Tag Archive | "Jennifer Brenning"

Carleton adds new competitive clubs

Carleton University is adding some new competitive clubs to its athletic program for the 2014-15 year.

As a function of the new combined administration between the Carleton Unviersity Students’ Association (CUSA) and Carleton Athletics, there is enough grant money to support four new competitive clubs on campus. The new clubs are tennis, Quidditch, cricket, and powerlifting.

The club roster has a wide variety of sports including cheerleading, figure skating, and badminton.

These clubs compete against other universities just as any varsity-level team would, such as football and basketball.

Carleton currently has eight varsity teams, including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s football, and women’s rugby. Each of these compete at the national Canadian Interuniversity Sport level, unlike the competitive clubs which participate in provincial championships through the Ontario University Athletics.

Carleton athletic director Jennifer Brenning said student interest is the primary generator of these new activities.

“Our whole objective with the club program is to provide competitive participation opportunities that are not as highly intense as the varsity teams,” she said.

Brenning added while these competitive clubs have tryouts, they are open to all students.

“We want the clubs to be healthy, and have a healthy roster size,” she said. “We want students to meet new people, make new friends, and have a positive experience.”

Brenning explained this upcoming school year is the first year under the newly- joined administration between CUSA, Athletics, and the Graduate Student Association.

“We gave grants to clubs, and CUSA gave grants to clubs, and now that we’ve combined, there’s more funding for additional clubs,” she said.

The Ravens powerlifting club are holding  open tryouts Sept. 15-19 in the old varsity gym as a way of breaking in their new competitive status, and the Quidditch team will also be having a tryout Sept. 19 at Ravens Road Field.

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Carleton athletic therapist to join Universiade medical staff

A Carleton athletic therapist has been added to the medical staff for the Canadian women’s hockey team at the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain from Feb. 4-14.

Nadine Smith, Carleton’s head athletic therapist, was announced as an athletic therapist by Canadian Interuniversity Sport administration.

The Winter Universiade is coordinated by the Féderation internationale du sport universitaire (FISU) and held every two years. It is the world’s largest multi-sports competition for student athletes, drawing participants from over 50 countries, according to the FISU website.

Smith said she is excited to be selected for the position.

“There are many qualified people that apply to these opportunities so to be chosen out of a large pool, is an honour,” she said in an email.

This will mark Smith’s second appearance at the Winter Universiade, as she also assisted the Canadian team en route to a gold-medal finish at the 2009 Winter Universiade in Harbin, China.

Smith said she is interested in seeing how hockey is received in Spain compared to how it was in China—where the gold medal game between Canada and the hosts from China played in front of a sold-out crowd.

“In China, they had a huge following,” Smith said. “I am hoping that the fans will as excited to watch as they were in China.”

Smith will be working exclusively with the women’s hockey team, and said she is responsible for evaluating and treating the athletes’ injuries in order for them to compete.

Smith has worked at Carleton University for 11 years, according to Bruce Marshall, manager of Health and Wellness Resources at Carleton.

Jennifer Brenning, director of Recreation and Athletics, said the Universiade will be a great experience for Smith.

“It’s a great learning experience for an athletic therapist to work at such a high level,” Brenning said.

Smith said her greatest hope for the trip is to enjoy herself while also learning in the process.

“This is an opportunity to gain more experience in my field and make myself a better athletic therapist,” she said.

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Carleton Sports Camp enters 40th year

Every summer, Carleton University has played host to sports camps offering a range of indoor and outdoor sports.

But this summer marks a milestone for the school, as Carleton Sports Camp is underway in its historic 40th year.

“It has been a staple in the Ottawa community and has a very positive reputation as a result,” Jennifer Brenning, Carleton’s athletics director, said.

A feature to note with Carleton Sports Camp is the use of some Carleton student-athletes as camp counsellors.

One example is Carleton rower Devon Sutherland.

The fifth-year Ravens athlete said being a counsellor is not a requirement for student-athletes, but it is strongly encouraged.

“They like having athletes from the school at the camps because it shows a lot of community involvement with the sports teams here, and they really enjoy having varsity athletes working for them,” he said.

Brenning also explained how having Carleton students work for the camps is valuable to both the students and the counsellors.

“The students gain valuable experience in teaching, supervision, organization, time management, and team building,” she said.

As a counsellor, Sutherland said one of his favourite things about his camp job is bonding with the kids every week.

“They get really excited hearing you’re a varsity athlete,” he said.

Looking back on the growth of the camps over the past four decades, Brenning said she’s still in awe of reaching such a number.

“It is a significant milestone to have a program last 40 years, and continue to grow each and every year over those 40 years,” she said.

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Carleton hosts national gymnastics championships

For the second straight year, several of Canada’s most talented and decorated gymnasts tumbled and jumped their way to success in the Canadian Gymnastics Championships, which ran from May 26-31 at Carleton University.

The competition saw competitors take part in events in the four Olympic disciplines of gymnastics: men’s and women’s artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline. The participants represented their provinces during the competition.

There were a few Canadian Olympians gracing the bars, beams, rings, trampoline, and floor during the competition, including Ontario’s Rosie MacLennan from King City, Ont., who backed up her gold medal performance at the 2012 London Olympics with an eight-point win in the women’s senior individual trampoline.

On the men’s side, Ontario’s Jason Burnett, who won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, took home the national title in men’s individual trampoline with an 11-point victory.

In the artistic events, Nova Scotia’s Ellie Black and British Columbia’s Robert Watson earned the top scores from the judges in the women’s and men’s senior all-around finals, respectively.

At the junior level, Ottawa native Sam Zakutney missed out on his chance to win a fourth straight national title at his age group, as his third-place finish kept him three points back of the winner, British Columbia’s Aaron Mah.

In the junior girls all-around event, Quebec’s Rose-Kaying Woo triumphed as the national champion.

Jennifer Brenning, Carleton’s athletics director, said she was pleased with the outcome of the championships, and said large crowds of people gathered on campus to watch the events unfold.

She said the university earned the opportunity to host the prestigious event again due to its new athletic facilities.

“Gymnastics Canada works with local clubs to determine the site and contacted Carleton. It’s primarily because of all the facilities we have to host an event of that magnitude,” she said.

Brenning said the judges have not determined whether Carleton will host a third straight national championship in 2015.

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Carleton curlers preparing for Universiade

The Carleton Ravens women’s curling team will trade in their Ravens red for Canadian red and white, as the members of the national championship-winning team will represent Canada at the 2015 Winter Universiade from Feb. 4-14 in Granada, Spain.

The team, consisting of skip Jamie Sinclair, third Lauren Horton, second Lynn Kreviazuk, and lead Jessica Armstrong, were given the honour of competing in the Universiade after winning the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS)/Canadian Curling Association (CCA) women’s curling championships in March 2014.

“Being competitive for the past 10 years, that’s all you ever dream of: to have that Maple Leaf on your back, to be able to represent, typically, the best country in the world for the sport of curling,” Sinclair said. “It’s an honour.”

The Winter Universiade is organized by the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) and brings together student athletes from over 50 countries every two years for the world’s largest multi-sport event for university students, according to the FISU website.

“So few competitive curlers get the opportunity to compete at that level and play against the best teams from other countries,” said Ravens coach Graham Sinclair, who’s also Jamie’s father. “It’s just such valuable experience that they can take with them as they go on and pursue their own careers. They will be able to draw on that for years to come and it will make them better athletes in the long run.”

However, Sinclair said even though the team was always going to play in the upcoming Winter Universiade, there was a question of whether they can even get a chance to defend their national title because of a scheduling conflict.

The 2015 Ontario University Athletics (OUA)/Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) women’s curling championships were set to take place from Feb. 12-16, according to a recent season proposal.

But Sinclair said he has received confirmation from OUA and Carleton administration that the provincial championships will be pushed back by a week to Feb. 19-23.

“I owe so much to the school and to the OUA for them helping us out with this,” he said.

Sinclair said his team was initially prepared to miss out on provincials once they found out the issue after winning nationals in March, but said they are thrilled to get a chance to qualify for a CIS/CCA national title defence again at the OUA/OCAA championships.



Horton said since representing their country has always been the top priority for the team, and said they have been training hard for the opportunity.

The younger Sinclair said she and her Ravens teammates are on a regimented fitness program and are taking sport psychology training sessions during the summer.

She said they are also scheduled to compete in seven tournaments before February to prepare them for the Universiade—with the team also playing in the competitive Super League run out of the Ottawa Curling Club during the season.

Sinclair said she’s most looking forward to the experience of playing against the elite teams from other countries.

“I know that in past Universiade Games, there have been Olympic teams competing there,” she said. “It will be a great experience to play against teams of that high calibre.”

The elder Sinclair said the cost for each player to compete in Spain is approximately $5,000 and the total cost for the upcoming season as a whole is expected to be about $60,000.

He said he is not sure how much funding they will receive from the university because they are drafting a budget that will be submitted to the school this summer.

Jennifer Brenning, Carleton’s athletics director, said because curling is a competitive club at Carleton, it has different funding allocations than varsity teams.

As a result, Brenning said the school has not made a final decision on how much money to provide the team, but she said they may follow the standard “rule of thumb” for individual Ravens athletes competing in FISU Universiade events and non-CIS championships—which is $500 donated per student.

“It’s really exciting to see a Ravens team get this honour, so we’ll help them however we can for them to keep doing well for our school,” she said.

Horton said the team is in the midst of organizing a few pub nights around Ottawa in addition to other fundraising efforts to raise money for travel expenses.

She said they expect to provide much of their own costs in order to live out their dream of representing Canada.

“I think we can do it. I know it will be a lot of work to raise the money but it will all be worth it,” she said. “And I hope we come back with the gold.”

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Ravens swim team staying afloat

A trio of speedo-clad Ravens joined Carleton’s varsity roster in 2013, after the team rebooted in September following a year without registration.

The university stripped the swim team of its varsity status in 2007, barring its athletes from competing at inter-university competitions, like the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships, according to Claudia Cronin-Schlote, who used to work as the team’s assistant coach.

“It was a very popular team to belong to,” she said.

Cronin-Schlote said the team boasted more than 30 athletes one decade ago, but faded after the university restructured its financial plan for varsity sports.

Jennifer Brenning, Carleton’s athletics director, said swimming used to be a varsity team, but had to be made into a different category after a series of struggling results.

“Right now, [swimming] isn’t really in a specific level,” she said. “It isn’t necessarily a varsity team like some of our others because we can’t give them as much money, but we do provide them with full funding for all OUA events if they make it.”

But Brenning said the team is now receiving more attention on campus because of its three swimmers who made provincials in the 2013-14 campaign—two first-year male recruits and a female para-athlete.

When it comes to funding the team, current coach Sarah Boyd said they need more support from the university if they hope to build the school’s swimming program.

She said although the university provides some funding to cover competition costs, she said the money is only adequate because the team is so small.

She said the team will need more funding if it grows, as Boyd hopes, into double the number of swimmers in 2014-15.

“I want anyone and everyone,” she said. “We need to build a roster and build a team.”

Cronin-Schlote said some of the team’s struggles are because swimming, unlike football and basketball, simply does not draw a crowd.

To compensate for the lack of funding, Brenning said the team fused with ROC Swimming—a competitive swimming club and facility on campus.

In addition, Boyd said the team initially had to raise its membership costs.

In the 2011-12 year, she said swimmers paid $2,100 to join the Ravens for that season, but this did not include the additional costs of swim meets or team apparel.

But she said fees have since decreased and swimmers now pay $1,500—which she said is still approximately three times the cost of joining the average varsity swim team.

Boyd described the past year as an introduction to varsity swimming for new recruits, but said she hopes to field a competitive and popular Ravens team— like in the past—within five years at the university.

Cronin-Schlote said she is equally optimistic for an increase in swimmers, but she admitted it is difficult to attract new athletes when membership fees are still so high.

“They all did well in the end. Did they score points? No. But neither did the football team,” she said. “The football team is starting from nothing and that’s exactly where we are—except we don’t have millions of dollars supporting us.”

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Ravens women’s hockey team names new coach

The Carleton Ravens varsity women’s hockey team will have a new coach when the puck drops for the 2014-15 season, as Pierre Alain has been handed the reins of the program.

After visiting the campus, Alain said he was impressed with what Carleton offers its student athletes on and off the ice.

“This is a second home for the players,” said Alain. “They go to the classroom and they walk just a few metres and they’re in the dressing room.”

Jennifer Brenning, Carleton’s athletics director, appointed Alain as the new women’s hockey coach in late April.

She said his tremendous head coaching experience made him a good coaching candidate.

“He’s also a teacher, which brings a combination of good teaching skills,” she said.

Alain will take over head coaching duties from Shelley Coolidge.

Coolidge, the team’s coach since 2009, was let go after the Ravens lost 19 consecutive games to end last season with a 1-15-4 record in Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) regular season play.

Alain, a Montréal native, comes to Carleton with a resumé of both provincial and national success.

He helped lead the Canadian women’s under-18 and under-22 national teams to gold medals as the head coach in 2012 and 2013, respectively. He also won five championships over 13 years as the head coach of the Cégep de Saint-Jérome (CEGEP) women’s hockey program.

Brenning said the program will benefit from Alain’s recruiting connections.

“He knows all the CEGEP coaches in Québec and he’s certainly connected in Ontario,” she said.

Alain got his first taste of coaching at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) last season at Ryerson University, when the women’s hockey team hired him on an interim basis while coach Lisa Haley prepared for a role with the Canadian national women’s team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The defensive-minded Alain said his first priority with Carleton will be to reduce the 90 goals scored against the Ravens last year—the most in the entire CIS.

In one year at Ryerson, Alain reduced the Rams’ goals against from 107 to 71.

“First, it will be to stabilize the defence,” Alain said. “Not just the defence and the goalie—the whole team as a unit.”

Jasmine Levesque, a fifth-year Ravens defender, said the team will benefit from a new approach.

“It’s exciting to hear new strategies and defensive responsibility,” she said. “We were being outshot almost every game in the past.”

Alain said his immediate focus is to recruit new players after the Ravens lost six players to graduation after the 2013-14 season.

He said the team hosted an open evaluation camp May 24 at the Carleton Ice House with potential recruits from across Ontario and Québec.

Returning players also took part in the camp and no positions are guaranteed on the team, according to Alain.

“They’re going to have to show me and earn their ice time,” he said. “Some of the [returning] players might not be on the team this year.”

Alain said it will take at least six or seven wins for Carleton to finish fourth and make the playoffs this year.

“There’s 20 games in the season. Every game is a playoff game,” he said.

As for the long-term future, Brenning said she expects the overhaul of the program to be a “process,” especially considering the tough division competition with perennial national contenders in McGill Martlets and the Université de Montréal Carabins.

“You look at sport in a four-year cycle,” she said. “In three to four years, we should be looking at knocking on the door with McGill and Montréal.”

The Ravens will officially open training camp in early September and play their first exhibition game on Sept. 6, with the regular season portion opening in October.

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Harry Potter vs. football players is truly a sight to behold.

Competitive clubs join Carleton's athletic ranks.