Fall 2021

Gator Zone

Headshot of Carla diFilippo

Message from the Upper School Athletics Director

Ms. Carla Di Filippo

Hello Gators,

It would be an understatement to say it was a very exciting return to competitive sports this past fall at Havergal. Students took to the fields, the running trails, the gym, the pool, the tennis courts, the boat house, the Fitness Centre and even the disc golf course. It was wonderful to see all 22-acres of this campus in full use! New to Havergal this fall are the Disc Golf Team and the Tennis Instructional Program. The Disc Golf Team competed in tournaments against neighbouring St. Clement’s School and even travelled to E.T. Seton Golf Disc Park to experience a more challenging course.

Although the CISAA did not give out medals this term, we had four of our teams earn the right to call themselves “league champions”—congratulations to the U14 Soccer, U20 Soccer, U14 Field Hockey and U20 Field Hockey Teams! We are also very proud of our Cross Country Teams, who finished top three at the CISAA final meet and earned the right to represent Havergal and the CISAA at the provincial OFSAA Championships. Our senior team at this prestigious race finished an impressive fifth place! Although these results are something to be proud of, it was the pure joy of sport (and everything that it brings) that was the most rewarding part of these experiences. The cheers from the sidelines, the effort at practices and games, the mistakes and the growth in skill, the courage to try something new, the interactions with peers, the humility in losing and the celebration of winning are all a part of the athletic experience. This is why we play and why sport is so very special.

On Thursday, November 18 we celebrated the accomplishment of this past season at our Fall Athletics Awards Assembly. It was here that each team announced their Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Coach Awards for the term. As well, two major awards were given out: The Friedland Cup (awarded to a senior soccer player who has shown a long-term commitment to the Havergal Soccer Program and a demonstrated love and competitiveness for the game) and The Doritty Trophy (awarded to a field hockey player who has shown a long-term commitment to field hockey, excelled in the sport and been an inspiration to their teammates). You can see the full list of award recipients here.

I look forward to the winter season!

Ms. Di Filippo

Headshot of Anna Bartlett

Message from the JS Athletic Director

Ms. Anna Bartlett

It was a one-of-a-kind fall season at the Junior School. Despite the continuing pandemic, we had more than 160 students participating in before and after school athletics. On top of that, students also participate in athletics co-curricular activities scheduled during the school day.

This season, we were able to utilize Havergal’s vast campus to continue being separated into cohorts while participating in athletics. A highlight for the season was the virtual cross country race completed by our Grade 4, 5 and 6 Cross Country Team members. Congratulations to Charlotte Freeman who placed fourth and to Lucy Falconer who placed fifth out of 80 runners. It has been a joy watching the members of all of the teams develop a wide range of movement skills while increasing their confidence and desire to participate in sports.

Winter athletics has kicked off and the Volleyball, Swim, Badminton and Multi-sport Teams are in full action. Our special guest for athletics co-curricular activities this month is Master Trieu, who is teaching our students in Grades 3 to 5 the fundamentals of Taekwondo.

Congratulations and good luck to all of our student athletes on an upcoming season!

Ms. Bartlett

Student Sports Corner

Photo of the Sports Prefects

A Message from the Sports Prefects

Kennedy Johnstone and Sarah Forestell

Gators! This past term has been absolutely unreal in terms of sports here at Havergal! After a long 18 months (four whole terms) without athletics, it was so awesome to see its return this fall and for Havergal students to participate in inter-school competitions. There was more energy from our athletes going into this season than we’ve ever seen in the past, and it was so fantastic to see all of our facilities being put to good use again. Our teams had an amazing fall season and we would like to congratulate the U14 and U20 Soccer Teams and the U14 and U20 Field Hockey Teams on becoming league champions this term, plus a major shoutout goes to our Cross Country athletes who represented Havergal at OFSAA this year!

As Sports Prefects, we were beyond excited to see the return of athletics this year and are still so pumped to see how the rest of the year plays out. We have plans to bring a ton of energy and host some events for Havergal students this year. In the fall, we hosted the second annual Havergal Spikeball Tournament and it was a massive success! The tournament took place over three weeks—teams of students from Grades 7 to 12 showed up ready to play. Through a round robin and some tough elimination rounds, one champion from each grade was announced. Congrats to the winners of each grade! We’re hoping to be able to host an intergrade Spikeball Tournament a little later in the year to crown an ultimate champion.

This term, we also hosted the first Gator Day in almost two years! The Upper School community showed up to support the U20 Soccer Team in their championship match against rival Bishop Strachan School. The green and gold spirit was outstanding and it was so cool to see the excitement in the crowd. We hope it was as awesome for all of you as it was for us!

We would like to extend congratulations to every athlete who participated in sports in some way this term and made the return of sports so awesome. We absolutely cannot wait to see what the winter term brings!

Kennedy & Sarah

Headshot of Gator Zone Student Editor

A Message from the Student Editor

Victoria Stanley

Hey Havergal! With the re-opening of fall CISAA Sports, the Gator Zone team is pleased to introduce to you the 2021-22 Return-to-Sport edition. In this issue, you can find staff and student-athlete highlights, sports team recognition, women in sports awareness, gender equity articles and many more well-written pieces on athletics in and out of Havergal.

As the fall season is now over, we would like to formally commend all athletes who participated in sports these past few months, whether that be within or outside Havergal’s ivy walls. On behalf of myself and the entire Gator Zone team, it has been a pleasure to be able to showcase Havergal’s athletes and their incredible accomplishments. It has been a privilege to write about such talented and outstanding student-athletes, while also bringing light to some very important topics in the world of athletics.

With the commencement of a modified in-person experience at Havergal, students have overcome the adversity of reacquainting themselves with the ‘new’ day-to-day life at school. However, they managed to come out on top, as is demonstrated by the multitude of both academic and athletic achievements this season. Special praise goes out to the writers who contributed to this edition while navigating their respective busy back-to-school schedules.

Finally, thanks to Ms. D, Ms. Pink and Ms. Bartlett for contributing to this issue. We cannot wait to see what the winter season has in store. We hope you enjoy the first edition of Gator Zone for the 2021-22 school year!


Students dressed in green and gold spirit wear posing with the Havergator

Excitement of Return to Sport (In and Out of Havergal)

By Fiona Shen

The COVID-19 pandemic postponed Havergal’s Athletic Program in the 2020-21 school year. However, in 2021-22 with the vaccine rollout, Havergal sports are back and HC’s athletes have never been more excited! The Havergal community has been eager to offer a wide variety of sports such as soccer, basketball, rowing, disc golf, tennis and cross country. The school has been very mindful of maintaining social distancing measures, wearing masks and sanitizing players’ hands frequently. The buzz of excitement whenever there is a sporting event is unmistakably present in students’ day-to-day lives. The sounds of cleats making contact with the floor in the hallways and lockers shutting, along with the thrilled faces of students, fill the halls of the school.

Havergal athletes have shown great perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication toward their sports. From as early as 5 am, rowers started training with several practices a week. Due to COVID-19, many athletes had stopped playing sports for an extended period. Their ability to still perform at an outstanding level in such rigorous sports should truly be commended. Alongside Havergal’s Athletic Program, many other athletic opportunities outside of the school are also available. Many swimmers who are part of Havergal’s Swim Team are now also swimming competitively outside of school. Similarly, athletes who play basketball strive to play competitively on other teams.

Athletes aren’t the only ones involved in the excitement—fans also get together to cheer for their favourite players. On November 4, a big crowd of Upper School students and faculty gathered around Ratcliffe Field in green and gold to support the U20 Soccer Team in their championship match against Bishop Strachan School. The Art teachers even supplied students with materials for signs. Multiple face painting stations were set up throughout the school. Dozens of our students brought their emblazoned HC gear and their unmatched spirit out. There was cheering, loud sounds of cowbells and grass flying as the U20 Soccer Team ran to receive the soccer ball.

Havergal is proud of our fall athletes and we cannot wait to see what the winter sports season brings!

photo of the U20 Soccer Team and coaches

The Renewal of Havergal Spirit in Support of the U20 Soccer Team

By Taylor Johnson

They kick, they shoot, they score! Thursday, November 4 marked the first Gator Day of 2021, which allowed the school to come together to celebrate the U20 Soccer Team’s championship match against Bishop Strachan School. From the green and gold outfits to signs made in the Art Space celebrating the students on the team, the spirit was contagious.

The U20 (Varsity) Soccer Team is made up of 20 students from Grades 10 to 12. The team was able to complete an undefeated season, even when faced with certain challenges. Despite the freezing cold November weather and COVID-19 restrictions, the team came together on and off the field. As a returning player, I was incredibly proud to represent a team that was so close and composed of amazing individuals. This sport fosters a unique space for bridges between grades to be built and allows the team to play to the best of their ability.

These principles of comraderie were eloquently demonstrated through grit and strength in the championship. With a heightened competitive spirit from facing Havergal’s largest competitor (BSS), the cheers from the crowd and the team’s desire to take home the OFSAA championship after a shootout loss in 2019 made it a fierce game. Immediately, it was clear that both Havergal and BSS came to play. The game was physical and rooted in a deep desire for victory, not only for the team but also for the whole school. Havergal was able to come out victorious, winning 4-0! From fast Forestell scoring two goals, clever Chapman connecting passes in the middle, Flood’s footwork, Beattie’s ball control and Lobb’s launches of throw-ins, the team played their best game in this competitive environment.

Beyond the fantastic game that the Havergal team played, this event marked the renewal of school spirit from the return of in-person sports. November 4 was the first time since the beginning of the pandemic that the school community joined together to celebrate a sports team. The spirit and energy were magical and spread wide to all students, parents, teachers and staff. A sense of community was built among all from a common desire: to support Havergal Athletics. This spirit is a pivotal part of the Havergal community and it is so special that this game marked its renewal. It illustrates the beginning of a new sense of normality for in-person sports. This moment was also so special for the team’s Grads, as it may be their last time playing soccer at Havergal. The renewed strength of the green and gold spirit will carry on to all other in-person sporting events.

Havergal Rowers carrying their boat to the water

The Fall Rowing Program

By McKenna Reardon

This year was the first that Havergal has offered a fall Rowing Program for their returning rowers. Typically, the Rowing Program runs from November through June and is made up of three components. These components include winter training at school in the Fitness Centre on the ergometers and in the tanks; spring training on the water; and the spring racing season. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the past two rowing seasons, Head Coach Manny Azarcon decided to offer a fall program for returning athletes.

In the fall program, athletes were able to bring all three of the components of the regular season into one. They trained on Tuesday and Friday mornings before school in the Fitness Centre and the pool, and on Saturdays and Sundays they were able to go out on the lake. They did this from the first week of school until the beginning of October, when the weather makes it more difficult for boating.

They also had the opportunity to compete in a regatta. Eight rowers and one coxswain headed out to Peterborough to compete in the Head of the Trent Regatta on October 2. The Havergal boat was composed of athletes who had not rowed together for an extended period, and they walked away from the race with success. For all of the athletes, this was their first “head” race, which is a four kilometre race (twice the length of a typical race). Completing this race was a success for our team. They had not been able to train on the water for two years and some of the athletes had never rowed competitively on the water before. But after three hard weeks of training, they knocked this race out of the park.

The Rowing Team started their early morning winter training five days a week on Tuesday, November 16. They hope not to be affected by any COVID-19 restrictions and have an entire season this year for the first time in a while. Fingers crossed this will be yet another successful season for our rowers!

Image of running shoes, skipping rope, water bottle, apple and hand weights representing "Fitness"

The Fitness Club

By Dara Akodu

The Fitness Club is one of the Senior School’s new co-curricular activities this year. The focus of this club is developing physical fitness and mental health. It doesn’t matter if you’re very experienced or new to exercise, this club is an opportunity for students in Grades 9 to 12 to try new things and develop new skills. It’s a great way to improve athleticism, especially for anyone who isn’t involved in competitive sports and wants another way to get exercise.

This club takes place in the Upper School Fitness Center. There is a multitude of equipment provided, including treadmills, bikes, dumbbells and other equipment. It is organized by Strength & Conditioning Coach Mike Haddock and Club Co-Heads Victoria Stanley and Ally Panos.

One message the Club Co-Heads want to share with students is not to be afraid to come out on Tuesdays at 8:40 am or Thursdays at lunch. The Fitness Club is a safe and comfortable environment to improve physical and mental health. It’s not about being the best among your peers, it’s about challenging yourself to take risks, explore new territories and find your full potential. Sports and fitness aren’t always about competing with others, it’s about having fun, setting goals and improving yourself. We aren’t all born being skilled at fitness, but we can improve. Come to The Fitness Club to improve your health and make new friends along the way.

Student playing tennis

New Girls and New Sports Opportunities at Havergal

By Shreya Gupta and Ella Xu

Shreya Gupta:

As a new Havergal student, so far it has been amazing and there have been many opportunities to get involved. In my old school, the co-curricular options were very limited and there wasn’t as much variety. Although there is so much that students at Havergal can do, I think a key activity is sports. Whether you like to participate in soccer or disc golf, there are many different activities to choose from. This fall, I was involved in tennis lessons and cross country, which were both amazing experiences. In tennis, I learned so much about the game and had a lot of fun. In cross country, I met so many new people and it made me more physically active. This was especially great because I wasn’t very active during the pandemic’s lockdowns.

Grade 7 student Myra Jaggi is also new to Havergal. I had the chance to talk to her about the sports she has joined. “So far, I’ve been involved in basketball. It recently just ended, but it was really fun. I will probably join a winter sport, too,” Myra said.

We are very excited for the winter season as there are so many options to choose from, whether it’s joining a team or joining in on an athletic co-curricular activity, like intramurals. These opportunities give students at Havergal a chance to meet and learn together while enjoying sports and fitness activities.

Ella Xu:

A lot of new students at Havergal, including myself, are exploring the sports and athletic co-curricular opportunities. I am enjoying the activities and loving being around a positive, encouraging and supportive community. Being involved in athletics at school is an amazing opportunity to learn and meet other students. I’m looking forward to trying out for Volleyball and Badminton Teams in the winter term.

Piper Swartz in Grade 8 is another new student at Havergal who shared her journey with school athletics this year with me, specifically her experience on the Middle School Field Hockey Team. She said that she was nervous meeting her teammates, even though they are all very positive and friendly, but that Coach Macer is amazing and supportive.

Piper has never played field hockey (or even ice hockey), so she was very nervous that she wouldn’t be good at the game. She said, “I’m not going to lie, I definitely wasn’t the best on the team, but at least I had the opportunity to learn how to play.”

We hope that sharing our experiences will encourage other new to Havergal students to get involved with athletics—there are many ways to get active.

Marlowe playing field hockey

Student Highlight: Marlowe Andrew

By Lexi Lute and Rachel Paton

Marlowe Andrew, now a Grade 7 student, first arrived at Havergal in Grade 3. She is an accomplished athlete who excels at sports such as alpine skiing and ice hockey outside of school. This year she joined the Havergal Middle School Field Hockey Team and has discovered a new favourite sport.

Marlowe has a lot of experience with ice hockey and discovered for herself how different field hockey is. For instance, the player positioning in field hockey is more similar to soccer than ice hockey. Another challenge with adapting to this different form of hockey is the stick shape. Field hockey sticks are short and curved at the blade and you can only hit the ball on the flat side of the stick, so moving the ball down the field can take some getting used to. However, Marlowe quickly adapted and she and her teammates had an amazing first season.

Their first game against Appleby College was particularly memorable to the team. Marlowe described this game as “fun because we all were able to work together.” The game was very exciting, and in the end, Havergal went on to achieve gold. Marlowe scored three goals, which aided Havergal with the win. Her skills from ice hockey benefitted her understanding of the field sport.

As a younger student participating in a sport with older students who have the advantage of size and experience, Marlowe truly demonstrates impressive perseverance and a drive to succeed.

Havergal is proud to celebrate our students’ achievement both behind and beyond the ivy walls. We congratulate Marlowe and her teammates on an outstanding field hockey season and we cannot wait to see what comes next from this amazing Gator!

Kari Macer riding on a bike in a race

Staff Highlight: The Magic of Ms. Macer

By Lauren LaCalamita

On the field, in the gym or in her office, Ms. Macer is always around the Athletic Department to help out. A lot of you may know her as Coach Macer, but what you may not know is that on top of coaching the Field Hockey Team, she once was a player herself.

When she was a young athlete, Ms. Macer was a competitive figure skater. In her Grade 9 year, she wanted to compete in a competitive sport, so she tried out for field hockey. Although she is now very skilled in field hockey, that particular year she was not selected for the team. Instead, she decided to join the 9 and 10 Cheerleading Squad. However, the summer before going into Grade 11, she improved her fitness by running with her sister. She also practised her ball-handling skills with a friend. When the next tryouts came around, she ended up making the field hockey team. This goes to show that to improve or succeed you must work hard for it.

Ms. Macer continued to play field hockey until Grade 13. In university, she joined a recreational women’s masters team and would play for them in the summers. Since then, she has coached high school-level field hockey for 20 years! She loves to watch young athletes learn and grow and join more competitive teams. Ms. Macer’s story is just one of the many fascinating stories of the Havergal faculty. It’s clear that she really cares about her students and their growth in Health & Physical Education. We at Havergal are very fortunate to have such amazing teachers and staff like Ms. Macer. 

stock image of female hockey player alone on the ice

Gender Equity In Sports

By Eshal Shakir

Sports are universal activities that anyone and everyone can participate in. Unfortunately, male sports teams are almost always favoured, while female sports teams are often overlooked. Girls tend to be sidelined when it comes to sports, as is shown in the major leagues like the NBA or the NHL where the primary focus is all-male teams. There are many female sports teams at Havergal, including basketball, soccer, hockey, field hockey, swimming and more. Here, girls can express themselves and prove that they are just as entertaining and skilled as the guys.

One of Havergal’s hockey players—Grade 10 student Neve Padulo—has played on both boys and all-girls teams and expressed a similar sentiment of feeling sidelined and overlooked because of her gender. She felt more encouraged and supported on the all-girls hockey team than on the male team and she felt as though she had to prove herself constantly when playing with boys. She explained that it was only after she started playing games with the boys and proved herself to be of equal skill that she was treated equally.

Havergal allows all of its students to play various sports to develop and hone their skills. Being on a school team means that you are respected and valued for the athlete you are. Team coaches continue to strive for excellence and promote gender equity by giving its students the opportunities to play on an array of sports teams.

March Madness logo

March Madness Branding for Women’s NCAA Division I Basketball Championship and What It Means for Sports Gender Equity

By Kiki Craig

On September 29, the NCAA released a statement saying that commencing with the 2022 tournament, the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship will begin using the trademarked March Madness brand and marketing. 

If you aren’t familiar with the term “March Madness,” it was previously the trademarked brand of the NCAA Division I Men’s Championship tournament. In the past, the women’s equivalent tournament stood separately as a stand-alone property. In addition to using the March Madness branding, the NCAA national office has implemented a zero-based budgeting method for the two championships. Instead of adjusting past budgets, the men’s and women’s basketball championship staff will “start from scratch” when determining budgeting expenses. 

These changes come after an external gender equity report on basketball championships was released on August 3. In this review, the organization was found to have prioritized men’s basketball in ways that create, normalize and perpetuate gender inequities. 

Hopefully, with the new changes implemented by large organizations like the NCAA, women’s sports representation in the media will increase and attract more attention, which will provide more opportunities for women in sports. Changes like these are necessary in order to create a world where anyone can have equal opportunities to pursue professional careers in sports. 

Here at Havergal, we are proud to recognize and encourage all the students who commit themselves to competitive sports despite enduring the subtle, yet present biases, stereotypes and inequalities of being a non-male-identifying athlete. We continue to see incredible strength, grit, determination and character as students stand up for gender equity on the court, in the rink, on the field, in the pool or within the general community.

Image from the CBC announcing Quinn as the first openly trans athlete to win an Olympic Gold Medal

Quinn: History Maker

By Annie Wu

Not every Olympic athlete can claim to have made history, but 25 year old Quinn (Class of 2013) undoubtedly did at the 2020 Olympic Games this past summer. On August 6, 2021, Quinn became the first openly transgender and non-binary athlete to compete and win an olympic gold medal (or any medal for that matter).

Quinn came out as transgender and non-binary in 2020 and goes by the pronouns they/them. They now use their former last name, Quinn, as their only name.

They posted on Instagram about their thoughts on making history after their opening match:

“First openly trans Olympian to compete. I don’t know how to feel. I feel proud seeing ‘Quinn’ up on the lineup and on my accreditation. I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world. I feel optimistic for change. Change in legislature. Changes in rules, structures and mindsets.”

While there have likely been other transgender athletes that were not out, Quinn’s victory remains impactful by providing visibility and bringing attention to trans athletes. They serve as an inspiration and role model to many youth and other athletes around the world. However, they are also poignantly aware that their victory does not mean the fight is over. There is still much that can be done against transphobia in sports. In some countries and for the athletes representing them, publicly coming out as transgender is not even legal.

“Mostly, I feel aware of the realities. Trans girls being banned from sports. Trans women facing discrimination and bias while trying to pursue their Olympic dreams. The fight isn’t close to over… and I’ll celebrate when we’re all here,” Quinn said.

As a Havergal alum, they have already answered Ellen Knox’s famous question “What are going to do?” through persistence and a lot of courage. They have made a tremendously positive stride in the sports industry for the transgender community and the queer community as a whole. We are so proud!

Health & Wellness

How Physical Activity Can Help Your Mental Health

By Natalie See

We often hear that exercise can improve our mental health, but does it really? The short answer is, yes! People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of wellbeing. Exercise can help you feel more relaxed and have a more positive mindset. Moving around promotes all kinds of changes in the brain. It also helps release endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good.

Endorphins are what cause the “runner’s high” as well as the feelings of relaxation and optimism that happen during physical activity. Moving around can help people be more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night and have sharper memories.

That’s not all: exercise has many more benefits, such as distracting yourself from intrusive thoughts and regaining a sense of control. By setting goals to exercise, it could boost your self-confidence. Research done by Cleveland Clinic Center shows that exercise is a worthwhile treatment for mild to moderate depression. Exercising outside can also boost vitamin D levels and your mood.

Even though we know about these benefits, it can still sometimes be difficult to get yourself to get up and move around. Some tips to get moving include:

  • Start small! If you aren’t a big fan of exercise, just a small walk around the block or do a five-minute yoga session.
  • Schedule workouts when your energy is highest. If you find that you have more energy during the afternoon, set aside a block of time to do some physical activity.
  • Focus on activities you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to do things you don’t want to or exercise would feel like a chore! Find a sport/activity that you enjoy.
  • Make exercise a social activity. Join a class/activity or take a hike in nature with a friend or multiple people.
  • Sneak in activity at school or on the go. Walk or bike to school if you can or maybe go for a walk around the school during lunch. If you’re busy, find a way to incorporate a little movement into your day.

Getting outside and doing some exercise could benefit everyone, especially during stressful times. Exercise can have a positive effect on mental health. Whether it be a 10 kilometre run or even a walk around the block with a friend, give your body some fresh air!