The 70th edition of the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Championship was held June 5-7 in St. Catharines, Ontario. Some 2,000 athletes, including the SMUS rowing team, represented more than 120 schools from across the country.
As has been the case in past years, very strong head winds during the heats made life difficult for the various crews, with many taking longer than anticipated to complete the 2 kilometre course. Nonetheless, six SMUS crews ploughed through the elements to reach their respective finals.
On Finals Day (Sunday) in truly wonderful fashion and in pressure circumstances, the Men’s Sr 4+, featuring Nathan Anter, David Cunningham, Connor Fenton, John Throne and Max Yong, continued their exceptional form to win the gold medal. Not to be outdone, the Women’s Sr 63kg 4+ then also topped the podium, thanks to the sterling efforts of Sun-Eui Choi, Juliane Pohl, Acacia Welsford, Chloe White and Julianna Wong.
Also rowing superbly were the second place Men’s Jr 4+ (Katie McAulay, Jacob Couchman, Ricky Fabris, Aubry Williams and Nick Considine) and the bronze medalist Women’s 63kg 4+ (McAulay, Desiree McIntosh, Emily Hodgins, Olivia Meadows and Erin Forbes). In other finals, the Women’s Sr 63kg 8+ crossed the line in fourth while the Men’s Junior Double placed sixth.
The coaching staff, while very proud of all the medalists, paid equal tribute to the entire team: “There were many fine efforts, in what is such a high quality regatta. Particular thanks are due the seniors for their dedication and leadership through the entire year.”
The sailing team completed a very successful term by absolutely dominating the June 6 South Vancouver Island regatta. Out of 14 races, SMUS won seven and placed second in three others to take the overall competition by 17 points.
On the water, Jasper Johnston, Andrea Ellsay, Olivia Roberts, Aysha Emmerson and Jonathan Mostovoy proved to very capable skippers. All showed their ability, not only in helming the boats and working out race strategies, but also in coaching less experienced crew members. This group included newcomer Santiago Mazoy, who at times seemed to spend more time in the water than in the boat, as well as Silke Kuhn, Alex Nesnidalova, Ethan Otto, Sara Owen-Flood and Yiyi Zeng. James Hayashi and Camila Strasdas also need mention, as they picked up key sailing concepts very quickly and proved very capable on the race course.
Overall, this was the strongest sailing group the school has produced since the introduction of the local league.
At the BC Track and Field Championships, held June 3-5 in Langley, Abdul Shokoya laid down a SMUS marker immediately with a sizzling 11.19 in the 100-metre heats. Then, in the closest of finals, he missed out on a silver medal by .05, finishing fifth after a photo finish. He then went on to record a personal best of 23.47 in the 200-metre. Meanwhile, Conrad Chin placed 12th in the javelin with a throw of 43.55 metres, while Santiago Mazoy ran bravely in the 3,000-metre.
At the junior level, Jayne Leggatt’s 1.35-metre high jump was her second best performance of the season. Lucas Simpson turned in two simply outstanding efforts, improving his personal best in the 1,500-metre steeplechase by a whopping 11 seconds before then clocking 2.04.42 in the 800-metre. Incredibly, this time was good for only 13th place overall, as sub 2.01 was required to make the final.
Coach Judy Tobacco was delighted with the overall performance of her charges. “The standards in the provincial meet this year were extremely high. A top 15 finish for any athlete was noteworthy.”