An X-Ceptional Year of Sport


X-Men and X-Women reach new heights

A total of 14 varsity teams from a wide array of sport competed in the AUS and proudly donned the white & blue this school year. It was a year filled with highs (Rugby national championship) and lows (winless X-Women Basketball team) but enthralling nonetheless. Here is a brief rundown on each team’s season.

Soccer: After finishing fourth at the end of the regular season, the X-Women had a valiant run in the AUS postseason, falling in agonizing fashion in the final 1-0 to Cape Breton. The semifinal was a nail biter, as the team prevailed in extra time after a dramatic penalty kick goal at the death. Two players, striker Kelsey Ellis and midfielder Mercy Miles were honoured with second-team All Canadian spots at the end of the season.

For the men, it was another difficult ending to the season. For the second straight year, rival UNB Reds dispatched the X-Men in the semifinals. This time, it was 2-1 in extra time. AUS all-star and last season’s U Sports Player of The Year Dan Hayfield had a penalty kick to tie it in the extra frame, only for it to be turned aside. In brighter news, Hayfield and defender Josh Read were named to the All Canadian Second Team, while Ayoub Al Arabi was named to the All-Rookie team. Captain Liam Elbourne was bestowed the prestigious honour of being named a Rhodes Scholar. He was the number one ranked student in the Business Administration program with an average of 94.25%! The Scholarship enables him to attend the hallowed Oxford University in England.

Football: A victory in the AUS Loney Bowl was the highlight of the year, buoyed by Kaion Julien Grant, a potential top ten pick in the CFL draft which is happening on May 2. Fourth year Jordan Socholotiuk was the only back in U Sports to rush for 1000 yards. The season ended with a 63- 0 loss in the National Semifinal to the eventual champions Laval Rouge et Or.

X-Women Rugby: Running out of superlatives to describe this team, as it was another dominating year. The team wrapped up its sixth U Sports National Championship, winning against the Guelph Gryphons 41-24. Prop Joanna Alphonso was the catalyst for the team, as she was honoured with Female Athlete of the Year at StFX’s Athletic Banquet this past weekend. They also won their 20th AUS championship, when they defeated vaunted rivals Acadia handily by a score of 31-7.

Cross-Country: In the first year of Eric Gillis’s tenure as head coach of the Cross-Country program, both teams finished 12th at the National Championship in Kingston, Ontario. Rachel MacDougall was the first of the X-Women to cross the line, 55th overall.

The highlight of the year on the women’s side was the first place showing at the Moncton Invitational in October. They had six of the top 11 places. They also came second in the AUS championships in another fantastic team performance with four athletes in the top 10.

The men took home the AUS banner, with Angus Rawling winning his second straight gold medal. Alex Nueffer won bronze and Paul Maclellan was hot on his heels, finishing fourth. Rawling was also honoured with AUS male cross-country athlete of the year. The team also had a podium sweep at the Moncton Invitational with Rawling, Nueffer and Maclellan finishing one-two-three respectively.

Basketball: It was a year of intrigue for both basketball teams, as the men finished 7-13 on the year, and was able to claim the last playoff spot on the final day of the regular season. However, they were dispatched by Cape Breton in the AUS quarterfinals by a score of 89-66. After the year, it was reported that former X-Men player Tyrell Vernon will be taking over the head coach position in two years from Steve Konchalski, ending his mammoth tenure at the program.

On the women’s side, it was a disappointing first year for Head Coach Lee Anna Osei, as the team went 0-20. She was controversially suspended for the tail-end of the season after a report came out that showed bruising on a player’s arms after a ‘disciplinary measure’ during practice. She will resume head coach duties next year and will be helped by Vernon, who will be acting as an associate coach for the next two years on both basketball teams.

Track and Field: The teams had 11 athletes compete at nationals in Winnipeg. Prior to that, the women finished second at the AUS championships and the men placed third.

Throughout the season, a plethora of school records was also broken: Fifth-year Tim Brennan set a new 600m record with a time of 1:20.05. Angus Rawling followed up his successful cross-country season with a record in the 3000m of 8.03.34. This broke his own record that he set last season. Kirishnia Cooper took the record of triple jump with 13.14m. Relay teams in the 4x200 and 400 also set new records, and those teams featured Brennan, Adrian Kinney, Eric Sutton and Brad Barclay.

For the women, Jane Hergett took the 600m record at 1.33.96. The 4x800m relay team of Zoe Johnston, Paige Chisholm, Aidan MacDonald and Hana Marmura ran a time of 9.29.31 to set a new record.

Hockey: After a great regular season, the X-Women’s season came to an emotional end in the AUS finals, as they lost the final game of the best of three series 2-1 to the St. Thomas Tommies. Star Defender Lindsey Donovan was honoured with a selection on the All Canadian U Sports First Team. Gearing up for next season the team also announced the additions of two assistant coaches and locals to Antigonish: Trevor MacIssac and Bryan Smith.

It was a rollercoaster of epic proportions for the men’s team. In the final month of the regular season, a massive brawl-- provoked by a player on Acadia -- dominated the headlines. 

The team had to deal with suspensions and tough injuries heading into the posteasosn. Luckily, they got hot at the right time and were able to come away with a bronze medal at the U Sports Championship, dispatching the Saskatchewan Huskies 5-1. 


Athletic Banquet Honours Outstanding Achievements


Joanna Alphonso & Kaion Julien-Grant named StFX student-athletes of the year

On the evening of Thursday, April 4, members of the StFX Athletics community were honoured as guests to the annual athletic banquet. The banquet is held each year to celebrate and honour the accomplishments of the StFX athletic department. This includes the accomplishments of not only athletes, but also coaches and staff including athletic therapists and managers.

The banquet was held the the Charles V. Keating Memorial Centre, where guests took part in a cocktail hour, a nutritious dinner (chicken with the sauce), a number of entertaining sketches by the hosts, and compelling speeches by many highly regarded members of the community.

To begin the athletic banquet ceremony was an amusing video featuring the two hosts, Joanna Alphonso of X-Women Rugby and Albert Banahene of X-Men Football. In the video, the hosts parodied a bunch of popular late night game segments, such as Cash Cab, Carpool Karaoke, and Spill your Guts or Fill your Guts. The contestants of the games were noteworthy athletes and familiar faces to the StFX sports community.

After the video, Alphonso and Banahene proceeded to the stage to introduce themselves, crack some jokes and lead guests through the night ahead. The funniest of jokes was when Alphonso announced that the football and rugby teams would be hitting the buffet first, only to psych the teams out and have them go last for the sake of having enough food for everyone else.

All rookies to have used their first year of eligibility were each given a pin to recognize their new achievement. These pins also serve as a rite of passage for these rookies as new members to StFX athletics.

Afterwards, teams whose accolades included winning an AUS banner were honoured. Countless Wooden Trophies each carved in the shape of “X,” were distributed to every winner of AUS in 2018-2019. This included the massive football team, X-Men Cross Country, and X-Women Rugby.

X-Women Rugby members were not only honoured with the classic wooden trophies, but were also finally given their National Championship rings. Early in the academic year, the women clinched gold at the 2018 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championships. Members were finally given their flashy rings to celebrate this incredible accomplishment. The rings featured a large centered blue X, and engravings of the game’s final score (41-24 against Guelph Gryphons), players’ last name, StFX Rugby, and lastly, the team’s motto going into the tournament, “Kill the Bird.”

There was also a large volume of awards granted to many well deserving and hard working members of StFX athletics. Of the various awards were StFX Female Student-Athlete of the year, StFX Male Student-Athlete of the year, StFX Female Community X-Cellence award, and the StFX Male Community X-Cellence award. The winners of these awards were Joanna Alphonso herself, X-Men Football receiver Kaion Julien-Grant, X-Women Soccer player Kelsey Ellis, and Track & Field athlete Riley Jennings respectively.

Alphonso was named the StFX Female Student-Athlete of the Year. She is in her first year of education and her fifth year of eligibility. Throughout her time as prop on the StFX Rugby team, Alphonso was an exemplary leader, dedicated teammate, and hard worker. From Ajax, Ontario, Alphonso was an AUS All Star for all five years of her career. She has also been an U SPORTS All-Canadian for four straight years. As X-Women Rugby brought home its sixth national championship banner, Alphonso brought home her third. Alphonso achieved U SPORTS All-Star status this year for her second time, and she is the sixth overall highest scorer in AUS Women’s Rugby history. This placement is behind four StFX rugby alumni, including Olympian Ghislaine Landry, Courtnay Malcolm, Magali Harvey, and Sabrina McDaid.



X-Men football receiver Julien-Grant received StFX Male Student-Athlete of the Year honors. Julien-Grant is a fourth year human kinetics student. Reigning from Toronto, Ontario, he is one of StFX’s most highly recognized receivers of all time. Julien-Grant led the AUS conference with 49 receptions this season, yielding an average of 6.1 receptions per game. His receiving yards came to a total of 638, and had five receiving touchdowns this year. Julien Grant has been they key cog in X-Men Football’s three AUS wins in the last four years. He has been honoured as AUS conference MVP and a conference all-star as both receiver and kick returner. Not only that, he also claimed U SPORTS first team all-Canadian honours for his third year in both offense and special teams. Julien Grant is the StFX Football leader in all-purpose yards with 4,563, which puts him at sixth from the top in the AUS.



The StFX Female Community X-Cellence award was awarded to Kelsey Ellis of X-Women soccer. Ellis is a fourth year human kinetics student from Ottawa, Ontario. Ellis has a remarkable array of accomplishments that made her an excellent candidate for this award. She was co-president of the StFX chapter of Obesity Canada, volunteer at L’Arche Antigonish, volunteer at StFX Fit 4 Life, volunteer at St. Martha’s hospital, coaching young boys soccer, and assisted with the Motor Activities at X program. While taking on these roles, Ellis championed the “OneTeam” initiative, a program for varsity athletes to work with local athletes with disabilities and promote peer mentorship. As an assistant at the Motor Activated at X program, she provided programming for an adult with lower neuron disease. On top of all these responsibilities and commitments, Ellis was able to remain a U SPORTS academic All-Canadian for her three years of study, and be honoured as a U SPORTS second team all-Canadian and an AUS first team all-star.

Riley Jennings from X-Men track & field was the winner of the StFX Male Community X-Cellence award. Classmate to both Ellis and Julien-Grant, Jennings is also a fourth year human kinetics student. He is in his third year of eligibility as a thrower for StFX track & field. From Debert, Nova Scotia, Jennings has involved himself in an impressive and commendable amount of activities in the community. Like Ellis, Jennings also volunteered with the Motor Activities at X program. He also contributed to the Autism learn to skate/swim program, and volunteers at StFX Fit 4 Life and Fit 4 Tots. He also coached throwing to local high school athletes within the community, was facilitator for the Antigonish Multisport program and assisted with the creation of the inclusive sledge hockey program at StFX. In track & field, Jennings won silver at AUS championships and set a new StFX record. He placed fifth at the AUS championship in shot put. Jennings is recognized as a Leader of Distinction by the StFX Leadership academy.

In addition to athletic awards, student therapists, strength & conditioning interns, and student managers for all teams were presented with plaques to show appreciation for their contributions this successful 2018-2019 season. The hope is that 2019-20 will be filled with even more banners!


A Celebration of Women in Sport and Wellness


Many changes made to traditional Homecoming schedule

While students and faculty are beginning to frantically wrap up the academic year, there is already a number of community members and alumni managing details of Homecoming 2019, taking place this following fall semester.

While Homecoming is always jam packed with celebrations, this year’s festivities will have a number of noteworthy milestones to commemorate in both health and athletics. This includes the 50-year anniversary since Mount Saint Bernard Athletics’ merged with StFX Athletics, and the 25-year anniversary of the Wellspring being established.

The celebration of these milestones is also a wonderful opportunity to recognize the immeasurable contributions of strong women to StFX University itself. Mount Saint Bernard College, the Sisters of St. Martha, and every woman to pave a path for those after are worth thanking and commending and there would be no better time to do so than StFX Homecoming.

Mount Saint Bernard College was founded in 1883 and provided post secondary education for young women. At the time, StFX college was an all male post secondary institution. The two schools were closely affiliated and by the early twentieth century, both young men and women were taking classes together under the chaperoning of nuns. It wasn’t until 1969 that the female athletes of Mount Saint Bernard could compete in varsity athletics under the StFX umbrella.

The advancing academic year will mark the 50 year anniversary of female varsity athletics at StFX. This highlight will be greatly celebrated at Homecoming 2019, as well the countless accolades achieved by the X-Women over the previous five decades.

For the purpose of celebrating the contributions and legacies of female athletes and leaders at StFX past and present, the customary Homecoming schedule will be adjusted solely for 2019.

The Saturday afternoon game at Oland Stadium, classically showcasing the X-Men football team, will be replaced by an X-Women Rugby game. The 2018 USPORTS national champions will face Acadia at 3pm on October 5. This is one of the most noteworthy changes, as this will be the first time a female varsity team has been showcased in the main athletic event on StFX’s Homecoming weekend. The football team will instead be playing on Friday, October 4 under the lights against Bishop’s University.

StFX and X-Women Alumni, Alyssa MacDonald was ecstatic about the news on scheduling. “Honestly, this is a huge milestone not only for women’s varsity athletics but USPORTS history in general! I’m always a proud alumnus, but I’m a little extra proud today. I’m so pumped to watch this game.”

Another commemoration being made at this year’s Homecoming will be granted to the deserving Wellspring; a safe place established by the Sisters of St. Martha to serve the Xaverian community. Located on the second floor of Morrison Hall and found next door to Mini Moe’s, the Wellspring has provided community members a wonderful haven to recharge.

The Wellspring has been a massive contributor to the general well-being and health on the StFX campus, and the strong women of St. Martha’s are the ones to thank. Whether its yoga, or a quiet space, the Wellspring has a way of promoting health around the community. On Friday, October 4, there will be a Wellspring open house from 2-4pm. This will provide a chance for guests to get a close look into the work the Wellspring does and the help it provides.


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.


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. 


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 

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.


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.