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Gee-Gee athletes find summer success representing Canada

Photo: Michelle Ferguson

Multiple current and former U of O athletes scorned the idea of having a relaxing summer, instead choosing to take an opportunity to represent Canada on the world’s stage.

Natasha Watcham-Roy’s career with the Gee-Gees women’s rugby team wrapped up at the end of the 2013 campaign, but her playing career was far from over. As a member of Team Canada this summer at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Watcham-Roy contributed in a gold medal-winning effort for her nation on home soil.

The women’s rugby sevens squad posted an undefeated 6-0 record as they dismantled the United States in the gold medal final, racking up a 55-7 victory. Watcham-Roy totaled 15-points in the tournament on three tries. The team will now set their sights on the 2016 Summer Olympics.

At the Summer Universiade Games in Gwangju, South Korea, the Gee-Gees were well represented on the basketball court as two U of O athletes suited up for Canada’s men’s development team.

The 2014-15 Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) Player of the Year Johnny Berhanemeskel and Ontario University Athletics (OUA) First-Team All-Star Caleb Agada both contributed to a strong showing for Canada at the games.

In his first foray into post university basketball, Berhanemeskel, was often times the go-to scorer on the floor. He showcased his assassin- like shooting ability leading to multiple high-scoring performances. Agada was one of the younger players on the team but was still able to edge out some valuable minutes in big games this summer that will prove handy for Gee-Gees’ late playoff pushes.

The team didn’t fare as well as they would have hoped but still found themselves among the world’s elite, placing sixth in the games.

On the soccer field, Gee-Gee Meghan Ramsden became a starting defender on the team as they fell just short of medaling, finishing in fourth place.

Ramsden just finished her fifth-year, translating her leadership on the field for the Gee-Gees into strong defensive stands for Canada.

For the coaching side, men’s basketball’s James Derouin added to his CIS Coach of the Year campaign by becoming an assistant coach on Canada Basketball’s U16/U17 national team. The team boasts many potential future stars who competing in the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 championship in Argentina. In a gold medal match with the United States the team lost, but proved that Canada will continue to be an international force for years to come.

Derouin worked under his predecessor from the U of O, Dave DeAverio, whose depar- ture to McGill in 2010 was the catalyst for Derouin’s ascension to the top of the CIS coaching food chain.

After a successful summer, some Gee-Gee athletes will return to the U of O and shine on a smaller level and others will go on to play professionally but this summer they were not simply the school’s athletes, they were the entire nation’s.