McMaster widens recreational class opportunities for students heading into the 2022-2023 school year

As the fall semester takes off, the McMaster University Athletics and Recreation Department is continuing to provide students with new opportunities and classes to take part in. One of the benefits of their recreational classes this year is the extremely wide variety to be offered. 

This fall semester, the university is providing 80 different classes for students, from ballet to spin class to belly dancing to fencing and more. Additionally, many of these programs offer different options for distinct levels of skill, providing beginner, intermediate and advanced classes.  

The classes hosted by McMaster Athletics and Recreation do not require personnel to be McMaster students, as anyone is allowed to participate so long as they are high school age and up. No membership is required, but McMaster students receive a discount on the classes. To acquire more information on the scheduling for the recreational classes, you can visit the weekly schedule for the fall term here.  

To register for the Fall term classes, you can visit the Athletics and Recreation program website here. The pricing for the programs ranges from $23.90 for yoga to $101.77 for Muay Thai, with most of the programs lasting 10 weeks. 

C/O The Silhouette Archives

This is the year to tune into the variety of varsity sports McMaster offers

The 2020-2021 school year was a frustrating year, with no varsity or intramural sports happening on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the 2021-2022 season offered a full variety of sports opportunities and activities students could get involved in, there were still a handful of disruptions, including the January lockdown that prohibited OUA competitions from continuing as planned.  

This upcoming season provides a sense of hope and continuity for sports enthusiasts and novices alike. There are many reasons to watch the sports the university has to offer and below are our top five reasons for why you should get involved this upcoming school year. 

1. Everything is open!  

As it stands in July 2022, all the facilities on campus will be open to pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, students will not be required to sign up to access any on-campus facilities. Finally, the COVID-19 screening tool used in the 2021-2022 season, MacCheck, will no longer be required for students or student athletes wishing to get involved in any sports activities on campus.   

2. More athletes involved in national teams  

As the new season approaches, there are more opportunities for student athletes to be involved with junior and senior national team call ups. Although last season had its fair share of athletes being called up to the national teams, this season is promising comparable results.   

Although we are still two months away from commencement, Canadian U-21 women’s volleyball team included Marauder Sullie Sundara for the team at the upcoming U21 Pan American Cup in Mexico. Meanwhile from the men’s team, Sam Cooper was named to the Canadian senior national team. Finally, from the wrestling team, Serena Di Bennedetto qualified for the Canadian junior national team. 

3. More fixtures added to the teams’ schedule  

While the teams were allowed to play last season due to the timing of the pandemic waves their fixtures were somewhat limited. For example, if a team typically had 15 fixtures in the regular season, they were cut down to 10.   

From the schedules released thus far, there have been more matches added to the upcoming OUA season. For example, both the men’s’ and women’s’ soccer teams have seen an increase in their schedule from 10 games last season to 12 for this year's regular season

4. Greater focus on 2SLGBTQIA+ in sports 

Over the past season, the Athletics and Recreation Department at McMaster University has organized numerous events students and athletes alike could get involved in. Events like this are key for connecting with the wider McMaster community. Many events have been tailored towards supporting and recognizing particularly communities, including the 2SLGBTQIA+ community on campus.   

An event that shed light on this community last season was the Pride Game taking place at McMaster men's and women’s basketball game against the Waterloo Warriors. The goal of the game was to highlight and increase the visibility of 2SLGBTQIA+ student-athletes. Although not confirmed as of July 2022, the event among others to shed light on the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are likely to held again.   

5. More racial equality implementation  

Over the past couple of years, McMaster has been grilled for consistently letting down their athletes. There were numerous allegations regarding the mistreatment of the athletes representing the school, including the prioritization of white athletes while not responding to Black students for varsity meetings.   

This year McMaster put effort into combatting these allegations and has taken action. In late June 2022, the Athletics and Recreation Department hosted multiple peers at their inaugural anti-racism symposium. The goal of this event was to further the conversation within the OUA and OCAA about creating actual changes in athletics and recreation departments at the post-secondary level. Although this one event doesn't signify a complete change in the community’s stance towards racism, it certainly is a step in the right direction and shows a glimpse of hope for the future of McMaster athletes.   

C/O Alora Griffiths (Unsplash)

Want to get more recreational exercise? See what options McMaster has for you!

Following a strange year for sports at schools all around Ontario, COVID-19 restrictions are lifting rapidly province wide. With this comes new opportunities for all students, competitive athletes and amateurs — real amateurs, not Ontario’s definition of amateurs. You can now participate in sports all around campus.  

In comparison to the beginning of the year, Mac has opened many additional facilities that you can use at specified times every day, including court usage, the gym, the pools and more. 

In comparison to the beginning of the year, Mac has opened many additional facilities that you can use at specified times every day, including court usage, the gym, the pools and more. 

For those interested in swimming, there is some great news. McMaster has daily openings at their swimming pool, located in the Ivor Wynne Centre, for all students to experience. There are a total of five time slots throughout the day, from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. for students to use, each one an hour in duration. 

Apart from numerous other intramural programs that the campus has offered through the course of the year, there are still various drop-in opportunities daily. Even with exams approaching, there are still opportunities to drop in and compete. The most common drop-ins are currently basketball and volleyball, located at the Smith and Burridge Gym, respectively. To find the schedules for these programs, you can visit the recreation website.  

As we stray away from COVID-19 restrictions, the campus sports program will become more available and open to the student body. There are still numerous programs and facilities — such as the Pulse gym — that can accommodate anyone who wishes to exercise. To keep up with the latest news or any new programs that may become open to anyone, make sure to check in with the Mac Athletics and Recreation website

C/O Serena Repice Lentini (Unsplash)

One podium, numerous medals: A wrap-up of the recent OUA swimming championships   

As the school year nears completion, many varsity teams would have been expected to finish off their season and dive into their post-season period. However, the Marauders swimming team just started off their season midway through March. From March 10 to March 14, the Marauders competed in the Ontario University Athletics championships.  

Although not much has been heard about their season thus far, the swimmers were ready to impress and do their best in their races, and indeed, they did impress.  

Although not much has been heard about their season thus far, the swimmers were ready to impress and do their best in their races, and indeed, they did impress.  

The OUA championship was hosted by the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. Although the championship format stayed the same, this year the OUA’s would solely include the final races, excluding the qualifiers and preliminaries. The Marauders still had plenty of swimmers with impressive results on the first day of the competition.  

Starting off on the first day with the women’s races, the 200-metre free relay featured Cindy Shu, Heather Aylward, Leah Russell and Hiva Fazeli. The four Marauders swam with a final time of 1:46.17, which earned them a silver medal to start off the competition.  

Capturing the second and third medals of the day for the Marauders were Sarah Little and Emma Schlyter. Little earned a bronze for finishing with a time of 1:02:33 in the women’s 100-metre butterfly, while Schlyter also earned a bronze with a time of 4:52.32 in the women’s 400-metre individual medley.  

As the day continued, more women’s marauders gathered points, which awarded the women’s team with third place overall, scoring a total of 164 points. The only two teams ahead of them were the Varsity Blues and Western Mustangs, with 386 and 230.5 points, respectively.  

Meanwhile, on the men’s side, there were also some impressive races on their first day. The most notable, was the 400-metre Medley Relay, which featured Colin Campbell, Cameron Johnsen, Bijan Ziaian and Josiah Terejko. Although they missed out on the podium, the quartet managed to achieve a relatively strong time of 3:49.07, which narrowly stood short of third place.  

In terms of the best individual men’s result, Kevin Ireland managed to place as high as fifth in the men's 400-metre individual medley, earning himself a time of 4:37.55. Although he missed the podium, this race proved to be important for the team to regain some key points as they fought for fourth place in the championship.  

By the end of the first day the men’s team claimed the fourth position with a total of 138 points. The teams in front of them were the Varsity Blues, Waterloo Warriors and the Mustangs, with 342.5, 234 and 176.5 points, respectively. 

On days two and three of the competition, the women’s team further impressed with their podium finishes throughout. The first two medals came in way of the 50-metre butterfly and 800-metre free relay. The 50-metre butterfly awardee was Sarah Little, who achieved a time of 27.89, earning herself a bronze medal. The second bronze medalists were Maeve Bailey, Andie Lloyd, Emma Schlyter and Erin Anderson, who achieved a time of 8:32.27 in the 800-metre free relay.  

The other two podiums achieved by the women’s team came on day three, with Schlyter earning her third podium of the championship tournament after winning a silver in the 200-metre individual medley with a mesmerizing time of 2:17.86. Schlyter was hungry for more. She continued her medal streak by coming out with the team’s last — and her fourth — medal of the championship for the 400-metre free relay, achieving a time of 3:53.11 to take home her third bronze.  

Schlyter was hungry for more. She continued her medal streak by coming out with the team’s last — and her fourth — medal of the championship for the 400-metre free relay, achieving a time of 3:53.11 to take home her third bronze.  

On the men’s side, the only podium finishes that were picked up on the second and third days were by Campbell, Johnsen, Ziaian and Terejko, who achieved an impressive silver medal finish in their 200-metre medley relay with a time of 1:43.25. As for the rest of the team, numerous swimmers worked hard to pick up additional points for the Marauders in the hopes of retaining the fourth place from day one.  

Overall, the OUA championships ended with both teams capturing a top-five spot. After three days of competing, the women’s team grabbed third place with 583 points, whereas the men's team achieved fourth place with 356.5 points. Though this was only a regional tournament, the Marauders also received an invitation to the U Sports championships, taking place in Montreal.  

C/O Yoohyun Park

It’s been quite the season so far, but which McMaster sports team impressed the most?

What a year it has been in the Marauders return to sport! After a long period of inactivity, in September the Marauders got back on track with their varsity schedules when most of the teams finally resumed their competitive runs. This season, McMaster students were lucky to see many teams perform well on the big stages, such as the Ontario University Athletics championships and even out of province competition to test their abilities.  

As the end of the school year approaches, it seemed appropriate to look back and determine which teams impressed our community the most. The following rankings are based on how far teams made it through the OUAs or any other championship and the competition that they had to face before achieving their spot. Without further ado, let’s look through the Sil’s five most impressive varsity performances of the season, counting down from five. 

5.  Men's and women’s wrestling 

It’s safe to say that this season has been very successful for both the men's and the women's wrestling teams. Last November the teams competed at a tournament hosted in Hamilton, where they collected a total of six medals — three silvers and three golds.  

Their success did not stop there. Just over a month ago, both of the teams competed at the Brock open, where they took on some of the best teams in Ontario. The event proved to be a very successful one for our wrestlers. The men’s team came out as champions and the women’s team placed third. Additionally, Francesco Fortino, a player on the men’s wrestling team won the Marauder of the Week accolade

The grind doesn't stop there for the wrestling teams. Their next challenge will be on April 2, when they will take part in the OUA championships in St. Catherines.  

4.  Women's basketball 

This season the women’s basketball team really made a name for itself in the OUAs. Despite having won the national title just two years prior, the team was widely viewed as being in a transition year due to so many early year players. Despite knowing that the competition was going to be rough and that it was going to take a lot of work for such a young team to make it to the OUA playoffs, they made it happen. 

Although there were ups and downs along the way, the team showed a lot of character in all of their games, managing to finish with a record of 10-7. When they started the OUA playoffs, they swept the Waterloo Warriors 63-45, which guaranteed them a quarterfinal spot. Unfortunately, their luck ran out in the quarters, where the Brock Badgers just narrowly came on top with 49-45.  

Overall, it was a season full of character for the Marauders, which is something which they wish to build on for next season after their exciting first year back. 

Overall, it was a season full of character for the Marauders, which is something which they wish to build on for next season after their exciting first year back. 

3.  Men’s soccer 

The men’s soccer team started playing their competitions in September and finished off near the middle of the first semester. Although it has been a while since we got to see the players in maroon, we can’t forget their astonishing run throughout. During their season, they played eleven games, of which six were wins and only two were losses. 

Much of the effort it took to make it that far came from their star striker, Dusan Kovacevic. The OUA athlete of the week accounted for just over 30% of the team’s goals. Furthermore, Kovacevic scored four times in a game against the Algoma Thunderbirds, which ended 7-0 for the Marauders.  

Although the team did make it to the quarterfinals of the OUA championships, they unfortunately fell 3-1 to the Carleton Ravens, which ended their eventful season.  

2. Men’s basketball 

The men’s basketball team has been very impressive this season. They consistently achieved good results and were even on a five-win streak in the OUA season.  

The men’s basketball team has been very impressive this season. They consistently achieved good results and were even on a five-win streak in the OUA season.  

Throughout the season, they won 12 out of the possible 18 games, which took them to the OUA championship knock-out stages. It wasn’t going to be easy, but the Marauders started strongly with their 12-point win against the Lakehead Timberwolves, thus guaranteeing them a spot in the semis. Unfortunately, that is where their journey ended as they were knocked out by the Badgers, 75-88. Regardless, the fantastic performance of the men’s basketball team this season deserves to be recognized near the top of this list.  

1. Men’s volleyball team 

Where do we start? The men’s volleyball team has been inspiring to watch, to say the least. They have fought their way through the OUA championships with ease, winning the title and making sure that they were the team to be feared, even far away from home.  

They have fought their way through the OUA championships with ease, winning the title and making sure that they were the team to be feared, even far away from home.  

The men’s volleyball team played 18 games between the regular season, the OUA playoffs and the national playoffs. Of these games, they won 17. In their first 12 games of the season in the group stages of the OUA, they did not lose a single game. Furthermore, the Marauders went on to glide through the OUA knockout stages against teams like the Windsor Lancers, the Brock Badgers and the Toronto Varsity Blues. The latter was the opponent the Marauders played against in the finals, where they clinched their first OUA title in three seasons.  

Things didn't end there for the team, as they went on to play in the U Sports championships in Winnipeg. Although the team did not start well, losing to the University of Calgary, they bounced back and achieved fifth in all of Canada, winning against Queens Gaels and the Manitoba Bisons in the consolation play-offs.  

C/O Ainsley Thurgood

All teams have down years. Now we wait to see if the squash team can rebound going forward.

On the weekend of March 12, the Ontario University Athletics squash championships took place, with seven different schools from across Ontario taking part. The Marauders entered with both the women’s and the men’s teams and had high hopes of making a mark at the competition.  

Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out how the squash teams had planned. Throughout the tournament, each team played four to five games, in the hopes of making it out of the group stage and advancing into the knockouts. However, neither team got close to reaching the knockout stages.  

The women's team won just one game while losing four, which earned them sixth place overall in the standings, leaving just the Brock Badgers behind them. Even though the women’s team came sixth, they outperformed the men’s team, who unfortunately lost all games throughout the tournament. They lost all four games, coming very last on the men’s table. It clearly was not a good weekend for the Marauders despite their best efforts. 

Although it hasn’t been a good championship for the Marauders, we should always look on the bright side. Every player on the men’s team and most of the players on the women’s team are in their first year of playing for the team. They lack experience, but they played with spirit and can retain their potential over the next year and possibly come back even stronger for next year's championship. It’s all up to them.  

C/O Jessica Yang/Production Assistant

Although they finished 6th at the OUA, the McMaster badminton team is full of talent 

Every sport at McMaster University is unique in its own way. Each sport has a backstory to it and every team member is talented in their own way. Badminton is just another one of those unique sports that McMaster has to offer. With over 20 competitors on the squad, it has so much to offer in terms of talent and individualism. However, there is one player who has impressed last weekend during the Ontario University Athletics Championships in Waterloo.  

Talia Ng is a third-year student currently studying life sciences and is expected to graduate this year. Nonetheless, she has been extremely impressive during this season’s badminton campaign, racking up a handful of awards during the weekend. Her first award came through at the end of the OUA Championships, where she was awarded the OUA MVP and was given all-star recognition. Although extremely impressive, her success did not end there. Just a day later Ng was named as the Marauder of the week along with Alex Drover, a runner on the men’s track team, which concluded a very eventful week for the badminton team.  

“Last week was overall a mixed experience for me. I think that as a team we have done our best, but I can't say that I am extremely happy with the outcome. We came sixth out of eight teams, so it simply isn't that great. As for the team, I feel that we are much closer altogether compared to the previous years. They are a great set of people and many of us are very supportive of each other, which is something I feel is really important for us,” said Ng. 

Ng is the first female Marauder to receive an OUA Championships Most Valuable Player Award since 2003.  

“I am really honored to have received all these awards. They certainly do bring me confidence, even though I didn't really expect it. To be honest, I think that it is unfair in a way because my team has done so much as well last week. We worked as a group together and I think that our team overall deserves the same accolades as I do,” explained Ng.  

Transitioning from a university into the world of professional sports can be a challenge, but Ng is ready to take it on. She hopes to continue her athletics journey and pursue further heights in badminton beyond her time at McMaster.  

“I am most definitely looking into starting a badminton career after school. My goal is to reach the Olympics someday, but I know that it will take a lot of hard work to get there,” said Ng. 

“I am most definitely looking into starting a badminton career after school. My goal is to reach the Olympics someday, but I know that it will take a lot of hard work to get there."

Talia Ng, 2022 OUA Badminton MVP

While the Marauders didn't do exceptionally well last weekend, the enthusiasm and closeness within the team has shown that there is a bright future ahead for the team. Its members can look forward to taking on a new set of challenges in the upcoming year and working diligently to reach their goal.  

Photo By: Travis Nguyen/Photo Editor

In the two years since the initial large-scale allegations were made against the McMaster Athletics Department, what has changed? 

Just under two years ago a McMaster university student-athlete, Steven Archachan, was accused of tweeting racist posts on social media, which provoked a mass reaction to get the player off the team. Although Archachan was kicked off the lacrosse team, there are still many issues surrounding McMaster athletics and systemic racism.  

Another issue the school encountered was surrounding Glenn DeCaire, the director of parking and security services, who faced many allegations of racist behaviour. At one point, over 6,000 individuals signed a petition to fire the ex-police chief.  

While all of these incidents occurred in the past, after the Systemic Review of the Black Student-Athlete Experience and the McMaster Athletics Climate was released, there was a major outcry yet again. Many news sources, including The Silhouette covered it and many students were surprised to see this many controversial incidents happening at McMaster. What exactly did McMaster do to combat these events after the document was released? 

“Overall, I think that the McMaster response has been somewhat effective. There are many areas where we have seen some improvement, but there are still many areas that haven't even been looked at. Sure, I think that the school has been taking some steps to reduce the systemic racism within the sports department, which is good news. For instance, the Black Athlete Student Body has been formed, yet I just don't think that it’s enough to counter the 60 page document that listed enormous racial instances,” said Nana Yaw Serbeh, a member of the Marauders football team.  

"Sure, I think that the school has been taking some steps to reduce the systemic racism within the sports department, which is good news. For instance, the Black Athlete Student Body has been formed, yet I just don't think that it’s enough to counter the 60 page document that listed enormous racial instances."

Nana Yaw Serbeh, Men's Football Team

“Ever since I came to McMaster in 2018, it’s evident that the Black student experience just hasn’t been the same compared to other races within the athletics department. I think that the document released a few years ago clearly outlines that. There are so many instances where Black student athletes were not treated the same as other races and it really does make me angry,” explained Serbeh. 

In the System Review published by the Athletics Department in October 2020, there were multiple instances of different Black athletes being let down by coaches and other members of the Marauders.  

“Just one of the horrible situations that Black athletes have found themselves in goes way back to 2014, I believe. Essentially, a student athlete wished to discuss a problem he had within the squad and arranged a meeting with personnel higher up. However, when he arrived at the meeting, nobody was there to welcome him or speak to him. He was left alone in the situation and had nobody to help him,” said Serbeh.  

Although there’s plenty that McMaster can still work on to improve the experience of Black student athletes and the way that they are treated, the school has taken steps to create spaces and opportunities for them. For example, the school just recently announced that the Athletics department has created 21 financial awards for Black student athletes, in an effort to create a more welcoming and motivational atmosphere within the community.  

“I think that there is much more to do for McMaster athletics. One of the things that I’d like to see is a more welcoming atmosphere to the Black student athletes and more Black student athletes in general. I think that we are making some movement, but it’s simply not good enough yet. We’ve raised a lot of awareness and I think that the community should be more aware of the incidents that occur on campus and that they should be addressed correctly,” explained Serbeh.  

There have certainly been efforts on behalf of McMaster to rectify the challenges and racism faced by Black student athletes. They have made considerable efforts to welcome Black student athletes to the sports scene, but is that enough to create meaningful and lasting change?  

Travis Nguyen/Photo Editor

Ron Joyce Stadium stacks up well against other universities’ stadiums 

University stadiums serve to host sporting events and support university athletics. However, they also become a signature of a given school. A stadium’s structure comes to represent a student community’s pride in their school.  

How good is our own stadium — the Ron Joyce Stadium — in comparison to the other university stadiums in the Ontario University Athletics? According to 13thmansports, our stadium ranks fourth! That’s right, the 14-year-old fortress ranks above the stadiums of institutions such Guelph, Waterloo and even York. Ron Joyce had fallen just short of the top three, which are currently occupied by Queens, Western and Toronto.  

The reason that Ron Joyce Stadium ranks so highly is its running track, which is not something that every stadium has. This would in turn provide the audience with more intimate action on the field, which just improves the overall atmosphere for Marauders’ big games. Additionally, the colour scheme that the stadium possesses really does lend it a unique look. It truly shows off McMaster’s maroon colours.  

The reason that Ron Joyce Stadium ranks so highly is its running track, which is not something that every stadium has. This would in turn provide the audience with more intimate action on the field, which just improves the overall atmosphere for Marauders’ big games.

Although many have not been to McMaster’s beloved stadium, its overall structure and aesthetics may intrigue students into visiting more often. After all, it’s already been recognized by the wider sports community! 

C/O Jessica Yang

Not quite the average basketball game as tensions flare following a win, but what does this say about our athletics department?

The McMaster men’s basketball team has made quite the journey this season, winning 11 of their Ontario University Athletics league games, which ultimately qualified them for the OUA Championship. Over the course of the season, they played against some top-flight teams, such as Western Mustangs, Guelph Gryphons and most recently, the Laurier Golden Hawks.  

At their recent game against the Golden Hawks, the Marauders had a very unlikely ending that surprised many on stands and in the wider community. Nearer to the end of the game, when the Marauders were leading 75-70, a verbal conflict occurred between the two teams. The groups were shouting at each other just as the game was about to end, with the crowd spectating a very rare occurrence from the stands. It was a stressful experience with an unclear cause. Hopefully, with time, more details surrounding the event will emerge, although this will be difficult given that the conflict was censored over live streams.  

Although the OUA censored the visual conflict between the teams on their stream, shouting could still be heard from both sides, proving that there was genuine outrage after the last whistle on the court on behalf of the players. As the conflict died down, the Marauders claimed their eleventh win in the last game of the 2021-2022 regular season. However, this did not erase the serious conflict that had occurred. 

This incident raises the issue of censorship within varsity sport as a whole. The censorship of the event by OUA highlights their motivation to maintain a positive public image. While McMaster was not responsible for the OUA stream censoring the fight, when the Sil attempted to contact the basketball team for comment regarding the conflict, the team refused to speak until further notice.  

We have seen examples of similar practices in the past at McMaster, for example the allegations of racism within Marauders athletics. Many will remember the 60-page review released by McMaster University regarding racism faced by Black student-athletes. The review also showed that, throughout recent years, many athletes of colour have been ignored when asked for help. Indeed, many concerns regarding racism faced by students were disregarded, which only exacerbated the issue. This raises the concern that issues worthy of attention and discussion are too often tucked away in varsity athletics.  

There are other examples of similar behaviour within the athletics department at McMaster. Earlier this year, the Sil documented the unequal allocation of resources and attention towards less popular sports amongst student-athletes within the school. Many at McMaster believe that students on less popular sports teams should not be forced to pay to represent the school. However, McMaster has not addressed this issue or indicated that they will be altering athletics budgeting and allocation of resources to sports teams.  

The aforementioned issues in varsity athletics, including the censorship of the fight that occurred in the game against the Golden Hawks, deserve attention not only from the McMaster student community, but also from the athletics department itself. By ignoring issues worthy of attention, we risk contributing to pre-existing problems rather than finding solutions together.  

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