Top 10 Brock Athletic Accomplishments

From the turf field to the return on a long-missed varsity team, the 2015/2016 athletic year for Brock University has certainly been a memorable one. We’ve seen great milestones accomplished by teams and individual players, but we’ve seen heartbreaks as well. To conclude the final issue of the year for The Brock Press, we’ll look back throughout the year and nail down the top 10 events in Brock Athletics and dive into how they made an impact on Brock’s athletic landscape.

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No. 10 – Sports Talk with Donnovan Bennett and Neil Lumsden
Back in February, founder and creator of The Canadian Sports Business Network, Matthew Paladino, and his colleagues hosted the first sports talk conference, which allowed Brock Sport Management students to learn directly from industry professionals. The panel consisted of some very influential individuals within the Brock community and elsewhere.

The first speaker was Neil Lumsden, who formerly played in the CFL and was a general manager. Lumsden, now Brock’s new Director of Athletics and Recreation spoke to Sport Management students and explained his career path. The CFL Hall-of-Famer explained how he got to where he is today. Through his speech, he encouraged students to never stop searching for a career that fits them perfectly.

.Second to speak was digital contributor and writer for Sportsnet, Donnovan Bennett. Bennett spoke of his university career and how he once played for the Western Mustangs football team. Once he knew that playing football would not find him a career, Bennett still sought for a career in athletics. He explained how he fought for internships and was able to use that experience to land him a career with Sportsnet.

This event was a very motivational event for Sport Management students as it allowed for students to understand the importance of getting internships and differentiate yourself from other candidates in order to land the job over other candidates.

No. 9 – Brock Goes to “Bash the Badgers” at Laurier
Bash the Badgers was one of those events that took everyone by surprise, and once people heard about it, word spread like wildfire. This event saw two buses full of Brock students travel to Laurier to cheer on Brock’s Basketball teams.

Bash the Badgers was a Facebook event created by Wilfred Laurier Athletics when Brock Men’s and Women’s Basketball was headed to Laurier to play the Golden Hawks. Once Brock students discovered the page, controversy started quickly as Brock was playing well and wanted to prove that they weren’t a team that could be pushed aside.

To prove Laurier wrong, the Badgers surprised the Golden Hawks with two bus loads of Brock students. This trip was just the beginning of Brock proving they were the best crowd in CIS.

The Badgers took up a large part of the Golden Hawks gym and many Laurier students were telling friends to bring others as they were being out-cheered by the #WeAreReady supporters.

No. 8 – Brock Wins OUBHL Championship
What originally started as an unofficial team in 2008, Brock Ball Hockey coach Rene Vandenboom’s dream of winning the OUBHL Championship finally came true as his team finished with a 13-3 record.

Coach Vandenboom went through many years of scouting players and fighting for a chance to compete for the OUBHL Championship. What started off as a slow start turned into his team’s first championship.

The Badgers started off their season with a 1-1-2 season on the road. With this being a way that no team wants to start, the team kicked into high gear and fought each game with pure athleticism, which landed them a 13 game winning streak.

The Badgers took on the Carleton Ravens in the finals and walked away winning both rounds, which landed then their first OUBHL Championship in Brock history.

No. 7 – Brock Men’s Volleyball Returns
On Nov. 3, Brock Athletic and Recreation Department announced the return of its Men’s Volleyball program after a 15-year absence. With the hiring of head coach Doug Hanes, the 2016-17 season will be the first time Brock will have a men’s team walk onto the Bob Davis Gymnasium since the 2000-01 season, when the team finished with a 23-14 overall record.

Aside from the recruiting process, the volleyball team will be allowing for current Brock students to attend a tryout practice to try and land a spot on the team next year.

Brock Men’s Volleyball should have a lot ahead of them next year as Hanes last coached the Waterloo Warriors, He spent six seasons with the Warriors, and his teams had winning records every year, which included two OUA West finals.

No. 6 – First Meridian Centre Game
This year Brock was introduced to the #WeAreReady team, which was a hype group for Brock Athletics that created buzz ahead of Brock sporting events, particularly focusing on Brock Basketball. With the help of the #WeAreReady team and Brock Athletics, they were able to collaborate with the newly built Meridian Centre and schedule a home game for the Men and Women’s Basketball team against Lakehead.

The event was a historical one for Brock Athletics as they had a record breaking crowd that included both students and the community. With the crowd supporting the two teams, both the men’s and women’s teams were able to walk away with a victory from the large venue.

No. 5 – Brock Curling Wins Medals at OUA’s
After a four day tournament in Guelph, the women’s team were able to win their second silver in two years, while the men’s team was able to land a bronze medal in the OUA Championships. Their efforts remained recognizable as they later competed in the CIS Championship in British Columbia. Although they did not place for a medal, both teams walked away with experience and pride as they represented Brock University.

At the CIS Championships, Brock Men’s Curling fell one win shy of a bronze medal, and the women placed fifth. Both team’s have shown tremendous improvement over the last couple years, as next year is even brighter.

No. 4 – Wrestling Wins CIS at Home
What comes as no surprise, the Men and Women’s Wrestling team dominated the competition this year as they won double gold in both the OUA and CIS Championships.

As Brock hosted the CIS National Championships, schools from across Canada came to compete in the championship, but the Badgers weren’t going to lose at home. The women became the first team ever in CIS to win five straight National titles, while the men were able to walk away with their third straight CIS National Championship.

No. 3 – Chris Critelli
Already having an impressive resume that many great Canadian basketball stars wish they also had, Chris Critelli was able to add to her multiple accolades as she was honoured with the OUA women’s trophy being named the “Critelli Cup”.

Critelli has already been inducted into the St. Catharines Hall of Fame (1999), the Ontario Basketball Hall of Fame (1999), and the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame (1998) and is the only player to ever win both an NCAA and CIAU title. Certainly having a trophy named after her, she will be remembered for a very long-time within the Canadian Basketball community.

No. 2 – Neil Lumsden
In search for a new Director of Athletics and Recreation, Robert Cargnelli served as interim until Brock was proud to announce the hiring of Neil Lumsden.

Lumsden has had huge involvement in the OUA as he first started his football career as a player at McMaster University. He then played in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts, Edmonton Eskimos and the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Now being Brock’s eighth Director of Athletics and Recreation, Brock University and Brock Athletics are excited to work with Lumsden and see what he will do to create history with the Badgers.

No 1. – Turf Field
Shortly after signing a deal with Nike, Brock was proud to announce that they would be constructing a turf field that would be available to students and athletes for Homecoming during the 2015/2016 year.

This was a huge accomplishment for the Brock as many teams such as the Rugby, Lacrosse, and Soccer teams had to play on rough fields that were often difficult to play on.

While the field served the purpose to give a nice luxury to Brock sports, Brock Athletics explained that the turf field was “students’ first” and was to be shared between students and athletes for recreational and athletic purposes.

The field, which was officially named, “Alumni Field”, represents Brock alumni and the great accomplishments of generations of Badgers in sport. Aside from the Sir Isaac Brock statue, Alumni Field is Brock’s newest addition to the school and is a distinctive characteristic towards the school.

Connor Allen
Assistant Sports Editor

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