Athletics Review: SMUS Delivers on Provincial and National Stages

victory.jpg

Rugby
by Ian Hyde-Lay, coach

From May 30 to June 2, the 1st XV traveled to Abbotsford to complete play in the BC AAA tournament. Riding high from a thrilling, extra time opening round victory over GP Vanier the previous Saturday, the squad looked forward to a quarterfinal match up against arch rival and BC #2 ranked Oak Bay.

This game did not start well, with Oak Bay gifted an easy try on two minutes, and then another shortly after. Down 12-0, SMUS dug in, with flyhalf Derek Hyde-Lay connecting on a penalty kick before hooker Jacob Duvenage finished off some fine driving play by the forwards to cut the deficit to four points.

Unfortunately, another defensive mix up allowed the Barbs to tally right before the half to secure a 19-8 lead.

The second half was a different story, as SMUS dominated possession and territory. Tries by Jeff Nishima-Miller, Truan Forsyth and Peter Harrison – all converted by Hyde-Lay – produced a 29-19 lead with less than ten minutes to play. Then, another superb, sweeping multi-phase move, sparked by fullback Dawit Workie, which would have clinched the win, saw the final pass, from Duvenage to Forsyth, ruled marginally forward.

Of course, the final stages of the game were never going to be simple, as Oak Bay threw caution to the winds in a desperate attempt to level the scores. Several minutes of frantic action just meters from the SMUS line was finally rewarded in a try, but that was it. The referee’s whistle concluded an exciting and emotional encounter, with SMUS not only gaining a measure of revenge for a narrow, last-second defeat in the Howard Russell Cup final but also advancing to the tournament Final Four by virtue of the 29-24 win.

It was always going to be difficult for SMUS to back up physically and emotionally in the semifinal against a huge and powerful Carson Graham team, and so it proved. Another edgy start allowed the Eagles two early tries, and although a Hyde-Lay penalty narrowed the gap to 10-3, Carson Graham soon kicked a penalty of their own.

A key moment occurred in the 28th minute, when SMUS centre David Pollen was tipped up in a tackle and forced to leave the field. While SMUS kicked three points from the penalty award, it was small consolation for the loss of such an influential player.

Early in the second half, the game turned dramatically in a four-minute spell, following a missed SMUS penalty goal at 13-6 down. Carson Graham turned on its power and pace to register three converted scores, jumping out to a unassailable 34-6 lead. SMUS battled bravely to the end, registering its sole score at the final whistle.

The loss consigned the squad to the bronze medal match vs St. Georges. For twelve seniors, it would be a final appearance in SMUS colours. The eventual 22-5 defeat painted no accurate picture of proceedings, as two long-distance Saints tallies counterbalanced an absolutely magnificent effort by the SMUS forward pack, now nicknamed the “Octagon”. These eight players, led by captain Nishima-Miller, lock Forsyth and prop Peter Harrison, and with flankers Marcel Sanati and Quinn Kliman also well to the fore, dominated the set piece and tackle area, against a far bigger and heavier side, for the entire 60 minutes. A rejigged backline, with Rory Brodhurst also out and Joe Erlic hampered by a bruised shoulder, did its bit as well.

On five occasions, SMUS got the ball over the St. Georges line; unfortunately, for whatever reason, the match officials saw fit to award only one try.

And then, it was over. All players and coaches gathered together to reflect on a long and arduous season, from the South America tour in March to three exciting matches versus Oak Bay to a gutsy and courageous performance at provincials.

VIVAT!

Rowing
by Victoria Wyatt and Judy Moore, parent volunteers

St. Michaels University School’s rowing crew arrived back in Victoria Tuesday morning after a very successful 67th Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Associations (CSSRA) Championship at the Royal Canadian Henley course in St. Catharines, Ontario. This national schools regatta is the biggest in North America, with over 2000 rowers from schools across Canada and the United States.

SMUS finished 12th out of the 137 schools that entered. This is an amazing result for our very small crew of rowers. The team entered 10 of the 36 scheduled events and made finals in seven. Each of the 17 crew members made it to at least one final. This is an impressive feat, given that there were 810 boats competing and many events had 30-40 entrants. The crews went through grueling heats and semis to be one of the six boats advancing to the final of the event.

In their seven finals, SMUS achieved one gold and one bronze medal as well as three fourth place finishes, one fifth place and one sixth place. For the first time ever, SMUS rowed an eight in the Lightweight Men’s 8 final, placing fourth.

The medals were:
Gold Junior Men’s Quad: Ryley Erickson, Brendon Marney, Colin Knightley, Andrew Williams
Bronze Senior Women’s Lightweight Double: Hannah Nielsen, Charlie White

The SMUS crew achieved these outstanding results while competing with much larger schools, helping to give BC strong national exposure. The results reflect months of training — as often as six times a week — under the superb coaching of Susanne Walker-Curry, Richard Curry, Brett Malcolm and Sarah Aylard.

Badminton
by Lizette Greyling, coach

The Clear One Badminton Centre in Richmond was the site for the 2012 BC badminton provincials. Out of 91 registered schools, the top 16 were invited to compete. SMUS came second in their pool to move into the competition between the top eight teams.

After a few close games and a convincing win against Island rivals Claremont, the team finished in seventh place. Of the 25 times that SMUS has played in the BC badminton provincials, the school has finished in the top eight only eight times, so this is a very good result.

The Most Valuable Player honours went to Grade 12 boarder David Shi. The whole team performed extremely well and played their best in every match and showed great team spirit! This was a great way to finish our season.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here