Varsity Report Card: Winter 2023

Artistic Swimming: A+ 

Winter 2023 was a successful season for the McGill artistic swimming team. After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the team returned to the Canadian University Artistic Swimming League (CUASL) with a hunger for success. The young team, composed mainly of first-year swimmers, faced not only teams that had competed over the past two years, but also coordination challenges with the majority of the team never having swum together before. However, this new core seems to only have bolstered the group’s creativity and added to its momentum. 

After dominating at the McGill Invitational in January, with medals across the experienced and novice categories, the team took the Eastern divisional championships in stride, taking home five medals—including two golds and two silvers. 

For their spectacular season, resilience, and overall creativity, the artistic swimming team deserves the coveted A+. 

Redbirds Hockey (14–8–4): A- 

After narrowly missing out on the University Cup Tournament last season, the McGill men’s hockey team returned to the ice for the 2022-23 season with high expectations. The Redbirds sported a relatively young team this year, with first-years making up over a quarter of the roster. But, where the Redbirds lacked in experience, they made up for in an abundance of talent and determination. The team got off to an explosive start, winning seven of their first 11 games thanks to their rock-solid defence. The Redbirds maintained their momentum throughout the season and finished third in their division, earning a spot in the OUA playoffs

The team breezed past the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the first round but fell to the Concordia Stingers in the quarterfinals, abruptly ending their season. Despite the loss, the future is bright for this young Redbirds hockey team with a year of experience under their belt and a number of new additions on the horizon. 

Martlets Hockey (2–20–3): C 

It was a rough year for the Martlets hockey team: They walked away from the season with a whopping two wins. The team had to learn to succeed without star forward Jade Downie-Landry and star goaltender Tricia Deguire, both of whom graduated at the end of last season. The absence of these two phenoms was evident—the team had 17 more wins last season with much of the same roster otherwise.  To the Martlets’ credit, one of their wins was against Université de Montréal, who finished second in the RSEQ conference this season. For now, our best advice for the Martlets is to forget this season and focus on the next. 

Martlets Volleyball (12–6): A 

The Martlets volleyball squad left both crowds and opposing teams in awe with their spectacular play throughout the season. Incredible service aces, digs, and stuff blocks set the tempo for the fast-paced sets that defined matches. The Martlets’ impressive athleticism earned them the silver medal in the RSEQ championship, finishing behind the Citadins with 12 victories and six defeats. This performance earned the team a Nationals qualification, where they finished seventh overall, a fine end to a remarkable season.

A key factor in the Martlets’ stellar performance was the variety of talent on the team. Co-captains Victoria Iannotti and Charlėne Robitaille were both named first-team all-stars in the RSEQ Conference. Robitaille also earned USPORTS All-Canadian Status. Clara Poire, right-side hitter, also played a key role in the qualifications for play-offs, while Audrey Trottier landed her 1,000th career assist during the season. 

The Martlets earn an A for their brilliant achievements during the season. The team dominated due to their sportsmanship and the expert leadership of coach Rachèle Béliveau. With the team’s strong core of returning players and newcomers, fans can expect the Martlets to fight for the title next year.

Redbirds Basketball (6–10): B 

The McGill men’s basketball team entered the season as defending RSEQ champions, but their quest to win their second consecutive championship got off to a rocky start and never recovered. The Redbirds lost their opening four games in heartbreaking fashion, with two of the four losses decided by a single basket, and were unable to string together wins  all season. The tide began to turn in the final stretch of the year, with the Redbirds winning three of their last four games, but it was not enough to earn them a spot in the RSEQ playoffs. The season did provide some positives, however, as fifth-year transfer guard Samuel Chaput and third-year forward Haris Elezovic were named RSEQ All Stars. Top performers like Elezovic supply hope for the future, but the few bright spots couldn’t save the Redbirds’ disappointing season.  

Martlets Basketball (3–13): B- 

The start of the 2023 season left fans hopeful that the Martlets Basketball team had finally found a winning recipe after two consecutive wins against Concordia and Laval. The game against Laval marked coach Rikki Bowles’ first official RSEQ win and was a well-deserved breakthrough for the Martlets, who went winless last season. Despite the great start, the Martlets were unable to maintain that momentum and repeatedly lost games by significant margins, with an average point differential of 13 in their losses. However, rookie Daniella Mbengo earned the RSEQ title of Rookie of the Year and made the All-Rookie team alongside teammate Stephy Tchoukuiegno. Not only did the contributions of both players boost the Martlets’ performance this season, but they are also a beacon of hope for the team’s future. 

The Martlets finished the season last in the RSEQ standings and did not qualify for the playoffs. The outcome was disappointing considering the team has the resources and player strength to achieve better results, if only they could find the right rhythm. 

Track and Field: A 

The track and field team had a fantastic season, with strong individual performances leading the team to all-around success. One standout was third-year Matthew Beaudet, who broke record after record in the 1,500 and 3,000-metre races. At the end of the season, Beaudet was awarded USPORTS Track Athlete of the Year as well as RSEQ Track Performance of the Year. Success stemmed from the experience of the team’s veterans, but was also fostered by a talented cohort of rookies who consistently picked up points. Thrower Ella Villeneuve and sprinter Donna Ntambue were two such rookies: Both athletes performed consistently at regular season meets, medalled in RSEQ championships, and competed in the USPORTS National Championships. At McGill’s home meet, Ntambue broke the 60-metre dash record previously set by phenom Jorden Savoury. Both teams finished third overall in the RSEQ rankings, just a cut below their top finishes at regular season meets.

Swimming: A 

The swim team’s long season wrapped up with impressive third place and fifth place finishes from the women’s and men’s teams, respectively, in the USPORTS National Championships, where 22 teams competed. McGill athletes won seven medals, including a double gold from second-year Pablo Collin in the 400-metre freestyle and the 200-metre freestyle. Other stellar performances came from second-year Naomie Lo and second-year Isabel Sarty, who won bronze medals in the 200-metre butterfly and the 50-metre butterfly, respectively. Their performance at Nationals was a culmination of their success throughout the regular season—the women’s team won all four of their Quebec Cup competitions, while the men finished first in two of the meets and second in the other two. Both teams also dominated in the RSEQ Championships, with each finishing first. Due to their success across both the men’s and women’s divisions, McGill swimming earns a well-deserved A from the Tribune. 

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