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Kingston-area runners win five of six races at EOSSAA cross-country

Athletes from Kingston Area schools won five of six individual events and three of the six team titles at the annual Eastern Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association cross-country championships Thursday at the Petawawa Golf Club.

Regiopolis Notre Dame had two of those individual champions, Branna MacDougall in senior girls division and her sister, Brogan, in the midget girls race, where she and teammate Bridget Willemse finished 1-3.

Brogan MacDougall won her three-kilometre race in 10 minutes 29.37 seconds, while Willemse came home in 11:15.13.

No times were posted for the senior girls race, where Regi placed second in team standings, thereby qualifying for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championship Saturday, Nov. 1, in Waterloo.

Cristina Tavares (eighth), Samantha Mahoney (24th) and Emma Adshade (29th) were the other scoring runners on Regi’s senior girls team.

Regi was the overall champion among AAA teams.

The other individual champions from Kingston-area schools are Ben Workman and Jackie Quesnel of Kingston Collegiate, in senior boys and junior girls divisions, respectively, and Konnor Weston of Frontenac, in midget boys division. They all led their school to the team title in their age group.

Competitors were running for spots at the OFSAA meet. Members of the top two teams in each age division qualified, as did the top five individual runners who were not on one of those teams.

KC dominated senior boys division, where Workman, who completed the 6.855-kilometre course in 22 minutes, 30.53 seconds, and Cameron Linscott (22:36.36) finished 1-2. The other runners who comprised the first-place team were Riley Lacasandile, who finished eighth, and Ben Pulver, who was 13th.

Quesnel, who covered the 3.855-kilometre junior girls course in 15 minutes 17.54 seconds, will lead a KC team to OFSAA that consists of Waverly Mulligan, who finished seventh, Sage Drake (12th) and Amanda Black (19th). Quesnel had a 23-second margin of victory over Kate Thorton of Perth St. John.

Weston finished 18 seconds ahead of midget boys runner-up Ben Bellamy of Perth, stopping the clock at the conclusion of the 4.855-kilometre course in 19 minutes, 12.36 seconds. Joining him on the Frontenac team bound for OFSAA are Jack Rowlatt (10th individually), Brennan Laidman (11th) and Evan Fraser (24th).

KC is also going to be sending its junior boys team to Waterloo, after Alex Drover’s second-place performance led the Blues to second place in team standings. Drover finished the 5.855-kilometre course in 21:01.56, a minute behind race winner Johnathan Stoppa of Madawaska Valley.

The other scoring runners for KC were Nathan Smith (13th), Graeme Workman (16th) and Bertug Yoruk (20th).

Other Kingston-area athletes bound for OFSAA are Paul Sagriff of Regi, who was ninth in senior boys division; Isaac Sanderson of Sydenham, who was fourth in the junior boys race (21:08.75), Claudia Murphy of Holy Cross (ninth in junior girls division) and Danielle Adam of KC (ninth in the midget girls race).

Decision to bar Queen’s Bands from Carleton game misguided

COLUMN Claude Scilley

COLUMN
Claude Scilley

It used to drive coach Doug Hargreaves nuts.

It seemed like every time the Queen’s Golden Gaels went on the road in the old Ontario-Quebec conference, it would be the other team’s Homecoming game. Queen’s would often play against the other team’s biggest, most exuberant crowd of the year.

It was, Hargreaves was convinced, because none of the other schools had a marching band or cheerleaders. Essentially, when those teams hosted Queen’s, they weren’t just getting an opponent, they were importing the college atmosphere they couldn’t provide for themselves. Instant festivities.

As disgruntled as it might have made the Queen’s folk, it was pretty shrewd on the part of those other OQIFC teams, one of which was the Carleton Ravens.

It seems that 20 years out of football has led the athletic brain trust at Carleton to forget that.

A program that professes to be struggling to establish tradition has banished one of the oldest customs in all of Canadian sport from the Ravens’ game Saturday against Queen’s. After the Queen’s Bands bought—yes, bought—their 80 tickets for the game this week, they were told they would not be allowed into the stadium with their instruments.

It’s the first time in 110 years of following the football team across the country that anyone has told the Queen’s Bands they weren’t welcome.

In an excellent piece on his Eh Game blog on Yahoo! Sports https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/eh-game/carleton-ravens-bar-queen-s-university-s-band-from-bringing-instruments-to-oua-football-game-180747609.html Queen’s Journal alum Neate Sager explains that among the reasons Carleton cites for the outrageous demand are (a) the Ravens coaches don’t want the band there (b) Carleton has its own fledgling band and they don’t want it to be intimidated by the experienced Queen’s Bands and (c) Carleton wants to establish its own atmosphere, free of interference from interlopers.

Well, let’s see.

  • If there’s any truth to the coaching staff—a staff that, in this case, includes ex-Gael Ryan Bechmanis, by the way—spending more than 10 seconds worrying about the other school’s band as they prepare for their team’s most important game of the year, well, shame on them. Frankly, I can’t see it but apparently either it’s true or the Carleton athletics department threw its coaching staff under the bus when that was proffered as a reason to the Bands. If it is true, those coaches are badly shortchanging their players by not devoting all their time to things that actually matter.
  • With regard to the second point, why would Carleton so badly demean its own group of aspiring musicians by assuming they would be intimidated by the Queen’s Bands? And if you’re working from that premise—that the Queen’s Bands can have such impact on a game or a crowd that they need to be silenced—couldn’t you just as easily see this as an opportunity for your rookie band to learn from the masters?
  • That’s terrific that Carleton wants to establish its own traditions, but traditions can’t be manufactured, they have to evolve. Tearing down those of others does nothing to foster your own. Carleton’s own biggest tradition, the Panda Game, is proof of that. Let’s face it, in its previous incarnation Carleton was traditionally one of those places where Queen’s alumni and parents outnumbered those supporting the home team. Typically at Keith Harris Stadium, if not for the Queen’s crowd, there’d have been no crowd at all.

Evidently the bands approached Ontario University Athletics for some relief on the matter and got a cold shoulder. There’s a surprise. A number of years ago, at a game in western Ontario where the recorded music was playing so loudly it was almost impossible to have a conversation at field level—and the band had no opportunity to play—I complained to an OUA staffer about it and wondered, if Notre Dame and Michigan could establish a protocol whereby the home school would allow the visiting band to play at designated times, why couldn’t the OUA do the same?

That staffer, Bryan Crawford—yes, the former Queen’s running back who now is the OUA’s director of operations—essentially replied that just because the NCAA did it was no reason for the OUA to do it, and each team should be allowed to present whatever entertainment it thought appropriate.

No matter how lame, apparently; no matter how disrespectful it was to one of the game’s oldest institutions.

The main difference, of course, is the NCAA values tradition and is wildly successful. In Canada, traditions are largely shunned, lest we make those that don’t have any feel bad. How feebly Canadian.

(It’s the same kind of weak thinking that leads people to hate Laval for its football success, rather than strive to emulate what it does to achieve that success.)

Schools with bands—Queen’s, Western, RMC; are there any others?—should curry no special favor for that fact; but neither should they be excluded. One of the great stories of the 1989 Churchill Bowl in Saskatoon, where Queen’s played the University of Saskatchewan, was the experience of the band, which got on school buses on Wednesday, travelled nonstop from Kingston, arrived at about 8 a.m. Saturday, played at the game that afternoon—was the halftime entertainment, in fact—and got back on the buses immediately after the game for the trip home.

It may be that the folks at Carleton don’t understand that’s the sort of dedication they’re denigrating here, but it seems there’s lots the deep thinkers on Ravens Drive haven’t considered, not the least of which is that if you’re trying to attract crowds, you shouldn’t schedule your home games on the same day Ottawa U plays at home (which will happen for the second time this year on Saturday, not counting the day they played each other).

Undoubtedly they also don’t grasp the notion that the worst thing anybody can do to Queen’s students is tell them they can’t do something (see: Homecoming, Aberdeen Street). Not only will that only make them want to do it more, you’ve now given them the requisite motivation to figure out a way around the prohibition.

To that end someone among the Bands discovered that while musical instruments may be banned, vuvuzelas are permitted in stadiums in Ontario. You may recall the vuvuzela as a plastic horn, about two feet long, so popular in South Africa that annoyed people around the world to no end at the 2010 World Cup of soccer.

So essentially what the Carleton wunderkinds have done is removed a band, that knows when it is allowed to play and when it isn’t, and replaced it with 80-pissed off musicians from a school where the students are known for their sense of entitlement and armed them with irritating noisemakers they can blow whenever they want.

Good thinking.

Now that word of the silly ban has gotten out, ex-bandsies and those loyal to the football team in Ottawa have been working the phones and social media all night long to mobilize Queen’s Nation and get its legions out to the game. Instead of letting that sleeping dog collectively take a pass on attending an otherwise meaningless game, the Carletoids have, to paraphrase Yamamoto, awakened Canada’s sleeping giant of football-loyal alumni and filled it with a terrible resolve.

There are plenty of tickets left for Saturday’s game, and you can bet they will be snapped up the moment the gates open by angry Queen’s folk, and the anti-home team atmosphere the Carleton gang feared from the presence of a band will look downright sedate beside the throng of riled Gaels’ faithful they’re likely going to get instead.

Without question, this whole issue is a tempest in a Tricolour teapot. Whether there are bands at playing football games is not a terribly important part of the Canadian sport mosaic, but that is precisely the point.

Never mind that, as decisions go, this one was needless. Never mind that it was clearly ill considered. The essential question is: Why would you even bother?

Regardless of whether Queen’s wins or loses, let us hope the Gaels at least score a touchdown. I simply can’t wait to hear Oil Thigh played on 80 vuvuzelas.

 

 

 

 

 

Senior football teams prepare for playoffs

Frontenac Falcons gave notice Friday that they may be a team not to ignore as the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior football playoffs begin next week.

The defending league champions, who began the year 1-3, pulled to .500 with a 27-17 win over the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers in one of three games played on the final day of the regular schedule.

Ultimately the outcome had no impact on the final league standings, as the Falcons still finished fifth, a game behind Regi and the Holy Cross Crusaders, who ended tied for third at 4-2. In handing the Panthers just their second loss of the season, however, Frontenac suggested its strong second half last week against Holy Cross was no fluke.

In that game, Frontenac came from down 24-7 at halftime to lose just 27-25.

In Friday’s game, the Falcons got a pair of touchdowns from receiver Carter Matheson and another from Jake Magee. Braeden North converted all three majors and kicked two field goals.

In other games played under Friday’s brilliant sunshine, the Sydenham Golden Eagles completed an undefeated season with a 45-0 win over the visiting Bayridge Blazers and Holy Cross posted a 33-13 home-field win over the Ernestown Eagles.

Unlike other KASSAA sports, where a single champion is declared and then teams go their separate ways into regional AAA and AA playoffs, football divides its teams by classification at this point and they will play their respective semifinals next week.

The AA semifinal will be played Tuesday afternoon at La Salle where the Knights, 5-1 in the regular year, will host Bayridge, which finished 2-4, at 1 o’clock. The winner of that game will play Sydenham in the final Saturday, Nov. 1, at 1:30 p.m. at Richardson Stadium, in the second game of a AA championship doubleheader.

Next Thursday, Frontenac will travel to Holy Cross for a AAA semifinal rematch of the aforementioned game a week ago, while Regi will entertain Ernestown, a AA team that chose to play up a level after winning the AA title last year. The Eagles, 2-4, were edged 9-7 by Regi in the first game of the year for both teams.

The semifinal winners will play for the AAA title Saturday afternoon, Nov. 8 at Richardson Stadium.

The Golden Eagles had their way with Bayridge, which made the trip to McLellan Field Friday with barely two dozen players. It was 35-0 at halftime and Sydenham’s reserve quarterback, Dave Leslie, played the entire second half.

Tom Withey drew first blood for Sydenham when he returned Bayridge’s first punt 70 yards for a touchdown. Tyler Cancian and Brody Latimer scored TDs along the ground and quarterback Dylan Fisher threw touchdown passess to Withey and Sam Moyse before the first half ended.

Conor O’Brien, a reserve running back, scored on an 18-yard run in the second half and Mike Bashall completed scoring with a 30-yard field goal.

 

 

Holy Cross falls short in bid to catch Regi

Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers asserted their authority Thursday night, defeating the Holy Cross Crusaders 53-27 in a Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior A girls basketball game at Regi.

The Crusaders, 7-1 going into the contest, were the only team left with a chance to catch the undefeated Panthers for first place. Instead, the home team almost doubled the score on the last pretender to the throne.

With a capacity crowd on hand for the annual PH Classic game in support of the Breast Assessment Program at Hotel Dieu Hospital, all of Regi’s 12 players got into the game and Hailey Wolfgram led them with 14 points.

Lexi Perrin scored six points for Holy Cross.

In other senior A games Thursday, the La Salle Black Knights, losers of three of their previous four games, defeated the Sydenham Golden Eagles 34-31 and the Frontenac Falcons, who began the season 0-4, won for the third time in their last five games, 40-23 over the visiting Bayridge Blazers.

The regular season concludes Tuesday, with the top two teams from B division then joining the six senior A teams for playoffs that will begin next Thursday.

 

Gaels treating season finale ‘like a playoff game’

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

They don’t sound like a bunch that’s playing out the string.

“It’s the last game of the season. You treat it like a playoff game,” Queen’s Golden Gaels defensive back Colton Ballou was saying yesterday.

“After this, the season’s over. You want to bring your best effort.”

Such is the attitude of the Gaels, who will finish a disappointing Ontario University Athletics football season Saturday in Ottawa against the fledgling Carleton Ravens. It will be the third game Queen’s has had to play since an 0-5 start officially rendered the Gaels playoff spectators.

You’d think whatever enthusiasm remained at that point would have evaporated by now, but weeks after clinching eighth place became their only tangible objective, the players long to do more than spoil Carleton’s first playoff bid in more than 20 years. What the game means to the Ravens is immaterial, receiver Curtis Carmichael said. “Our mentality is just about us.”

“We know they’re going to put out a lot of effort because they’re still in playoff contention,” he said, “but for us this game means a lot more in terms of pride.

“We were honest with where we were at. We never actually denied what was happening this year. We faced it and tried to come out of it and we’ve been successful.”

The Gaels have won their last two games handily, against traditionally weak Toronto and York. They insist it’s important to continue that string of success, however modest it may be.

“We’ve got to keep the momentum going for next season,” said Corey Flude, the defensive lineman from Holy Cross. “We can’t let this season drag us down. We’ve got to take some positives out of it.”

To that end, Gaels coach Pat Sheahan said the team has rehearsed for this game like any other.

“We didn’t give all the veteran players a handshake after the Homecoming win and tell them to take the week off, because we’re going to put all the kids in this week,” he said. “We have enough kids in the lineup, anyway, we didn’t have to do that,” he chuckled, “but it’s important to them and it’s important to the program … that our seniors walk off the field with a victory.

“Also, the underclassmen who are going to be returning need to understand that Carleton is one of the up-and-comers. This is a team that, for the next three or four years, is going to be challenging for a top-six spot, a top-four spot, and if one (team) is coming in, that means that one is going to be out. What we need to do is make sure we’re not the team that’s moving out (of the top echelon).”

In just its second year back in the OUA, Carleton is 4-3 and very much in the hunt for a playoff berth, one that would be its first since 1996.

Sheahan said his team needs to be wary of the Ravens’ deep passing threat from veteran quarterback Jesse Mills, the Saint Mary’s transfer, and sophomore Nick Gorgichuk, the former Ottawa Myers Riders star whose father, Steve, is in the Regiopolis Notre Dame Hall of Fame and had a fine career at St. Francis Xavier University, and whose uncle, Eugene, was a top athlete at Queen Elizabeth Collegiate.

“One of the things that has plagued us is an area where this team is strong,” Sheahan said, “and that’s the big, vertical plays up the field. We want to challenge their capacity to make consistent yardage gains, (make them) make pinpoint passes in the short to medium range, and not give them any easy ones up the field.

“We want to cover those kids just long enough so our good defensive front can be disruptive.”

Sheahan said his team’s play in the past two games leads him to believe it can achieve those objectives.

“The quality of our opponent has enabled us to gain some confidence and with that you play better,” he said.

He spoke of putting the Queen’s season into a greater perspective.

“Our goal here is to win the national championship, and winning a national championship is done on a continuum,” Sheahan said. “Normally there’s a progression and the progression has a starting point … and a middle and an end. We are moving ever forward, so these three games, if they are victories, they become the foundation for what happens over the next two years.”

If, one day, people look back and look at the end of the 2014 season as the start of such a renaissance, no doubt the members of this team will look at their early-season woes in a different light.

“We faced some adversity at the start of the season and we’ve got a bit of a run going,” Ballou said. “To me and the team (this game) is about finishing on a good note. It’s one last game … and it’s important that we come out there to play.

“Winning’s fun. We want to keep that going.”

Queen’s men, women both advance in soccer playoffs

Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams from Queen’s advanced in Ontario University Athletics playoffs Wednesday, and they both needed extra time to do so.

The Gaels bested the Carleton Ravens in a shootout to post a 1-0 win in the women’s East division quarter-final. Queen’s got an overtime goal from Chris Wellsman to edge the Nipissing Lakers 2-1 in the men’s contest.

Both games were played at Miklas-McCarney Field.

The women will advance to play No. 1-ranked Ottawa in a division semifinal Sunday in Ottawa. The Gee-Gees, 15-1, won the last 15 games of their regular schedule, including a 3-0 victory over Queen’s a week ago.

The men, 9-2-5 in the regular year—with an eight-game unbeaten streak to end the schedule—will travel to Toronto to face the Varsity Blues for their East semifinal match, also Sunday, in Toronto. The Blues, 11-3-2, finished three points ahead of Queen’s, and gained a 2-1 win—the Gaels’ last defeat—and a scoreless draw in regular-season play.

Though leading scorers Jessie de Boer and Jackie Tessier were back in the Queen’s lineup, the women’s game was scoreless through overtime. The Gaels prevailed 4-2 in penalty kicks, an aspect that coach Dave McDowell abhors but one to which he’s had to become accustomed. Wednesday’s game was the Gaels’ fifth playoff game in a row that has been decided by penalty kicks.

Since 2011, Queen’s has gone to penalty kicks in 10 of its 15 playoff matches, winning seven of them.

The Gaels got goals on all four of their attempts. Queen’s led 3-2 after three rounds, with goals coming from Laura Callender, Melissa Jung and Brittany Almeida.

By that point, one Carleton shooter had sent her shot over the crossbar, and Gaels goalkeeper Madison Tyrell made a sparkling diving stop on the fourth Ravens’ attempt. Tara Bartram then scored on Queen’s fourth shot to secure the victory.

Tyrell, who got her fingertips on a Carleton shot in the final minute of the second overtime half, deflecting the ball over the net, got the best of Ravens keeper Elizabeth MacDougall, who was also perfect in the first 110 minutes of play.

In the men’s game, the visitors opened scoring just nine minutes into the game on a goal by Brandon TeBrake but Kingston’s Andrew Martin sent a shot into the top right corner of the net for Queen’s in the 23rd minute to tie the score.

The game stayed that way to the end of regulation time, thanks in no small part to a breakaway save Queen’s keeper Maxfield Materne made on Nipissing’s Ryan Mantle in the final minute of play.

In overtime, Wellsman, a midfielder who came off the bench, put a shot from about 30 yards out into the top corner, turning what looked like a harmless play into what proved to be the winning goal, in the game’s 105th minute.

It was just Wellsman’s fifth game of the year, and only his third goal. He scored twice in the regular-season finale Sunday against Royal Military College.

Playoff scenarios abound as OUA heads into final weekend

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

Lots remains to be determined Saturday on the final day of the Ontario University Athletics football schedule.

Only two teams are locked into playoff positions—the McMaster Marauders, 7-0 going into their game at Ottawa, will finish first; the Guelph Gryphons, 6-1, will finish second, regardless of the outcome of their game at Laurier.

That’s because the Gryphons lost to McMaster on Labour Day, and therefore the Marauders will prevail if those teams happen to finish tied. As well, though Guelph could lose and finish in a tie at 6-2 with either Western or Windsor, the Gryphons would be favoured because they defeated both of those teams in the regular year.

By virtue of finishing in the top two, McMaster and Guelph have earned first-round playoff byes and each will host a semifinal game Nov. 8.

The other givens, of course, have been known for two weeks: Queen’s, Toronto, Waterloo and York will be spending the playoffs in the library.

First, the easy part of the post-season equation.

Windsor and Western, both 5-2, will meet Saturday, at London. The winner will finish third and assure itself home field for a quarter-final game.

That settles the top three spots. It’s pretty straightforward.

Then it gets complicated.

That’s because the loser of that game will finish 5-3 and drop into a quagmire of teams jockeying not only for fourth place—and home field for the other quarter-final—but for its very playoff life.

Laurier, Ottawa and Carleton are all 4-3, and since none of them plays another, none is automatically eliminated with a loss, and neither are any of them in a position to claim a playoff spot outright with a win. The ultimate fate of each is dependent on the others.

For instance, if they all win—besides the Laurier-Guelph game in Waterloo and the McMaster-Ottawa game in Ottawa, Carleton closes its schedule at home against Queen’s—they and the loser of the Western-Windsor game would all be part of a four-way tie at 5-3, with only three spots open on the post-season dance card. (Imagine, for a moment, the heartache that would befall a team that finishes 5-3 and misses the playoffs.)

It won’t be a simple puzzle to solve.

According to the OUA General Playing Regulations, the first means of breaking ties is head-to-head competition between or among the tied teams during the regular year. Here is the relevant history:

  • Western beat Laurier but did not play either Carleton or Ottawa.
  • Windsor beat Laurier and Ottawa but lost to Carleton.
  • Carleton beat Ottawa and Windsor, lost to Laurier and did not play Western.
  • Ottawa lost to Carleton and Windsor and did not play Laurier or Western.
  • Laurier lost at Windsor and Western, beat Carleton and did not play Laurier.

Phew.

The league’s unbalanced schedule complicates things by creating a situation where tied teams didn’t play each other. That means the tied teams’ records against common opponents becomes the tie-breaking variant.

Saturday’s outcomes will determine which of the 16 possible scenarios will emerge. In all of them, however, Windsor and Western will end up among the playoff teams. (for a complete synopsis, see http://www.oua.ca/sports/fball/2014-15/releases/2014_playoff_scenerios)

The only remaining game that doesn’t have a playoff implication is the contest in Toronto, where winless York will host winless Waterloo in a game between teams that have scored 76 points, combined, in 14 games this year.

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