Message from the Upper School Athletics Director
Ms. Carla Di Filippo
Welcome to the spring edition of the Gator Zone! This is often a tough article to write as it signifies the end of a school year and this year, in particular, was special. The spring term saw over 350 students participate on 26 sports teams winning a total of seven CISAA championships (I’d like to give shoutouts to our U13 Tennis, U14 Softball, U13 Track and Field, U16 Tennis, U16 Ultimate, Varsity Badminton and U20 Ultimate Teams). As well, Havergal qualified five teams for the provincial OFSAA championships! Recently, our rowers culminated their season at the CSSRA championships (high school national championships) in St. Catharines with two silver and one bronze medal! The countless hours of practice for our athletes, including the sacrifices they made and the personal growth they achieved, resulted in a resounding success we will remember for years to come. We could not be more proud of all of our athletes and coaches for their dedication and infectious spirit for our Havergal Gators! It was a treat to watch the Gators play with pride and class this term, regardless of winning or losing.
On Monday, May 29, we celebrated all of our spring MVPs and Coaches Award recipients. The spring assembly provided the Athletics Department the chance to honour our most prestigious awards: Athletes of the Year and the Sonia Labatt Armstrong Sportsmanship Cup. Congratulations to Taylor Lucas, Middle School Athlete of the Year, Maddy Evans, Junior Athlete of the Year and Beats Tura, recipient of both the Suzanne Curtis Memorial Trophy (Senior Athlete of the Year) and the Sonia Labatt Armstrong Sportsmanship Cup. View the full list of spring award recipients here and view the Overall Contribution to Athletics Award here. Congratulations to all our award winners!
Our teams would be nothing without the commitment and enthusiasm of our coaches. THANK YOU, COACHES for making athletics an experience many students will remember for a lifetime! A huge shoutout goes to Emma, our 2022-23 Gator Zone Editor, for all of your work this year. Your gentle nudges to meet deadlines was greatly appreciated! Thank you to Coach Lia, Athletics Coordinator, for your contributions this year to Havergal Athletics. Your exceptional organizational skills, enthusiasm and passion for sports have been truly inspiring. Lastly, I would like to acknowledge two of the most dedicated, energetic and hard-working Sport Prefects: Piper and Beats. It was an absolute pleasure to watch you both go above and beyond this year on all things Gators! Your commitment to bringing to life the most engaging and fun athletic assemblies and organizing Gator Games (and so much more!), you both have greatly enriched our school’s athletic culture. Your contributions have made a lasting impact on our school community and we are grateful for your leadership.
Have a wonderful summer and see you in September.
Ms. Di Filippo
Message from the JS Athletic Director
Ms. Anna Bartlett
We have reason to celebrate: 237 of our 267 students in Grades 1 to 6 were involved in at least one athletics team or squad this year! This is a new record and we look forward to many continued successes in the 2023-24 school year.
For the first time in CISAA history, a U12 Ultimate league was formed. Havergal was the only school to enter an all-girls team as they played against other co-ed schools. A highlight was losing to Toronto Montessori School 10-2 and coming back to beat them 7-6 by the end of the season. What an event to watch!
Congratulations to our U12 Softball Team. Ms. Mastri, Ms. McIntyre and Ms. Simms-Brown worked effortlessly to build the skills and confidence of these students. As a result of the player’s hard work, they competed against other schools and had an undefeated season.
The Track and Field Team were running, jumping and throwing their way to success. The students enjoyed pod-style meets where all 94 team members participated in every event.
Congratulations to the U10 Track and Field Team for placing second overall and to the U11 and U12 Teams for placing first overall! This is quite an accomplishment. A particular shoutout goes to those athletes who placed first in their events:
-Elyssa S. in 80m hurdles and long jump
-Colleen S. in 80m hurdles
-Suki G. in shot put
-Emily T. in 1500m
-Lucy I. in discus
-Carol G. in discus
-Emma G. in 800m
-Daisy Q. in triple jump
-Clara T. in high jump and triple jump
-The Grade 6 4x100m Relay Team: Mikaela M., Casey C., Elyssa S. and Mila C.
This season there were five Squads running. Having three separate Grades 1, 2 and 3 Multisport Squads allowed for a higher quality of programming so that each grade could be challenged in different ways.
We were fortunate to have the expertise of our external coaches Emily and Aaliyah to support two Soccer/Basketball Squad Teams. This skill development our Grade 3 and 4 participants received will prove to be beneficial to our soccer and basketball program in the years to come.
We want to wish our graduating Grade 6 athletes well as they continue in their healthy, active journeys into Middle School.
A final shout-out to Emma Wagnam 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
Message from the Student Editor
I can’t believe this is my final Gator Zone article! It has been an absolute pleasure being your student editor this year. I have been part of Gator Zone for three years now because I appreciate being able to honour and highlight all of our amazing teams and athletes through one of my favourite mediums: writing. The athletics community at Havergal is truly unmatched and I am so grateful to have been able to write about it and share it with you. I want to thank my amazing team of writers who worked so hard this year to write amazing articles. A special thanks also goes out to Ms. D., Ms. Bartlett and Ms. Pink for your contributions to each newsletter.
As with previous issues of Gator Zone, there is much to showcase! In this issue you will find several highlights of some of our incredible spring teams. The Gators cleaned up this season. As the year comes to a close, we should take some time to reflect on these past three seasons. Whether you tried a new sport, brought home hardware or met new teammates, there is much to be proud of. We celebrated the end of this spring term on Monday, May 29 during our last athletic assembly. Athletic assemblies have been a highlight of my experience at Havergal. From planning them while being a member of the Sports Council to watching them this year as a Grad, I always looked forward to the assembly at the end of each season. I’d like to give a special shoutout to Piper and Beats for all their hard work this year.
Finally, I am pleased to announce Nicole Stanley as your Student Editor for the 2023-24 school year! The Stanley family Gator Zone legacy lives on (her sister, Victoria, was the 2021-22 Student Editor)! Nicole is a stand out volleyball player and there is no doubt in my mind that she will do a fantastic job next year. I am honoured to pass the torch over to you, Nicole. With that being said, I hope you enjoy the final Gator Zone issue of this school year. This is your student editor signing off!
Message from the Sports Prefects
Piper Nixon and Beats Tura
What a year it’s been! Starting back in September, we were ready to go bigger and bolder than ever before. At the beginning of the year, we set clear goals to bring back the spirit at Havergal. It wasn’t an easy task by any means, but we were ready to take the challenge on!
We started off the year with a couple of Gator Days and a whole lot of song-parody announcements in Prayers. Middle School Gator Games was our first big event and a moment when the Sports Council really came together. Alongside our council and fellow Prefects, this year we were able to pull off a total of three legendary athletic assemblies that were full of dancing, messy challenges and 9:50 schedules. We brought back intramurals, where Houses competed in intense games of ultimate chicken, soccer baseball, benchball and tail tag. We had a couple of Tug O’ War showdowns in which the Grade 7s came out on top every time (the seniors are still bitter about this!) and the return of Hockey Day was better than we ever could have hoped for. The energy was contagious and that was the exact moment we knew we had accomplished what we set out to do back in those early days as Sports Prefects.
It’s a hard goodbye for us because athletics at Havergal has given us both so much during our time here. We’ve made friends and memories to last a lifetime. We are so proud of all of the athletes who represented our school with pride this year at numerous CISAA championships and OFSAA events. We are thankful for all of the support, energy and love our athletes received from the school. It’s not just any student body that floods the stands with green and gold during sports games or starts mosh pits after school-wide events.
So, as we leave you with our final remarks, we’d both like to give special shoutouts to Ms. D. and the Sports Council for being our rocks and helping us organize and execute all of the events we threw this year. We have endless love for this school and will be sure to come back for Hockey Days long into the future. Keep the spirit flowing next year, HC!
Piper & Beats
HC Rowing: Row Hard or Row Home!
Havergal’s Rowing Team has always been a highlight of the school’s athletics program, but this year’s team has surpassed anything we’ve ever seen. Waking up very early in the morning every day to practise, our Rowers are dedicated and their hard work has truly paid off.
The on-the-water season kicked off with a memorable 16-hour bus journey to Oak Ridge Rowing Association in Tennessee, USA. Throughout this voyage, our determined Rowers immersed themselves in grueling training sessions, honing their skills and fortifying their physical prowess. Returning home, they seamlessly transitioned into a rigorous practice routine, commencing each day at the crack of dawn by embarking on the bus to Hanlan Point at 5 am, ready to push their limits and strive for greatness while rowing on the water of Lake Ontario.
Their hard work and perseverance did not go unnoticed at the regattas. This season, our Rowers demonstrated their exceptional talent with a total of four gold, five silver and eight bronze medals at our Canadian regattas! We’re so proud of our Junior crews, who brought home medals at each of our three Canadian regattas, including at the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association (CSSRA) National Championships. A special shout out goes to the JR women’s 8+, the JR women’s 4+ and the JR women’s 63kg 8+ crews! The Senior crews also made their mark, displaying their skill and determination while up against crews from all over the country, many of which have been rowing for twice as long as our athletes have! It has been an unforgettable season for our remarkable Rowers, who celebrated these huge accomplishments at their year-end banquet.
Lauren Cheng and Cheryl Chen
Crouch, bind, set! Rugby 7s is a seven per side game with two seven minute halves. It is a contact sport that involves intense physicality as well as quick decision-making. Offensive players may only pass backward and their goal is to score tries (goals) while defensive players try to stop them by tackling.
Our Rugby Team began pre-season training in the winter, training hard to learn ball handling skills and basic tackling techniques. Once spring arrived, the official rugby season began! Many players came to try out—it was an exciting time. The team was committed and practised twice a week out on the Cohen Field. They learned new plays, techniques, as well as how to ruck, lift in lineouts and do scrums.
In just two weeks, the team had its first tournament at Trinity College School (TCS). Everyone was nervous and excited. The tournament was a massive learning experience with the team managing to win against Ridley College.
The following week, the team had a home tournament and played out on Cohen Field in the rain and mud. “That day is the highlight of my season,” explains one team member. “It was so much fun playing with my new friends and having the support of other Havergal students. (Plus we beat Bishop Strachan School!).”
Wednesday, May 24 was the day of the CISAA finals. The team had improved exponentially over the season and were confident in their abilities. They came away with a win against Bishop Strachan School and Ridley Colley, and a loss against Hillfield-Strathallan College, placing fourth overall in the league! The final moments upon leaving TCS were filled with emotions and pride. The team thanked the incredible coaches for their guidance and gave each other shoutouts.
Nothing hones trust and community like rugby does. Senior Schools students who are interested in rugby are encouraged to join the team next year; it will be an amazing time!
Return of the Grade 9 Triathlon
For the first time since 2020, the legendary Grade 9 Triathlon was back! This spring, Grade 9 students were tasked with planning, training for and racing in a swimming, rowing and running triathlon. This Havergal right of passage, which was temporarily put on pause for the past two years as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, is an opportunity for students to practise resilience and self-reliance while physically challenging themselves.
For the entire month of May, Grade 9 students spent each Health and Physical Education class creating and fulfilling a detailed, personalized training plan. Each class, they had to train in at least two of the three events and were required to use their time wisely in order to properly prepare for race day. Participants had the ability to choose between four levels of challenge—Bronze, Gold, Silver and Platinum—in order to challenge themselves according to their competency in each sport, aiming for a total race time of around 60 minutes.
The current Grade 11s and 12s had to participate in a modified triathlon when they were in Grade 9, in the midst of the pandemic. They were required to come up with three fun activities they could partake in within the comfort of their home and neighbourhood. This year, in order to allow the Senior School students to experience the real deal, they were given the chance to participate alongside the Grade 9s.
On race day, everyone was able to complete their races and felt firsthand the effects of leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Everyone was rewarded at the end with freezies, a Havergal Triathlon 2023 pin and the incredible sense of accomplishment that comes with hard work paying off.
2023 OFSAA Ultimate
This year, approximately 20 Havergal College/Crescent School students came together to form the U20 HaverCrest Ultimate Team. With some prestigious coaches including Ms. Di Fillipo, Mr. McCulloch and Mr. Fink from Crescent, the team was excited to start a new season.
In order to make OFSAA, we needed to win CISAA first. Our first game was against Branksome/Royal St George’s College and our second was against Upper Canada College/St. Clements School. Both were talented teams, but HaverCrest was ready to put 100% of our effort onto the field. By the end of the tournament, we pulled away with a close lead of 8 to 7 in both games and we walked away as CISAA champions! We were more than thrilled to qualify for the OFSAA Championship in Burlington the following week.
The tournament kicked off with a banquet, where we fuelled up for our upcoming matches. Our first day started with two intense losses against some extremely talented teams, including the reigning OFSAA champions and recent national champions. Soon after, we were able to pull away with two wins to qualify for the top 8.
Our second (and final) day was super exciting. We lost our first game against our neighbours at North Toronto Collegiate Institute, but came back to win our next two games. One of these wins was against St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School, one of the teams who beat us on our first day of the tournament 15-2, so we were really happy to see our improvement!
To summarize, after two long days of running, throwing, catching and laughing, the HaverCrest U20 Team was able to pull away with a 5th place finish at the 2023 OFSAA Championship, which is the best the HaverCrest team has ever done! From winning our CISAA semis and finals by one point, we were so happy to have improved so much and break a new HaverCrest record.
Sarah McQuillen Young
One season is simply not enough! After winning the CISAA championships, the Varsity Soccer Team was not ready to end their season. In the fall, the U20 Soccer Team went undefeated. Throughout the whole season, the team would constantly ask Ms. Foster if we could go to OFSAA. Thanks to the hard work of our coaches, Ms. D., and the persuasive power of our Grads, the team secured a spot at the OFSAA championship in Grimsby, Ontario.
Throughout the spring, we trained during early morning and after school practices. Without any CISAA teams having a spring team, Havergal played two schools they were unfamiliar with: Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute and De la Salle College. Through pouring rain at Downsview Park, the Gators emerged victorious against Lawerence Park with a score of 2-0! Under sunny conditions, the team pulled off a 7-2 win versus De La Salle.
With OFSAA occurring right in the middle of exam week, the whole team rescheduled their final exams. There’s nothing this team would not do to play! Grade 12 Natalie Chisolm says “I am so excited to play with this team again, we are going to kill it!” The team is eager to get to Grimsby for great competition (and to get the OFSAA merch)! Led by our captains Sarah Flood, Hailey Chapman and Natalie Chisolm, we are excited to see how this dedication and hard work pays off at OFSAA.
Picture this: it’s a sunny afternoon with the heat rising and you’re standing in the outfield, sweat beading on your upper lip and adrenaline pumping through your veins. You hear the clink of the ball colliding with the bat and you look up to see it heading straight for your glove. Suddenly, it starts to veer off course and you have to jump. With a lunge to your left, the ball lands perfectly in your mitt and that’s game. This is the kind of energy and monumental gameplay our two U14 Softball Teams saw this season. They fought hard and ran those bases like no other and, with double the talent, they couldn’t be stopped.
To be able to have two teams in action this season was a great honour and we couldn’t be more proud of our U14 Gators for giving it their all. Even harsh weather and some slide-prone grass didn’t scare our U14s away. They had quite an impressive season, one that will go in the HC sports books forever. Our first team won gold in the CISAA finals and the other U14 team received bronze at CISAA, a truly awesome feat. We can’t wait to see what these young and determined athletes bring to the table in the future of their softball careers. Congratulations to the teams on a trailblazing and electric season!