Preview highlights schools’ athleticism

SOUTH REGION CHAMPS: Lawrence Park celebrates their senior girls volleyball victory over Humberside at Northern SS in February. The TDSSAA victors would later qualify for AAA OFSAA action, losing in the quarters to Jacob Hespeler SS of Cambridge, Ont.

North Toronto has a lot of teams seeking golden seasons 

It’s that time of year again.

Back to school and the Town Crier offers the top three teams that have a chance to bring home gold from North Toronto’s nine secondary schools.

As students march out their front doors bright and early for another academic year, a good lot of them will have athletics on the brain. It all starts in the fall with girls basketball, boys football, girls field hockey, rugby sevens, golf, tennis and boys volleyball.

Once the games continue into winter the seasonal change brings with it boys basketball, girls volleyball, curling, hockey, alpine skiing, snowboarding and swimming.

Moving into the spring, baseball, cricket, lacrosse, rugby, girls slo-pitch, soccer, girls softball, co-ed volleyball and ultimate Frisbee get under way.

Here are your local schools and the teams that had phenomenal 2009-10 campaigns.

Fieldstone Day School

A member of the Small Schools Athletic Federation, Fieldstone was able to field two teams in the Oct. 22 co-ed flag football tournament. Though they didn’t win the tourney, their teams finished third and seventh out of eight competitors.

The Grizzlies have a long history of dominating the birdie on the badminton court, claiming either first or second in all doubles team categories at the Small Schools championships in 2009.

Additionally, the Grizzlies will look to continue their winning ways in ball hockey as they head into the 2010-11 campaign.

Havergal College

The girls dominated plenty of sports in the 2009-10 season in CISAA action. Havergal Gators put forth awesome efforts in alpine skiing, as well as track and field and most importantly badminton. The ladies punished opponents in both the senior, junior and even their under-13 crew at the elementary level.

The Gators claimed top spot in division 1 senior girls basketball eliminating Ridley College at home 36-27 to advance to OFSAA.

Another tough court to beat the girls on is tennis, as the Gators chomped down on both the junior and under 13 girls won their respective titles.

Lawrence Park CI

There are no Alps in Toronto, but look for the Panthers to come out shredding packed powder on the slopes. In 2009-10 the ladies dominated alpine skiing with Katie MacDonald, Zoe Radden and Jessie Gorski finishing one, two, three in the level 1 slalom. The same three would finish first, third and fifth in the giant slalom at the Citys. Rachel Rennick finished first in both the slalom and giant slalom level 2 results.

In addition to the hills, the girls volleyball team looks to repeat as South Region champs heading into the 2011 campaign. Last season the team was buoyed by the hard work of middles Maddie Stephen and Christine Wolf as well as setters Lily McLeod and Brooklyn Glover.

Third, the Panthers football program is on a roll as the junior team won their title over Senator O’Connor Blues of the TDCAA and the senior team beat Agincourt Lancers in Tier 2 action.

Metropolitan Preparatory Academy

A member of the Small Schools Athletic Federation and also involved in the TDCAA, Metro Predators look to reclaim their title in co-ed flag football this season after finishing fifth in the Small Schools tournament. They would go on to claim the consolation championship.

Another team to watch out for is the under 20 boys volleyball, as the team finished second to Yorkland, 2-1, in a hard-fought three sets.

The big story this year however was the under 20 boys basketball team that took top prize, hammering Mississauga Private School 73-42 in the final. Look for them to repeat their performance in 2010-11.

North Toronto CI

The Norsemen and women of North Toronto performed well — period. Whether it was in the pool, on the hill or on the tennis courts this year was all about the girls and boys working together. The swim team had success at the swimming city championships. Buoyed by David Ou, Bogdan Balteanu, Nancy Yu, Charles Kim and Ciaran Kelly, the team brought home a cache of medals: six gold, two silver, four bronze at the citys.

When they weren’t in the pool, North Toronto took to the slopes, dominating snowboarding. The midtown school picked up two top 10 finishes in both genders, seeing hard work from Vanessa Prata and Kimberly Chau (eighth and ninth at the citys) and boys Isaiah Aldrish and Max Mueller (second and sixth).

Then came the spring, when unranked mixed doubles in tennis saw a gold medal come to North Toronto as Rachel Davies and Conor Strohm beat R.H. King in the finals.

Northern SS

One of the toughest schools to face in any sport, Northern Red Knights are coming off one of their most successful seasons with their senior girls basketball team. Led by post player Sophie Beutel, who graduated at the end of last year, and coached by the duo of Wendy Luck and Michael Ross, the eight ladies won the TDSSAA South Region Championship. Hitting a minor speed bump in the City Championship against David and Mary Thomson Titans, losing 57-46 the team qualified for OFSAA. They have a youthful energy in grade 10 McKenzie Sigurdson, who was the lone junior playing for the seniors last season. Look for her to bring the fire in 2010.

The boys football team is looking to return in the fall to both the Metro Bowl and the Toronto Bowl but they’ll be hungry for revenge as the Red Knights were shutout 21-0 by the Birchmount Park Panthers.

St. Clement’s School

It was a story of volleyball, ice hockey and softball for the Clementines this season as the ladies took home the three CISAA titles in each of the league’s respective championship games. In division 2 senior volleyball the ladies won two games on Feb. 27, downing Bayview Glen 3-2 and then dominating Lakefield College School. Look for the ladies to repeat again this season.

When the Clementines took to the ice in division 2 ice hockey, grade 12 Megan Wickens led the way with two goals in their 4-3 semifinal win against Villanova College. Then against the Buffalo, New York college Nichols School, Wickens scored again in 3-1 victory.

Finally, keep an eye on the junior softball team. Playing with the memory of their late coach Kelly Pace, the team walloped every team en route to the championships. At the end of the round robin the team had 67 runs total to their opponents’ 19. They beat Havergal 18-8, Holy Trinity School 35-3 and Bishop Strachan 14-8 in the final.

Sir Sanford Fleming Academy

The Chargers had one heck of a season with their senior boys A basketball team as they snared bronze at OFSAA last season beating King’s Christian Collegiate of Oakville 50-47. It capped off a successful season as the team also won the Citys over Runnymede Ravens. It was the second year in a row that coach Barton Harvey led his troupe to the city finals.

In addition to being crowned top in basketball, the varsity development football team were crowned victors over David and Mary Thomson Titans not two years after Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards gave a talk to students. Could rubbing shoulder pads with the pros have helped the crew? Quite possibly.

As for the third team, the senior girls volleyball were a talented troupe led by their MVP Monica Oribiana. The ladies finished in second place in the city championships in the spring.

Toronto French School

Cross-country was Toronto French School’s forte in the fall term as the both the girls, boys and co-ed teams won overall CISAA titles as the most dominant team.

The junior girls basketball team conquered division 1 play this year at CISAA and were led by the dominant play of Robyn Pearson. The grade 10 makes the jump to senior this year, so look for this year’s grade 11s and 12s to bring their A-game.

Finally, known for their dominance in rhythmic gymnastics, Toronto French School did not disappoint as the Cougars took top spot this winter.

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