Varsity Clubs round-up: January edition

Women’s wrestling, squash make news as OUA Championships loom


Women’s wrestling reaches new heights, women’s squash dominates, men’s squash looks solid, and swimming and fencing tune up for respective OUA Championships.

Women’s wrestling gets national ranking for first time in program history

At the start of the season, hopes were high that the milestone of a national ranking would finally be achieved—the Gaels fell just shy earlier in the season, instead being awarded an honourable mention.

It wasn’t long until the women made program history, clinching a tenth-place national ranking, only to climb up to ninth in the following weeks. 

Leading the charge is Kenna Winget, 50 kg women’s, who currently sits sixth in individual national rankings after placing third at the Western Open, the final tournament before the OUA Championships. Following close on her heels is teammate Rebecca Hamilton, 55 kg women’s, who finished the weekend in third as well.

The OUA Championship, hosted by Guelph on Feb. 1, will be nothing short of a battle—the Gaels will have to overcome the six-time defending national champions, Brock. Brock is ranked first in the country.

Women’s squash remains on top, men’s squash not far behind

After the final crossover tournament of the season, women’s squash held onto the first-place seed in the divisional standings with a 13-1 record heading into the OUA Championships.

On the weekend of Jan. 18 to 19, the Gaels matched up against Brock, Western, Guelph, and McMaster—they swept every single match.

Their closest rivals on the leaderboard, Western, proved no match for the Gaels—no Mustang was able to score more than six points in a race to 11. Most notably, Queen’s Courtney Orcutt held her opponent, Western’s Laura Naylor, to one point in each of the three sets between the two.

The men’s squash team, owners of a 10-4 record, find themselves at a very respectable fourth place in the divisional standings. The Gaels swept McMaster with an even seven, making that their third win alongside their 5-2 victory over Guelph, and 6-1 defeat of Brock. The Gaels took their only loss of the weekend to second-place Western in a 5-2 contest.

Queen’s Liam Knapp sits third for individual standings with his perfect record of 9-0.

The team will head to the OUA Championships on Feb. 7 to 9 at Brock University. The women are looking to take home the OUA gold for the sixth year in a row.

Swimming sees 13 top-10 finishes at the U of T winter invitational 

Coming out of the Toronto Grand Prix with no top-10 finishes, the Gaels had a lot to prove as they entered the pool at the University of Toronto Winter Invitational on Jan. 18 to 19.

Queen’s had athletes place in the top-ten thirteen times throughout the meet. For the women, Sophie Deasy placed ninth in 200 Back, Jayne Kim took eighth in 50 Breast, Madison Otsuki finished sixth in 50 Back, and Elise Laupland came close to the podium with a fifth-place finish in 200 IM. Most notably, Lauren Mage placed top 10 in two races: tenth in the 200 Free and eighth in the 100 Free.

The men saw a bit more consistency in their final results.

Swimmer Matthew MacDonald placed ninth in 50 Back and 10th in 100 Back. Matthew Halpen took it one stroke further, and found himself ninth in both 200 and 100 Breast.

On top for the men, however, was Victor Umura. Umura found himself 10th in the 50 Free and sixth in the 50 Fly, but he found his stride in the 200-individual medley, clinching a podium finish with a second-place time of 2:11.16.

The Gaels will have to significantly out-perform themselves if they’re dreaming of podium finishes at the OUA Championships occurring on Feb. 6 to 8 at the Toronto Pan Am Centre, hosted by McMaster University.

Fencing well prepared for OUA Championships after three podium finishes

The Queen’s fencing team traveled to Ottawa from Jan. 11 to 12 to compete in the Carleton University Invitational.

In the last invitational before the men and women head to their separate OUA Championships, the men’s sabre team brought home a silver medal after facing cross-town rivals, RMC, in the final match. The second-place squad consisted of Alex Sun (who won silver individually as well), Luke Steverango, Kerith Tung, and Kenneth West.

Captain Rory McEwen, Matthew Litwin, Isaac Hogan, and Spencer McGregor also won silver in the men’s épée category.

The men’s silvers were matched by the group of Adeline Young, Rosalin Dubois, and Lilly Hickox, who claimed second overall in the women’s foil.

It wasn’t long before the Gaels found the Paladins in the finals once more, this time in women’s sabre. However, in a measure of vengeance, the Queen’s women’s team, made up of Danielle Burghgraef, Carolone Whitehead, and Karen Zeng, were able to overcome RMC to win a gold for the Gaels.

The men are fencing for the OUA Championship at Brock University on Feb. 1 to 2, while the women will try for the title on home court as Queen’s hosts the OUA Championship on Feb. 8 to 9.

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