Even though competitions on campus have been quiet this summer, that doesn’t mean our Mustangs student-athletes haven’t been busy over the last couple months.
A number of Mustangs have been representing Canada at international championships and marquee events, while others have represented their home province at national championships.
Aryan Sharma, a fifth-year BMOS student, suited up in the ninth edition of The Basketball Tournament, known as TBT, a 5-on-5, single-elimination basketball tournament which is played across multiple cities in the United States.
Sharma was part of India Rising, a team of some of the best Indian origin basketball players from North America. The mission behind the team was to provide a platform to raise awareness about the talent of Indian basketball players. Games were aired on ESPN.
“Honestly, the whole experience was such an honour to be a part of,” said Sharma “I feel like I got an opportunity to represent my culture in a way that goes beyond just basketball. We’re trying to break stereotypes and open doors for new opportunities for Indian basketball players all over the world. So it was an absolute pleasure and honour being a part of something to move the culture forward.”
Evelyn Zheng, HBA’22, followed up her OUA gold medal in individual Epee with a trip to the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in the UK.
“I was really excited to represent Team Canada on the world stage again” said Zheng. After the cancellation of the University Games, I’ve been especially itching to compete, so I was very thankful for this opportunity. I worked extra hard in training so I can put my best foot forward and make Canada proud!”
Zheng, along with a pair of teammates, represented Canada and won gold in the Senior Women’s Epee competition.
Karissa Riley, a fifth-year social science student, started the summer with a trip to the World Rowing Cup 2 in Poznan, Poland. She raced in the Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls, finishing third in her heat and sixth in the finals.
Riley and Elisa Bolinger, a fourth-year kinesiology student at Brescia, raced at World Cup 3 in July in Lucerne, Switzerland as part of Canada’s senior national team. Bolinger, alongside Grace Vandenbroek, finished first in the C finals in the Women’s Double Sculls while Riley finished first in the B Final alongside Mustangs alum Jill Moffatt, BHSc’16, MHIS’19, in the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls.
Bolinger and Aidan Hembruff, a third-year engineering student, also represented Canada at the Under-23 World Championships in late July at Lake Varese in northern Italy. Bolinger brought home a bronze medal for Canada as she and Vandenbroek competed in the Women’s Double Sculls A Final.
“We were excited to line up against the other nations to see where we stacked up. Based on our times within our training pieces we thought we could be competitive,” said Bolinger. “When it comes to the world stage, there’s additional pressure that you can’t deal with until you’re there. However, I think because it was Grace and my last year of U23s, and our second time in a boat together at a World Championship, it provided us with a sense of calmness that we were able to utilize to our advantage.”
Hembruff was in the Canadian Men’s 8 boat at the Under 23 Championship that finished in third place in the B Final.
“When I got on the water this summer the feeling was like no other. Being able to row with such high caliber athletes at a national training center is a dream I’ve had since starting the sport, and it’s finally been fulfilled,” said Hembruff. “This experience has helped me develop as a person and an athlete. I’ll take what I’ve learned from this summer and carry it into the university season in hopes of having the most possible success.”
Riley is set to compete for Canada again this season, racing at the Senior World Championships in Racice, Czech Republic in late September.
Four Mustangs competed in the Canadian Junior and Senior Swimming Championships in Montreal in July.
Shona Branton, a third-year student at King’s, swam the 50m breast stroke and placed fourth in the finals with a best time. She also swam the 100m breast stroke placing second in the finals with a best time and also swam 200m breast stroke.
Kieran Stone, a third-year science student, swam the 200m free, 400m free and 800m free. He got best times in both the 200m and 400m free. He won a bronze medal in the 200 free while also placing in the top five in the 400 free.
Michael Bailey, a third-year social science student, swam a relay that finished in the top 15 and a 100m fly time trial.
Hayden Bartoch, a third-year science student, swam the 800m free, 1500m free, and the 3km open water. He finished in the top 10 in both the 1500m and 3km open water and placed 11th in the 800 free.
Carley Citron, a third-year health sciences student, took part in the Maccabiah Games in Israel this summer. The event is open to Jewish athletes from around the world and Citron proudly represented Canada in tennis. She made the semi-finals in women’s doubles and took home the bronze medal in mixed doubles.
“I can say that competing in Israel this summer in the Maccabiah Games for Team Canada was an incredible experience I will never forget. I’m so proud to have won a medal for my country,” said Citron.
She wasn’t the only Mustang at the Maccabiah Games as Ethan Milavsky, a fourth-year student at Huron and member of the Men’s Tennis team, also competed representing Canada.
Track & Field
A pair of Mustangs made their way to the 2022 World Athletics U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia.
Hallee Knelsen, a third-year health sciences student, ran in the 800m womens race finishing seventh in her heat with a time of 2:09.09.
“Being able to represent Canada on the world stage was definitely one of the best and most unforgettable experiences I’ve had to date,” said Knelsen “It was a privilege getting to know, work with, and spend time with such great athletes and coaching staff. Looking forward to hopefully many more international meets representing Canada in the future!”
Knelsen was joined at the U20 Championships by teammate Chloe Coutts, a third-year science student, who finished 12th in her heat of the 1500m women’s race with a time of 4:37.35.
“Representing Canada was both an honour and incredible opportunity,” said Coutts “I met amazing athletes and coaches from across Canada and around the world – an experience I will never forget. I’m so thankful for my coaches Guy Schultz, Scott MacDonald and Janet Takahashi for helping me qualify and prepare me for these championships.”
A number of track and field athletes also suited up for their respective home provinces in the Canada Summer Games in Niagara.
Ella Doornaert, a second-year medical sciences student, competed in the Canada Cup in early July in Summerside, PEI, finishing third in the 62kg weight class.
“I’m grateful to have wrestled hard-fought matches against tough competitors. I had the opportunity to learn which parts of my wrestling work well and others that need improvement. Together, this will help me progress as I prepare for the upcoming varsity season,” said Doornaert
A week later, a trio of Mustangs competed in the U20 Pan American Championships in Oaxtepec, Mexico. Wrestler Gavin Eldridge, third-year King’s student, finished in third in the 61kg division.
“Being able to represent Canada was an amazing opportunity. The medal I got from my first international tournament is a testament to the hard work I’ve put in and the time that coaches at Western and in my 11 years of wrestling have put in to my career,” said Eldridge
Incoming recruit Treye Trotman also finished with a bronze medal in the 57kg division at the U20 Pan American Championships and Kendall Dettloff, third-year health sciences student, finished fourth in the 53 kg weight class.