Sports: Year in Review 2015-16

Queen’s professor kayaks to victory: July 28, 2015

“We had one rule really, that we would try to never stop paddling. Meaning that if either of us had to eat food, get changed, no matter the circumstance, we would never stop.”  — Dr. Bob Ross

National championship for men's ultimate: Oct. 18, 2015

After over a decade of falling short on the podium, the men’s ultimate team finally tasted glory, winning the Canadian University Ultimate Championship (CUUC) on Oct. 18.  

Through six tough games, the Gaels battled against the top competition in Canada, upsetting the nation’s top team from the University of Manitoba.

 In the dying embers of the game, with Manitoba driving the field, the Gaels looked to change the momentum. In a battle for the airborne disc, defensive line player Jason Duiella challenged a Manitoba player, and came down with the disc. The Gaels then drove down the field and scored, winning the National Championship. 

Gaels upset Gryphons: Oct. 23, 2015

“I was crying after the game with my dad,” McQuilkin said. “It meant so much to me to be able to do that for the guys now, the guys before, and send a message for the guys that are going to come in the future.”

– Luke McQuilkin on the upset over Guelph

McEwen leads exciting comeback: Nov 5, 2015

After earning a position in the CIS championship by hosting the tournament, many likely questioned Queen’s credentials.

But after their 24-17 upset of the number one seed Acadia Axewomen (after falling behind 17-0), few will doubt their abilities.

After pushing the ball to the outside, the Gaels handed the ball to OUA All-Star 

Emma Chown, who sidestepped two of Acadia’s defenders to score the Gaels’ second try of the game. After another successful McEwen kick, the Gaels sat up 24-17 with just over five minutes to play.

On the day, Lauren McEwen scored four penalty kicks and added one conversion. 

For Barz, this has been a long time coming for the fifth-year captain.

“Lauren has given her heart and soul to the team over five years and this year in particular she has absolutely grown as a leader and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Glory in Guelph: Nov. 5, 2015

With only a 24-23 lead against the Guelph Gryphons, the men’s rugby team gathered around their goalposts in the final moments of the OUA final, their season on the line. 

In the waning moments of the contest, the Gryphons registered a try, knocking down the Gaels’ lead to one point.

If the Gryphons were successful in their conversion kick it would flip the script, putting the Gaels down 25-24.

“It was pretty quiet in that huddle,” Queen’s flanker Alex Colborne said. 

After Guelph’s attempt missed wide right, the Gaels held on for the remaining moments to capture their fourth OUA title in a row. 

“You can only control so much of the game,” Colborne said. “You can prepare as much as you like, and the season comes down to that one play.”

A large portion of the team was made up of first-time starters, making this year’s title a special one.

“We lost a lot of vets last year and needed to work hard to find the right athlete to fit the roles that would best help our team grow.”

Head coach Gary Gilks added that the tight-knit nature of the club helped them come out on top.

“The athletes really built a team attitude, and this was critical when facing endless pressure situations in the final game.” “Our coaching staff was incredible all year, constantly being innovative and intelligently adapting to many hurdles on and off the field,” he said. 

Despite multiple championships, Gilks hasn’t lost the joy of winning a title.  

“These are the years you remember the most because all of us grew together to create something special that will last a lifetime.” 


Dakic presiding over Ontario: Nov. 27, 2015

After playing four years of volleyball as an undergrad at York, Marko Dakic, now a first-year law student, can only play for the Gaels for  one season before his eligibility ends.

 But in his first year at Queen’s, Dakic has been on fire, climbing to the top spot in the OUA in both kills per set and hitting percentage.

“It’s perfect timing for a new player to be ‘plugged in’ for just a year, especially when considering the strength of our team,” Dakic said.

While he’ll only be with the Gaels for one season, Dakic said that hasn’t affected his cohesion with the team. 

“They’ve been incredibly receptive as teammates and friends,” he said. 

“I came in at a good time, joining three other starters in their graduating year.”

 The team has found its rhythm as of late, winning six consecutive games and sitting in second place in the OUA with a 7-1 record. 

In his first year for the Gaels, Marko Dakic leads the OUA in both kills per set and hitting percentage.

Beyond the field: January 8, 2016

A few weeks before he received the Russ Jackson Award, Queen’s receiver Curtis Carmichael received a cryptic phone call from his head coach Pat Sheahan.

“He’s like, ‘What do you do outside of school? I know you do some stuff,’” Carmichael recounted. “He knew I was involved in the Kingston community, but he didn’t really know in what capacity.”

Carmichael told him about the places he volunteers, his GPA and all of the things he does off of the field. 

“Then he’s like, ‘Okay, good luck.’ And he hung up the phone. I was so confused.”

Two weeks later, Carmichael was named one of four finalists for the Russ Jackson Award, a prestigious award presented annually to “the player who best exemplifies the attributes of academic achievement, football skill, and citizenship.” It is named after the three-time Grey Cup Champion and member of the Canada Sports Hall of Fame.

After a committee of coaches from across the province selected his name, Carmichael received the national award at the CIS Football awards banquet this past November.

And even though in his fourth year with the team he led the aerial attack with 34 catches, Carmichael’s impact at the school will be remembered largely for his off-field actions and his outgoing personality.

Athletes combat LGBTQ-phobia: Feb 11, 2016 

 “Even though my experience in high school wasn’t awful or anything, I remember little bits and pieces and that really sucked … and I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.” — Emily Hazlett

Auf Wiedersehen (for now) Mar. 24, 2016 

Returning home to Germany, Franzi Wilhelm will be leaving behind the women’s volleyball team, but she hopes it won’t be the last time she gets a chance to play for the Gaels. 

Wilhelm’s path from exchange student to varsity athlete was what she likes to call a “funny story”. She originally only wanted to see if she could practice with the Gaels to stay in game shape before returning to her home team.

For Wilhelm, the difference between volleyball at Queen’s and in Germany was mostly the quality and organization of the team.

“In Canada, I felt much more professional than in Germany, given the level that we play,” she said. “The practices here are more intense, well organized, and playing in general is more analytical.” 

Among the sadness of having to leave what she considers “the best seven months of my life,” Wilhelm said she’s excited to continue playing with her team in Germany. 

“May it be the good or bad, all together my time here has created this amazing experience. It sounds cheesy, and it probably is even, but it’s true.”


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