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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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UCC claims fourth straight CISAA varsity football title

A day after Upper Canada College’s varsity soccer team won the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association championship, the school’s varsity football team has won its fourth consecutive CISAA title.

The Blues had a 5-1 regular season record and beat Trinity College School 32-16 in a semi-final game at UCC to set up a final against the St. Andrew’s College Saints, which had a 4-2 record and defeated St. Michael’s College School 36-14 in its semi-final match. UCC defeated SAC 15-11 and 8-4 during their two earlier meetings, and the Blues had the home field advantage at the oval for the final.

UCC missed a 30-yard field goal early in the game, but SAC was called for roughing the kicker and the Blues got renewed life with a first down inside the 10-yard line. A five-yard touchdown run by running back Rasheed Tucker and a successful convert put the Blues ahead 7-0.

Defensive back Maxime Barbeau intercepted a SAC pass and the Blues took over at their 46-yard-line on SAC’s subsequent possession, but UCC didn’t score.

UCC got the ball back deep in its zone and couldn’t move it. The team was forced to concede a safety to get better kicking position, making the score 7-2 for the Blues early in the second quarter.

An impressive SAC drive stalled at the UCC 10-yard line, forcing the Saints to kick a field goal, which made the score 7-5 in favour of the Blues.

A great punt return by UCC’s Juwan Edghill gave the Blues the ball at SAC’s 15-yard line with three minutes remaining in the first half. It was immediately followed by an end around touchdown run by wide receiver Josh Archibald that was called back because of a holding penalty. Undaunted, the Blues moved forward again and Tucker scored on a one-yard run with 1:31 remaining in the first half. A successful convert increased UCC’s lead to 14-5.

A bad snap on a subsequent SAC punt resulted in a safety, giving UCC a 16-5 lead just before halftime. But the Blues weren’t finished yet. A touchdown pass from quarterback Jay Williams to Archibald with time running out, followed by a convert, gave UCC a 23-5 lead at halftime.

A seven-minute drive by SAC to open the second half resulted in a touchdown and convert, narrowing UCC’s lead to 23-12. SAC seemed to be increasing its momentum as it drove down the field again, but the Blues’ defence stiffened, forcing a turnover on downs by the Saints.

SAC got the ball back and relied on its ground game for a sustained drive that resulted in a rushing touchdown. A two-point convert reduced UCC’s lead to 23-20 with 9:24 remaining in the fourth quarter.

A long Tucker run contributed to a drive that began inside UCC’s five-yard line and later resulted in a touchdown pass from Williams to Edghill. The convert extended UCC’s lead to 30-20 with 5:48 to go.

SAC marched the ball downfield in an effort to get back in the game, but an impressive drive ended with a fumble on the UCC 23-yard line that was recovered by the Blues. UCC was forced to punt, which gave SAC a last gasp of breath, and the Saints took advantage. A long touchdown pass with five seconds remaining and a made convert reduced SAC’s deficit to three points with just five seconds remaining.

SAC attempted an onside kick that was recovered by UCC at its 43-yard line with two seconds left. Williams took a knee twice to run out the clock and end the game. Final score: UCC 30, SAC 27.

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UCC wins CISAA varsity soccer championship

Varsity soccer trophy

Captains Kal Shaw and Darwin Jamal receive the championship trophy from UCC principal Sam McKinney.

Upper Canada College’s varsity soccer team repeated as Conference of Independent Schools Athletics Association (CISAA) champions after a 4-0 home field win over St. Michael’s College School in the final.

Joey Richmond scored two goals, both assisted by PJ Bujouves, a minute apart late in the first half to give the Blues a 2-0 lead at halftime. Seyon Rajadurai followed with a pair of goals of his own in the 60th and 84th minutes, and the UCC defence remained unbroken as it issued a clean sheet.

Thus the Blues followed their regular season title with a 4-0 championship final win. The team also kept its streak of never losing when reaching a CISAA final alive in the process.

The Blues have won 10 CISAA championships since 2004 and this latest victory capped off a season in which they won 10 games and lost just once. They scored 62 goals while allowing 15 and posted five shutouts under coaches Premek Hamr and Richard Turner.

The Blues also made it to the semi-finals of the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools National Soccer Tournament last month.

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Prep soccer teams finish season with strong performances

Saturday was a big one for most of Upper Canada College’s Prep soccer teams, as their seasons came to an end with Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association tournaments.

UCC’s U12B team had an undefeated regular season and beat Crescent School’s U12A team 5-0 in the semi-finals. The school’s U12A team defeated Royal St. George’s College 3-1 in the other semi-final game. That set up an all-UCC final that was a closely contested match, but when the final whistle blew it was the A team that emerged on top with a 2-0 win.

“While the A team were fully deserving of their title after playing some impressive soccer, especially in the last two weeks, the B team should perhaps be considered the biggest success story of the season, beating some strong teams to the second place spot and giving the A team a closer game than they should on paper,” says U12A coach Mark Baxter.

“The coaches of the two teams spoke to the boys during tryouts in September about how hard team selection would be this season with the large number of talented players. The strength in depth has been well illustrated by the performance of the two U12 teams this season.”

The U13A team won its semi-final match 5-0 over St. Andrew’s College and the U13B team defeated Crescent in a shootout in its semi-final. That set up another all-UCC final that, appropriately, was played at the College. The A team claimed the championship with a 4-0 victory.

The U13A team finished its season with 13 wins, one tie and three losses. The boys generated 64 goals for and 18 against. In addition to the CISAA championship, the team members claimed silver medals at the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools’ U13 Soccer Tournament.

The U11B team finished its season on a high by winning the U11B tournament at Country Day School. UCC won its semi-final match 1-0 over The Sterling Hall School and then defeated Bayview Glen School 2-0 in the championship game.

“All of the boys played extremely well as a team, as they moved the ball around well,” says coach Michael Bushey. “The boys should be very proud of their accomplishment, as they improved a lot over the course of the season.”

The U11A team won a shootout over Toronto French School to advance to the final of its tournament against Crescent. It was a tightly contested match that had to go to extra time before Crescent won by a score of 3-2.

The U10A team placed third, the U10B team finished fifth and the U10C team was fourth in their respective divisions.

The U14 team from the Upper School played a close match with Hillfield Strathallan College in its final to determine the CISAA champion, but came away at the losing end of a 2-1 decision.

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UCC junior cross-country team ends season second in CISAA

CISAA junior cross-country championships

The race is on.

Upper Canada College’s junior cross-country team finished second at the Conference of Independent Schools Athletics Association championships at Centennial Park in Etobicoke on Oct. 26.

The course challenged runners with a ski hill ascent, a field run and a gently rolling valley section. The UCC boys were up for it and registered some strong performances.

The U10 team finished second, led by JP Mahony who placed fourth individually. The U11 team finished fifth while the U12 and U13 teams were third. These combined totals led to an overall second place ranking.

Peter Gray is the head coach, while Kathryn O’Brien is responsible for the Grade 4 team, Courtney Hogan for the Grade 5 team, Tina Brunelle for the Grade 6 team and Anthony Chandler for the Grade 7 team.

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U13A soccer team narrowly misses national championship

Upper Canada College’s U13A soccer team came up just short of winning its seventh Canadian Accredited Independent Schools’ U13 Soccer Tournament championship in nine years over the weekend.

The 16-team tournament, hosted by St. John’s-Ravenscourt School in Winnipeg, began on Oct. 20. UCC got off to a roaring start with three wins over its Group A opponents: 6-1 vs. Ashbury College (Ottawa); 6-1 vs. Holy Trinity School (Richmond Hill, Ont.); and 4-0 vs. Collingwood School (West Vancouver).

Day two matched the top eight teams in pool play to get down to a top four. The Blues’ first opponent was Glenlyon Norfolk School from Victoria. The game was hard fought from beginning to end, with UCC coming out on top by a score of 1-0. Next up was the host team, whose fans helped rally their boys to score a late goal, resulting in a 1-1 final. A win was needed in UCC’s third game of the day against Vancouver’s St. George’s School to advance in the tournament, and the team didn’t disappoint. The boys played a spirited game and came away with a 4-1 victory.

UCC’s Saturday morning semi-final match pitted it against Collingwood School again, and there was a similar result, with the Blues winning 6-1.

That set the stage for another rematch, this time against Glenlyon Norfolk School, in the final. UCC won the first game 1-0 and battled hard again in the second match, which was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time. That required the teams to play an additional 20 minutes to determine a winner. In the end, and despite creating numerous scoring chances, the Blues lost 2-1 and earned a silver medal.

“We are very proud of how well the U13A soccer team represented UCC,” says coach Gareth Evans. “While on the field the boys were regularly commended for their performance and sportsmanship, and while touring the city local residents of Winnipeg were happy to comment on their positive behaviour.”

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Varsity soccer team loses in CAIS tournament semi-final

Upper Canada College’s varsity soccer team had a good run but came up a bit short in defending its national title at the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools’ Senior Boys Soccer Tournament.

This year’s event was held at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ont. from Oct. 14 to 16 and involved 20 teams from Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick and even one from the island nation of Bermuda.

There were five divisions and UCC found itself in a group with Bishops College School from Lennoxville, Que., St. John’s-Ravenscourt School from Winnipeg and Ashbury College from Ottawa.

The Blues got off to a great start with a 7-1 win over Bishops, with Oscar Brown registering a hat trick. The boys closed out their Friday games with a 4-0 shutout of St. John’s-Ravenscourt. Their round robin portion of the tournament was completed on Saturday morning with a 2-1 victory over Ashbury.

That set up a Saturday afternoon quarter-final match against the hosts from Trinity College School, which the Blues won by a score of 4-1.

That victory set the stage for a semi-final game against another Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association rival, St. Andrew’s College (SAC). The Blues defeated the Saints 4-0 on SAC’s homecoming day in Aurora, Ont. on Oct. 1, and were looking for a similar result in this tournament, but lost a heartbreaking 2-1 decision in a match that had to be settled in overtime.

SAC went on to claim the championship with a 3-2 win over Vancouver’s St. George’s School.

UCC’s next game is on Wednesday, Oct. 19, when it hosts St. Michael’s College School at 3 p.m.

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UCC and St. Mike’s split “Battle of the Blues” games

UCC varsity football team at Battle of the Blues

UCC’s varsity football team gathered together after its big win.

The second “Battle of the Blues” at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium on Oct. 14 pitted the varsity and junior varsity football teams from Upper Canada College and St. Michael’s College School against each other, and both schools came away with a win.

In the varsity game, St. Mike’s committed seven turnovers to UCC’s zero. That’s a huge obstacle to overcome (especially since an interception was returned for a touchdown to open the scoring) and the Kerry Blues were probably fortunate that they only lost to the Blues by a score of 22-10.

The UCC victory avenged a 19-18 loss against the same team on Oct. 5 and improved the Blues’ record to three wins and a loss while St. Mike’s fell to a .500 record with two wins and two losses.

The Blues took a 14-10 lead into halftime and added eight more points in the second half to lock up the victory.

David Brown

UCC varsity football head coach David Brown.

“It was a total team effort,” said coach David Brown after the game. “We played hard the whole way through.

“We didn’t turn the ball over and got some key turnovers. Special teams contained them.”

UCC will host St. Andrew’s College (SAC) in its next game. The Blues defeated the Saints in Aurora earlier this season and this match could decide first place.

The junior varsity version of the “Battle of the Blues” preceded the varsity game, and in this one UCC came out on the losing end of a 27-14 decision to its opponents from a few blocks to the southwest.

“The boys showed a lot of character in coming back from a large deficit,” said junior varsity coach Mario Sturino.

“Our defence played very well all game. Big game on offence by Alex Hickman, who had three long runs and one touchdown, and a great touchdown catch by Robert Peri.”

UCC’s junior varsity team has a 2-1 record and will host SAC on Oct. 22, playing a team it beat 18-14 on the road on Oct. 1.

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