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UCC finishes third overall in OFSAA swimming

OFSAA Swimming

UCC’s junior swimmers show off the banner they received for winning the OFSAA championship.

Upper Canada College swimmers finished tied for third overall among all 297 schools that took part in the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships in Windsor this week.

UCC, which won three Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association titles on Feb. 22, performed very well in the much larger competition held in Windsor on March 7 and 8.

UCC’s junior boys team finished first among 88 schools with 307 points. In the open boys category, UCC tied for second place with Pierre Elliott Trudeau High School from Markham with 213 points. The senior boys team was third among 106 schools with 215 points.

UCC’s combined total of 735 points put it in a third place tie with Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School from London. What makes this last accomplishment even more impressive for the approximately 20-member UCC team and head coach Vlad Roytberg is that many of the schools competing had both male and female swimmers taking part and adding to their point totals, while the Blues obviously didn’t have any entrants in the women’s races.

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Korean boarding student to play lacrosse for national team

While many Upper Canada College boys may head south to lay on a beach or north to hit the ski slopes during March Break, Grade 12 student Kyung Phil Ko will return to his Korean homeland to play for the nation’s U17 lacrosse team in games against Japan.

“Lacrosse in Korea is still a growing sport,” says Ko. “It lacks a lot of resources and the level of talent is thin compared to Canada.

“However, there has been an increasing number of Korean students learning to play lacrosse in their high school clubs. Also, there have been stronger pushes to grow the sport domestically by setting up more camps and bigger leagues.”

Ko first encountered lacrosse in Korea when he was in Grade 5 and started playing it informally when he moved to Canada to attend UCC in 2013. He joined the varsity team as a goaltender the next year and has worked hard to sharpen his skills since then.

With his parents’ support, Ko flew to Florida during last year’s March break to attend Bill Pilat’s The Goalie School. He took part in a showcase event in Maryland last fall and also played for the Toronto Beaches U19 club team.

“He has worked tirelessly at his game and he has steadily improved,” says varsity lacrosse coach Max Perren. “He was the varsity team’s starting goalie last year. He will be a captain of the team this year.”

While Ko has developed as a lacrosse goalie, he says being a boarding student at UCC has also helped him “gain independence and a world view.” The Seaton’s House member has built camaraderie with other students and become a prefect.

“The intimate feeling is what I think makes it different from other boarding schools,” Ko says of his UCC experience. “Forty-four brothers living with you, and 88 sharing the same backyard.”

Ko has also played soccer and hockey at UCC. He’s the clarinet section leader and soloist of the wind ensemble. He’s also on the executive team of the Environmental Club and is a member of the Science Club.

“Kyung Phil bleeds blue and can always be counted on to support his housemates when necessary,” says Gareth Evans, a health and physical education teacher and Seaton’s senior house adviser.

“Whether it be as a vital member of our house sports teams, providing younger students with extra help in their subjects, or providing entertainment during our family-style meals, Kyung Phil consistently demonstrates a selfless attitude and a sincere love for his housemates. Kyung Phil is passionate about the entire boarding community and, as a member of the student leadership team in boarding, has dedicated many hours to making student life on campus more comfortable for everyone.”

Ko hopes that playing for the Korean U17 team in the games against Japan later this month will be a stepping stone for him to join the senior national team in the summer. The Asian championships will be held in his hometown on Jeju Island, and it would be a thrill to represent his country there.

Ko still isn’t sure of his post-UCC plans, but they could include taking a gap year to both work and further hone his lacrosse skills. He eventually plans to pursue an interdisciplinary education at a university in Canada or the United States.

Perren believes that Ko is good enough to play goal for lacrosse teams in the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association or at an American school in the National Collegiate Athletic Association after he graduates from UCC.


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UCC captures three varsity swimming championships

SWIMVars_CISAA_SAS4686_033Upper Canada College’s varsity swim team has dominated the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association (CISAA) throughout this decade, and that continued with three more titles on Feb. 22 at the University of Toronto Athletic Centre.

It was “another absolutely brilliant and phenomenal day” in the pool for the UCC boys, according to coach Vlad Roytberg.

UCC won the overall CISAA boys championship for the seventh consecutive year, the open boys championship for the sixth time in seven years and the U16 championship for the sixth time in 10 years. The senior boys finished second. When combining overall points, from male and female swimmers, the Blues still finished third among all schools despite the absence of any female competitors.

All six UCC relay teams qualified for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships in Windsor on March 7 and 8. The College will be represented at that event by about 20 swimmers.

Here are the top individual results by UCC swimmers:

  • Jonathan Chu, first in senior 100-metre breaststroke
  • Jonathan Chu, first in senior 100-metre individual medley
  • Toby Henderson, first in open 50-metre freestyle
  • Toby Henderson, first in open 100-metre backstroke
  • Matthew Hwang, first in senior 50-metre backstroke
  • Nathan Lee, first in senior 50-metre breaststroke
  • James Kingsmill, first in U16 100-metre individual medley
  • Joseph Samuel, second in open 100-metre freestyle
  • Matthew Hwang, second in senior 100-metre backstroke
  • James Kingsmill, second in U16 50-metre backstroke
  • Aaron Leung, second in U16 50-metre breaststroke
  • Justin Anderson, second in U16 100-metre freestyle
  • Marko Sarenac, third in open 100-metre breaststroke
  • Marko Sarenac, third in open 100-metre individual medley
  • Joseph Samuel, third in open 50-metre freestyle
  • Jimmy Li, third in senior 200-metre freestyle
  • Nathan Lee, third in senior 50-metre butterfly
  • Joshua Ngan, third in open 200-metre individual medley
  • John Babits, third in U16 100-metre freestyle
  • John Babits, third in U16 50-metre freestyle
  • Benjamin Sun, third in U16 50-metre breaststroke
  • Skylar Kim, third in U16 100-metre individual medley
  • Hayden Canavan, third in U16 50-metre backstroke

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U13A basketball team earns silver at national tournament

Upper Canada College’s U13A basketball team’s strong play earned it a silver medal at the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools National U13 Basketball Tournament at Hillfield Strathallan College in Hamilton, Ont.

The Blues’ first game on Feb. 2 was against Strathcona Tweedsmuir School from just outside Calgary. The team played excellent defence and overpowered their undersized opponents on the way to a 34-6 victory. Next up was a strong team from Vancouver’s Southridge School. The game was tight all the way through, but the Blues came out on top by a score of 46-36.

There was a more familiar opponent, fellow Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association team Sterling Hall School, in the third and final game of day one. While both teams showed their fatigue, the game was well-contested and the Blues won 46-25.

Those three wins put UCC in the top eight draw for day two, where the 12 team members faced Montreal’s Lower Canada College, Toronto’s Crescent School and Ottawa’s Ashbury College. The team racked up three more victories, which earned it a spot in a semi-final game and rematch against Southridge School.

The Blues picked up another win and advanced to the final against the host team and defending champion. The Blues played well and the game was tied 38-38 with less than a minute remaining. An undefeated tournament wasn’t in the cards for UCC, however, and Hillfield Strathallan won by a final score of 46-40.

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More than 86 per cent of parents very satisfied or satisfied with UCC

Parents are becoming more pleased with Upper Canada College, according to an online survey conducted last June with support from the United States-based National Association of Independent Schools.

There were 362 responses (evenly split from the Prep and Upper Schools) to the survey, and parents’ overall satisfaction with the College rose to 4.4 out of five, compared to 4.2 out of five in a similar 2011 survey. More than 86 per cent of respondents were either very satisfied or satisfied, and just two per cent were dissatisfied.

“It was very helpful to have access to these results early in my tenure,” says principal Sam McKinney, who also counts himself as a member of the UCC parent community.

“Overall we are very pleased with the results of this survey, but there are always areas for improvement and we are continuously striving to be better,” says vice-principal of advancement and strategy Jim Garner. “The results of this survey, along with those from our student, employee and Old Boy surveys, provide important feedback as we work towards setting UCC’s future strategic directions over the coming months.”

Parents were also asked to rate on a 10-point scale to what degree they would be inclined to recommend UCC. The average response was an encouraging 8.8, with 71 per cent of answers in the two highest categories.

Quality of teachers, a challenging curriculum in core academic subjects, small class size, technology/computer skill development, library and research resources, and learning spaces are among the academic and non-academic factors that parents have identified as important to them, and UCC received high satisfaction ratings in all of those categories.

When asked how well UCC was preparing their sons in 25 different academic areas, responses levelled out to an average score of 4.01 out of five. The school performed similarly well on several similar questions related to student preparation in such areas as using technology, working collaboratively on a team and being open-minded.

UCC received an average 4.08 out of five satisfaction score for the way it delivers: athletic programs; co-curricular arts programs; other co-curricular clubs and activities; individual psychological or social counseling; school safety; and academic support services.

Parents of boarding students were asked to rate their satisfaction in nine categories — including facilities, meals and weekend activities and programs — and the average score was 4.28 out of five.

Another interesting finding from the survey was that 36 languages were identified as spoken or heard at home: Arabic, Bengali, Burushaski, Cantonese, Dutch, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Gujerati, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Katchi, Korean, Mandarin, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian,  Shanghainese, Shina, Slovak, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese and Yoruba.

UCC aims to conduct comprehensive stakeholder surveys with employees, Old Boys, parents and students every four to five years, with periodic shorter “pulse” surveys being issued from time to time in between. The last major parent survey was undertaken in 2011.

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UCC teams win 12 out of 13 games at Winterfest

It wasn’t particularly wintry outside on Jan. 20, and several Upper Canada College teams turned up the heat inside as part of the school’s annual Winterfest celebration. (Scroll to bottom for full video highlights.)

A Prep and U14 swim meet with UCC and Sterling Hall School participants kicked Winterfest off with a splash as the boys worked on their strokes and technique.

From then on it was basketball and hockey for the rest of the day, as well as a 3 p.m. pep rally in Laidlaw Hall that got the Upper School boys pumped to either participate or cheer on their classmates.

Prep boys were active in all three of the College’s gyms, before older players took over later in the afternoon, as basketball teams from various age groups and skill levels honed their shooting, passing and dribbling proficiency in games against Crescent School. UCC dominated on the court, winning nine of the 10 basketball games.

One of those victories was a 52-28 win by the varsity team, which was preceded by the debut of the successor to Cookie as UCC’s new mascot: Ice the Husky. An excited group of fans gave him a warm welcome and that enthusiasm carried on through the game.

There were three hockey games in the Olympic-sized Mara Rink, beginning at 2 p.m. with a U12 game in which UCC shut out Crescent by a score of 5-0. UCC’s Grade 7 and Grade 8 U14 teams squared off against each other, with the Grade 8 boys coming out on top with a 3-2 victory.

The final event of Winterfest was a varsity hockey game between UCC and St. Michael’s College School. Principal Sam McKinney, with Ice standing behind him, dropped the ceremonial first puck before the game.

There were some big body checks early in the game and things got pretty chippy with lots of post-whistle pushing and shoving, which resulted in several penalties for both sides. The home team went up by a goal 7:08 into the game and added another with 1:08 left in the first period.

Ice joined the Ice Chips for a loosely structured scrimmage during the intermission and, what the little kids may have lacked in skill was definitely overcome by their obvious love of the sport.

UCC had the better part of the play in the second and third periods, but the St. Mike’s goalie made several big stops in both of them and kept what could have potentially been a lopsided score to a reasonably tight 2-0 final margin in favour of the Blues.

You can see a gallery of photos taken by members of the Blues Booster Club here.

Here are all of the scores from Winterfest:

U10A basketball: UCC 32 – Crescent 26

U10B basketball: UCC 28 – Crescent 16

U10C basketball: Crescent 14 – UCC 8

U11 basketball: UCC 38 – Crescent 18

U12B basketball: UCC 35 – Crescent 17

U13A basketball: UCC 64 – Crescent 44

U13B basketball: UCC 47 – Crescent 29

U14 basketball: UCC 50 – Crescent 30

U16A basketball: UCC 44 – Crescent 39

Varsity basketball: UCC 52 – Crescent 28

U12 (Grade 5) hockey: UCC 5 – Crescent 0

U14 hockey: UCC (Grade 8) 3 – UCC (Grade 7) 2

Varsity hockey: UCC 2 – St. Michael’s 0


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UCC wins senior basketball tournament in Whitby

Upper Canada College’s varsity basketball team won four games to capture the 16-team Whitby Invitational Senior Boys Basketball Tournament on Jan. 14.

The tournament, hosted by Anderson Collegiate and Vocational Institute, always draws talented squads from around the province, according to assistant coach Adam Harnack.

Friday the 13th was anything but unlucky for the Blues, who kicked off the tournament by playing solid defence and coming away with a 74-48 win over Regina Mundi Catholic School from London, Ont.

The team’s second round game matched it against a gritty squad from Laurier Scarborough. A full team effort pushed the boys to a semi-final berth on Saturday after a 62-50 victory.

The Blues were paired against the host school in the semi-finals and held a narrow 19-17 lead at halftime. But UCC held its opponents to just three points in the third quarter, and that stalwart defensive effort enabled the team to coast to a 53-36 win.

The Blues faced a familiar foe in the final on Saturday evening, J. Clarke Richardson from Ajax, Ont., which had defeated them for the past three years in the tournament. Using this as motivation, UCC came out firing in the first quarter and ended it with a 21-8 lead. But their opponents battled hard and trailed by just 27-24 at halftime. With the score going back and forth throughout the second half, the Blues mounted a stand in the final four minutes and came away with a 58-52 victory and their first tournament championship of the season.

The tournament was also a big success on an individual basis for two UCC players in particular. Adam Sellan was named the tournament’s most valuable player and Jonathan Clinton earned an all-star selection.

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Varsity basketball team makes it to national semi-finals

UCC varsity basketball team

UCC’s varsity basketball team

Upper Canada College’s varsity basketball team rode a wave to reach the semi-finals of the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools national senior boys tournament.

There were 18 teams at the event hosted by Lower Canada College and Selwyn House School in Montreal from Nov. 24 to 26, with UCC’s initial division also including Sacred Heart School and Stanstead College.

The Blues, coached by Christian Heffernan and Adam Harnack, got warmed up with their first game on Thursday morning: an easy 67-11 victory over Sacred Heart. The team’s margin of victory was almost as large a few hours later when it defeated Stanstead 65-16.

Teams were realigned on Friday and UCC was paired up against Rothesay Netherwood School. While the opponent from New Brunswick put up a tougher fight, the Blues emerged with a 51-39 win. The team closed out the day with a very tightly contested game against Ashbury College and was edged 56-52 by the Ottawa School.

Even with that loss, the Blues’ 3-1 record qualified them for a semi-final game against Ridley College. The boys hustled and worked hard before being eliminated from the tournament after losing 59-45.

Ridley went on to defeat Ashbury 62-55 in the final to claim the national championship.

UCC’s next competition will come at the Whitby/Oshawa Tournament on Jan. 13 and 14.

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UCC wins its sixth straight Barrow Tournament

Upper Canada College’s varsity hockey team claimed the title of the Barrow Tournament that it hosts annually for the sixth straight year over the weekend.

“The boys played fiercely and selflessly, displaying amazing skill, perseverance and character,” says Blues assistant coach Nick Morris.

Colby Muise

UCC goalie Colby Muise.

The Blues started the eight-team tournament on Friday against Quebec’s Academie Ulysse. While they dominated the game from start to finish, including outshooting their opponents 15-1 in the first period, the boys struggled to beat the opposition’s goaltender. Regulation time ended in a 3-3 tie and overtime solved nothing. The game went to a shootout, where Blues goalie Colby Muise stood tall and the UCC shooters scored when they needed to in order to take the game.

The Blues faced a tougher opponent on Saturday morning in Le Sommet from Hawkesbury, Ont. It was a rematch of a semi-final contest in the Ulysse Tournament, where the Blues lost 1-0. The outcome was a little different this time, but it wasn’t easy. The teams ended regulation time in a 1-1 tie, stayed that way through overtime, and had to go to a shootout. Once again the Blues goaltending was strong, as this time Luca Imbrogno shut the door and allowed only one goal in three attempts, while Elliott McDermott and Samuel Morin both scored on their attempts to give the Blues the victory.

Friday and Saturday hockey

The Blues score.

The Blues defeated St. Ignatius High School from Thunder Bay, Ont. 3-2 in overtime later on Saturday to win its very competitive pool with a 3-0 record.

In the Blues’ Sunday morning semi-final game against Blyth Academy, the two teams traded two goals in regulation and the outcome once again had to be decided in extra time. Two exciting periods of end-to-end hockey still couldn’t solve anything, but Reid Humphrey finally gave the Blues a 3-2 win with a goal just 33 seconds into the third overtime period.

Sunday hockey

Another scoring chance for the Blues.

With less than two hours between the end of that game and the beginning of the final, the Blues had to be exhausted. The fatigue certainly didn’t show, however, as the boys played a selfless, team-first brand of hockey that was probably their best of this still relatively young season. It was the only game that didn’t go to overtime, as the Blues outshone the Tigers from Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ont. from start to finish as they captured the championship with a 4-1 win.

The Barrow Tournament is named after Barbara Barrow, who served as UCC’s nurse from 1938 to 1980. From her retirement as nurse, almost to her death in 1994, the woman known to most at the College as “Miss B” managed an Old Boys office and wrote a column for the Old Times alumni magazine.

“Miss B would have been honoured to have two ‘Little Big Four’ teams competing for a tournament with her name attached,” says director of residential life Andrew Turner, referring to an old athletic conference that was comprised of UCC, Ridley, St. Andrew’s College and Trinity College School.

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