Mac quartet named rugby all-stars

McMaster Marauders placed four players on the Ontario University Athletics all-star women’s rugby team. Major award winners were announced on Wednesday (Oct. 24).

The Marauders, competing in the Russell Division, finished with a 4-2 regular season record and a second-place finish. Rookie fullback Stephanie Black (Ottawa) was the team’s top scorer with 52 points from five tries, 12 converts and a penalty goal to earn the first all-star nod. She finished third in league scoring.

She is joined on the all-star squad by teammates Sara Berry (East York, Ont.) and Marisa Ashley (Rockcliffe, Ont.), both first-time winners, and three-time all-star Maggie Cogger-Orr (Thornhill, Ont.).

The defending OUA and Canadian Interuniversity Sport champion Guelph Gryphons and the Queen’s Gaels, the No. 2 and No. 4 nationally ranked teams, top the list of award winners.

Guelph’s Britt Benn (Napanee, Ont.) becomes the third straight Gryphon to take home the most valuable player award in the Shiels Division. She led the OUA in scoring with 80 points on 16 tries while leading her team to a perfect 6-0 regular season record. Benn also was named a division all-star for a remarkable fifth straight season.

The Gryphs had four other members named to the squad including locks Caitlin Beaton (Clavering, Ont.) and Morganne Linthwaite (Guelph), fly half MacKenzie Higgs (Aurora, Ont.) and fullback Katie McNally (Guelph). The 2012 honour is the fourth all-star nod for Beaton, and the second for McNally.

For the fourth consecutive season the Waterloo Warriors placed four players on the divisional all-star team led by veteran prop Briana Cunningham (Waterloo, Ont.) who is named to the squad for a third time. Eightman Renee Woodhouse (Stratford, Ont.) becomes a two-time Shiels Division all-star, while Erinne Lee Vargas (Kitchener, Ont.) and Rachel Brown (Cambridge, Ont.) become first-time award winners. The Warriors’ coaching duo of Jay Shaw and Leslie Shaw were given the coach of the year award for the second time, after previously winning in 2010.

After finishing the regular season in third place in the Shiels Division, the Western Mustangs feature a trio of 2012 all-stars. Meaghann Buitinga (London) led the Mustangs in scoring with 36 points on 18 converts, while Lori Josephson (Beaverton, Ont.) tallied seven tries for 35 points. Mackenzie Fane (Holland Landing, Ont.) also received an all-star nod for Western. The awards are the first in each player’s career. Western fly half Danielle Spice (Oakville) was also named the division’s rookie of the year.

Brock’s Mariko Reilly (Pickering, Ont.) becomes a two-time divisional all-star with her 2012 award. Reilly joins first-time winner scrum half Elizabeth Monkman (Brampton, Ont.) as the Badgers representatives on this year’s all-star team.

Rounding out the Shiels Division all-stars is Laurier halfback Emily Seunarine (Brampton, Ont.), who earns all-star status for the first time.

Fifth-year fullback Karla Telidetzki was named the Russell division’s most valuable player for the second consecutive season. The Edmonton native accounted for over half of Toronto’s offence, ranking seventh in the OUA with eight tries for 40 points in five games this season. Telidetzki was also named a Russell division all-star.

The Queen’s Gaels finished the season 6-0 and were awarded with five divisional all-stars as well as the rookie of the year. Third-year lock Bronwyn Corrigan (Waterloo, Ont.) paced the Gaels with 55 points on seven tries and 10 converts en route to her first all-star award. Scrum half Susan Heald (Burlington, Ont.) becomes an all-star for the fourth time, while forward Taylor White (Bancroft, Ont.) and prop Claragh Pegg (Barrie, Ont.) get the nod for the second time each. Gaels rookie Nadia Popov (Newmarket, Ont.) had an excellent start to her career as she collected six tries and 11 converts for 52 points. In addition to her first all-star award, Popov is also the 2012 Russell Division rookie of the year. Third-year Gael Marin MacLeod (Pictou County, N.S.) was all named the winner of the community service award for her efforts off the pitch.

Three players from the York Lions have been named to this year’s all-star team. The Lions were lead by a trio of veteran players including fourth-year fly half Mel Cunningham (Thornhill, Ont.), who becomes an all-star for the second time. Third-year forwards Fedelia Omaghan (Toronto) and Amber Barrett (Kitchener, Ont.) become first-time all-stars this season. Head coach Joe Costello has been named coach of the year in the Russell division after guiding his team to a 3-3 record after a winless 2011 campaign.

After a year away from the field due to injury, Trent’s Britt Douglas (Port Hope, Ont.) returned to the pitch to have a strong year for the Excalibur and earn the first all-star nod of her career. Joining her is now three-time all-star Kaitlin Newton (Port Hope, Ont.).