Holy championships, Batman

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Multiple teams at the University of Regina compete for championship titles

Autumn McDowell
Sports Editor

In what can only be described as poor planning by Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), the national university-level championships in men’s and women’s wrestling, as well as in men’s and women’s swimming, have been scheduled on the same weekend.

Two championships would possibly be acceptable, but then they had the bright idea to schedule the Canada West men’s and women’s track and field championships for the same goddamn weekend.

It’s hard to say whether one member of the CIS organizing committee had a love affair with the dates Feb. 24-25, or whether three of them decided that those dates – in association with the word ‘championship’ – had a particularly nice ring to it.

Whatever the case may be, the University of Regina Cougars made the most of last weekend, and despite it being a headache for a fan of multiple sports, managed to produce record-breaking times and national champions.

Men’s wrestling

Earlier this week, Kirk Ackerman told the Regina Leader-Post that he was sick of finishing in second place: “What’s the old saying: Always a bridesmaid, never the bride? I think it’s my time for the wedding.”

Unfortunately for Ackerman, someone objected to the union.

Ackerman (61 kilograms) finished with silver at the CIS championships once again, after being defeated by Concordia’s David Tremblay in the final. But, Ackerman would get to witness a couple of his teammates say “I do.”

Both Connor Malloy and Steve Schneider ended up tying the knot on the big stage.

Connor Malloy finished first in the 72 kg division, after taking out Guelph’s Jake Jagas in the gold medal round for the second year in a row. Steve Schneider (57 kg) also finished at the top of his weight class after defeating McMaster’s Jason Buckle.

In the last match of the day, Regina’s Gaelan Malloy took on Western’s Ilya Abelev, which turned out to be something out of a movie.

Regina trailed Concordia by just two points heading into the Malloy-Ilya match up. The rules were simple: Malloy wins the match and Regina captures a team national championship, as it had the edge in the event of a tie. Lose, however, and the boys would finish with silvers – still very much respectable, but not what the boys were looking for.

The wrestling gods were not on Regina’s side in the final match as Malloy (68 kg) suffered an untimely ankle injury near the start of his gold medal bout against Abelev. After having his ankle taped around the outside of his shoe, Malloy re-entered the match ala Daniel LaRusso in the first Karate Kid movie.  However, with no Mr. Miyagi to speak of, instead of a jumping front kick to end the match, Gaelan Malloy’s injury was too bad and too painful for him to continue. He was forced to withdraw, finishing with a silver medal around his neck in individual and team competition.

Although silver was not the colour that the boys had their eye on, they should still be extremely proud of what they have accomplished on the mat both as individuals and as a team.

Women’s wrestling

Although the women may have had a much less dramatic championship than the men’s side had, a couple of the members from Regina’s squad were also able to reach the podium.

While Jasmine Slinn had every intention of winning the title of the 48 kg division, she came up just short against Brock’s Jade Parsons in the gold medal bout.

Lisa McKibben also finished with a silver medal after losing to Guelph’s Allison Leslie in the 67 kg final.

Daniel Anderson (55 kg) finished just off of the podium in fourth place, while Kayla Brodner (72 kg) ended up in fifth place for the women.

In terms of team totals, the young women’s team was ranked ninth going into the weekend, but finished off with 25 points, good enough for fifth place in team standings.

Swimming

Jessica Winter was once again the story from inside the pool as she finished off the CIS championships responsible for half of Regina’s total points.

The CIS championships were actually quite dismal for the Regina swimmers; Winter was the only swimmer that made it to the final round of competition.

Winter managed to finish 13th overall in the 400-metre freestyle with a time just over four minutes and 22 seconds. Winter earned four team points for her finish, but unfortunately the team’s eight-point total would only secure the women’s team a bottom basement finish, ending up 20th out of a possible 20.

For some comparison, let’s take a look at what UBC – the winner of the women’s CIS national championship – finished in terms of points. While Regina had eight points, UBC had slightly more with 811.5 points, a new CIS record. How is it possible for two CIS teams to be separated by over 800 points? Let’s blame the fact that they are located by the ocean and we are not, as it is the only logical explanation.

Track and field

They may not have been competing at the national stage just yet, but the men’s and women’s track and field team was in action at the Canada West championships last weekend in Saskatoon.

The men’s team had more than a little bit of pressure on its shoulders as it headed into the championships trying to defend two consecutive titles.

Numerous members of the men’s team were putting in a desperate effort in order to walk away with a third straight Can-West title.

Chris Pickering broke his own school record in shot put with a throw of 17.33 metres, while rookie Tevaughn Campbell also brought home the gold in the 60m dash with a time of 6.85 seconds. Tait Nystuen racked the men’s gold total up again, with a first place finish in the 300m dash.

Regina didn’t stop there as the 4×400 relay team consisting of Ethan Gardner, Nystuen, Cale Brown, and Ian McLellan also took home the top prize, all while setting a new U of R record with a time of three minutes and 20.86 seconds.

Ahmed Al Kabary captured silver in long jump and was also named the Canada West male rookie of the year. Fellow rookie Arthur Ward also finished with a silver in triple jump and, more importantly, both rookies booked their tickets to the CIS championships on March 8 in Winnipeg.

After finishing second place in the 60m hurdles, Jason Baker also punched his ticket for the CIS championships. In all, Baker joins Campbell, Nystuen, Alkabary, Ward, McLellan, Brown, Gardner, and Pickering at the next level of competition.

Despite these fantastic individual finishes, the men’s team was unable to bring home its third-straight title, as it finished just one point behind the Calgary Dinos for Canada West gold.

On the women’s side of things, Shalane Haselhan captured a long jump gold medal, and also tied with rookie Meagan Rumpel in fourth place for high jump.

Rumpel also competed in what is the most hellish event at the meet, the pentathlon, finishing with 3329 points, and a third place spot on the podium.

Chantelle Labrecque also captured a Canada West bronze, with a shot put of 12.22m.

Because of her first place finish, Haselhan is the only member from the women’s side to automatically advance to the CIS championships, but more members from both the men’s and women’s team are expected to earn spots after the official lists are announced next week.

Despite the poorly executed scheduling efforts by the CIS staff, last weekend the Cougars made the most of it and represented the U of R with great pride. However, let’s all be thankful that the CIS track and field championships are the only championships scheduled for March 8. They did it everyone, they did it.

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