By Ned Bekavac
The University of Guelph Gryphons basketball teams open their OUA seasons on the road this weekend and a pile of new faces are on board.
The women’s team enters the season with an almost entirely new crew on the coaching staff.
Headed into her first season as Gryphons head coach, Christin Dickenson has with her Ashley MacSporran, lead assistant coach; Joe Polizzi, assistant coach; Pam Danis, assistant coach; Justin Tornabuono, recruiting assistant; Pat Szpak, strength and conditioning coach; and Howard Keil, director, basketball operations.
Keil is the lone listed returnee from last season’s staff.
The men’s team has a wad of new players entering the 2013-2014 OUA basketball season.
Ten of the 18 players listed on the Gryphons roster are rookies, among them Centennial graduate and District 10 MVP Erik Sterne.
Just two players, Zachary Angus and Michel Clark, are beyond third year.
The teams open their seasons with games at York Friday and Queen’s Saturday.
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A pair of Guelph players were part of the Western Mustangs fastpitch team that recently won its fourth straight Ontario title.
On the championship roster are Michelle Reynolds and Rachelle Washkevich, both graduates of Bishop Macdonell high school. Earlier, the Mustangs won the national championship for the third straight year.
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It might be hard to predict what will happen when the Gryphons visit Queen’s in an OUA football semifinal game Saturday.
But if the game is anything like the last three between the teams, you can expect a lot of points.
The two teams have combined for 202 points in their last three meetings, a 67.3 points-per-game average.
The OUA semifinal game between the two 7-1 teams kicks off at 1 p.m. and can be seen live on Sportsnet 360 (channel 53).
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It was a sky high inaugural college fastball season for Skyler Patteson.
The Bishop Macdonell graduate is a rookie for the St. Clair Saints in Windsor.
In her first season of Ontario Colleges Athletic Association fastball, she has earned the league’s top hitter honour.
Patteson led the OCAA with 27 hits and 23 RBIs. She went 27-for-53 for a .509 batting average.
St. Clair finished second in the OCAA championship, losing 6-5 in the final to Humber.
Patteson was also named an OCAA All-Star, and was named an all-star for the league’s championship tournament.
Also earning tourney all-star honours was Kayla Gammie, a John F. Ross CVI graduate and a rookie at Durham.
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When the John F. Ross Royals (4-0) host the St. James Lions (2-2) in a District 10 football playoff game today, it will be a full three weeks since they last played a D10 game.
Ross’s last contest was on Oct. 10, when they beat Bishop Macdonell 33-6.
They had a bye the last week of the season, and earned a first-round playoff bye for finishing in first place, so didn’t play last week either.
Kick-off is at 3 p.m. today at Ross.
The two teams met in the first week of the season, with Ross pulling out a 7-2 road win.
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It’s not rare for a team in District 10 high school junior girls basketball to score fewer than, say, 35 points in a game.
Rainey Psenicka recently scored more than that herself.
According to numbers posted at the league website, Psenicka scored a huge 38 points as the Our Lady of Lourdes Crusaders topped John F. Ross 61-44 in District 10 junior girls basketball play last week.
The number looks all the bigger when you factor in that the games are made up of quarters that are just eight minutes in length, and are played without a shot clock.
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Two women each broke an almost three-decades-old Canadian record at the recent Toronto Marathon.
One of them is a former star with the Guelph Gryphons women’s hockey team.
Krista DuChene (nee Lehrbass) of Brantford played for the Gryphons until the year 2000, and was an OUA all-star.
She was the second of two athletes to beat the Canadian women’s marathon record of 2:28:36, set 28 years ago by Oshawa’s Sylvia Ruegger, a fellow former Gryphon who was a national running champ for the U of G, and represented Canada in the Olympics.
Speed River Track & Field Club athlete Eric Gillis, of Antigonish, N.S., was the top Canadian male in a time of 2:11.47, good for fifth overall.
The event drew more than 3,500 runners.
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Basketball fans will have a good chance to see local star Natalie Achonwa play in person on Dec. 1.
Achonwa, who is a member of the Canadian national team, currently stars for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s hoops team.
The Irish will be playing against the Duquesne Dukes in Toronto on Dec. 1.
The game takes place at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) at 2 p.m.
While Achonwa is currently injured, she is expected to be back to playing in time for the game.