A wrap on 2015 year in sports

The B.C. men’s curling championship went to extra ends, with Vernon’s Jim Cotter narrowly edging Royal City Curling Club’s Dean Joanisse 7-6 for the title. Cotter held the hammer entering the 11th end, after Joanisse forced extra ends in the eighth… A silver lining for two terrific teams. It all came down to overtime, with the New Westminster Salmonbellies’ girls under-15 bantam team falling 7-5 to Ridge Meadows in the provincial field lacrosse final. Earlier in the day, the u-12 ‘Bellies also came out on the wrong side of a close game, getting edged 4-3 by Surrey. Picking up the u15 girls MVP award was New West’s Andreea Serbanescu, while u12 goalie Jenay Rennie was picked her division’s MVP… Kaleigh Fratkin was a major contributor to the Canadian women’s development hockey team in its successful run at the Nation’s Cup in Germany. Canada blanked Sweden 4-0 in the final, outshooting the Scandinavian rival by a three-to-one margin. Fratkin, a Burnaby native and Boston University grad, would later help her Boston Blazers claim a Clarkson Cup of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League… The St. Thomas More Knights completed its own Chancellor Invitational basketball tournament with a strong 3-1 record to place fifth overall. The Knights, ranked No. 7 entering the tourney, rebounded from a tough quarterfinal setback to top Delta 72-55. Second team all-star J.J. DesLauriers counted 12 points in the win, while honourable mention all-star Cam Morris led the way with 17… In her first year in NCAA Div. I gymnastics, Burnaby’s Briannah Tsang could expect a steep learning curve. She showed no nerves in her first meet with Penn State, won gold in the vault and tied for top spot on balance beam and secured the women’s All-Around title at the season opening meet… The Burnaby South Rebels entered the Terry Fox Legal Beagle senior boys basketball tournament ranked No. 1 in B.C., but fell from that position after a tight 79-71 loss to the host Ravens in the final. It was Burnaby South’s first loss of the season. Jermaine Haley, a first team all-star, scored a game-high 27 points. Tyus Batiste was also named to the all-tournament team… The Burnaby Karate Academy accounted for five of the provincial team’s eight gold medals in sparring at the Karate Canada championships… A pair of Burnaby hockey products found their names on the shortlist for the prestigious Hobey Baker memorial award in NCAA hockey. Denver University defenceman Joey LaLeggia and University of Alaska Fairbanks forward Tyler Morley were among 61 players who made the first round of consideration in the polling for top player in the nation. In the end, LaLeggia made the final 10, with Boston University’s – and eventual Buffalo Sabres’ draft pick – Jack Eichel earning the award… The Burnaby Mountain Lions were unranked and unexpected qualifiers for the B.C. High School AAA senior girls basketball championship tournament. Rising to the challenge, the Lions earned a berth with a come-from-behind 92-85 overtime win over Argyle. They would finish 13th at the B.C.s… Simon Fraser University women’s basketball bench boss Bruce Langford set a new program record for wins in January, when the Clan defeated Western Oregon 76-56 on Burnaby Mountain. The win put Langford’s career total behind the SFU bench at 364, surpassing Canadian basketball hall-of-famer Alison McNeill for career victories with the Clan… It was a double-sweep for St. Thomas More junior hoop teams, with the boys and girls squads capturing their side of the junior varsity Chancellor tournament. Grade 8 Shiloh Corrales-Nelson and Richard Galicia were named as the respective MVPs for the joint tourney. Corrales-Nelson scored 15 points in the jr. girls’ 42-20 victory over New West in the final. In the boys title game, the Knights’ E.J. Escobedo and Liam Feenan counted 15 points apiece in a 60-58 come-from behind win over Walnut Grove… A pair of New Westminster Hyacks capped tremendous high school football careers when they signed NCAA scholarship commitments. Receiver Matt Seymour signed with the University of Ohio, while lineman Harper Sherman committed to the University of Arizona…

The ice dancing duo of Brianna Delmaestro and Timothy Lum put in dominating skates to collect the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating championship title. Delmaestro, of Coquitlam, and Lum, of Burnaby, posted first-place scores in both short and free skates to win the junior national crown… Long-time SFU soccer coach Alan Koch took his clipboard and player development skill base to the USL Vancouver Whitecaps, taking on the top duties with the club’s FC2 squad… Leilani Carney was named the tourney MVP, sparking the St. Thomas More senior girls to a 67-57 win over McMath to win the Chancellor girls basketball tournament. Carney cashed in 17 points in the final, while offensive player of the tourney Nikko Sahagun added 16 points. Earning spots on the all-star team were Zion Corrales-Nelson, Nadine Stewart and Stephanie Von Riedemann... The St. Thomas More Knights cruised to a Lower Mainland senior girls Double-A title, topping Little Flower Academy 56-33 in the final. Leilani Carney was named tourney MVP while teammates Zion Corrales-Nelson and Nikko Sahagun were named all-stars… Simon Fraser University’s Erin Chambers’ final season on Burnaby Mountain saw a new record set. Chambers established a new Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s basketball all-time career scoring tally, setting the record in February with a career-high 41 points in the team’s 82-75 win over Saint Martin’s. She ended her career with 1,910 points, and was named Basketball BC’s Female University Athlete of the Year… For a third straight year, the St. Thomas More girls wrestling team floored its competition to claim the B.C. High School title. Racking up gold medal decisions were Caileen Corbett, Nicole Depa and LIvleen Sidhu. Corbett topped the 40-kilogram division, Depa at 57kg and Sidhu in 69kg. Combined with a strong performance from the STM boys, the school also topped the aggregate race. Jimmy Sidhu captured the boys 130kg title for Burnaby South… The STM Knights senior girls basketball team picked up its second straight B.C. Double-A bronze medal after rebounding from a tough semifinal setback. The Knights bested Notre Dame 70-62 in the provincial consolation final, after losing 82-77 to eventual B.C. champ Immaculata.  Laura Bond and Zion Corrales-Nelson were named first team all-stars… New Westminster’s Nina Schultz was recognized for a year of great performances in track and field as a nominee at Sport B.C. athlete of the year awards. The teenager was a finalist for the Female High School award, with wrestler Payten Smith earning the top award… For just the second time in the association’s history, New Westminster Minor Hockey has a banner to hang. The New West midget A1 Royals, coached by Peter Kaulfuss, trumped Trail 5-2 to skate off with the B.C. Tier 2 title. Ben Manville and Taylor Seganfreddo counted a goal and an assist each in the win, which came on the heels of a dramatic 5-4 overtime win over Delta in the semifinals… Four members of the Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club collected gold titles at the Canadian junior freestyle championships. Grabbing top spot in their respective weight classes were Manheet Khalon, in 120kg, Nishanpreet Rhandhawa, in 96kg, Ajay Gill, in 84kg, and Oscar Bulsqui, in 50kg… It had all the appearances of a cakewalk, as the Burnaby Winter Club’s peewee A3 Bruins stormed to a B.C. Tier 3 hockey championship. Going undefeated through the tourney, the Bruins capped its route with a 10-2 triumph over Tri-Port… One-time Burnaby resident Nam Nguyen posted personal best results en route to a fifth-place finish at the International Skating Union World Figure Skating championships in China. The 16-year-old landed a quadruple jump as part of his fourth-place free skate… In just their third year in the men’s premier league, the EDC FC Burnaby rose to the top, beating Inter FC 3-1 in overtime for the Vancouver Metro playoff title. Earlier, they had to settle for runner-up status in the Imperial Cup men’s soccer final, dropping a 1-0 decision to West Van… Liam Hart won the boys’ Level 1 all-around for the Moscrop Panthers at the B.C. high school gymnastics championship, scoring gold on pommel horse and silver on floor. Michelle Sargent scooped up a silver in Level 3 girls all-around. The Burnaby Mountain athlete also placed third on the uneven bars and fith on balance beam… Lianna Dall’Antonia and Madison Michielin took first place in the girls 13-15 duet as part of the Burnaby Caprice synchronized swimming team’s strong showing at the provincials in May. Dall’Antonia also picked up a pair of individual bronze medals, and was part of the Caprice 13-15 team that scored silver… Douglas College men’s volleyball coach Brad Hudson piloted his team to a PacWest 21-3 season record, and would be recognized with the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s coach of the year award… New Westminster’s Raquel Tjernagel posted a fleet 52.26 seconds in the 400-metre women’s race at the Bryan Clay Invitational in California. A high school senior, Tjernagel would press two-time Olympian Geisa Coutinho for top spot. In the process, the Grade 12 Hyack set a new personal best, carving 2.25 seconds off her previous top time… The Burnaby South Rebels continued a win streak that traces back a year, taking its second B.C. Grade 9 boys basketball title with a 56-48 victory over Kitsilano. Picking up the provincial MVP award was Vince Sunga… The Burnaby Selects collared their second consecutive Coastal A Cup soccer title, edging Central City 3-2 on Minwoo Sung’s extra-time winner. Sung had opened the scoring in the under-18 battle, as the squad followed up last year’s u16 win…

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The Simon Fraser University men’s golf team secured a program first, taking the Great Northwest Conference title in April. The squad set tournament records for low 54-hole score and largest margin of victory, as Bret Thompson edged out teammate Chris Crisologo by a single stroke for the individual crown. Capping that achievement, sophomore Kevin Vigna was named the NCAA Div. 2 conference player of the year, while John Mlikotic, Crisologo and Thompson joined him on the first all-conference team… The New Westminster Senior Secondary track and field team ruled at the B.C. championships, thanks to the one-two punch of senior sprinter Raquel Tjernagel and Grade 11 all-round athlete Nina Schultz. The two accounted for six individual gold medals and were part of a 4x400 relay team that collected a seventh. The result was a second straight girls team title and an overall aggregate banner for the school – just the second time in the old institute’s history. Schultz won the long jump, high jump and triple jump and took home the B.C. Most Outstanding Female award for a second year. Tjernagel, meanwhile repeated as both the 100- and 200-metre senior girls champion… Burnaby’s Michael Valiante and co-driver Richard Westbrook piloted their car to a pair of Tudor United championship titles on the sportscar racing tour in Florida, on the heels of the checkered flag at the Monterey Grand Prix in May… New Westminster Little League registered a first, as the major all-star team advanced into the B.C. Little League championship tournament for the first time. The New West majors defeated Hastings 11-1 to secure the spot, after rolling over South Vancouver 11-0 before blasting Trout Lake 22-6 in the semifinal… With both the glove and the bat, Burnaby’s Lauren Watson garnered plenty of attention the past year as an infielder with the Delta Heat. It all paid off when the Burnaby Mountain Secondary student was signed to a Div. 1 softball scholarship by Indiana-Purdue University… George Jecminek displayed his skills well in marching past the competition en route to the Burnaby Open men’s tennis title. The pre-tournament favourite, Jecminek overpowered the No. 2 and 4th ranked rivals to take away the crown. No. 1-seeded Juliet Jia Wen Zhang collected the open women’s title in three sets… The Canadian men’s field hockey team snapped up a berth to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio. The national team, which includes New West’s Brenden Bissett, secured the spot by surviving a shootout against Brazil at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, then took home the silver after a 3-0 loss to Argentina in the final… B.C.’s golden girls dominated the box, capturing national titles in junior and midget lacrosse divisions. The lineups of both teams featured plenty of local talent: New West’s Christel Blesch, Graceyn Dean, Amber Haley, Gabrielle Jones, Mary McQueen, Keeley O’Neill and Burnaby’s Amanda Jackson… The Shasta Trampoline Club’s Kyle Carragher set the tone by winning three medals, including a gold, with Benjamin Blais, in men’s synchronized trampoline, at the Canadian championships. Also picking up gold medals were Tamara O’Brien and Jordan Wilmhurst… Locals soaked up the hardware at the Legion national youth and track and field championships in Quebec, with silver for 200m hurdles’ Diego Medrano and high jumper Nina Schultz. Collecting three bronze was Burnaby’s Nathan Mah, in the 100m, the 4x100m and 4x400m relays… The New Westminster Salmonbellies wrapped up an up-and-down season by being swept 4-0 by Victoria in the Western Lacrosse Association final. After starting the season quick out of the chute at 6-0, New West struggled for a month before regaining its form prior to the start of the playoffs with the circuit’s second-best record. They bounced Langley in the first round 4-0 before seeing their Mann Cup hopes dashed… Americans weren’t spinning their wheels at the 2015 Giro di Burnaby. Donning the Burnaby NOW jersey, Daniel Holloway captured the giro race with a final sprint down Hastings Street in July. Shelley Olds, meanwhile, displayed the same skills that earned her two U.S. national criterium titles and pedalled her way to the Giro di Burnaby’s women’s title… Burnaby’s Jakie Kohli played a part of Canada’s silver medal result at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. The water polo player came out of semi-retirement to reclaim a spot on the national team and played in an Australian pro league to stay in the sport… The Pan Ams was the scene of a Canadian first, where the women’s basketball team collected it’s first-ever basketball gold medal, upsetting the U.S. 81-73 in the final. Contributing in a big way was former SFU star Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe… It was a similar story for the Canadian men’s rugby team at the Pan Ams, with the host team defeating Argentina 22-19 in the final. Burnaby’s Admir Cejvanovic scored the game-winning try in the semifinal victory over the U.S… The Burnaby Lakers rode a rollercoaster in 2015, chasing a playoff spot in the WLA. After beginning the senior A season 2-4, the Lakers won six of its next eight games to jump into the race for second place. Unfortunately things unravelled for Burnaby down the stretch as they ended up 9-9 and in fifth spot, just shy of the final playoff berth… John Gallacher captured the B.C. senior golf championship title in August at Swan-e-Set Bay. The Burnaby golfer topped two-time senior champion Doug Roxburgh by four strokes for his second senior title…

It was harvest time for the New Westminster Salmonbellies at the Western Lacrosse Association’s annual awards. Bellies’ first-year netminder Eric Penney was named to the first all-star team, the league’s top goalie and co-rookie of the year, sharing that with New West junior grad Anthony Malcom of Langley. Burnaby Lakers’ Robert Church and goalie Tye Belanger joined New West’s Logan Schuss and Ian Hawksbee on the second all-star team… Midfielder Alyson Dickson spearheaded the Mountain United girls championship run in HPL soccer, earning the under-18 MVP award, before taking her cleats up to Simon Fraser University… Picking up an NCAA Div. II basketball scholarship was Notre Dame Regional sharpshooter Lauren Bondi. The teen secured a four-year commitment from Smith College in Massachusetts… Betty Brussel captured four gold medals in the swimming pool in the 90+ women’s division at the B.C. 55+ Games in North Van. The New West senior won the 50- and 100-metre breaststroke and 400- and 800m freestyle. Burnaby’s Norm Lesage and Herb Phillips collected three gold medals each at the event. Lesage, 85, sprinted to gold in the 100-, 200- and 400-metre races, while Phillips strode to medals in 75-79 men’s 800-, 1500- and 5000m… The New Westminster senior Hyacks set the tone for a tremendous season in AAA football, blanking G.W. Graham in their homecoming game in September. The team would march all the way to the Final Four before exiting in a heartbreaking 28-12 loss to Vancouver College. Six players were named to the Western Conference all-star squad – Dillon Cusker, Jeff Lugtu, David Penalver, Sunny Rishi, Jamie Shiho and Michael Thind… B.C. Lacrosse paid tribute to the great volunteers and coaches through the province in October, with New West’s Jason Bishop, Darren Flintoff, Dirk Rachfall and Aaron Wildgrove picking up well-deserved honours… The Salmonbellies family lost a patriarch in October when John Van Os passed away at the age of 91. The World War 2 veteran had overseen the rebuilding and restocking of the New Westminster junior Salmonbellies organization, playing a pivotal role in their run to the 1994 Minto Cup title… The New Westminster junior A Salmonbellies will have a few new faces behind the bench to start the 2016 season, after Dan Perreault handed in his resignation to focus on his post with the Vancouver Stealth. New West hired Todd Stockdale to take his place, and Bob Salt will come in as an assistant coach… Burnaby’s Nico Repole and New Westminster’s Warren Reece absorbed what it feels like to be top of the world after their University of B.C. Thunderbirds captured Canada’s collegiate top prize, the Vanier Cup in a thrilling 26-23 win over Montreal. The victory came down to a last second field goal that lifted UBC to its first national title since 1998… Tamara O’Brien and Kyle Carragher picked up medals at the World Trampoline championships in Denmark. The Shasta Trampoline Club members were part of a strong Canadian contingent, with O’Brien on the women’s gold-winning double mini team, while Carragher collected a silver in men’s double-mini… New Westminster native and St. Thomas More alum Jon Cornish announced his retirement from the Canadian Football League in December. The two-time CFL Most Outstanding Canadian dominated the game from 2012 to 2014 as a member of the Calgary Stampeders… The Douglas College Royals celebrated a program first, when the women’s soccer team dumped Vancouver Island 2-0 to waltz off with the PacWest B.C. crown. Marni McMillan picked up her second PacWest player of the year honour, while Danae Harding was named the tourney’s MVP… Legendary players Chris Gill, Curt Malawsky and Ed Goss – each a proud part of the New West Salmonbellies tradition – were added to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in November… Burnaby’s Kym van Duynhoven made her final year as a member of the UBC Thunderbirds women’s soccer team a memorable one, helping them cop a CCAA national title in November. Van Duynhoven would score the only goal in a critical 1-0 win over the University of Calgary to propel UBC into the semifinals… The Burnaby Central Wildcats rebounded from a tough semifinal defeat to claim bronze at the B.C. High School boys AAA soccer championships. Senior Andre Del Bianco was selected to the Commissioner’s 11 all-star team… The Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame unveiled its newest members, honouring the athletic careers and accomplishments of lacrosse’s Dave Evans, cricket’s Barry Seebaran, and hockey’s Harold Snepsts. Also to be inducted at a 2016 ceremony are builders Steve Govett and Doug Ross, coach Darrell Hall, and the 1997 Burnaby girls under-19 Blast soccer team… The Moscrop Panthers worked the net and drove home numerous spikes to end up fourth at the B.C. High School AAA senior boys volleyball tournament. Playing seven games and 23 sets over four days, Moscrop survived multiple tests to prove they belonged among the province’s elite squads. Setter Justin Yee was named to the first all-star team, while teammate Jerry Yan was a second team all-star.

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