After two wet and blustery days of training on the Canadian Henley course in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, the StFX rowing team was ready to attack the time trials of the Canadian University Rowing Championships, which took place November 3rd and 4th.
Veteran rower Fiona McDougall, of Ottawa, completing her final year of the BEd program at StFX, had a strong time trial, seeding her sixth in the B final in the women’s single. The field was dominated by an outstanding class of student-athletes: the top six performers have all represented Canada on the international stage. In the final on Sunday, McDougall rowed a gutsy race and moved up a spot from her seeding, finishing fifth (eleventh overall).
The lightweight men’s double, stroked by Sam Court and bowed by Tristan Kays, pushed hard in the time trial and qualified for the A final, deposing reigning Canadian University champions, the University of British Columbia. Court, a 2nd-year Business student from St. Catharines, and Kays, a 1st-year Business student from Bedford, NS, had an undefeated season in Atlantic Canada. In this first year of a new partnership, Court and Kays raced aggressively in the final and moved up a spot from seeding, placing fifth overall. This is the highest placing a StFX crew has achieved, since the program began competing nationally.
In the men’s pair, Garrett Nielsen, of Calgary, and Cecil Van Buskirk, of Saint John, NB, faced a top-notch field of Canada’s most skilled oarsmen. Seeded twelfth entering the final on Sunday, they edged out the University of Ottawa pair to finish eleventh overall. In the women’s eight, led by the deeply experienced coxswain Maddy Horne, of Wolfe Island, ON, the crew had a challenging piece in the Saturday time trial, but recovered well to finish tenth in the final on Sunday. This boat features four women from Antigonish: Abby MacInnis, Sarah England, Alyssa Mansfield, and Natalie Dreise. Rounding out the crew is Taylor Breneol (Saint John, NB), Alexis Rains (Brookfield, NS), Bethany Madsen (Iqaluit, NU), and Maeghan Ziebarth (Pakenham, ON).
Finally, the newly-formed lightweight women’s double, with Renee McDonald (Surrey, BC) and women’s captain Alya Jaffer (Kanata, ON), raced their way into the B final on Sunday, and led the field through the thousand-meter mark. An unfortunate gust of wind shunted them to the back of the pack, leading to a twelfth-place overall finish.
This was an enormously successful Canadian University Rowing Championships for StFX Rowing, a reflection of the high calibre of training the team has undertaken in recent years. Their focus on small-boat rowing is paying dividends, attracting top high school rowers from across the country to the up-and-coming program.
At the annual general meeting on Monday, November 3rd, Head Coach Katie Edwards was elected President of the Canadian University Rowing Association. She is the first woman to hold the position in the organization’s history.
submitted courtesy of StFX Rowing Club