The OUA Rowing Championships were held in St. Catharines, ON at the Canadian Henley Rowing Course. Building on a partnership started in 2016, the OUA Championships was jointly hosted by ROWONTARIO and Ontario University Athletics.
Typically a two-day event, forecasted high winds forced regatta organizers to condense the racing schedule to one-day, with preliminary heats and championship finals on the same day separated by the Development (Novice and Junior Varsity) events. Despite the intense schedule – 69 races in one day – cool yet calm conditions provided the perfect environment for many close finishes.
The Western University Mustangs continued their ‘purple reign’ this year, capturing both the Women’s and Men’s team championship banners for the third time in four years, winning an impressive 13 medals – 7 gold, 5 silver and 1 bronze, including 3 golds and a silver won in the Eights categories, catapulting the Mustangs ahead of their competition in the team points total.
The battle for the Men’s Championship banner was highlighted by a gold medal sweep in the Open sweep events, taking gold in the Pair, Coxed Four, and Eight, while Brock’s Lightweight men continued their successful season in the Lightweight Eight. However, the list of overall Men’s event medalists includes 8 sets of school colours, many two-time medalists, and several athletes who competed internationally this past summer. The depth of talent across the OUA prevented any one team from dominating. The overall points tally was: Western (462), Brock (339), Queens (299), Trent (182), Carleton (153), McGill (133), McMaster (109), Toronto (104), Ottawa (69), Guelph (68), UOIT (35) and Laurentian (29).
Gavin Stone of Queen’s University was recognized as Male Athlete of the Year. Stone won gold medals in the single and double events.
The Women’s Championship banner was ultimately decided in the last three events of the regatta, as Queen’s University appeared to be dominating for most of the day. Queen’s won a gold medal in five of ten women’s events but did not have an entry in the final events of the day, which included the Eight (worth 100 points). That race was an exciting nail-biter, in one of the closest Women’s Eight finals in recent OUA history. Western, Brock, and Carleton finished within five seconds of each other, but ultimately those points secured Western’s 6th consecutive Women’s Championship banner. The overall points tally was: Western (458), Queens (332), Brock (320), Guelph (267), Trent (146), Carlton (96), Toronto (80), Ottawa (36), McGill (30), Laurentian (16), McMaster (15), Nipissing (15), and UOIT (5).
Coaches unanimously nominated Laura Court from Brock University as Female Athlete of the Year. Court is the coxswain for Brock’s Lightweight Eight and Coxed Four. This past summer, she won a gold medal at the U23 World Championships as cox of the Women’s Eight and coxed the PR3 Coxed Four at the Senior World Championships.
The Queen’s University coaching staff were recognized by their peers with awards of distinction for their impressive results this season. Coaches Michael Davidson and Rami Maassarani were named Men’s and Women’s team coaches of the year, respectively.