Treasure Trove: Snow days abound, but still a busy sporting season

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It was going to be a super busy week in the local high school scene with no fewer than three different city championships: Nordic Skiing, Alpine Skiing and Wrestling.

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A few snowy days would only leave one of the three days standing – but while bad weather may have dashed the plans of some, the remaining one couldn’t have asked for better conditions for an outdoor meeting – at least I thought so.

“It wasn’t terrible, but if it were a little cooler the snow would be denser and you could slide better,” noted Lo-Ellen Park’s Callum Wiss shortly after the conclusion of the SDSSAA Nordic Championships on Tuesday.

He’s a young man who should know.

The 14-year-old 9th grader, who is also an accomplished competitor on the club side and competes in the Ontario Cup Circuit as a member of Walden Cross-Country, won gold in the juniors, setting the stage for what was very much possible be a shot at an OFSAA medal.

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Mind you, the multi-athlete, who will also wear the knight colors in basketball, cross-country and track and field, will first have to battle the NOSSA contingent at North Bay Nordic Ski Club in a week in the home court environment he enjoyed for SDSSAA and is attached to got used to it well.

“This course is nice,” said Wiss. “You ride uphill most of the time and rest a lot on the downhill – and then you’re done. I really like it.”

With just three months of Nordic skiing experience, St Charles College senior Joel Szydziak was part of the newly introduced ‘exhibition race’ – a wonderful addition to the meet, I might add – who is still very snow oriented. Nonetheless, even he was able to provide some insight into the conditions under which temperatures would hover a few degrees above zero on a beautiful sunny day.

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“It’s nice because it’s warm – but the snow I find is sticky and kind of crunchy,” said Szydziak, a 16-year-old who describes himself as “not really an athlete.”

“I’m not a big fan of this snow because you have to use more force. I prefer the powered snow I think – but having only started three months ago I’m not 100% sure what the best conditions are so it’s kind of random when I go out.”

Szydziak, who got his first taste of the sport via the more traditional classic style of skiing, now has a wider range of skiing perspectives available thanks to the opportunity to compete in the city-wide event.

“I signed up because I thought it was classic and then I found out it was skating skiing,” he admitted with a smile. “It’s a completely different technique with your feet in a way. You kind of put one foot down, then the other.”

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Lo Ellen senior Grace Thomas (first place, Senior Girls High School) is perhaps a little ahead of Szydziak from a technical standpoint, although the 16-year-old longtime member of the Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club still feels pulled, at times, both ways .

“I’m trying to find a balance by skiing as much as I swim, but it’s kind of difficult,” said Thomas, one of four highly athletic children in the family. “Skiing is only winter. I spoke to my swim coach about using skiing as cross training. When I can’t go to (swimming) practice but can go skiing, I go out and use skiing as a workout.

“Lately I’ve found that skiing is more of a passion for me. Swimming has always been there.”

The top three finishers in each category were:

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Juniors open

– 1st: Maija Nener (LEP)

– 2nd: Bailey Raymond (CND)

Lower Girls’ High School

– 1st: Gracie Dale (LEP)

– 2nd: Tyla MacLeod (BAC)

– 3rd: Kalia Pharand (HOR)

Juniors open

– 1st: Callum Wiss (LEP)

– 2nd: Olivier Tremblay (ESMC)

– 3rd: Theo Chartrand (CND)

junior high school for boys

– 1st: Corey Lacroix (LEP)

– 2nd: Raphael Belzile (ESMC)

– 3rd: Isaac Longston (LCS)

Open older girls

– 1st: Lauren Pineau (LCS)

– 2nd: Madeleine Tremblay (CND)

– 3rd: Finlay Cuza (LEP)

Higher Girls’ High School

– 1st: Grace Thomas (LEP)

– 2nd: Georgia Lepage (STB)

– 3rd: Ivy Schulte-Hostedde (LCS)

open seniors

– 1st: Kaeden District (LEP)

– 2nd place: Russell Joiner (LEP)

– 3rd: Cody Raymond (Sacre Coeur)

High school for older boys

– 1st: Liam Lacroix (LEP)

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– 2nd: Sam Rice (LEP)

– 3rd: Owen Dobson (LEP)

Curling doesn’t wait

While Randy won’t be short of content in the rings next Saturday, February 18th, there’s just so much going on at the moment that the treasury was a great opportunity to dig in a little more curling information.

First of all, the women’s curling team Laurentian Voyageurs, who already secured a place at the national championships with the U-Sports Championship, which will be held from March 15th to 19th at the Gerry McCrory Sports Complex, succeeded with the automatic bid registration to qualify.

The rink of Bella Croisier, Piper Croisier, Abby Deschene, Julia Deklein and Katie Vandeloo won OUA silver medals in Oshawa last weekend and advanced to the finals before a 4-3 decision against the McMaster Marauders crew, which also included Lo-Ellen Park owned dropped graduate Clara Dissanayake.

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Speaking of which, Dissanayake had to leave the OUA Championships to join Team Toner (Mia Toner, Valerie Ouimet, Justine Toner) in Timmins, home of the Canadian Under-18 Curling Championships.

After the NCUCC boys’ team Brendan Rajala, Jackson Dubinsky, Jesse Crozier and Adam Wiersema had a round-robin record of 4-2 and qualified for the playoff round, they lost to PEI (Braydon Snow) 8-4, retained but kept his hopes alive for a fifth-place finish with a 6-4 win over Quebec (Raphael Tremblay) on Friday morning.

Much closer to home, the action continues this weekend at Idylwylde Golf and Country Club, home of the 2023 mixed doubles province playdowns, with the winner advancing to the Nationals in Sudbury, hot on the heels of the U Sports Bonspiel. A total of 16 teams, including a large number of local participants, take part in the game, which concludes late Sunday afternoon.

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Speaking of mixed doubles, congratulations to the team of Ian Deschene and Britney Malette for winning bronze at the Ontario Winter Games in Renfrew.

Soccer around the world

And still with the theme of a Sudbury presence, football’s local first ladies these days, at least from a Nickel City perspective, continue to command attention both nationally and internationally.

Jenna Hellstrom, who is currently playing in France with Dijon Football Cote d’Or, was recently added to the Team Canada roster, which will compete in the SheBelieves Cup, which will be held February 16-22 and which will feature the Maple Leaf women will be in the United States on February 16th, Brazil on February 19th and Japan on February 22nd.

Cloe Lacasse, a graduate of Es Macdonald-Cartier, was named Canada’s Footballer of the Month in January after a year in which she had several caps for the national team. As the calendar turned, the top scorer was busy scoring five goals and helping Portugal’s SL Benfica maintain a perfect record in league play after 12 games.

Randy Pascal’s Treasure Trove column is a monthly feature in The Sudbury Star.


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