Athletics Week in Review: November 3

As the fall seasons of play near conclusion and the winter seasons start up, there are a number of positive stories to report.

Basketball

The Grade 6/7 girls competitive team kicked off their season with a home-opener exhibition game against Glanford Middle School last week. For the first time in many years, four Grade 6 girls were named to the team and will play alongside nine Grade 7 girls. Many of the girls worked through the summer and for the past several weeks on basketball skills with Passion Sports and SMUS Night League programs, but the game was their first chance to pull together as a team.

The Blue Jags came out firing with Eva C. (Grade 6) putting in two baskets in the team’s first two possessions. Other top scorers were Makena A. (Grade 6), Paige R. (Grade 7) and Anna F. (Grade 7). The team took a commanding 18-2 lead at the half and began to focus on running help defense and setting up their offense. They finished with a convincing 40-4 victory!

The Grade 8 boys competitive team began their season on Oct. 23 with an exhibition game against Spencer Middle School. Both teams played well in this spirited affair that saw wholesale substitutions and plenty of playing time for everyone. SMUS showed some tentative early attempts for flow into their offence and managed to exchange a few buckets with their opposition.

It was evident that both teams were struggling with cohesion at this early stage in the season, but some nice individual efforts punctuated the game. Nick H. demonstrated a hunger for rebounds and Kevin C. showed some nice ball skills throughout. Despite a strong effort, the result of 44-32 was in Spencer’s favour.

Cross-Country

The Island Cross-Country championships took place Oct. 26 at Beaver Lake. In wet and miserable conditions, 51 SMUS runners literally slogged their way through the muddy and treacherous course.

In the 4.5k Junior boys race, Mark Hansen led the way for the Blue Jags, finishing in 26th place. At Senior boys level, many of the twenty SMUS performers recorded personal bests over 6.5km, with Aubry Williams and Tucker Forbes leading the way. Despite good team balance, an overall 7th place just missed out, by a few points, on provincial qualification.

There was happier news on the girls’ side. In the Junior girls event, Lene Goedde and Fionnuala McKenna both finished in the top 25, with the team reaching the provincials thanks to a fourth place finish. The Senior girls race was an equally hotly contested affair, with Maia Watson, Judy Kim, Valerie Swanston and Julia Southgate combining for fourth place and a trip to provincials.

The B.C. meet takes place November 5 in Kelowna. Best of luck to all runners.

Volleyball

The Senior boys team traveled to Vancouver to participate in its very first ISA tournament. In a very well balanced competition, SMUS won two of its three pool matches to advance to the final four. The Blue Jags then prevailed against St. John’s School 25-20 and 25-23 to advance to the tournament final.

Despite impressive play from Tristan Kuhn, Christian Okiring, Sam Kahn, Ryan Hindson and Nathan Von Hagen, SMUS fell to St. George’s in the championship match. Congratulations to the entire team for bringing home the silver medal!

The Senior girls, led by all-star Jessa McElderry, advanced to the City final by virtue of a 2-0 win versus Stelly’s. Though then falling to provincial top-ranked Belmont, the team battled well from start to finish.

SMUS also took part in an extremely close ISA tournament, defeating Mulgrave and Southpointe, but falling 2-1 to each of Crofton House, West Point Grey Academy and York House in pool play.

Squash

The squash team was in Vancouver this past weekend competing at the B.C. Junior Open event. The team played well and had some great individual results. Brooke Herring won the consolation draw for girls gold division, Christian Y. finished 2nd place in the boys silver event, losing by a narrow margin in the final. Rachel Yuen came 4th in the girls silver event, Alex B. came 2nd in the girls silver event, Campbell W. came 4th in the boys bronze event, Oliver K. came 6th in the boys bronze event, and Jamie K. came 1st in the boys novice event.

Soccer

The conclusion of Senior boys league play saw some key matches, with SMUS looking to edge out Reynolds for top spot in the City competition. This duly occurred, with the team showing impressive form in recording wins over Royal Bay (6-0), Claremont (5-0) and GNS (7-1). Excellent all-round team play proved vital, as the Blue Jags exploded in each game for multiple second half goals. Dennis Siegrist dominated play in the midfield and contributed four markers, while Jamison Schulz-Franco notched three.

Matt Hagkull, Jon Sudul and Ben Keep were rock solid on defence in front of goalie Jasper Bosley.

Looming on the horizon is the Island AA tournament in Campbell River November 9 and 10, with qualification at stake for the provincial AA event in Burnaby to follow.

The Junior boys concluded a successful season with a fine third-place finish at the Island tournament earlier this week. An opening round 1-1 draw with eventual finalist Brooks of Powell River set the stage for the performance of the term as SMUS, led by midfielders Will Kinahan and Andres Vega Perez, upset favoured Oak Bay 2-1. This result represented a complete turnaround from a heavy league loss to the same opponents two weeks ago and featured plenty of grit and skill.

Unfortunately, with a pool win the next morning against host Brentwood still needed for the Blue Jags to reach the final, the team conceded an early goal and then fell behind 2-0. While Ewan Halliday pegged one goal back, a furious SMUS end game assault was frustrated by several fine saves and two posts. Nonetheless, the players regrouped nicely, defeating Carihi 4-2 to claim the bronze medal.

Rugby

The Grade 9 squad travelled to Vancouver for a match-up versus St. George’s. Though quite short of practice due to heavy soccer commitments in the same time frame, SMUS performed well against skilled opposition, going down very slowly in what finished a 22-5 loss. The game was in the balance until the final few minutes.

Max Nishima and Will Kinahan both put on a tackling clinic, while Ben Shaw showed great composure at fly half. Josh Mao got through a lot of work up front, well supported by Kevin Sheridan.

The two teams will meet again November 17 at SMUS.

In other rugby news, seniors Quinn Ngawati, Bryce Forbes, Felix Butterfield and Sam Kahn are in the national U18 rugby selection mix. Vivat!

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