by Satbir Singh
It’s amazing how some of the least recognized sports continue to be the most successful for the Brock Badgers, as in 2014/2015 championships were crowned once again, records broken and awards received. Brock athletes have performed at a high level individually, teams have taken huge steps forward, and the Badger community could not be more proud.
It didn’t matter what the atmosphere was – from the indoors to the outdoors, the court, the ice or the water, Badgers athletics showed great success this year as each program continues to grow at a fast pace.
This year, both the wrestling teams demonstrated why Brock’s the best wrestling program in Canadian university athletics. Head Coach Marty Calder has been bringing this program to new heights with both the men’s and women’s wrestling teams, winning the Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s (CIS) Championship for the second year in a row. The women have now won four consecutive CIS Championships, while the men continue to hold the CIS record for most titles at 15.
Men’s wrestler Nick Rowe, and women’s wrestler Carlene Sluberski, were named Athletes of the Year after a very successful season as both were gold medallists at the CIS finals. Jade Parsons also received a gold medal for the women, but what made it more impressive was that it was her fourth gold in as many years. Emily Schaefer was crowned Rookie of the Year as she earned a gold as well. Ignatius Pitt was named Badgers men’s wrestling Rookie of the Year with a fourth place finish in his weight class. The two teams came away with six total golds medals and a combined 14 medals.
From the wrestling mats to the water, the Badgers rowing teams were also very successful. The men brought home a couple more medals for the University as they finished with a gold in the Ontario University Athletics, followed with a bronze at the Canadian University Rowing Championships (CURC). The women finished with a bronze at the OUA finals, however, fell short of a medal at the CURC finals as they finished fifth. Matt Wortley was named Brock’s men’s Oarsman of the Year, with fellow women’s rower Emma Sheehan was named Oarswoman of the Year.
Over on the ice, the Badgers curling teams also had successful seasons. The women captured a silver in the OUA, finishing in fifth place at the CIS finals. The men were close to an OUA medal, but still came away with a solid fourth place finish. During the OUA playoffs, the two teams finished a perfect 7-0 during round robin.
Men’s Blake Sandham was named Curler of the Year as he finished up his senior year. In his first year with the Badgers, Eric Bradley was honoured with Rookie of the Year. Women’s Erin Macaulay earned herself Badgers women’s Curler of the Year as a senior as well. Terri Weeks was named the women’s Rookie Curler of the Year.
In Lacrosse, the Badgers had a year that, while not finishing with a championship, was still very successful. In the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association (CUFLA), the men finished the season with an 11-1 record, good enough for first in the West division. Unfortunately, the men fell in the CUFLA semi-finals to Guelph, as it was their third consecutive appearance in the semi-finals. Senior Greg Davidson finished the year as the West scoring champion with a total of 47 goals in 12 games. He also finished third in the CUFLA in points with a total of 55. Davidson’s teammate Parker Baile was named Radovic Outstanding Defenseman and Outstanding Rookie of the Year. Another outstanding player for the lacrosse team was Brandon Slade, who finished with 28 assists, good enough for third in the CUFLA. Davidson was also named Badger lacrosse’s Most Valuable Player and Baile took home Rookie of the Year on the Badgers team. The team as a whole finished with 201 goals, which led the entire league at season’s end. The team was also commendable on defence, finishing fourth in goals allowed at 84. Head Coach Justin Kennedy continues to build a solid program and this season was another successful one.
Women’s Volleyball finished with an 8-11 record, which was enough for the Badgers to place third in the OUA west division. The team lost in the quarter-finals to Guelph. Lauren Stirling was named to the OUA First-Team All-Star and teammate Renee Helmer was listed to the OUA Second Team All-Stars. First-year player Abby Jenkins earned herself OUA All-Rookie team honours. Karlinna O’Leary was named the women’s Most Valuable Player at the Badgers Athletic Banquet, with Jenkins receiving Rookie of the Year. O’Leary led the OUA with 375 digs and Stirling finished second in the league with 0.56 service aces per set. Helmer was the team leader in kills with 97.
Overall, it was a great year for all Badgers sports teams. The wrestling team continues to dominate as other schools try to find a way to stop a run by the best baseball program in the province. The rowing, curling and lacrosse teams are close to taking a huge leap in their leagues. All teams fell short of being crowned with a championship, but with the experience this year the teams will continue to get stronger in the future.
There was a lot to cheer about over the course of this year, from all the seniors that are ready to graduate to the young athletes who blossomed in their first seasons. From the athlete’s individual success to our full team efforts, it’s easy to say that this was a successful year. Some may not see a great year, but Brock athletics goes as an underdog and this year was yet another successful one.