For many sports in the OUA, the beginning of February marks “banner season,” the home-stretch with provicial championships and national qualification on the line.
Major team sports such as volleyball, hockey, and basketball don’t begin their playoffs until the end of the month, but for some of UW’s less-appreciated teams such as fencing, swimming, and squash, their seasons just wrapped up in one of the best medal-hauls UW has ever seen.
First up was the fencing team, who travelled to St. Catherines over the weekend of Feb. 1-2 to compete at the OUA Championships hosted by the Brock Badgers.
Third-year Arts student Gareth Marks had himself a weekend to remember, winning gold in the individual foil and leading the UW team to a bronze medal in the team foil tournament.
Marks swept the individual round-robin, going 6-0 to enter the knockout stages as the top seed. He eliminated teammate Ryan Brennan and Carleton’s Philip McCully, the defending gold medalist, in the first two rounds, before taking down the University of Toronto’s David Li in the semifinals.
In the finals, Marks displayed exsquisite technique, dismantling Ryerson’s Ethan Haines 15-10 to capture the gold medal.
The next day, Marks led the men’s foil team to the semifinals where they took on Carleton Ravens for a birth in the finals. Despite a late rally, UW lost 34-45, earning them a spot in the bronze-medal match against the RMC Paladins. The Warriors took care of business against RMC, leading from the first point to win 45-26 for the bronze medal.
Next, UW’s squash teams claimed silver medals at their OUA Championships hosted at the White Oaks Resort in Niagara.
Fifth-year student Cameron Seth led the men’s team, going an undefeated 4-0 to earn himself tournament MVP honours. Seth has been named MVP in four of his Provincial Championships, a truly remarkable OUA career.
The men had a simple path to the finals, where they took on Western, the 36-time defending champions. Unfortunately, the Warriors dropped the match 6-1 and were forced to settle for silver.
The women had a shakier start, winning their first match 7-0 over Brock but losing their second, 1-6 against Queen’s. The Warriors defeated Western in the semis the next day, before losing once more to Queen’s 1-6 in the gold medal game.
The silver is the team’s best finish since 2012.
In addition to Seth, UW’s Neel Ismail was named Rookie of the Year, and Marisa Seth was named the Men’s Coach of the Year.
Finally, over Feb 8-9, the Warriors’ swim team travelled to the Toronto Pan-Am Sports Centre for their OUA Championships. It was one UW’s best showings ever, as they captured 6 silver and 7 bronze medals, as well as the overall men’s bronze medal.
As has been the case all season, Lukas Wormald was the star for UW, winning silver in the 200m individual medley and leading 4x100m freestyle and 4x200m medley relay teams to podium finishes as well.
Other medalists included sophomore Christina Ji, who won silver in the 50m backstroke, and junior Hohyun Ryu, who caputred bronze behind Wormald in the 200m individual medley.
The men finished with a final team score of 549.50, good for bronze behind Toronto and Western. The women ended their weekend with 307 in sixth place.
Overall, five UW swimmers qualified for the national USports championships, which will take place later this month in Victoria, British Columbia.