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St. F.X. rowers make splash on national stage

The St. F.X. rowing team members Renee McDonald (front, left), Alya Jaffer, Taylor Breneol, Maddy Horne, Fiona McDougall, Alexis Rains, Garrett Nielsen (back, left), Tristan Kays, Sam Court, Cecil Van Buskirk, Abby MacInnis, Natalie Dreise, Bethany Madsen, Maeghan Ziebarth, Sarah England and Alyssa Mansfield partici-pated in the 2018 Canadian University Rowing Championships. Contributed
The St. F.X. rowing team members Renee McDonald (front, left), Alya Jaffer, Taylor Breneol, Maddy Horne, Fiona McDougall, Alexis Rains, Garrett Nielsen (back, left), Tristan Kays, Sam Court, Cecil Van Buskirk, Abby MacInnis, Natalie Dreise, Bethany Madsen, Maeghan Ziebarth, Sarah England and Alyssa Mansfield partici-pated in the 2018 Canadian University Rowing Championships. Contributed - Corey LeBlanc

The St. F.X. rowing team posted its best-ever showing at the recent 2018 Canadian University Rowing Championships.    

After two wet and blustery days of training on the Canadian Henley course in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, St. F.X. rowers were ready to attack the time trials, which took place Nov. 3 and 4.   

Veteran rower Fiona McDougall, of Ottawa, completing her final year of the St. F.X. education program, had a strong time trial, seeding her sixth in the B final in the women’s single.    

The field was dominated by an outstanding class of student-athletes: the top six performers have all represented Canada on the international stage.    

In the final, McDougall rowed a gutsy race and moved up a spot from her seeding, finishing fifth (eleventh overall).    

The lightweight men’s double, stroked by Sam Court and bowed by Tristan Kays, pushed hard in the time trial and qualified for the A final, deposing reigning Canadian University champions, the University of British Columbia.    

Court, a sophomore business student from St. Catharines, and Kays, a freshman business student from Bedford, had an undefeated season in Atlantic Canada.    

In this first year of a new partnership, Court and Kays raced aggressively in the final and moved up a spot from seeding, placing fifth overall.    

This is the highest placing a St. F.X. crew has achieved, since the program began competing nationally.    

In the men’s pair, Garrett Nielsen, of Calgary, and Cecil Van Buskirk, of Saint John, faced a top-notch field of Canada’s most skilled oarsmen.    

Seeded 12th entering the final, they edged out the University of Ottawa pair to finish eleventh overall.    

In the women’s eight, led by the deeply experienced coxswain Maddy Horne, Wolfe Island, Ontario, the crew had a challenging piece in the time trial, but recovered well to finish 10th in the final.    

This boat features four women from Antigonish: Abby MacInnis, Sarah England, Alyssa Mansfield and Natalie Dreise.    

Taylor Breneol (Saint John, NB), Alexis Rains (Brookfield, NS), Bethany Madsen (Iqaluit, NU), and Maeghan Ziebarth (Pakenham, ON) rounded out the crew.    

The newly-formed lightweight women’s double, with Renee McDonald (Surrey, BC) and women’s captain Alya Jaffer (Kanata, ON), raced their way into the B final, and led the field through the thousand-meter mark.    

An unfortunate gust of wind shunted them to the back of the pack, leading to a 20th place overall finish.    

This was an enormously successful Canadian University Rowing Championships for St. F.X. Rowing, a reflection of the high calibre of training the team has undertaken in recent years.   

Their focus on small-boat rowing is paying dividends, attracting top high school rowers from across the country to the up-and-coming program.    

St. F.X. head coach Katie Edwards was elected president of the Canadian University Rowing Association during the annual general meeting Nov. 3.    

She is the first woman to hold the position in the organization’s history.

   

   

   

   

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