Though winter weather threatened to interrupt various school sporting competitions, SMUS teams completed their respective commitments with rowing involved in two erg competitions, all basketball teams advancing in or to the first round of playoffs, and our Junior and Middle School swimmers competing in the VISSA jamboree.
The rowers took part January 20 in the Brentwood College Erg regatta, competing against the host school as well as the Maple Bay, Salt Spring and Gorge clubs. Tessa Furey (U19 Novice Women) and Firinne Rolfe (U17 Women) both won gold medals, six other SMUS athletes reached the podium and several others achieved personal best times.
Then, on February 3, SMUS Crew athletes Rolfe, Sonya Pareiko, Matthew Cormie, Liam Hodgins and Nathan Yang took part in the Monster Erg event at the University of Victoria. This event coincided with other similar competitions held across Canada.
Cormie is to be congratulated for the second-best time achieved in the U19 Mens Division, while Rolfe, in an absolutely stellar performance, recorded one of the top results of all U17 Women in the country! What a fabulous achievement.
The SMUS team now looks forward to its first water regatta March 2-3 at Elk Lake.
Also in the water, our Junior School and Middle School swimmers participated in the Victoria Independent Schools Sports Association’s swim jamboree. This event provided athletes with the opportunity to test their skills and fitness in the front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly. Some 45 swimmers from the Junior School and 13 from the Middle School represented SMUS in a most impressive manner. Hard work and commitment were richly rewarded in the form of some fine results. While, for many, this was a first introduction to a competitive meet, several veterans were on hand to provide encouragement.
In basketball, the playoff road began for most of the teams. Congratulations are due the Senior girls, who claimed top seed in the upcoming Island AA tournament by sweeping to the City title. After an opening victory versus Esquimalt, the team really clicked on offence in a comfortable victory over Parkland. The post trio of Kiri Ngawati, Georgia Haydock and Meredith Selwood combined for 55 of the 89 points scored.
This result moved the Blue Jags into the final versus arch-rival Lambrick Park. Despite a slow start, the team eventually kicked into gear, controlling tempo and defending well en route to a comfortable 59-42 victory. Haydock, Zoe Lott and Bella Leong were all prominent, with Kenzi Farish adding seven points of her own and providing a real defensive spark.
SMUS now moves on to the February 14-16 Island tournament at Lambrick Park.
At the Junior girls level, the Blue Jags opened City playoffs with a fine 56-31 triumph over Oak Bay. In what was a solid team effort, Marina Fabris paced the attack with 15 points. Despite terrific efforts by Yukina Hashimoto, SMUS then dropped the semi-final to Pacific Christian School, before rebounding nicely to defeat Stelly’s 59-40 to reach the bronze medal game. Claudia Murr (21) shone on offence, with the win clinching an Island tournament berth.
In the battle for third place, the team lost narrowly, but looks forward to the full Island event February 15-16 at Belmont.
On the boys side, the Juniors boys also qualified for Islands, after a hotly contested local playoff. SMUS started with a 78-62 victory over Pacific Christian School, as Kyle Ferguson, Izzy Helman and Ethan Brownsey combined for 55 points. Then, in a tense and nervy semi-final, the team did just enough to stave off a gallant Reynolds outfit, with the Roadrunners perhaps a bit unlucky to fall on the wrong side of a 61-57 scoreline.
In the final, a virtuoso performance by a Claremont point guard staked the Spartans to an early 21-4 lead and SMUS could never quite close the gap to single digits. Helman led the way with 17 points, while Brownsey, Ferguson and Tadeo Allerding each added a dozen in what finished a 73-62 defeat. Nonetheless, a second-place City finish leaves SMUS well placed for the February 14-16 Island tournament in Nanaimo. The top four teams will qualify for the BC Junior finals in Langley at the beginning of March.
Finally, the Senior boys completed regular season and exhibition play with three games. The first, against BC AAAA No. 7-ranked Semiahmoo, was a case of one that got away, as the Blue Jags could not hold on to a late six-point lead in a narrow 81-79 loss. Games versus Belmont and Claremont were final opportunities to experiment with various line-ups and offensive schemes, with SMUS beginning play in the South Island tournament on February 15.
The Island tournament, from which three teams will qualify for the BC AA event in Langley, takes place February 21-23 in Ladysmith.