Queen’s rowing claim 11 medals at OUA championships

Women finish with silver, men bronze

Munro and Walker won gold in the women’s double at the OUA championships.
Munro and Walker won gold in the women’s double at the OUA championships.
Michael Bryenton

Queen’s rowing is only comfortable in first place, and they proved it at the OUA championships last Friday.

At the provincial championship regatta over the weekend, the women’s team finished second overall and the men’s third—collectively claiming 11 medals.

Due to high winds, the championships were compressed to a single day in place of the intended two-day schedule. But that wasn’t enough to slow down the Gaels.

Fourth-year Alex Bernst said the modified schedule worked to Queen’s advantage. 

“Everyone on the team is a fair bit fitter than the people we were racing, so we could get two races done and look better than other teams,” Bernst told The Journal in an interview.

On the women’s side, the Gaels collected five gold medals and one silver on the day.  

Greta Chase and Jane Carlton placed first in the women’s lightweight double by. The women’s pair also won gold, raced by Cassidy Deane and Paige Adams, who both saw a second gold medal in the women’s coxed four with teammates Megan Stellato, Charlotte Deacon, and Katherine Walker.

Walker additionally earned gold in the women’s double with Louise Munro. The latter, who was unable to compete at the Brock Invitational on Oct. 9 due to illness, also won the women’s heavyweight single. In the women’s lightweight single, Chase earned a second-place finish.

Meanwhile, in their OUA team bronze finish, the men brought home four golds and one silver, as well as a fourth-place finish in the men’s pair. 

Dan Stret and Evan Notley both earned gold in the men’s coxed four, along with teammates Michael Wightman, Nick Grubic, and Bernst. Grubic and Bernst won the men’s lightweight 

double for gold. In the men’s heavyweight double, Gavin Stone and Michael Bryenton finished in first place. Along with the double, Stone won the men’s heavyweight single. The silver medal was meanwhile awarded to Stret and Notley in the men’s lightweight pair.

Stone, who spent the summer at the National Training Centre (NTC) in Victoria, B.C., was awarded OUA Rowing Male Athlete of the Year for his efforts this season.

“Having trained with some of [my competitors] this summer and having raced against them the past four years, it’s definitely a really big honour,” Stone said.

More than receiving the award, Stone said it was exciting to see Queen’s weekend success. 

In addition to Stone’s honour, coaches Rami Maassarani and Michael Davidson were named OUA Coaches of the Year. 

Maassarani is currently the team’s volunteer head coach, balancing the Gaels’ rowing schedule with a separate full-time job.

While Davidson, also a volunteer coach, handles mostly the men’s team, both coaches devote attention to each team at practice. “[Davidson] started in our second year, so a lot of us developed under him,” Bernst said about his coach. “It’s cool that he was finally recognized.”

Due to rowing not being a U Sports divisional sport, the Gaels are looking to the Canadian University Rowing Championships (CURC) scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 3 to 5 in St. Catherine’s. After the CURC, several athletes will attend the National Rowing Championships (NRC) in Burnaby Lake, B.C., from Nov. 6 to 10. 

Not every boat class is allowed to race at the NRC, meaning only priority boats from OUAs will be able to race at the event. Regardless of the lower number of entries, Bernst feels optimistic about the Gaels’ chances once they complete their races at the CURC. 

“The results look like they will be about the same, which is great,” Bernst said. 

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