSSAA Division B hockey banners were doled out as the Lively Hawks girls upended the St Benedict Bears in a best of three final, overcoming a 7-2 loss in game one to capture back to back outings, 7-6 and 5-3 while the Lasalle Lancers swept aside the Bears’ boys team, 5-4 (in O/T) and 5-4 again.******************************************************************************
Sudbury was already assured of being represented at the 2023 U Sports Women’s Hockey Championship being hosted from March 16th to 19th by the Université de Montréal as Lady Wolves alumnus Mylène Lefebvre closes out her career with the Carabins on home ice, one of eight teams who will contest nationals in La Belle Province.
Now, however, she will have company from northern Ontario – seemingly an annual occurrence given the glut of Sudbury female hockey talent finding its way to top-end Canadian universities.
The defending U Sports silver medal winning Nipissing Lakers are back for another shot which means that all-star defenceman Madison Laberge, sniper Katie Chomiak (14 goals in 25 regular season games and four in four in the playoffs) and newcomer Ellie Laberge will also be part of the festivities next week.
First the Lakers have a McCaw Cup final to attend to, facing the top-ranked University of Toronto Blues in a single game showdown Saturday night in Toronto.
Still with girls hockey, a total of three members of the U18 AA Lady Wolves have now finalized their post-secondary commitments, with St Charles College senior Madison Hollohan heading to join the Windsor Lancers beginning in 2024-205 while blueliners Summer Bisaillion and Carlen Bertrand have signed on to join the newly-formed Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Trailblazers NCAA Division III program this fall.
Joining Laberge with the post-season accolades was blueliner Carley Olivier of the Waterloo Warriors, recognized as the Defender of the Year for a second straight season while Daniel Walker, who recently signed a professional contract with the Syracuse Crunch, was named to the second all-star team (West) after leading his team in scoring with 16 goals in 23 games this year, also at Waterloo.
Still on the university commitment scene, Lo-Ellen senior volleyball star Kameryn Vanwallegham has opted to make her way to the storied Manitoba Bisons women’s volleyball team, beginning this fall while Northern Chill club teammate Mia Lemay-Evans also had reason to celebrate, selected to Team Ontario Elite.
Lemay-Evans will join a group of 15-20 or so young women (16-18) who will be training at the Richmond Oval in British Columbia over the March break, accompanied by Team British Columbia and members of the Simon Fraser University team.
On the swimming front, Valley East native Alexandre Landry continues to show improvement on a national scale, establishing both a new personal best time and a NEOR regional record in the 100m breaststroke while competing in his second world caliber meet.
Landry posted a time of 1:04.79 in the 100m race at the TYR Pro Series meet in Fort Lauderdale, placing 32nd, adding a new PB in the 50m breaststroke (29.76 - 34th) and closing things off with a time of 2:23.92 in the 200m breast (32nd).
The event leads in nicely to the Canada Swimming Trials taking place at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre from March 28th to April 2nd, an event at which Landry will be joined by fellow SLSC sensation Nina Kucheran.
The Sudbury swimming presence at Guelph University continues to be an impressive one with the northern Ontario girls grabbing most of the Gryphons’ highlights at the recent U Sports Championships in Victoria. Of the seven member Guelph delegation, no less than four are Sudbury natives: Abigail McDonald, Isabella Mastroianni, Hannah Nordquist and Ali Bertrim.
The best finishes for the school were recorded by Bertrim (13th – 100m butterfly – 1:04.49) and McDonald (13th – 200m butterfly – 2:24.98) while relay teams which featured three of the four local women plus Elizabeth Greaves placed 10th (4 X 400m medley relay) and 12th (4 X 200m freestyle relay).