Golden Horseshoe rowers have strong showing at OUA championships

The Western Mustangs became the second school in as many years to sweep both the men’s and women’s Ontario University Athletics rowing titles in 2009, knocking off the defending champion Queen’s Gaels in competition at the Henley Island Course in St. Catharines on Saturday.

Western had five first-place finishes in individual competition including a pair of gold medals won by Lauren Wells (London) who took both the lightweight and heavyweight women’s singles races. The heavyweight women’s coxed four team of Lindsay Sferrazza (St. Catharines), Sarah Black (Ottawa), Jen Martins (Toronto), Andrea Ernesaks (Ottawa) and coxswain Kris Rogalosky (Oakville) also rowed to gold.

All but Rogalosky teamed with Athena deBrouwer (Blenheim), Alex Shishkov (Mississauga), Lia Renaud (Woodstock), Adelyn Barr (Brockville) and coxswain Paige Sain (Toronto) to also win the women’s heavyweight eight crown.

Western’s David Lariviere (Hamilton), William Matthews (Vancouver), Jason Kirkey (Niagara Falls), Sean Addison (Vancouver), Nicholas Chisholm (Fonthill), Mark Dawidek (London), Nicholas Schudlo (St. Catharines), Michael Huurman (Niagara Falls) and coxswain Genna Wood (Toronto) were also golden for the Mustangs, winning the men’s heavyweight eight competition.

The host Brock Badgers took men’s and women’s team silvers, while Queen’s earned both team bronzes. Brock had three individual gold medals, including the men’s lightweight four team of Ben Cushnie (Pelham), Corey Brunton (St. Catharines), Brendan Coffey (Fonthill), Sylas Coletto (Vineland) and coxswain Karlene Willmott (Niagara Falls).

Women’s teams also excelled for Brock, with Keelin Greenlaw (Halifax), Jenna Burke (Fonthill), Natasha Eikelenboom (St. Catharines), Teresa Miele (St. Catharines) and coxswain Carla Edwards (St. Catharines) rowing to the lightweight four crown, and joining Kate Nay (St. Catharines), Rebecca Gregory (Brampton), Alison Thomas (St. Catharines) and Michele Head (Hamilton) in taking the lightweight eight final.

Morgan Jarvis (Clearwater Bay) of the Queen’s Gaels won individual gold in two events, winning the men’s lightweight single, and teaming with Jamie Christian (London) in the men’s lightweight double.

The Ryerson Rams won their first ever OUA gold medal, as the duo of Matt Buie and Philippe Roy took home the gold in the men’s heavyweight double race.

The Toronto Varsity Blues claimed gold in two races, including Michael Braithwaite (Duncan, B.C.) taking the men’s heavyweight single. Elise Mackie (Calgary) and Lindsay Tetreault (Oakville) also finished first in the women’s heavyweight double.

The McGill Redmen finished first in the men’s lightweight coxed eight, which beat out the second-place Mustangs by almost a full boat-length. The winning crew included Nathaniel De Bono (Windsor), Renaud Garon-Gendron (Boucherville, Que.), Brent Hopkins (Montreal), Andrei Popescu (Princeton, N.J.), Jonathan Rinaldi of (Montreal), Michael Ross (Scarborough), Kirk Vilks (Pinawa, Man.) and Evan deJonghe (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.). The coxswain was Nicole Bewski, a 5-foot-4, science freshman from Winnipeg.

Nicole Gough (St. Catharines) and Kerith Gordon (Halifax) won the women’s lightweight doubles, securing the first OUA gold medal for the Guelph Gryphons in 30 years.

The Trent Excalibur men’s heavy four team almost didn’t get to row in the OUA final after a last-second mishap caused a huge hole in their hull. Rallying to get another boat, the crew of Jacaob Heydon Thomas, Richard Love, Mark Basterfield, Brent Holmes Heron and coxswain Candace Cook outlasted Western to win the final race.

The men’s coach of the year went to Philip Hedrie of McGill for his work with the lightweight men’s program. The women’s coach of the year went to Swede Burak of Brock for his work with the lightweight women’s program.