Fantastic Start to the Athletic Year: Recapping the Fall Athletics Season
With tremendous excitement and anticipation, the Athletics Programme at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) was underway before the first classes took their seats!
Pre-Labour Day training and tryout camps for the Sr. Volleyball, Sr. Basketball, Jr. Soccer, and Jr. and Sr. Football teams started an exciting season. Over 300 student-athletes competed for 12 teams across six sports in a season, which would see great success in participation and victories.
“This was an excellent fall season! Every team was highly competitive in their league, and many of the teams achieved peak performance as they entered their respective playoffs,” says Alex Frescura, Director of Athletics. “Although we don’t chase championships, it’s a testament to the great work of the coaches and players to see their efforts rewarded with the measurable success of medals and trophies.”
Hard work paid off for our Grade 7 and 8 runners as the U14 team took home the U14 Boys Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association (CISAA) Championship. In the championship race at Centennial Park, Jackson Ward finished first overall, with Carson Levey (fourth) and Adam Gorman (sixth) scoring to help the squad win the title, a resounding 31 points ahead of the next closest school. Ben and Jack Maiese, Eamon Zietsma, Christopher Perrin, David Salles, Kevin Wang, Max Brady, and Thomas Carayiannis weren’t far behind and were strong contributors of this gold-medal team.
The CISAA Varsity Cross Country Championships were held at Lakefield College. The Novice Boys Team got the ‘Boys in Blue’ off to a great start as they ran to a team silver medal! Charlie Campbell led the way with his fifth-place finish, followed closely by Chanoh Song, Aiden Galluzzo, and Quentin Ahola. Daniel Bailey and Matteo Biscaro also had big races as the Novice Boys punched their ticket for the OFSAA Championship. In the Jr. Boys Division, the team was in tough. However, Quinn French, Luke Adorante, Stefano Bagnara, and Rohan Jayapalan grinded their way to a bronze medal team finish. Cruz Molina and Jamie Bishop also had a solid day on the trails. In the Sr. Boys Division, on the wings of St. Michael, Matthew Kmecz was carried to a second-place finish with Carter Albiani ninth, Jack Major 12th, and Dallas St. John 13th. When the dust settled at the finish line, the SMCS Sr. Boys team emerged with the victory and the team gold medal! Their win secured the Overall Men’s title for the St. Michael’s College School Varsity Cross Country Team for the 44th year in a row! At the OFSAA Provincial Championships, all competitors showed well, and the Sr. Boys placed fifth in the province out of the 36 qualifying teams.
After a physically and mentally demanding pre-Labour Day training camp, the Jr. and Sr. teams looked forward to competitive seasons.
Following a tight regular season, the Jr. Kerry Blues earned a spot in the league semi-final, hosting Upper Canada College (UCC). Scoring early and never looking back, the Jr. Kerry Blues earned the 22-8 victory and advanced to the St. Andrew’s College (SAC) final. The team started with a 5-0 lead in the first quarter, thanks to a field goal and a safety forced by the defence. However, just before the end of the second quarter, SAC scored a touchdown to take St. Mike’s into the half, down 7-5. Thanks to the coaches’ inspiring words and adjustments, the boys came out flying! The second half was all St. Mike’s, scoring 24 unanswered points to win the CISAA Championship 29-7! Along with the CISAA championship, the Jr. Kerry Blues also won a bid to play in the Jr. Metro Bowl Playdowns. In the quarter-final game, a very positive season was cut short by a solid team from Etobicoke Collegiate Institute.
The Sr. Kerry Blues finished their 2023 season campaign with exciting wins over Robert F. Hall, Trinity College at Homecoming, the Mississauga Huskies, and Williams Academy. The Kerry Blues advanced to the CISAA semi-finals, where they lost to UCC but secured a berth in the OFSAA Bowl Series. A fun team trip to Windsor pitted the Kerry Blues against W. F. Herman Academy for the Independent Bowl.
Although CISAA Golf is a spring sport, the initial team tryouts, OFSAA qualifier, and OFSAA Championships are held in the fall. One SMCS Blue Eagles Golf Team member participated in the OFSAA Golf Championships at Ambassador Golf Club in Windsor, Ontario. The conditions were expectedly very windy, but Grade 11, Kian O’Connell fired a respectable two-day total of 165, earning him a top 30 position in the Individual High School division.
This year’s U14 soccer team balanced offensively and defensively, finishing with a 5-1 record in the regular season. Although they experienced a setback in the playoff semi-finals, they rebounded with an exciting 7-6 win over Bayview Glen (BVG) to earn the CISAA bronze medals!
Entering as the defending CISAA Champions, the squad had targets on their backs all season. Every opponent brought their best each game against the boys in blue. The team, unfortunately, finished out of the playoffs with a strong group of young returning players and a solid group of Grade 8s moving up. They will look to regain their championship form in 2024.
In what was easily one of the strongest leagues in recent memory, the Sr. Soccer team entered CISAA playoffs with a 4-2 record and the seeded second in the East division. In the quarter-finals, the squad hosted the defending champion UCC at home and advanced with a commanding 5-2 win. In the semi-final match against first West seed SAC, the boys dominated play for 90 minutes en route to a 5-3 win. Earning the right to host the CISAA Championship against old rival De La Salle, the team was tied 0-0 at the half. The second-half scoring onslaught started with Carmine Raviele drilling the ball into the back of the net on a corner. Not to be outdone, Robbie Caldwell went in on a breakaway and had the nerves of steel to calmly deke the goalie. This was the turning point of the game. It wouldn’t be a big game final without our big game player Jordan Persia, who scored an incredible goal from an impossible angle. Right at the end of the game, the Azzurri won a penalty, and Kristjan Fortier decided to let Nico Jimenez step up and take it. An unstoppable side netting finish was the final nail in the coffin. Final score SMCS 4 – De La Salle 0, marking the school’s first CISAA Sr. Soccer Championship! Special mention goes to Francesco ‘the wall’ Romano with a clean sheet. The coaches are proud of everyone’s efforts throughout the year, especially the graduating students.
U14 – Division I
After a tightly contested regular season, the SMCS Blue Strikers entered the CISAA playoffs as the second-ranked team. In the semi-finals, SMCS came away with a 25-21, 25-10 win over Royal St. George’s College (RSGC). In the gold medal final, the Strikers faced an undefeated UCC team. After losing the first game, 25-15, the team dug in and won the next two, 25-18 and 25-20, for the CISAA Championship!
U14 – Division II
In a solid 12-team league, the U14 DII Strikers advanced to the playoffs as the second seed from the East division. After winning their quarter-final over Toronto Montessori School (TMS), the team lost a tight semi-final to eventual champion BVG. With hardware on the line, the team rebounded for a 2-1 win over Sterling Hall for the bronze medal!
Despite a solid regular season, a young SMCS Jr. team advanced to the CISAA playoffs as the third seed overall. After winning their quarter-final match over RSGC, the team upset second-seeded UCC in the semi-finals in five sets. Although losing the final to SAC, the team boasts several returning Grade 9s who will make the squad immediate contenders alongside a solid group of Grade 8s moving up from their recent championship run.
Following a third-place regular season finish, the Sr. Strikers won their semi-final game against SAC in a quick three-set game to secure their place in the CISAA Final at UCC. With a shot at the defending champions to whom they had lost earlier this season, the Strikers did not disappoint, winning the battle 3-1. SMCS saved its best game of the season for the CISAA finals to capture the CISAA Championship and top seeding at OFSAA. Hosted in Belle River, the Strikers entered the OFSAA Provincial Championships as the fifth seed in the 20-team tournament. Defeating Stouffville, Bear Creek and St. Anne’s in pool play, the team’s only losses came against the eventual gold and silver medalists.