Seven Gee-Gees football players were honoured with all-star selections. Photo: Remi Yuan.
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Seven members of the Gee-Gees’ football team rewarded with all-star selections

Despite a disappointing finish to the regular season, the Gee-Gees’ football team ended the year with a 6–2 record and some stellar individual achievements to boot.

On Nov. 9, these achievements were recognized by Ontario University Athletics (OUA) in the form of individual awards.

Seven Gee-Gees were recognized in total, with Derek Wendel and Mitchell Baines, the dynamic duo of the 2016–17 season, being named first-team all-stars.

Jackson Bennett and Lewis Ward were named second-team all-stars, while Patrick Spelman, Piriyanthan Sinnathurai, and Tremayne Clark-Steven were named to the rookie all-star team.

Head coach Jamie Barresi was particularly proud of Wendel and Baines, especially since both players are at the end of their five-year careers as Gee-Gees.

“It’s a nice feeling, I’m happy for them. I’d rather (have) seen our team advance in the playoffs … but for those two guys, they worked very hard so I’m gratified and happy for them.”

Derek Wendel finished his five- year career with an MVP honour, which served as recognition for averaging an outstanding 367 yards per game this season.

“He put a lot of work into it, a lot of time into it, but so did a lot of other people, receivers, offensive lineman, and the offensive coaches,” said Barresi. “On top of that he’s a fairly talented guy.”

Receiver Mitchell Baines really broke out this year for the Gees, averaging 123 yards per game—a huge achievement for a guy who did not record a single catch in his first two years of varsity football.

“Here is a kid who had a real belief in himself,” said Barresi. “He had a love for the game, a passion for it, and he hung in there for as long as he could and worked at it, and that is the result.”

Having three freshman on the rookie all-star team should put some optimism in the hearts of University of Ottawa students for years to come.

“We’re happy that they played. There is a lot of things that have to happen for them yet. They have to develop and move on to get better,” said Barresi.

Despite the loss of senior talent like Wendel and Baines, Barresi is committed to bringing this team to the next level next season.

“We hope to take another step forward, a lot of things need to happen here in the next few months. One is recruiting, two is good spring practice, three is a very productive conditioning and lifting program.”

The Gee-Gees wish their graduating players a fond farewell. The team will have some big shoes to fill next season, noticeably with their two first-team all-stars, but with some supremely talented rookies moving up in their roster there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future.