X-Men Football Athletes of the Week

 
 

Burnham gets second recognition in a row following a stellar overtime victory

X-Men Football Offensive Player of the Week

X-Men receiver Kaion Julien-Grant was named the StFX Football Offensive Player of the Week for the week of Aug. 31, 2018. Kaion, a 4th year Human Kinetics student from Toronto, scored two touchdowns in the X-Men’s 30-24 overtime win over Acadia Friday night. He caught an 18 yard pass late in the second quarter and a 25 yard pass in double coverage at the start of the 4th quarter. Kaion had 10 receptions for 109 yards in the game and 230 all-purpose yards with his 77 yards on 4 kick-off returns and 44 yards on 8 punt returns. 

X-Men Football Offensive Player of the Week

X-Men defensive back Dylan Bell was named the StFX Football Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Aug. 31, 2018. Dylan, a 1st year Education student (5th year eligibility) from Brockville, Ont. came up huge on the X-Men defense in their overtime win over Acadia on Friday night. Dylan led all tacklers in the game with 12, including 10 solo tackles. He also had a break-up and one tackle for a loss of 2 yards. 

X-Men Football Special Teams Player of the Week

X-Men kicker/punter Kieran Burnham was named the StFX Football Special Teams Player of the Week for the week of Aug. 31, 2018. Kieran, a 4th year Arts student (3rd year eligibility) from Cambridge, Ont. played a big impact in the X-Men’s overtime win over Acadia, racking up 393 yards on 9 punts and 228 yards on 4 kick-offs for a punting average of 43.7 and a kick-off average of 57.0. Five of his punts were inside the 20 and Kieran also kicked three extra TD points in the win.

 Photo: goxgo.ca

Photo: goxgo.ca

 

Not Your Grandma's BINGO...

 
 

Leave your grandma at home and bring an open mind

StFX’s orientation week is always a tremendous success and this year was no exception. With several new events geared towards a more inclusive, aware, and safe environment on campus, 2018’s orientation week, X-Fest, went above and beyond in helping first year students transition into post-secondary student life. 

Among the many new and exciting events was a BINGO night, but with a twist that most first year students wouldn’t be familiar with. Instead of winning money, the prizes were a little bit quirkier than the attendees might be used to. Anyone lucky enough to achieve a straight line, four corners, or diagonal would be rewarded with sex toys. 

After the first day of classes, September 4, at 9:30pm the Keating Centre flooded with first year students and dedicated O-Crew in attendance of the first orientation week edition of Sex Toy Bingo. Hosts Robert Chatterton and Nurse Rose were fully prepared to hold what would be one of the best events of the entire week. 

“Not Your Grandma’s Bingo exceeded my expectations in attendance and engagement.” Says co-host Robert Chatterton. “Nurse Rose and I had some educational moments and I feel like the first year students learned a lot while having a lot of fun. Not to mention having the chance to win some sex toys.”

Sex Toy Bingo itself is not a new phenomenon on the StFX campus. The event has been run for years, for the most part being hosted by Get Real or the X Pride Society at the Golden X Inn. The difference this time was that the event was held solely for first year students, with the ultimate goal being to further educate on practising safe, healthy, consensual sex to all in attendance. 

The importance of sexual health and safety cannot be stressed enough, and this event was a tremendous step forward in promoting it. For many, StFX will be the first place to welcome students as their first home away from home, and for those same people, they may have never had a source to inform them on these sometimes difficult topics. Nurse Rose and Robert successfully created an environment for all to learn the facts, the fiction, and the important aspects of what sex entails. 

How do you properly put on a condom? What is a dental dam? How can you make your own dental dam using a condom? Which brands are best to use for protection? What ways can you increase pleasure for your partner? At what point should lube be used? How effective are different types of birth control? These are all questions which at some point in our early adult lives, if not now, we didn’t know the answer to, and that is why events like Sex Toy BINGO, and in this case Not your Grandma’s BINGO… are so important for sexual health, safety and awareness. 

 

X-Women Rugby Anticipate Triumphant Season

 
 

House players return to StFX while National Championships return to East Coast

Members of the StFX Women’s rugby team have made their return to Antigonish after a long summer and off-season of hard work and preparation for the season to come. Training camp welcomed rookies and veterans alike from all areas of Canada, all with diverse experiences and skills to offer the team. 

For the 2018 season, the X-Women welcomed many first-years and new faces from near and far that have competed at numerous levels of representative rugby. Other noteworthy additions to the team are the welcomed back fifth year players, Joanna Alphonso, Alison Blanchard, Danielle Cormier, and Olivia DeMerchant. DeMerchant represented Canada at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2014. 

A small exhibition tournament held in Truro marked the end of training camp, where players could showcase their rugby ability in shortened games against teams that are also part of Atlantic University Sport (AUS). These pre-season games were nothing short of successful for our X-Women. The women, separated into two teams, won their games with scores of 95-0 versus Saint Mary’s and 52-15 versus Acadia respectively.

Less than one week later, the X-Women rugby team hosted the Saint Mary’s squad for their home opener at Oland Stadium on September 7. Despite the team’s starting lineup having a large mix of new and returning players, there was no question that the ladies were working cohesively and intelligently on the pitch. Early tries were scored in the first half by Keeley MacCuish (3), Jacqui Salvatore (2), Sarah Hoerig (2), Meghan Buchanan (1), Olivia DeMerchant (1), Sam Lake (1), Lucy Killacky (1), Maddie Harroun (2), and Claudia Fulton (1). Fourth year, Jacqui Salvatore scored 3 conversions to add to the scoreboard before halftime.

 Photo: Rachel Drummond

Photo: Rachel Drummond

The second half looked like a much different game, where the team slowed down its try scoring and geared its focus on more tactical work and defence; two aspects that will prove to be crucial farther into the season. First year, Maddie Harroun’s, second try was the only try scored by the X-Women in the second half, with two scored by Saint Mary’s. The game ended with a final score of 76-12. 

“I think the team has a lot of depth this year and having three of our graduated players returning for a fifth year is really going to help us out.” Explained fourth year player Keeley MacCuish. 

As Friday’s player of the game, she was happy to comment on the team’s hard work and performance. “As it was evident in our game last Friday, we have many first years who are able to step up and fill the shoes of some of our veteran players, and I think that will be key in the upcoming months. We really wanted to work on our defense in the second half of the game and I think it went pretty well considering it was our first time playing as a new team.”

The next game for the X-Women Rugby team will be at UPEI on Saturday, September 15 at 2pm. The team intends to continue to impress and improve throughout the season to stay on track to another AUS title and to ultimately compete for a 2018 national title. Nationals this year are especially significant as they will be held at Acadia University November 1 to November 5. This will be the first time that Nationals are held in the Atlantic region since 2012, when they were held and won by StFX on home soil. 

 

Your Fall Guide to Sports at StFX

Athletic events occurring in September for students to attend

As the new school year comes into focus, so too does university sport, and StFX is not short on great athletic teams. 

Men’s soccer gets their regular season started with a three-game homestead starting September 8. Moncton, UNB and Cape Breton come to town for these matches. StFX looks to avenge their semi-final loss to Cape Breton from a year ago. That Caper team ended up winning the national championship, besting the Montreal Carabins. Expect a tight battle, as both vie for first place in the conference.

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On the women’s side, the squad looks to better their fifth place showing in the AUS a year ago. Their games are played preceding the men’s. One interesting note is that the coach of the soccer program: Graham Kennedy, coaches both the men and women.  

The inevitable beast that is X-Women rugby, begins their assault on the AUS competition at home against Saint Mary’s on September 7. Last year the team finished with a perfect 6-0 record, however they were bested in the semi-finals of the national event by Laval. The Rugby program is the most storied in StFX athletics, having claimed a mesmerizing 19 of the last 20 AUS titles, and four national championships since 2010.

StFX football has already begun, and it began with an unfortunate loss against St Mary’s. Luckily, our home opener is August 31 in a game against our vaunted rival, the Acadia Axemen. The team looks to improve upon it’s .500 record last year, and the hope is that they can get some key contributions from their rookies, as well as improvement from all returnees. The biggest game of the season is Homecoming, on September 29 vs. Saint Mary’s. This is the day all students, past and present cram into the bleachers to see the fired-up X-Men compete. 

StFX cross country had a surprisingly efficient 2017 campaign, buoyed by Angus Rawlings, who won the 10km event last season. The teams will be under new leadership, with Olympian Eric Gillis taking over the head coaching duties. The season begins September 15 in UPEI, followed by StFX’s own invitational on the 22 of September. 

On the ice, both teams get their regular season going in the beginning of October. However, there will be some preseason events taking place. September 18, the men’s team play Moncton in the Auxiliary Arena, followed by a matchup against Saint Mary’s on the 29, taking place in the local Antigonish Arena. On the women’s side, expect back to back nights of games on the 21 and 22 of September in the Auxiliary Arena, as they face off against Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s. 

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On the hardwood, both basketball teams have their regular season begin the first week of November. StFX hosts their own invitational tournament in the preseason, on October 5 and 6, with the women’s event on October 12 and 13. 

Track and Field does not begin until late November, with a meet in Gagetown, NB on the 24. 

StFX has more than just varsity athletic events, as they have a slew of recreational athletic teams. Curling, baseball, cheerleading, dance, field hockey, lacrosse, men’s rugby, rowing, swimming, equestrian, badminton and ultimate frisbee. The mens rugby team has had a very successful run, and the curling team has also held it’s own against other AUS programs. Cheerleading is a staple at football matches, while the rowing club has consistently produced solid outings, that is if you are ok with waking up at 4am! Keep an eye out at society night for the sign ups for these sports, and if you are feeling extra ambitious, create your own sport society. 

For more information regarding StFX athletics, please visit goxgo.ca 

Alex Cyr Interview

 
 

Alumnus publishes debut novel documenting athletic experience at StFX

Alex was interviewed by Yanik Gallie on August 14, 2018. Runners of the Nish: A Season in the Sun, Rain, Hail and Hell is now available for purchase online through the FriesenPress or Amazon websites.

 Photo: Heckbert's Photography and Gallery

Photo: Heckbert's Photography and Gallery

Alumnus Alex Cyr published his debut novel Runners of the Nish: A Season in the Sun, Rain, Hail and Hell on July 25, 2018. Alex’s novel is an autobiographical reveal of life as a StFX athlete. 

Alex is a journalist who has written articles for U Sports and Canadian Running Magazine. Prior to publishing his novel, Alex published interviews with Olympic athletes Eric Gillis, Melissa Bishop, and Reid Coolsaet.  

***

YG: Can you share your experience of writing a first novel?

AC: There were a lot more steps to the experience than I thought. I started writing not thinking I was about to write a novel. The way it started is my coach Bernie Chisholm asked me if I wanted to chronicle a few things throughout the season like a race, workout, that kind of thing. As time went on, I filled in the gaps with things that happened. Not only races, workouts and hard outcomes, but also fun events that the team did and nights out. The process of writing my first novel really came in small, small, increments to the point where I didn’t know where I was going with it. It didn’t feel like a job until I got to the point when I looked at what I had and thought I can publish this. Because it was about something that I cared about and enjoyed, it was really a painless, and fun, process.

The publishing process took a lot more out of me than I thought. There is a lot that goes into taking a manuscript and making it into a book. Before that, I didn’t realize how many people would get to work with me. There is so much to be done. There’s editing, design, layout, copyright, getting your ISBN registered. All in all, I think it was a super cool experience and something that I might want to do again someday. It was eye-opening and rewarding.

YG: Knowing the book reflects your personal experience, is there content you were hesitant of including or redacted from the first edition?

AC: Yes. When I decided that I wanted to make a book out of this, I had to make a critical decision in that do I keep the events real and make it a non-fiction or do I embellish it and make a story out of this? Eventually my decision was to keep it real. I put the results as they were. I put the events as they were. Tell the stories as they were. When I made that decision, it made me have to draw a line somewhere else. How intrusive can I be in this endeavor? The people I write about are my teammates and also my best friends. When writing something about them, you want to portray them in a way that is very real, respectful and indicative of who they are. At the same time, you want to present them as characters and highlight little traits and funny characteristics that they have. Most of it, I tried to keep PG. There’s college life in there and stuff. For that part, I tried to gloss over some things that may not be appropriate for the book. I wanted to keep it friendly for the general population.

 Photo: books.friesenpress.com

Photo: books.friesenpress.com

YG: Coach Bernie Chisholm is a treasured mentor of yours. How are you keeping the teachings of Bernie with you in P.E.I. and Ontario? 

AC: Something I think you’ll hear from many people who have been coached or taught by Bernie, because he was also a teacher, is Bernie became a bit more than a running coach. He became a life coach. 

I think Bernie instills good values in his runners and students. He’s a person with very consistent beliefs that he vocalizes. He’s also a guy who will tell you when you’re stepping out of line. He’s someone who implements a strong team culture and holds everyone to the same high standard. 

Personally, a lesson I am taking back with me from StFX, and from Bernie especially, is the ability to be mentally tough. I apply this to my running mostly, but it’s also a lesson that I apply to life. It’s the ability to push through things when they are not going my way. When you are doing a discipline like running, chances are you are going to replicate that behavior in other aspects of your life. With Bernie, he taught me to persevere and to be patient while working hard. That’s probably the number one quality that I have that I can attribute to Bernie’s coaching.

YG: You beat your personal best this May, well done. What goals are you pursuing with the University of Windsor Athletics Club?

AC: I still have one more year in my master’s at Windsor. After that, I don’t know where school, life and running will take me. There are things that I like about the environment in Windsor and if the next chapter of my life is there, my goals with running are to take it as far as I mentally and physically can. If I’m able to do that for the next few years, the goal is to be increasingly competitive on the national stage.

YG: What athletic tips would you give to a first-year student who is interested in running for StFX?

AC: I would encourage that student to go tryout and give it their shot. I think successful runners on the StFX team come from all walks of sport. You will have those who are superstars coming in and they don’t take as much time to walk up the ranks in the team and become intrinsic members. You will have those who have to wait a bit longer and stick it out. A tip that I would give is to be patient and trust the process. It wouldn’t be to work extremely hard for one week as it would be to work quite hard for 52 weeks and do it again, and again. 

Now, I’m one year removed from X and my best friends that I talk to everyday are fellow X-Men and X-Women, roommates and teammates. Cross-country and track-and-field are in essence sports for individuals. However, at X, there very much is that aspect of team that follows you wherever you go. Work consistently hard and results will come. 
 

 

Special Olympics Summer Games

 
 

Town and County of Antigonish and StFX co-host special olympics

5 Days, 13 Provinces and Territories, 315 Coaches and 1,025 Athletes with one common goal; to prove that they have what it takes to compete on the global stage for their country. This year’s Special Olympics Summer Games may have come to a close, but the lasting impact they have had will continue for years.

 From left to right: Joshua Weaver, Patrick Weaver, and Alex Weaver

From left to right: Joshua Weaver, Patrick Weaver, and Alex Weaver

The games were particularly special for me and my family, seeing my brother Patrick, who has Down Syndrome, compete on a national stage and seeing it happen at the university I am so proud to attend. Patrick competed in the swimming events and participated in 4 individual races and 2 relays. In addition, he also plays with the Special Olympics basketball team but did not compete with them at these games. Seeing Patrick’s excitement as he walked on campus for the first time, just thrilled to spend the week living where his older brother does, was beyond worth the plane ticket. From the moment Patrick met up with his teammates he always had a smile on his face and was trying to soak up every minute he could.

The Special Olympics mean the world to Patrick. It is where he meets his friends and plays the sports he loves with people who support him and share a passion for the game. It is where he has made some lifelong friends and learned the value of competition and sportsmanship. It really shows you how excited all the athletes are when they finish a race, and everyone starts cheering for each other and the different swimmers, it becomes an immensely humbling experience to see these people who are competing for a place on team Canada giving a high five or a hug to their competitor that beat them to the finish, you can’t find that anywhere else in sports. It is remarkable just how much the athletes teach you what it means to be a human, and how compassion goes such a long way.

The games have given Patrick opportunities to grow and improve as both an individual and an athlete that he would not be able to ordinarily. Seeing him excited to go to practise and get that little bit better and then come home beaming about his new techniques he learned or how he got to spend time with his friends really makes the difference in his life. And that practise sure paid off, in all of the events Patrick competed in he had 3 personal bests for his fastest time, won four medals and competed better than any of us could have hoped, and it makes us immensely proud of his achievements. It is these experiences that are so important to us, to give Patrick the chance to excel at sport where he would be shunned from because of his disability, and to get a chance to socialize with people who care about him just as much as he cares about everyone he meets.

 From left to right: Justin Thompson and Patrick Weaver

From left to right: Justin Thompson and Patrick Weaver

Special Olympics decided that they would do something different for their 50th anniversary and decided to take a chance on a small town in central Nova Scotia. This was the first time in the history of the Canadian Special Olympics that they have hosted the games in a small town, and from being there and feeling the atmosphere I would say that it was a huge success. I was especially impressed at how well embraced the games were, whenever we went out for dinner or went to the grocery store there were always people coming up to us asking if we were out for the games and interested in where we were from and what events my brother was in. You can’t find that kind of hospitality anywhere else. From all of the volunteers taking time out of their lives to help make the games possible to the companies that donated money and goods to bring an east coast vibe, the games were well executed and presented. The town of Antigonish itself should be proud for opening its doors to the rest of the nation and doing it with the utmost kindness and compassion. It really made the games that much more extraordinary for my family and we cannot thank everyone involved enough for their part in making dreams come true.

 
 From left to right: Joshua Weaver, Alex Weaver, and Patrick Weaver

From left to right: Joshua Weaver, Alex Weaver, and Patrick Weaver

X-Men Football Athletes of the Week

 
 

Strong performances in season-opener from MacDonald, Virtanen and Burnham

X-Men Football Offensive Player of the Week

X-Men wide receiver Greg McDonald was named the StFX Football Offensive Player of the Week for the week ending Aug. 26, 2018. Greg, a 3rd year Business student (2nd year eligibility) from Halifax, N.S. led all receivers in the game Friday night in total receiving yards in StFX’s loss to SMU. Greg had 4 catches for 91 yards, averaging 22.8 yards/reception including a 29 yard reception in the 3rd quarter that set-up an X-Men touchdown. Greg also had one kick-off return in the game for nine yards.

X-Men Football Defensive Player of the Week

X-Men defensive back Cole Virtanen was named the StFX Football Defensive Player of the Week for the week ending Aug. 26, 2018. Cole, a 2nd year Business student from Nanaimo, B.C. had two big defensive plays in the X-Men’s loss Friday night to SMU as he picked off two passes for interceptions. Cole also had a pair of solo tackles, including one for a loss of three yards, and he had one break-up in the game.

X-Men Football Special Teams Player of the Week

X-Men kicker/punter Kieran Burnham was named the StFX Football Special Teams Player of the Week for the week ending Aug. 26, 2018. Kieran, a 4th year Arts student (3rd year eligibility) from Cambridge, Ont. booted 2 field goals and an after-point kick to record 7 of the X-Men’s points in a 20-13 loss to SMU Friday night. Kieran kicked field goals from 15 and 35 yards out. He also had 8 punts for 319 yards (39.9 avg) including 2 punts inside the 20, along with 3 kick-offs for 168 yards (56.0 avg).

 

 
 Photo: http://www.goxgo.ca

Photo: http://www.goxgo.ca

X-Sledge hockey tournament

 
 

 The Motor Activities with StFX (MAX) program hosted an X-Sledge hockey tournament on March 14 from 2-4pm on the KMC main ice.  The MAX program, run through the Department of Human Kinetics, holds a weekly recreational sledge hockey program that allows HKIN students and community members with and without disabilities to participate. The program allows participants to be physically active and improve their fitness while having the opportunity to play a sport they love. Human Kinetics students learn about how to adapt physical activity programming for various disabilities and apply their knowledge in community practice.

The MAX program designs events and activities based on feedback from the individual participants.  Last semester, the participants were asked what they want to see happen in the program.  The immediate response from the participants was that they would like to hold a competition where family and friends can come watch them play a game with peers without disabilities. Secondly participants stated that they want more than one practice per week with increased access to resources, coaches and training. We are trying to take steps towards these goals and we have had great collaborative support from both StFX and County Recreation, the Antigonish Bulldogs Minor Hockey Association as well as the wider community.

Danielle Pellerine was one of the first participants in the MAX sledge hockey program 12 years ago and is very excited to finally have the opportunity to compete in a tournament.  Danielle states “I really enjoy coming to the MAX Sledge Hockey Program every Wednesday.  It gives me an opportunity to get some exercise and I love hanging out with my teammates and the StFX Human Kinetic students.  You really get to know everyone and they become life-long friends.  I am happy we’re able to do this and bring more awareness to our program and the sport in general.”

Indeed, the tournament illustrated that designing an event for various ability levels may be challenging but possible with time and effort. The StFX campus is aiming to move forward with greater accessibility via external funding for the Oland Centre which may be used to support changes to the built environment and make it more inclusive for all users.  StFX Recreation has also sought to find ways to adapt programming to accommodate for everyone regardless of ability. Dr. Casey explains that ``people sometimes think accessibility is costly and beneficial for only a small minority. Yet if you design universally then you can actually provide benefits for all users. Human Kinetics students are engaging with the community to see how this works in practice.”

StFX students are also learning an important lesson, especially how to make inclusive physical activity work in practice and overcome the barriers associated with it. StFX X-Woman hockey players have been involved in the MAX sledge hockey program since it started in 2006.  Current X-woman players, Emma Winters and Sarah Johnson said that “being able to step up and coach for the program in honour of the alumni on the team is an incredible opportunity as being coaches for the program has been passed down.  It is great to be a part of a program that encourages inclusion and we feel privilege to offer the opportunity to participate to all individuals.  Through on and off ice training we have seen tremendous progression and endless potential in these athletes.  The athletes are given a chance to excel and we constantly see improvements in quality of life and participants working towards future goals."

As a student, volunteer and assistant to the MAX program myself, I am grateful to have the opportunity to directly impact the community. Being a part of the design process and participating in the MAX program allows me to bring evidence into practice and improve the health of vulnerable populations.

 

StFX Basketball: A year of surprise and disappointment

 
 

Men are riding high off a great playoff run, while the women struggle for relevance after another poor year

After ending the regular season 5th overall in the AUS with a 9-11 record, another mediocre season for Coach Konchalski seemed to be the result. However, the team got hot at the right time in the playoffs and was able to knock off Acadia in the quarters, then number one seeded Dalhousie in the semi’s. The final was a gut wrenching, tough game that saw UNB eke out an 84-81 win, ending the season for StFX. Kevin Bercy, who competed for team Canada over the summer during the Universiade in Chinese Taipei, had a vicious 33-point effort in his final game ever for the X-Men. 

For the Women, it was a fourth straight year in the cellar of the AUS standings. It was also back to back years of a 1-19 record. The team has been a combined 10-70 in the last four years. At the crux of the issue is the lack of a true star on the team. The leading scorer on the year was freshman guard Kimberly Kingsbury at 7.3 PPG. Kingsbury was also named the AUS all rookie team this year. Luckily, the team is very young, as only one player graduates this year. With another year together, the hope is to claw out of last place, and become a team that is feared by others. The bereft of talent this year will hopefully decrease through another year of skill development. 

In his sixth year as head coach, Augy Jones was attempting to bring the team back to what he had in his first two seasons, which were back-to-back AUS final appearances. The recruitment of point guard Lucia Mackay for next year will hopefully form a potent tandem with Kingsbury. Unfortunately, he will not be around to see it, as he was relieved of his coaching duties on Monday March 12th. There is hope for growth from Center Katie MacIntosh, who at 6’2 provides size that the team clearly lacks. Having a consistent presence in the paint from Katie would help accentuate the strengths of the guards, most notably shooting. The team will have to count on leadership from impending seniors Jamie McCarron and Holly Scott, who were also second and third in scoring for the team. 

It is the end of an era for the men’s team, as the team loses it’s top two players, Julius Antoine and Kevin Bercy. Antoine averaged 17-4-3 on the year, while Bercy had 16.8 pts and 9.2 rebound averages. Center anchor Cameron Walker is also graduating, along with fifth year point guard Davonte Provo. 

The reigns of the team will be most likely handed to third year sharpshooter Tristen Ross, who averaged a scintillating 39.2% on threes this year. The emergence of freshman Point Guard Jaydan Smith this year gives the team a consistent presence at the one position for years to come. Sophomore guard Justin Andrew has also impressed this year, including a rollicking 29 point/7 three performance in the semi-finals against defending champion Dalhousie. High flying forward Azaro Roker will have to find consistency next year, as he will be tasked with more minutes. 

With a new court, and upgrades to the Oland Center on the horizon, there is an anticipation for an increase in recruitment for both teams. Coach Konchalski will be entering his 43rd season next year and for many, the monotony of a coach’s style can wear down players and desensitize the fans, something that K will be trying to fend off, as his retirement looms on the horizon. Augy Jones’ replacement has yet to be named, though the search for a new head coach has already begun.

 

Your 2018 NCAA March Madness Primer

 
 

The most exciting tournament in college sport is upon us, buckle up.

68 of the best college basketball teams in division 1 colleges and universities in the United States compete every year in March for the right to be crowned champion.

The tournament has 32 teams that are winners of their respective conferences along with 36 more teams that win an ‘at-large’ bid. At-large meaning that a committee of individuals pick them based on record, level of competition, and all-around ability.  The tournament occurs during a three-weekend period, beginning on the 13th of March.

The single elimination style makes every game a necessity to win, and this leads way to numerous upsets and ‘madness’.

Last year’s winner was the North Carolina Tar Heels, led by senior Joel Berry II and now departed Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson (15th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft).

This year, there is a whole host of teams with the ability to make big runs in March.

Favorites:

Virginia Cavaliers The current number one team in the nation is led by their vaunted ‘pack line’ defense, which is predicated on heavy team instilled abilities, with a reliance on packing the paint to prevent interior shots. The team is number one currently in points per game allowed, more than 5 points higher then the number two team. Sophomore guards Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome are the key cogs in the team, with freshman De’Andre Hunter providing timely buckets.

Duke Blue Devils For Coach Krzyzewski, whom is in his 38th season at Duke, consistency and excellence is the main prerogative. This year is no different, as basketball resident villain Grayson Allen attempts to bring Duke back to where he was his freshman year, an NCAA champion. Luckily, he has help, with projected top five pick Marvin Bagley III (21 PPG, 11.5 RPG) along with surefire NBA prospects Trevon Duval and Wendell Carter Jr. Though they have underperformed, with seven losses on the year, one cannot take them lightly with their immense amount of sheer talent.

Xavier Musketeers Led by senior guard Trevon Bluiett with 19.5 PPG, Xavier fields arguably it’s most talented team ever, as coach Chris Mack looks for his first final four appearance. Feisty J.P Macura, along with Turkish born and brother of NBA player Enes Kanter; Kerem Kanter provides the Musketeers with complimentary scoring and lock down defense.

Dark Horses:

Cincinnati Bearcats In Mick Cronin’s 12 years under the Cincinnati program, his team has consistently been ranked as one of the best defensive teams, however If the Bearcats look to return to the Final Four for the first time since 1992, it will be because of their offense from senior forward Gary Clark and sophomore guard Jarron Cumberland. In the four losses on the year, Clark has shot a combined 16-40 from the field.

Missouri Tigers In one of the most interesting college basketball stories of the year, projected top five pick in this years NBA draft Michael Porter Jr. was supposed to lead this team to a high seed in the tournament. However, a mysterious back injury has plagued him all year. He recently returned last week and played his first game since their season opener in November. While his stat line left much to be desired (5-17 from the field), his mere presence could elevate the play of his teammates, most notably his brother Jontay Porter who has had a quietly productive year, averaging 10 pts and 7 assists.

Wild Card:

Arizona Wildcats It has been a crazy, almost unbelievable season for the Wildcats as they have been marred by FBI probes and failed drug tests. What is certain is 7’1, 250lb behemoth Deandre Ayton (who is only 19!) and his 20 pts and 11 rebounds that he provides for the team on a daily. Coach Sean Miller, who was initially reported to have been embroiled in a corruption scandal pertaining to the paying of recruits, is looking to scrub the negativity off his program and take them to a Final Four. Junior guard Allonzo Trier (18.7 PPG) was suspended earlier in the year for a failed drug test, but has been cleared recently, which greatly benefits the team.

Mid Major Hopefuls:

A mid-major program is one whom is in a conference that is not considered high quality. These teams typically play a low SOS (strength of schedule) during the regular season and as a result, tend to only get into the tournament by winning their conference.

Davidson Wildcats The tiny college in North Carolina, home to less than 2000 students had an incredible conference tournament run. They knocked off the Rhode Island Rams to claim the Atlantic 10 title and as a result, vaulted them into the field for March. They were 12-2 in their last 14 games, led by senior Peyton Aldridge and his 21.8 PPG. Coach Bob McKillop will hope to rekindle some magic from his best season at Dayton where a young point guard by the name of Steph Curry lit the tournament on fire, taking the school to it’s first and only Elite Eight appearance in 2008. They will be in tough in Round One where they will face a young Kentucky team chock full of former McDonald All Americans.

                The tournament ‘officially’ kicks off on Thursday March 15th with 16 games on the docket. So, kick back, procrastinate from school and watch the madness unfold!

 

Rawling Wins National Gold

 
 

StFX Track & Field star clinches first in 3000m race

This past weekend, Angus Rawling of StFX University won gold in the men’s 3000m race at the USPORTS National Track & Field Championships. The championships were held in Windsor, ON on March 8 through 10. The Calgary native went into the tournament ranked second overall after having qualified with a personal best time and StFX record time of 8:08:06 recorded at a Boston University meet earlier this season. Rawling also won silver in both the 1000m and 1500m races at the AUS championships earlier this year and was part of the 4x800m relay team that won bronze. In the 2017 Cross Country season, he was the AUS athlete of the year, champion of the 10km race and also competed at the USPORTS cross country meet.

In Windsor, Rawling finished his race with a time of 8:18:11, ahead of Sergio-Villanueva of McMaster University and Royden Radowits of University of Alberta. Interestingly enough, Rawling and Radowits competed against each other in high school. Rawling claims that Radowits was the faster runner every time they completed back in the day. After having finally outrun Radowits in Windsor, Rawling attributes his success and improvement over the years to hard work, time dedication, and good coaching. “Bernie is really great at developing his athletes over time,” Rawling explains.

Rawling was accompanied by his coaches, along with his teammates Allie Flower and Hayley Wilson. Flower, fourth-year sprinter and AUS Champion in the 300m event, competed in and placed 11th overall at the national meet. Wilson, fifth-year jumper and sprinter, was also an AUS Champion in her triple jump event, but could not compete at nationals due to injury. Rawling explained that many alumni living in the area came out to support. He says, “It was awesome to have so many friendly faces despite being so far away.”

This successful year for StFX Track and Field will have been the last of Coach Bernie Chisolm’s long and gratifying career. “It’s sad to see Bernie go after so many years. It was nice to have had him there and win that one with me,” Rawling states. Rawling’s win at USports Nationals will be one of many accomplishments that Chisolm and the team have seen over the years. While Rawling was the first runner to win a national gold medal for StFX, X-Women athlete, Erin Maclean won three national medals (bronze, silver and bronze) in the 3000m event in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In 2004, Eric Gillis won bronze in the 1500m race and silver for the 3000m. Gillis went on to compete at multiple Olympic Games and will be taking over Chisolm’s Head Coaching position in the coming years.  Rawling says he’s “excited to see what Eric will bring to the table considering his many years of experience.”

Rawling is a third-year business student doing an honours degree in accounting. He competes with both the X-Men Cross Country and Track & Field teams. He keeps a tight schedule between school and sports, and it proves to be tough throughout both seasons. With Cross Country and Track & Field both occurring while their respective semesters are in full swing, the school workload tends to pile up with all the hours put into practices and travelling. Professors and faculty have proven to be quite understanding and accommodating for this student-athlete. “The professors are amazing here, and I can’t complain,” Rawling said in discussing his success in school and sport

 

Canadian Greatness

 
 

Canada leaves its most successful Olympics to date with 29 medals

After years of mediocrity in Olympic sport, Team Canada has slowly risen to become one of the most dominant countries in the Winter Olympics. Since the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver where the team won 14 gold medals, the most in Canadian history, our nation has consistently delivered high quality performances. No Olympic Games have been more successful for Canada than this year. Reaching a record of 29 medals, Canada placed third in the overall medal standings. Eleven gold, eight silver and ten bronze, behind only the surprising Norway with 39 medals and Germany with 31.

The non-profit organization Own the Podium was created in 2010 to help prepare Canadian athletes for medal finishes. The goal was for Canada to be a world leader in high performance sport at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The organization enabled more funding for winter sports throughout the country, helping athletes train and perform at their best, whilst being coached by top notch instructors. 

The 2018 games, held in PyeongChang, South Korea, was a rousing success for the country. 

On the second day of the games, 4 medals were awarded to team Canada, with a bronze going to Regina native Mark McMorris, who competed in Men’s Slopestyle Snowboarding nearly eleven months after a horrific crash that landed him in the Intensive Care Unit. Maxence Parrot came away with a silver medal in the same event while later during the games, a gold for Sebastien Toutant in the Big Air event was rightly won. 

Kim Boutin, a 23-year-old short track speed skater from Quebec amassed three medals in the games with two bronze and a silver. She was also chosen to be the flag bearer for Canada in the closing ceremonies. 

Dutch born Ted-Jan Bloemen was able to win two medals in long track speed skating. He did so representing his adopted home of Canada, having moved here in 2014 to compete with the national team. His father was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick, allowing Bloemen the opportunity to have dual citizenship and the option of which country to compete for. 

The always exciting Ski Cross event did not disappoint this year, as there were Gold medals awarded to both the men and women’s teams. Brady Leman from Calgary, along with Kelsey Serwa from Kelowna took home the golds, with Kelsey’s teammate Brittany Phelan capturing silver. 

Some scintillating, sensual performances from Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (are they dating??) set the internet on fire, as they captured the gold medal in Ice Dancing. They also claimed a gold in the figure skating team event. This was the final Olympics for the duo, and the two were honored with flag bearing duties at the opening ceremonies. 

Mixed Doubles Curling made its maiden appearance at the Olympics this year, where the team of John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes won the gold medal. It was unfortunately the only gold medal for Canada in curling, as the women’s team was eliminated in round robin play, while the men fell into fourth after a tough bronze medal match. This was the first Olympics that Canada failed to medal in men’s and women’s curling. 

While individual athletes flourished, teams had tougher times. The vaunted Women’s Hockey team took their first loss at the Olympics since February 17, 1998 in heartbreaking fashion, having to settle for silver, with a shootout loss to the Americans. The men’s team was unexpectedly upset by Germany in the semi-finals, but was able to bounce back, defeating the Czech Republic in the bronze medal game. This was the first Olympics since 1994 that prohibited NHL players participation, which greatly impacted the level of play during the tournament. 

However, several electric performances and all-around dominance helped captivate many, even if the time difference was 13 hours for viewers back home. The great success of this year’s games potentially opens the door for Canada to host another Olympics, with the bidding of the 2026 games being potentially pursued by the city of Calgary.

 

Opinion: International Students and Health Insurance

 
 

Why the current system needs to change

International students studying at Nova Scotian universities are currently ineligible from receiving provincial health coverage. In a way, that makes perfect sense; often times they are not full time residents nor do they pay all the requisite taxes that permanent Nova Scotia residents would pay.
However, once one realizes all the additional costs international students pay to attend university as well as the economic opportunities they give their respective areas, health insurance seems like a fair commodity to offer them. 

Eight provinces currently offer healthcare to their international students; one of which is New Brunswick. In 2017, New Brunswick Post-Secondary Education Minister, Roger Melanson stated “International students make our campuses richer and more diverse, and we are proud today to extend health coverage to international students who are enrolled and pursuing studies in New Brunswick universities and colleges. This will help address additional out-of-pocket expenses international students face when studying in New Brunswick, make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable for them, and help us recruit more international students to our campuses.” 

In Nova Scotia, international students are required to purchase private insurance that covers their stay in province but only on a year-to-year basis requiring renewals each year. In a StFX-specific context that means purchasing the Students’ Union Health and Dental plan coverage through “Student Benefits.” This coverage is extremely costly, $1,085.00 to be exact. Keep in mind that this is on top of all other fees including Students' Union dues and the $16,168.00 international students pay for tuition. Ridiculous.

Most health care providers in Antigonish accept this insurance, however, the after hours clinic on Church Street does not, meaning international students must pay out of pocket every visit. Having provincial insurance would, of course, alleviate this problem. 

Clearly, as international students in Nova Scotia are financially burdened more than their domestic colleagues, being able to save $1,085.00 a year would make obtaining a Canadian education much more accessible as well as alleviate some of the financial pressure that international students contend with throughout the academic year. 

New Brunswick Health Minister Benoit Bourque stated “our government knows that the availability and delivery of health services have a significant impact on the quality of life of the people of our province, we are proud to be able to extend health-care coverage to international students and provide them with the same level of health care that their peers enjoy in Canada.” 

International students bring a lot to Nova Scotia, many have a desire to stay after graduation and economically as well as culturally contribute to the province. Yet, they are deterred from opportunities in Nova Scotia because of the lack of government health care. Provinces such as New Brunswick are a much more attractive option in that regard. 

Post secondary institutions in Nova Scotia and the province as a whole are losing out on lots of great talent, so something must be done. The lobbying organization, Students NS is advocating for MSI (Nova Scotia Health Card)  insurance for all full time international students immediately upon arrival; something that the StFX Students’ Union supports and a pillar of President Sirois’ campaign. 

This initiative still has a long way to go as the government may be reluctant to shell out the $452,440 a year to make it happen but that is chump change in comparison to the positive economic impact these students bring with them. 

All in all, I think it is completely fair to make the argument that Nova Scotia is behind the times. The province is not as competitive in attracting and retaining foreign students as others due to the lack of MSI coverage. The positive economic impact international students make far outweigh the debit that will be incurred. The current healthcare system is inequitable and inefficient, and it's time for a change.       

 

X-Women headed to National Final 

 
 

U Sports Nationals give X-Women Hockey a chance for Redemption

The X-Women hockey team gave us nothing short of a sensational season of excellent hockey. Garnering an overall season record of 20 wins and only 4 losses, the women consistently made it onto the U Sports Top 10, and ended the season at the top of the AUS standings. Saint Mary’s University team shared the same amount of wins, with goals for and against deciding the seating for playoffs.
3 of the AUS’ top scorers of the season came from StFX. Fifth year Daley Oddy had the most goals in the league with 16 points and 15 assists, with fourth year Sarah Bujold and first year Emerson Elliott following with 13 goals, 14 assists and 11 goals, 15 assists respectively. Carley Molnar in net also had a huge hand in this year’s success, with 292 saves over the span of the season. 
Bujold can be thanked for scoring the game winning goal in the suspenseful AUS semi-final against the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues. The second game of the best-of-3 semi-final, held in Moncton, saw an early goal by Moncton on a power play. This was quickly answered back by a goal by fourth year Nicole Halladay a few minutes later. The score was still tied 1-1 at the conclusion of the third period, and went into overtime. 44 seconds into overtime, Bujold scored, clinching a spot in the AUS final against the St. Mary’s Huskies, and also in the U Sports National Championship. 
The AUS finals began at home in the Keating Memorial Centre on Friday, March 2. The X-Women fell short 4-2 with both goals scored by second year Kate Gotaas. While at St. Mary’s for Game 2, the X-Women won with a 2-1 victory (goals by second year Santana Gravelle and Bujold). Despite valiant efforts, hard work and excellent skill, our X-Women lost the series-deciding game for the AUS final in a 1-0 loss on March 6 at StFX.  
Thankfully, hockey isn’t over just yet for these women. The AUS will be able to send both Saint Mary’s and StFX’s Women’s hockey teams to represent the conference at the U SPORTS National Championship. There, the teams will be competing among eight of the best in the country. Nationals are scheduled to take place March 15 to 18 and are being hosted by Western University in London, ON. The games can be accessed online and will be live streamed on U SPORTS TV.