Message from the Upper School Athletics Director
Ms. Carla Di Filippo
This is a special edition of Gator Zone because we are able to highlight, for the first time in two years, a full season of sports for all Upper School students and a return to sport for the Junior School. In true spring fashion, the season was exciting and quick. Ratcliffe Field was packed with softball games, Cohen Field was lined for rugby and ultimate, our tennis courts were buzzing with players of all ages and our gyms were in use for spring badminton and track events. On top of this, our Rowing Team competed at the CSSRA regatta for the first time since 2019, earning a record five medals!
Havergal welcomed many schools to our beautiful campus this spring and hosted 16 of the best ultimate teams in the province at Downsview Park for OFSAA Ultimate. Our students were treated to many home games, where they could easily cheer on their friends in green and gold. The experience of a full slate of spring sports filled me with gratitude and reflection. It was an important reminder of the true purpose of sport: to build community. As always, our athletes demonstrated excellent team play and support for one another and, most importantly, they competed with pride for their school. If there is one piece of advice I can give our future student-athletes, it is to remember that being classy outweighs winning. How you treat your opponents and how you win or lose says a great deal about the values you hold as a person. Always be classy, Gators!
On Thursday, June 9, we celebrated all of our spring MVPs and Coaches Award recipients. The Greisman Cup (softball) and Tasker Cup (rugby) were also presented. The spring assembly provided the Athletics Department the chance to honour our most prestigious awards: Middle School Athlete of the Year, Junior Athlete of the Year, the Suzanne Curtis Memorial Trophy (Senior Athlete of the Year) and the Sonia Labatt Armstrong Sportsmanship Cup. View the full list of award recipients here and view the Overall Contribution to Athletics Award here. Congratulations to all award winners!
I would like to thank all the wonderful and caring coaches at Havergal. We are so lucky to have a group of positive, caring, passionate and like-minded coaches who go the extra mile for our athletes day-in and day-out. We are forever grateful for the time and effort they put into making the Gator experience one-of-a-kind. A shout-out goes to Victoria, our Gator Zone Editor, who is a hard-working, goal-focused individual who will do great things in the future. I can’t wait to follow her journey at Harvard in the future and I would like to thank her for all of her effort publishing Gator Zone this year. Lastly, I’d like to acknowledge Sarah and Kennedy, our 2021-22 Sports Prefects, as it has been an absolute treat to work with both of them all year. From Gator Games, the Hewitt Cup, to the many sports assemblies, they have brought heart and joy into the Athletics Program. I would like to thank them for all they have done this school year.
Have a safe and relaxing summer and see you in September.
Ms. Di Filippo
Message from the JS Athletic Director
Ms. Anna Bartlett
No one could deny that it has been a long road in getting the Junior School students back into inter-school athletics. This spring, our hearts were filled by the Junior School athletes who put on a Havergal jersey and represented their school with pride.
The Track and Field Team were running, jumping and throwing their way to success. The students enjoyed pod-style meets where every one of the 91 team members participated in every event. Congratulations to the U11 ans U12 Track and Field Teams for winning the CISAA Championship and to the whole Junior School team for winning the Girls Overall Championship. This is quite an accomplishment! A particular shout-out goes to those athletes who placed first in their event:
- Elyssa S. First place the 80m hurdles and triple jump;
- Casey C. First place in the 100m;
- Lucy I. First place in Javelin;
- Adeline C. First place in High Jump; and
- Both the Grade 5 and Gr. 6 4X100m Relay Teams!
Here’s our 2022 Track championship video.
Congratulations also goes out to our two U12 Softball Teams, who competed against other schools and had a successful season learning the skills and strategies of softball. This team is made up mostly of Grade 5 students, so the team has a bright future next year.
The Grade 2 Multisport Squad, Grade 3 Multisport Squad and the Grade 6 Middle School Games Squad are commended for their commitment and courage to learn new skills while making connections with girls in their grade.
We want to wish our graduating Grade 6 athletes well as they continue in their healthy, active journeys into the Middle School.
A final shout out to Victoria Stanley and the Gator Zone writers for all of their work this year!
We hope you have a wonderful and active summer vacation.
Student Sports Corner
A Message from the Student Editor
Hi Havergal! I am beyond excited to introduce you to the Spring 2021-22s edition of Gator Zone. In this issue, you will find a recap of yet another successful athletic term for Havergal’s teams, which is particularly special as it is the first time in almost three years that we are able to provide a summary of a full season of sports.
As the spring season comes to an end, I would like to formally commend all athletes who participated in sports over the course of the school year. After a patient wait, Havergal’s Gators were able to participate full-time in a spring sports season. Let me tell you, they did not disappoint! Unsurprisingly, HC athletes pushed themselves to be the best they could be—on and off the field—and they came out on top. On behalf of myself and the entire Gator Zone team, it has been a pleasure showcasing Havergal’s athletes and their incredible athletic accomplishments over the past nine months. Further, it has been an incredible privilege to write about such talented and outstanding student-athletes while showcasing what athletics at Havergal has to offer.
As the school year comes to a close, we should take the time to reflect on the hard work and dedication that the staff and students of Havergal have put into making the first normal return-to-sport season as successful as it was. Moreover, we would like to extend special praise to each and every athlete who participated in athletics this year, in and out of Havergal. It has been a pleasure to showcase the athletic talent that Havergal is positively bursting with. A special thanks to Ms. D., Ms. Pink and Ms. Bartlett for contributing to this and previous editions. Gator Zone would not operate nearly as smoothly without their constant support!
Finally, I am beyond thrilled to introduce Gator Zone 2022-2023’s Editor: Emma Wagman! Emma has been an active member of several sports teams throughout her time at Havergal. On top of being a Prefect next year, Emma—who has been a writer for this newsletter for years—will take on the role of being the official Editor. There is no doubt in my mind that she will do an excellent job! It has been an honour to have been the Editor this past year and to have been a part of Havergal’s amazing athletic community. With that being said, we hope you enjoy the third and final edition of Gator Zone 2021-22!
A Message from the Sports Prefects
Kennedy Johnstone and Sarah Forestell
Gators! This year has flown by in the blink of an eye, and what a year it has been! We capped it off with an incredible spring season with pretty awesome weather, making outdoor sports an absolute blast. We saw the return of the Middle School Gator Games, which was absolutely amazing. The energy brought by the Middle School was better than we could have imagined. As well, we saw some major successes from our spring teams. We’d like to give a huge shout out to the U14 and U16 Tennis Teams, the U14 Track Team, the U16 and U20 Softball Teams, and the U20 Ultimate Team for becoming CISAA champions this term!
Our goal this year as Sports Prefects was to bring energy and excitement back to athletics at Havergal, an amazing and essential part of our school that we had lost for so long due to COVID-19 restrictions. We especially want to thank everybody who was involved in athletics in some way this year. Whether it was participating on a team, showing up to every event with major green and gold spirit or just getting involved in sports with friends during a free period, you all made the athletic atmosphere positively electric this year!
In addition to all of the support we received from students, we would also like to send out a few additional thank-yous. Firstly, to all the coaches who made our sports programs possible, we could not have done it without you. Secondly, to Ms. D., who worked tirelessly all year long to ensure everything sports-related was running as smoothly as possible and supported us in all our endeavours. And, finally, a major shout out goes to the Sports Council! Memes of this council are so amazing and, through your hard work, killer attitudes and epic ideas, we were able to pull off some awesome events while simultaneously having an enormous amount of fun. We are so very grateful for all of you and could not have asked for a better group!
Gators, it certainly has been quite a ride and we are going to miss athletics at HC like no other. We are extremely thankful for the opportunity we were given this year and hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did. We cannot thank you all enough for your continued support and help in making this year as phenomenal as it was! Roll Gators!
Kennedy & Sarah
Spring Rowing at Havergal
The Rowing Team persevered through their long winter season and kicked off their spring season with training camp in Victoria, BC, where they trained three times a day for eight days. Once they returned to Havergal, they struggled with poor weather and had to do a combination of their winter training indoors and spring training on the lake. On May 8, the team had their first regatta of the season. The Senior 4+ won a bronze medal, the Novice 8+ won a silver medal and the Junior 4+ won a bronze medal! Unfortunately, the regatta was cut short due to poor weather and some of our rowers were unable to race. They went back to training six days a week at Hanlan Boat Club to prepare for their next regatta, which took place over the May long weekend in Niagara Falls, where the girls medaled in two events! Nationals took place the first weekend of June. In a successful season closer, a total of five boats out of the nine that made it to finals day won bronze medals. We are so proud of the hard work that has been put in by the rowers this year. We hope you enjoy a well-deserved restful summer!
U14 and U13 Softball Team
After another amazing season, there are many memories to remember. This term, the U14 and U13 Softball Teams competed in a series of games and finished second in the CISAA championships. The teams have been through ups and downs, but still came together at the end of the season.
When tryouts first started, many students were very brave to try out for a sport they did not have much experience with. Throughout the tryouts and the season, athletes from the teams felt like they accomplished something new. Mackenzie Carmichael, a Grade 8 student, was an athlete on the U14 Softball Team. I had the privilege to ask her about her experience with the team. She explained that many people started out very new to the sport, but progressively got used to the “flow” and were able to work together as a team as the season progressed. “The games were stressful at first, but as we gained confidence we started winning games,” Mackenzie said. “Ms. Macer and Coach Ken were able to help us work on individual skills and, even though we didn’t win the championship, we still came second and had a very successful season!” I also had the privilege to ask Ms. Macer about her experience with coaching the U14 team. She said: “After missing the last two years of coaching, it was rewarding and inspiring to work with students who wanted to learn, compete and develop as a team. We finished second in CISAA, which was a huge accomplishment given our experience. We had a few home runs, some exciting wins and a lot of laughs.”
Congratulations to the U14 and U13 Softball Team for their successes this season! They did not have any shortages of accomplishments and created many memories with each other. Although the last season of the 2021-22 school year has ended, there’s so much to look forward to in the coming school year and lots to see in the coming seasons.
U20 Softball Team
This spring, softball was welcomed back at Havergal with arms wide open. Coached by Coach Ellis “Elli” and Coach K “PattyK” and led by the passionate Grads, the team embodied all that defines true gatorism. To quote the iconic @u20softball Instagram bio (which amassed quite the following): “It’s not just a game, but a way of life. Softball, this is our destiny.”
On Wednesday, May 25, the U20 D1 Varsity Softball Team was officially crowned CISAA Champions after a tough battle against St.Clements School, continuing their undefeated season! The team has shown so much spirit, dedication and hard work this season and we can’t wait to see what they move on to accomplish next year. Roll HC!
Havergal Golf Team
The Havergal Golf Team was quite an experience as 2022 was the first year of competition. With various schools throughout Ontario participating, the competition was diverse. The competitive environment was a perfect fit for the Havergal students, including myself, ranging from Grades 7 to 12. Over the course of the spring season, our Golf Team travelled across the province to beautiful courses where several tournaments were held. Some include Bushwoods, Station Creek and Cherry Downs Golf Clubs. A special shoutout goes out to Sadie Wu, in Grade 8, who finished second at the open CISAA golf championships! All of our athletes played phenomenally at every tournament and finished the season strong. Congratulations Havergal Gators and thanks for a great season!
How the OFSAA Badminton Competition is Building Strong Women
The members of the Badminton Team had a ton of fun participating in the OFSAA and CISAA competitions this year. The team went up to the quarter-finals and received fourth place at OFSAA. At the CISAA Championships, the team received one gold and one silver for doubles, and two silvers for singles.
The key to these achievements is having an amazing coach who is very supportive and encouraging to everyone on the team. Havergal’s Badminton Team is incredibly inclusive and dynamic. Nicole Young, who played on this year’s team, explained: “I love the environment of playing on an all-girls team and how much fun it is playing with all my friends.” The Badminton Team has won many medals and team members are excited for September so they can start yet another successful season.
Catching a Disc of Team Camaraderie: Ultimate Frisbee
After two years of pandemic protocols, the U20 Ultimate Team was reunited this spring. With returning members from Grade 9 and many new faces, the Ultimate Varsity Team was composed of diverse, complementary players. From Grade 12 Havergal student Kiki Craigg’s diving catches to Grade 12 Crescent student Dax Miller’s picture-perfect throws, different team members had unique skill sets they brought to the game.
Under the guidance of Mr. T. and Mr. Fink (Crescent Coaches) and Ms. D., Ms. Eales and Mr. McCulloch (Havergal Coaches), the team learned about the game both on and off the field. Tactically the team focused on mastering the five different throwing techniques, zone and person defense, and reading the disc when catching. Above all, these fantastic coaches shared essential ultimate lessons off the field.
Ultimate is a unique sport because it is built upon the “spirit of the game.” As there are no referees, the game’s integrity relies upon players’ sportsmanship. Fair play that is competitive is dependent upon the player’s responsibility of adhering to rules while having fun. These concepts are relatively new to many athletes, as, in many other sports, players do not hold as much fault with the referees present. The coaching team introduced these concepts by electing spirit captains Katie Stock (Grade 12 Havergal student) and Makism Stepanov (Grade 12 Crescent student). These two players were fundamental to building team culture and camaraderie by managing multiple activities to build Havercrest’s spirit of the game. From thoughtful candy selection for post-game spirit circles to running the Havercrest Instagram account (@havercrest.ultimate), these two players highly increased the spirit and community of the team.
As the season progressed, the team grew very close and greatly improved their ability to play together. Team spirit was at an all-time high, fostering a supportive environment where players felt they could learn more about the game from their peers and coaches. Havercrest’s success is reflected in their first-place finish in the CISAA finals and eight-place finish in OFSAA. All team members are grateful for the opportunity to have learned more about the sport and the lesson of the “spirit of the game” that will follow them into new domains of life.
U16 Tennis Team
We congratulate the U16 Tennis Team, run by Head Coaches Ms. Ianni and Ms. Virc. In the regular schedule, the team went undefeated. The Junior Team played six matches, winning each one. During CISAA, the team went undefeated again against Bishop Strachan School, St. Clements School and Toronto French School in the finals. Tennis for OFSAA was held for a pool of students in Grades 9 to 12. Chloe Hancock in Grade 9 qualified for OFSAA as an open singles player and made it through up until the third round. Mia Ho and Renata Croda Fernandez, who are in Grades 9 and 10, qualified as a high school doubles team and went undefeated in all five matches. We are so proud of all the hard work and dedication made by the players and coaches this year on the Tennis Team. Go Gators!
After a long duration of pandemic protocols, the U20 Rugby Team banded together this spring with new and old players alike. When asked about Rugby’s significance, Abbie Simpson said: “Rugby is a community sport that empowers women all around the world” and explained that no matter what team she played for, she felt like a part of a community. Rugby reverses the inherent sexist logic that women are unable/not capable of participating in high contact sports.
The impact rugby has on female empowerment, equity within sports and progressive narratives are significant. Mx. Curtis, the Rugby Team’s coach, vocalizes that: “It’s vital to support confidence in being physical. Young, self-identifying women, in particular, are at high-risk for being assaulted in their lives, and are so often socialized to be quiet and polite and to walk away from risky situations.” She continues: “In rugby, we encourage running into contact, supporting each other and understanding that being aggressive is necessary in this game. There’s a time and a place for all kinds of appropriate behaviour, and feeling strong and confident isn’t encouraged often enough.” Rugby challenges the traditional narratives that girls are taught from a young age, such as being quiet, reserved and “ladylike.” Within rugby, girls are not bound by societal norms but rather commemorated for being strong. Through rugby, students are empowered as they discover the strength and persistence within themselves.
One of the first things new players learned from Mx. Curtis this spring was having a “team mentality” while playing rugby. This mentality was demonstrated throughout the season and shown in every game the U20 Rugby Team played in. Regardless of age, identity and beliefs, the U20 Rugby Team was banded together, ready to face opponents as a team. They not only had a unified mentality, but also moved up the field together when playing defence. Within the team, there were a variety of roles that players took on. There were the photographers, the cheerleaders and the commenters. No matter the weather—whether it was below 0º C and rainy or almost 30º C with the sun scorching the players’ skin—the Havergal Rugby Team approached the field with dignity and unity.
As the season progressed, the team improved immensely. Team spirit was at an all-time high, fostering a supportive environment where new players felt they could learn more about the game from their peers and coaches. During CISAA, despite being outnumbered and sometimes facing opponents with three times more players, Havergal finished second!
A huge congratulations to the U20 Rugby Team for all of their hard work and perseverance this semester! Also a massive thank you to coaches Mx. Curtis, Mr. Adams and Ms. Foster for their encouragement and spirit throughout the semester. Finally, our Grade 12 pro-rugby players will be missed. We will miss you Kennedy, Victoria, Candace, Rachel and Meaghan! Although the spring 2022 rugby season is over, there is so much to look forward to next year. The future of Havergal Rugby looks incredibly bright. We cannot wait to see you all next year!
Student Highlight: Victoria Stanley
I am delighted to be featuring our very own Gator Zone editor for this year’s final student highlight: Victoria Stanley. Victoria is an avid rugby player who sometimes dabbles in cross country. She has been playing rugby since Grade 7. Although it may not have been love at first play, slowly but surely rugby grew on her. With her tall stature and natural speed, she began to excel. But what really kept her coming back to each practice were her teammates. Victoria explains how they brought excitement to every practice and instilled in her a love for the game. In 2018, Victoria took a chance at trying out for the Ontario Blues U16 Provincial Team, thinking there was no way she’d make it as a newbie to the game but, to her surprise, she ended up making the team. Ever since, she has been introduced to so many more opportunities that have helped her grow as both a player and a person, fostering her love for rugby even more. She is currently training for the Canada Summer Games with U18 Team Ontario.
Rugby has taught Victoria how to work hard and believe in herself. “I underestimated what I could accomplish, but rugby opened up doors for me that I didn’t think possible,” she explains. The sport has also demonstrated to her that there are opportunities for women to continue being involved in sport even beyond high school. After university, Victoria hopes to continue to be involved in rugby, whether it be playing in a women’s league or coaching younger players.
Victoria’s passion for rugby compelled her and others at Havergal to get rugby re-introduced at the Upper School. Accomplishing this goal in her graduating year was a bittersweet moment for her. Throughout the past four years, she had to choose a different sport each spring season since rugby was never an option. Although her overall Havergal athletics experience was incredible, she often found herself wishing rugby was an option so she could play the sport she loved while proudly representing her school. Victoria is thrilled that athletes at Havergal now have the chance to play rugby. With the support of the staff involved and so many amazing athletes at the school, the future of rugby at Havergal is bright!
Next year, Victoria will be furthering her athletic and academic career at Harvard College. She met with the Harvard women’s rugby team and found all the teammates were extremely welcoming and kind. She is most excited to further her education, meet new people and, of course, play on the varsity women’s rugby team! As previously mentioned, I am lucky enough to know Victoria personally as she was also a runner on the Havergal Cross Country Team in the fall of 2021. Cross country is, comparatively, an extremely different sport to rugby, but Victoria was not afraid of this challenge. I admired her courage and determination as she attended every 7 am morning practice and gave her all at each and every race of the season. She is an inspiration to so many (including me) and will be missed next year. I personally couldn’t ask for a better editor and friend to look up to. Victoria has big shoes to fill next year, a challenge that I will take on as next year’s Gator Zone Editor.