Maclaine Chadwick | Fulcrum Staff
Every year, the Fulcrum looks back on the ups and downs of the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees teams’ respective competition seasons. This year, there were just too many memories to fit into one issue, so we decided to split the awards into two categories: fall sports and winter sports. Here is a rundown of how the Gee-Gees performed in their fall 2012 season, followed by the winners of the prestigious* Cavalry Awards.
*not actually prestigious
The women’s rugby team finished in fourth place in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) with a record of 4-3. Their season came to a close when the fourth-seeded Gee-Gees took on the defending league champions, the Université Laval Rouge et Or, in the semifinals and fell 32-13.
After the challenging game, coach Sue Chaulk said she was still “very proud” of her team.
The players on the team certainly have given her a lot to be proud of. Captain Sarah Meng was awarded with all-Canadian status after being voted the top centre player in the league, and was joined by her teammates Allison MacCormack and Simone Savary, who also got all-star nods from the RSEQ.
The 2012 football season was a dramatic one, to say the least. After a rough start under the guidance of coach Gary Etcheverry, the team went 0-5 before administration made the decision to release Etcheverry and rearrange the coaching staff.
“It’s a results-based profession,” explained running back Brendan Gillanders. “Any time a team goes 0-5, eyebrows are always raised.”
Following Etcheverry’s release, the team made an immediate improvement, winning two blowout games back-to-back, before a close loss to Western dashed playoff dreams. The final game did provide some positive memories, though, especially for kicker Matt Falvo, who broke two Ontario University Athletics (OUA) records by scoring his 71st field goal (an all-time career high) and kicking a 98-yard punt.
In the end, their 2-6 regular season left the Gee-Gees in the bottom four teams in the OUA, but the team is optimistic for the upcoming 2013 season with new coach Jamie Barresi.
#Winning is simply the best way to describe the 2012 women’s soccer season. The team’s 14-0 season, including only one goal scored against them, earned them the OUA gold medal and a trip to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championships. Unfortunately, the girls were a couple of goals shy of a bronze medal, and were defeated by the University of Victoria Vikes 1-0.
“This is a team that plays a nice brand of soccer,” said head coach Steve Johnson. “I’m proud to take them to nationals and show them off.”
The 2013 team was chock full of star players, who were honoured by both the OUA and CIS for their skill. On top of the seven all-star players named to the team, Gillian Baggott was named both OUA East MVP and CIS player of the year, and Christine Hardie was given the east division’s Community Service Award.
Although their visit to the CIS national championships was in the winter semester, the men’s and women’s swim teams began training and competing in the fall months. After each squad placed third overall in their first meet of the season against McGill University, they proceeded to claim second place overall at the OUA division championships. The teams continued to swim towards national qualifying times and brought 10 athletes to the national championships at the University of Calgary.
With a time of 2:11.93, backstroke swimmer Taylor Moore earned the bronze medal and was the first female swimmer to win a CIS medal for the U of O since 1981. The teams each placed 13th overall at nationals.
TRACK AND FIELD & CROSS COUNTRY
The U of O’s track and field and cross country teams are another group of athletes who train year round, with their regular competition season beginning in the early fall and ending in the winter semester.
Distance runner Julia Nikonorova was the sole Gee-Gee to qualify for the CIS national cross country championships at Western University, but many of her teammates on the track and field side of things qualified for the track and field nationals in March at the University of Alberta.
The Gee-Gees returned from the CIS track and field nationals with seven medals—five of them gold.
Although she didn’t collect any medals until the winter season of her sport, runner Emma Galbraith began training at the U of O in the fall of 2012. Running her way to two CIS gold medals at her first national competition, she stands out as best rookie.
Consistently over the course of her fourth playing season with the Gee-Gees, Natasha Watcham-Roy brought an entourage of rowdy and excited fans to rugby games who chanted her—and only her—name during the entire game. Their enthusiasm never waned, and they were the liveliest group at the games, making Watcham-Roy this year’s crowd favourite.
Unfortunately, many of the plays ran by the men’s football team in their 2012 season can be considered duds—that’s because interim coach Etcheverry was known to use a double-wing offensive strategy, one which only procured around 149 passing yards per game.
The dynamite play of the fall season also comes from the men’s football team—who, following the release of Etcheverry, almost managed a complete turnaround and fell just short of making the playoffs. Players who had been reigned in all season were also able to rack up some statistics during the final season: Vincent Campbell, for example, ran the OUA’s longest reception, a 107-yard kickoff return against the University of Waterloo Warriors.
With a perfect season (14-0), a team of nine all-star and all-Canadian players, and a history of winning at the U of O, it’s no wonder Coach Steve Johnson of the women’s soccer team was awarded OUA Coach of the Year. The effort he put into bringing the 2012 squad to OUA gold medal combined with his history is why he was the best coach this fall.