Martlets, Men's Varsity, Sports

Winter 2020 season recaps

Artistic Swimming

The McGill Women’s Artistic Swim team started their season off strong, finishing first out of 11 teams at the McGill Invitational in November. Strong performances from sisters third-year Ioana Gheta and second-year Maria Gheta earned them first place in the duet/trio category. First-year Katherine Demond also performed well, placing fifth for her solo routine. The Martlets continued their dominance with a first place at the Eastern Canadian Championship meet in Ottawa at the end of January. Second-year graduate student Michely Chen earned two gold medals and the Gheta sisters shined once again to come in second for their duet. Maria Gheta also earned both a solo gold and silver for her experienced solo, missing a second gold by less than 0.3 points. 

After an impressive send-off performance at Memorial Pool on Feb. 11, the Martlets headed to the University of British Columbia for the National Championship on Feb. 14. For the second year in a row, Maria Gheta was named All-Around Champion, claiming gold in the duet routine with her sister. McGill captured their 16th National Championship title at the meet. In the novice category, the Martlets dominated with the duet pairing of third-year Christina Wang and first-year Mathilde Lotz capturing gold. Chen went on to earn a silver medal for her solo routine and the individual All-Around title in the novice category. 

Men’s Hockey

Despite a wave of early-season injuries, the McGill Men’s Hockey team finished the regular season strong, with a 16–10–2 record. This performance earned them the fourth seed in the OUA Eastern conference.

Their success did not continue into the postseason, however, which ended unceremoniously in a three-game first-round loss to the Concordia Stingers. Despite this early exit, this season had plenty to celebrate, with standout players being recognized at the OUA awards. McGill claimed three awards: Third-year Nikolas Brouillard earned the Defenceman of the Year, fourth-year Louis-Philip Guindon was named the Goaltender of the Year, and fifth-year defenceman Dominic Talbot-Tassi secured a spot on the First-Team All-Star roster. This was the first time since 2011 that McGill collected three OUA awards. 

Going into next season, McGill Men’s Hockey is set for a new chapter. With the loss of five seniors, McGill is ready to start anew under the guidance of a rookie coach and a roster full of new talent.

Men’s Basketball

The McGill Men’s Basketball team had an unfortunate end to their season, achieving a dominant 12–4 record in league play before losing in the first round of the playoffs. The season started with several tough losses to NCAA teams in preseason play before the team notched their first wins against the Bermuda National Team and the University of Toronto. League play began on Nov. 7 with a decisive 101–78 win over Laval; however, a 94–71 loss to UQÀM in the following game foretold the struggles to come. 

Third-year guard Jamal Mayali led the team, averaging 15.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Second- and third-year guards Quarry Whyne and Sam Jenkins added 13.5 and 12.6 points per game, respectively. Behind this scoring, McGill found their groove, winning seven games in a row. A three-game skid briefly halted their momentum, but they bounced back to finish the season on a four-game winning streak that included a 70–65 victory over UQÀM in their final game. They finished the regular season as the top seed going into the RSEQ playoffs.

McGill hosted fourth-place UQÀM in single-elimination play on Feb. 26 to begin the playoffs. Mayali missed the game due to the flu, however, and McGill’s season ultimately ended early after losing 70–61.  

Women’s Basketball

Martlet Basketball’s 2019-20 season was a rollercoaster. Their preseason opened in October with a loss to the Queen’s Gaels at an exhibition game celebrating the centennial of women’s university basketball in Canada. They bounced back from a four-game losing streak between November and January with a three-game winning streak, largely due to the efforts of fifth-year guard Gladys Hakizimana who scored 20 points for the Martlets in the first of those three wins. This put McGill back in the running for a playoff berth, and the Martlets sealed their spot in the playoffs on Feb. 15 in a home game against the Concordia Stingers. Fifth-year transfer centre Sirah Diarra and fourth-year transfer forward Nadege Pluviose each recorded a double-double in that decisive game. Their season came to an end for McGill women’s basketball on Feb. 26 with an away loss to the Laval Rouge et Or in the RSEQ playoff semi-finals. 

Pluviose earned Second-Team All-Star honours, while first-year guard Jessica Salanon was named a rookie All-Star at the RSEQ awards. Next year will see significant roster changes for the Martlets, with five graduating seniors leaving the squad. 

Men’s Track and Field

The McGill Men’s Track team had an equally successful winter season. They qualified seven athletes for the National Championship in Edmonton, after finishing third in the Provincial Championship. Second-year Alex Stathis distinguished himself by breaking his own school record in the heptathlon on his way to earning a provincial gold medal in Quebec City. The St-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec native finished in a remarkable fifth place at Nationals. 

Third-years Jose Guerra and Matthew Daly also dominated the RSEQ Championship, striking gold in the shot put and the 60m hurdles, respectively. The 4x400m relay, staffed by Nicolas Bernard, Jack Crosby, Sebastian Danson and Jasper Ross, reached the finals at Nationals after dominating the event in Quebec City.

Women’s Track and Field 

The standout of the Martlets’ 2020 winter track season was Jorden Savoury. The second-year psychology student started her campaign by breaking a school record on the 60 metre dash in Sherbrooke. Savoury went on to beat the record again, twice, at the 25th McGill Team Challenge on Jan. 25. The LaSalle, Quebec native praised her teammates for their support and work ethic. 

“Team spirit is what led us to succeed,” Savoury said. “I have never been a part of such an amazing group of athletes that work hard for what they want.”

As a collective, the Martlets track team had a productive season. They finished second at the RSEQ provincial championship, tallying two gold medals by fourth-year Abby Woods on the triple jump and graduate transfer Allison Frantz in the heptathlon. Both athletes earned a spot at the National Championship in Edmonton. The Martlets also dominated the long jump event: Savoury and Woods earned silver and bronze, respectively, separated by only eight centimeters. 

The Martlets’ relays fared well too, earning bronze in the 4×200 metre and silver in the 4×800 metre at the RSEQ championships. The team consisted of Savoury, Woods, Frantz, and third-year Stephanie Susinski. The Martlets did not win any medals in throwing events at the provincial championships; however, first-year thrower Marika Shafonsky had a strong rookie season, consistently finishing in the weight throw top 10.

The McGill Track Team hopes to build on this success as the outdoor season starts. Savoury, however, refused to set any ceiling for their performance. 

“I don’t believe in limits,” Savoury said.

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