Athletics Review: Pure Speed

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We quickly recap the week in athletics with updates from a huge cricket tournament, our rowers at nationals, plus track & field, badminton and rugby at provincials. On the track, no one was as fast as Saeed Shokoya, so be sure to check out the video to get a taste of the 100-metre final.

Cricket – T20 School Competition
by Graham Lilly
T20Friday

Cricket went well on Friday morning with SMUS defeating St. George’s. The Saints scored 58 runs and SMUS replied with 59 runs for the loss of only one wicket. Following the win and aided by the Walk for Water atmosphere (cricket and a carnival atmosphere are not mutually exclusive!) the team went on to beat Princess Margaret’s School. Princess Margaret’s scored 100 runs in their twenty overs and we reached that total with a few overs to spare, but not without a few nail biting moments. Trenton Schulz-Franco scored 40 valuable runs and his brother Jamison bagged four wickets.

Saturday

The team beat L.A. Matteson School. SMUS batted first and scored 227 runs in 20 overs with Trenton scoring a century (106 not out). The team followed that up by bowling L.A. Matteson out for 105 with Mark Yorath claiming three wickets for only eight runs. By the end of Saturday afternoon the team was 4 – 0 in their tournament with a fine win against Surrey A. SMUS made 158 in the 20 overs and SA replied with 68. Trenton Schulz-Franco and Ben Edwards both batted very well, and Jamison Schulz-Franco’s wicket haul totaled 11. This was an especially fine effort from Ben as he’s just taken the sport up this year.

Sunday

SMUS won their last game, although they nearly succumbed to nerves in the tense last few overs! As a result they won the Jack Kyle trophy, with Trenton Schulz-Franco winning the award for his leadership and Jamison Schulz-Franco winning a bowling award. Although Trenton Schulz-Franco had a number of fine innings, cricket is a team game and the whole squad performed admirably. Our junior players, like Ben Edwards, Chris Lee and Sean Lider, who have just taken up the game this season should be really pleased with themselves as they handled the steep learning curve of a tournament very well indeed.

The coaches would also like to thank all the students, staff, parents, and alumni who showed up to cheer the team on and enjoy the festival atmosphere. VIVAT!

Rowing
by Judy Moore, parent volunteer

The rowing crew arrived back in Victoria yesterday afternoon from the 68th Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association (CSSRA) Championship at the Royal Canadian Henley course in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Sunny but extreme wind conditions this past weekend saw the cancellation of all final races for the first time in the history of these rowing championships. The entire young rowing community that came to compete at this regatta – 2272 students from schools across Canada and the United States – was deeply disappointed. Barney Williams, the National Team coach, commented that circumstances such as these are “a great reminder of why focusing on the journey not the outcome is such a powerful mind set.”

While SMUS entered seven scheduled events had the races proceeded, six would have made it to finals. Medals were awarded to crews based on the fastest times achieved from heats or semi-finals that were raced depending on the event.

Based on this SMUS achieved one gold and two bronze medals. For the second time, SMUS rowed an eight at the Nationals, placing 4th in the Lightweight Men’s 8+ final.

Medals
Gold: Junior Lightweight Girls Coxed 4 – Anika Johnson, Desi McIntosh, Olivia Donald, Dayna Fitzgerald and Acacia Welsford
Bronze: Junior Girls Coxed 4 – Anika Johnson, Sage Friswell, Olivia Donald, Dayna Fitzgerald and Acacia Welsford
Bronze: Junior Boys Quad – Matt Bouchard, Triton Lelewski, Colin Knightley, and Harrison Xu

Additional Standings
4th: Senior Boys 72kg Coxed 8+ – Erynn Pawluk, Luke Friswell, Chris Fenje, Brody Clement-Thorne, Taylor Ellison, Conrad Moore, Alpha Willeboordse, Andrew Williams and Josef Svorkdal
4th: Junior Boys Double – Matt Bouchard and Colin Knightley
6th: Senior Boys 72kg Coxed 4 – Erynn Pawluk, Luke Friswell, Chris Fenje, Brody Clement-Thorne and Taylor Ellison

The SMUS crew achieved these excellent results while competing with much larger schools, and it reflects months of training by the athletes (as often as six times a week). The rowers and parents gratefully acknowledge the superb coaching of Susanne Walker-Curry, Richard Curry, Danielle Beare, Brett Malcolm, Sarah Aylard, Ruby Walser and Mike Lewis.

Junior and Senior Rugby

The Junior and Senior rugby seasons drew to a close, with the Juniors reaching the Island final before falling to Shawnigan. Then, in an emotionally draining week, the 1st XV crashed out of the BC AA Tournament in gut wrenching fashion at the semi final stage.

At the Junior level, SMUS advanced easily through its opening Island matches, defeating Mark Isfeld of Courtenay and then Claremont. In the latter game, some excellent passing and support play led to a number of quality team tries.

The final versus Shawnigan, however, was a different story. Though a spectacular length of the field sortie, sparked by Max Pollen and finished by fullback Mitch Newman, put SMUS in front 7-5 after fifteen minutes of play, that was as good as it got.

Indeed, a powerful home side soon clicked into gear, with its impressive offloading game – focused around centre John Mitchell – proving extremely difficult to stop. Compounding the problem for SMUS were a host of set piece problems, with both the scrum and lineout failing to provide any consistent possession. As a result, the team spent a great deal of time on defence, with the inevitable consequences.

Scrum-half Carson Smith, centre Josh Kahn, lock Aidan McCleary and flanker Michael Cernucan battled all game, never letting their work rate drop despite the difficult circumstances.

The 1st XV opened its BC AA account with a 49-13 victory over Ladysmith, before easing past McRoberts 33-7 in the quarterfinals. This put the team on a collision course with tournament co-favourite Collingwood, with a berth in the provincial tournament final at stake.

In what was unquestionably the most dramatic encounter of the four-day event, SMUS deployed extremely effective quick passing and width in attack to unsettle the bigger Cavaliers. Two superb first-half tries by right wing Georgios Ikonomou, both converted by Dawit Workie, paced the Blue Jags to a 14-10 lead. When centre Dave Pollen blasted over in the left corner with twelve minutes to play, SMUS upped the margin to 24-13 and an upset of sorts seemed in the cards. It even appeared that what looked a perfectly legitimate fourth SMUS try, scored minutes earlier by captain Sam Reid but ruled out for some mystifying reason by the referee, might not matter.

How wrong this assumption proved to be.

SMUS, down to the absolute bare bones in the pack due to illness and injury, began to tire and a desperate Collingwood team seized the advantage. Relentless pressure produced a converted try which took the score to 24-20 with four minutes left.

With only a minute to go on the clock, Collingwood pressed home a final attack. Yet, with Workie managing a brilliant cover tackle at the corner flag, SMUS just needed to claim possession from a lineout and clear to touch. A perfect Reid throw found Chris Bjola, and all looked safe. Alas, a subsequent mixup saw the pass back for the clearing kick deflect off a SMUS forward and skitter loose in goal. In the ensuing scramble, a Collingwood player was deemed to have exerted sufficient downward pressure on the ball and the deciding try was awarded.

Two days later, in what was very much an anticlimactic finish to the season, SMUS recovered from 22-0 down, against a similarly disappointed Brentwood side, to trail 22-15 and then 29-22. Yet a knock on at the full-time whistle confirmed a 4th place overall finish.

Huge thanks are due the 10 seniors, who gave their all in every match at the BCs. In addition to those already mentioned, prop Alex Campbell, lock Wayne Lin, flankers Keenan Manhas and Clarence Choy, and wing Mark Kiggundu all performed well. Forwards Cole Tamburri, Marcus Lelewski and Liam Hyatt, unavailable at the BCs for a variety of reasons, would have been invaluable from a depth perspective.

Hopefully, the season will not be remembered primarily for ten agonizing minutes in a semi-final, but rather for the spirit, enterprise, courage and skill so often on display. There were many highlights throughout the term and, while an opportunity to contest the provincial final might have been a just reward, at times sport can be extremely harsh.

Vivat!

Track & Field and Badminton Provincials
video by Mat Geddes

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