Photo: ℅ Stephen Narancic 

Four local high school teammates all commit to McMaster for 2021-2022 school year 

Recruitment is a fundamental task for any university sports team looking for sustained success. It’s common to see recruits from all over the province, as well as the odd recruit from outside of Ontario, and sometimes outside of Canada. What’s uncommon however is to find multiple recruits from the same school. 

The Marauders ended up making that uncommon event a reality after successfully recruiting four players all from the same high school, St. John Henry Newman in Hamilton. Meech Duffield, Victor Bodi, Michael Hampson and Stephen Narancic will all be attending McMaster next season.  

Victor Bodi, a 5’9” defensive back, will find more familiar faces than just his high school teammates when playing for the Marauders next season, as he joins his brother Drake Bodi, who is currently a second year defensive back. 

Moving to the offensive end, the six-foot 275-pound big man Michael Hampson will be joining the offensive line. Hampson is known as a strong leader, as he captained his high school team in his senior year. He looks forward to making a difference by way of being a strong team player, and is excited for the opportunity to learn from McMaster’s coaching staff. 

Arguably the two most decorated athletes of the quartet are defensive ends Meech Duffield and Stephen Narancic. Duffield, standing at 6’7”, was selected to the CFC prospect game this past season, while Narancic was named team MVP multiple times in high school, and was selected to the Fox 40 all-star game.  

Describing the kind of person and player that he is, Duffield spoke to his communication abilities, and leadership. He called himself very outgoing, and a people person who enjoys being there to support the guys. He is excited to move on to the next level together with his high school teammates and is looking forward to digging his roots in the McMaster community, getting the chance to meet other players and become a better player.  

“It’s awesome just being comfortable with the guys around you, it’s super important. I think it’s great that we all came together, we’re all friends, we all support each other on and off the field. . . It’s those building blocks. You go there with a few friends and you start building off that, meeting new people, finding new friends. It’s a blessing,” said Duffield. 

One of the main reasons Duffield ended up deciding one McMaster was the people that came with it. From the players he would join, to the coaches he would learn from, it's the people that made up McMaster football that he most looked forward to when making his decision. 

“Something I really find important is the people there. I think the guys at McMaster and the coaching staff is just one of a kind. Everyone is great, everybody is there to build each other up, it’s just incredible. . . The defensive philosophies that the coaches were telling me about, and where I’d fit in the defensive schemes, that also played a huge role in me choosing McMaster,” explained Duffield. 

Upon committing to McMaster, Duffield felt a sense of relief now that the selection process was over, as well as a sense of excitement towards the next steps. He is very eager to finally get his Marauders experience started.  

“I’m always looking for what’s next. What more can I do? Who can I reach out to? Who can I talk to? I’m really looking forward to meeting all the guys in person, going over playbooks, [and] training,” said Duffield.  

With a team and coaching staff just one season removed from a provincial title, and several high school teammates joining him on the team, Duffield has lots to look forward to. Another notable opportunity for him is the chance to continue playing alongside his godbrother, Stephen Narancic. 

“I’ve known him since I was born, so it’s cool that we’re both ending up at the same school trying to pursue our dreams together,” said Narancic. 

Narancic, like Duffield, is extremely eager to finally get his start at McMaster. Similarly, he was sold on McMaster by way of the culture the team carried, and the closeness of the team through and through.  

“A lot of coaches tried to sell you on the program, and outside stuff of football, but with Mac they really sold you on the family aspect of it, and how everyone’s a tight knit group. You can see that on visits, and that made my decision really easy,” explained Narancic. 

For Narancic, this is more than just moving on to the next level in his football career, but father a lifelong dream come true. As a Hamilton native who has a history with McMaster, he always hoped to one day find himself playing for the Marauders.  

“My parents went to Mac, so I used to go to games when I was younger. I saw the maroon and white and thought ‘that would be so cool one day.’ Finally when I got to talk to coach [Stefan] Ptaszek and coach [John] Parks as well, they talked me through what they envisioned for me in the future. It was a dream come true to be honest,” said Narancic. 

To join a team he grew up watching alongside several of his high school teammates was a very special thing for Narancic. Being such a rare occasion to be moving on to the next level with so many guys, it is something he looks at with a lot of excitement going into next season. 

“You don’t get that a lot. You usually get one, maybe two kids from the same school, but to have four? It’s incredible. They’re all really good buddies of mine, so we all looked at each other when we got to visit, and [we thought] this is something we want to do,” explained Narancic. 

After what was largely considered to be a disappointing year for the reigning Yates Cup champions, they will have a lot to look forward to next season. With the recruitment of motivated individuals who already have chemistry together, the team will look to redirect themselves in the 2022 season with a blend of experienced veterans, and what looks to be an advanced group of early year athletes.  

During the pandemic, athletes never stopped training, so the recruiting process had to adjust to a new normal amid the restricitions

Graphic by Esra Rakab, production Coordinator

Throughout the pandemic, many students had to go through many new experiences in their everyday school life, from remote learning to digital club experiences and much more. Above all else, student-athletes have possibly seen the most change in their school lives, as not only was their regular season cancelled, but their practices had to become something completely new to make sure they continued training and got better.

One of the biggest adjustments that new athletes have seen during the pandemic is the altered recruitment process. In typical years, coaches would have meetings with potential recruits, show them the campus, have them join the team for practice and whatever else they feel is necessary to help improve their odds of landing more talent.

However, this year, the recruitment process bore no resemblance to the past.

However, this year, the recruitment process bore no resemblance to the past.

Matthew Rugosi — a new commit to the McMaster men’s volleyball team — discussed the process that he experienced and some major differences from what he originally expected.

“It was definitely different than what I was expecting . . . My brother went through the same recruitment process [years earlier] and he got to visit the McMaster campus and talk to the coach and practice with the team,” said Rugosi.

As Rugosi discussed the experiences and interactions he had and the recruitment process he was put through, the student-athlete expressed that he originally expected a campus tour with the head coach and an opportunity to practice with the team — but unfortunately received none of the above.

“I had to figure it out on my own and see how I like the campus. Before COVID, I was talking to [head coach] Dave Preston and he had me come to one of the games so I could see the game live. That was probably the most interaction I got in person with them,” explained Rugosi.

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Rugosi missed out on many typical aspects of the recruitment process. For many athletes, it is a once-in-a-lifetime event to be recruited by university teams. To miss out on all the enjoyable parts of the process is devastating. From understanding what a typical practice looks like, to exploring the campus and figuring out the general vibe that a school holds, all these aspects play a big role in the recruitment of an athlete.

Rugosi was fortunate to have some level of familiarity with the team given that he had an older brother who was rostered, but even then the interactions he had were limited, forcing him a difficult time selecting a school. For Rugosi, it came down to head coach Preston.

Rugosi remarks that Preston being a main factor on why he chose McMaster was because he really cares about his players and appreciated his coaching style.

 “Another reason why I chose McMaster is because Dave Preston went out of the box and wished me a happy birthday, which none of the other coaches did. I thought that was something really cool and unique,” said Rugosi.

 “Another reason why I chose McMaster is because Dave Preston went out of the box and wished me a happy birthday, which none of the other coaches did. I thought that was something really cool and unique."

Matthew Rugosi

In a year with limited interactions, anything personable can go a long way, and clearly, in this instance, it made a big difference. Recruitment processes are very different than ever before, so every move is vital for schools in their efforts to get the best talent on their team rosters.

Photo C/O Mike Marasco via

By Jovan Popovic, Staff Writer

McMaster’s baseball team had an outstanding 2019 season. With a great regular season record of 12-6-0, the team entered the Ontario University Athletics tournament with the 10th seed, but ultimately lost in the semi-finals in a 10 to seven loss to the eventual tournament champions, the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks. Despite the loss, the team had many bright spots throughout the year, the most obvious being the much improved play of center fielder, Nik Motruk. 

Motruk broke out this past school year, being a co-recipient of the OUA’s most valuable player award, and also being recognized as the OUA’s most valuable hitter. The fourth year mechanical engineering student led the team in his monstrous comeback year, hitting at a .581 average. Motruk, who had been a pitcher before an injury during the 2018-2019 school year, made the seamless transition to a full-time player this season, proving his value to the team no matter his position. 

“Near the end of the 2018 campaign I suffered a shoulder injury which set me back, and I have not been able to pitch since,” said Motruk. “I played the field growing up and was a good hitter, but I knew that I really had to step up my game if I wanted to keep playing. I worked really hard on my swing to help take me to the next level, and it ultimately resulted in the season I had this year.”

Nikolas Motruk - Baseball

Nikolas Motruk (18)

Converting from the pitcher’s mound to the outfield could be one of the possible reasons for his breakout season. Realizing that you can’t play the position you’ve played your whole life can be really difficult, especially when the next closest alternative is so different. Motruk was able to convert this nervousness into energy and motivation, knowing he had to work harder and find new ways to succeed if he wanted to keep his important role on the team.

Having a pitcher’s mindset in the batter's box can actually be quite beneficial. One of the biggest aspects of hitting is knowing what to expect. When pitching at a competitive level, it’s helpful to be able to think like the guy you’re facing.

Knowing what is coming can be a huge benefit — just ask the 2017 world series champion Houston Astros.

Despite literally having an MVP season, Motruk isn’t satisfied yet and is hungry for more. The team’s success is the highest priority for him, and despite a great season, his sights are set on what the team can accomplish in the future. 

“Baseball is a game of numbers and statistics,” said Motruk, “and I may have had a standout season this year, but at the end of the day the only stat that really matters is the W or L on the scorecard. Baseball is not an individual sport and it can't be won alone. I am really proud of everything that I accomplished this year but more importantly what we accomplished as a team and I look forward to seeing what is in store for McMaster Baseball moving forward.”

The biggest standout stat for the reigning co-MVP this season was his astronomically high batting average, sitting at .581. Contact hitting is integral to a strong hitter and is defined by a player who rarely strikes out. Naturally, contact hitting is.a huge and critical part of Motruk’s game, especially knowing that once you can pick up hits, everything else comes naturally over time. 

“Contact hitting has always been the main focus,” said Motruk. “Hitting for power comes as you get bigger, stronger and start to face better pitching. Getting the ball in play and finding the holes will result in base hits, and sometimes they turn into extra base hits. This year I had 25 hits, 12 of which were for extra bases, but it all starts with putting the ball in play.”

In an age where contact hitting is becoming less and less appreciated, Motruk understands that it is critical for success. With good bat control and pitch timing, it gets easier and easier to find pockets of green in the outfield, which frequently turn into extra bases. 

Being a mechanical engineering student who took a co-op year, Motruk still has two years of eligibility with the team despite being in fourth year. The upcoming seasons will undoubtedly be exciting ones for the team with such promising players in their prime upper years. 


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Illustration by Elisabetta Paiano / Production Editor 

Student athletes will face many obstacles in their careers. These range from injuries to team conflicts, from saying goodbye to friends graduating to having to deal with life as a student and life outside of sports.

For most, university is a time of immense growth, and student athletes are no exception. The obstacles that student athletes face can help them grow and deal with adversity in ways that other students may not realize.

Stephanie Roberts is one of the better known student athletes at McMaster. Regularly awarded for her efforts on the soccer team, she is no stranger to success. The women’s soccer team graduating captain has even been featured many times in this very paper.

Roberts’s career at McMaster was littered with roses, but it wasn’t without its thorns. With the unfortunate passing of the team's coach, Joseph Valvasori, and the injury Roberts had in her final year, there were many bumps along the road. However, she is still graduating on a high note and leaving McMaster with many great memories. 

Stephanie Roberts - Women's Soccer

Stephanie Roberts (6) F

Roberts was an asset to the team from her first year to her last. She was a starter right from the get-go, as she started for 12 out of 15 games in her rookie season. In her freshman year, she accumulated eight goals in 15 games, even pulling in a hat trick. This impressive start would continue as Roberts progressed in her campaign wearing maroon and grey. While her sophomore season doesn’t stand out on paper, with two goals and four assists, it was the stepping stone to a stellar third season. 

In her third season, the Ontario University Athletics All-Star really began to shine. Roberts would go on to lead the nation in goals scored, with a total of 14 goals by the end of the 16 games of the regular season. This was just one of the accolades she earned throughout the year, as she was also named a two-time OUA athlete of the week, an OUA First-Team All-Star and, finally, the U Sports October Female athlete of the month. 

It is safe to say that the 2018 season saw Roberts step into a role of strong leadership which set her up to become team captain, a role that would become increasingly clear as the team progressed into the postseason. The 2018 season was also the year that the team finally overcame a three-year losing streak in the first round of the playoffs.

Not only would they overcome this losing streak, but they would also take home an OUA bronze and punch their tickets to the national championships for the first time since 1997. They would then go on to place fourth overall in Canada by the end of the year. This constant battle in the postseason that occurred over the previous three years was a learning experience for Roberts.

“This taught me that success definitely does not come easy, and it’s important to not give up on your goals!” she remarked.

However, the playoff battle was not the only one happening within the team. In June of 2018, the McMaster women’s soccer team family was struck with devastating news that their longtime coach, Joe Valvasori, had been diagnosed with cancer. In April of 2019, Valvasori passed away. 

The unfortunate passing of Coach Valvasori would cast a cloud over the program in the following year. 

“Losing Joe was really, really hard on all of us. He was the best coach we’ve ever had and brought us all so much happiness. I found my fifth season really hard without him because every practice, game or film session was a reminder that he wasn’t with us anymore,” said Roberts.

The team stepped up and played the season in his honour. They made it to the second round of the OUA playoffs, where they fell short to the Western University Mustangs.

Unfortunately, Roberts was injured 11 games into the 2019 season, something which would bring a bittersweet end to her career as a Marauder. 

“I won't lie, it was definitely tough not getting to play on my seniors day or play alongside my teammates during our playoff run, but I wouldn't say my injury spoiled my final year. I was still able to play in over half our games and make memories I'll hold for a lifetime. My teammates were also all so supportive while I was in the hospital and recovering, which made the whole thing a lot easier on me,” said Roberts.

The end of her time on the field did not stop Roberts’s season with the team. Roberts was a strong presence on the sidelines and helped her squad in more ways than just competing through being there for her team. Her efforts to help her teammates regardless of her own position would help her earn the title of women’s soccer MVP by the end of the 2019-2020 season. Knowing she was able to make an impact regardless of her situation was an honour, and Roberts left McMaster on a high note.

As Roberts leaves this year, the program turns a new chapter. One of the more crucial leaders on the field is graduating and the team just announced the new head coach of the program, Miranda Wiley. There is a bittersweet feeling in the air. It is certainly the end of an era, but with new beginnings also comes hope.


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Photo C/O David Moll

By Jovan Popovic, Staff Writer

Another year is in the books for McMaster sports. While it was a little earlier than expected, it was a successful year nonetheless. Since so much happened, I suggest you strap in and tighten your seatbelts while I try to recap it all. 

Unfortunately, both the volleyball and wrestling teams were unable to finish their seasons. Growing concerns about COVID-19 led to many cancellations for McMaster athletics, but most sports were still able to get a full season in. 

The biggest winners from McMaster’s 2019-2020 sports teams include the football team, the women’s curling team, and the men’s cross country team, each finishing the year with great accomplishments and motivation for more. 

The football team managed to bring home the Yates cup, meaning they were the best team in the province! The Marauders managed to bring down the perennially tough University of Western Mustangs, who were the favourites to take home a fourth straight Yates cup. However, our Marauders successfully quelled the Mustangs’ thirst for the four peat, bringing home the cup for the eighth time in school history. 

Men's football team. Photo C/O David Moll.

Men's football team. Photo C/O David Moll.

Six players were named to the All-star teams, including superstar defensive back Noah Hallett, who became the first Marauder since 2016 to make the football first team All-Canadian. The team continued their journey to the Vanier cup, where they unfortunately ended their season with a semi-final loss to the University of Calgary Dinos, who went on to win the national championship. Following their excellent season, the Marauders ranked fourth in the nation, which is a significant jump from their ninth place rank last season. 

The women’s curling team was the next success story from the year, winning their first provincial title since 1995. The Marauders were the highest ranked team entering the tournament and lived up to the hype, beating the University of Queen’s Gaels with a score of seven to five in the finals. McMaster’s team went on to the national championship, where they placed fourth overall. In a hard fought rematch of the Ontario University Athletics finals, the Marauders lost to the Queen’s Gaels in the national tournament. Not only had the Marauders beat Queen’s in the provincial final, but also earlier in that same national tournament. Grace Lloyd was named a first team All-Canadian after the playoff run. 

As per usual, McMaster’s powerhouse cross country team showed up big, ranking as the second best team in the nation for the second straight year. The team managed to finish second overall in their annual U Sports tournament, only falling short to the Calgary Dinos, who successfully defended their title. Alex Drover and Max Turek were among McMaster’s top performers, finishing sixth and seventh, and both were named first team All-Canadians. 

For the women’s track team, team captain Caroline Forbes and first-year student Morgan McKeown dominated on the track. They became the first female track athletes to represent McMaster at nationals in the 3000 meter race since 2014. In the contest, McKeown finished ninth overall while Forbes just missed the top ten, nabbing 11th place.

The men’s wrestling team was yet another team that drew success this season, despite their season being cut short. After three silver medals and a bronze at the U Sports championships, the team looked great going into nationals. The tournament was cancelled due to concerns of spreading COVID-19, which was a necessary call to make. Unfortunately, the team was never able to put their skills on display at the national level. With that being said, it was still a successful season overall. 

Moving onto men’s volleyball, the program has been one of McMaster’s best for a long time and this season was no different. The team finished the season with a bronze medal in the OUA championship, sweeping the University of Guelph Gryphons in the final game of the OUA tournament. They had an outstanding regular season record of 16-2. Nathan Delguidice made the All-Canadian team, as well as the OUA first team, both of which were career firsts for him. Similar to men’s wrestling, the remainder of the season was cancelled. The team will have to wait another year to represent McMaster at the national level. 

Now, onto winter sports. The figure skating team finished off a strong season in third place after their championship tournament. This high performance year was mainly supported by standout skater Belvina Mao, who was the lone gold medalist for the team. 

In other winter sports news, Nordic skiing made its McMaster debut in 2019, marking this past year as the first for the school's newest sports team. The women’s team impressed with a fourth place finish with the help of Soren Meeuwisse’s strong performance, leading to her being named an OUA All-star! Placing fourth for the squad is an incredible feat for a brand new team. 

Nordic skiing. Photo C/O Mark Dewan.

Nordic skiing. Photo C/O Mark Dewan.

Marauders basketball proved to be exciting once again, despite no podium finishes. Both the men’s and women's teams ended up losing in the quarterfinal, with the women’s team losing to the number one seeded Western Mustangs, and the men losing to the number one seeded Carlton Ravens, who won the championships to continue their dynasty. Second year guard Jordan Henry continued to show his value as a young developing talent, earning OUA second team All-star honours. From the women’s team, Sarah Gates earned an OUA second team All-star nod and Christina Buttenham took home the defensive player of the year award. Unfortunately, the women’s team was unable to repeat the success of last season where they won the national championship, but this year was nonetheless great in it’s own right. The finish was significant, as the team will continue to gain experience and develop, looking to regain their championship form for years to come. 

The women’s rugby team is becoming quite familiar with the podium, as they earned their third straight bronze medal this season. They defeated the Brock Badgers 41-3 in the bronze medal game, earning them a 10th place ranking in the nation after being previously unranked. Katie McLeod and Taylor Price were both named OUA All-Stars after their strong performances this season. 

McMaster soccer saw the same results as basketball this season, with both the men’s and women’s teams being eliminated in the quarterfinals. Anand Sergeant maintained his status as an OUA West first team All-star for a second consecutive season, while the team captain Yordan Stoyanov, Dusan Kovacevic and Matt Monteiro were all named to the second team. Regarding the women’s team, Steph Roberts made the division's first team All-star group for her second straight season. On top of this, Hannah Chau-Stacey and Carling Goold were named to the second team.

It’s important we acknowledge the tragic loss of the team’s former head coach Joe Valvasori, who was not only an outstanding coach, but an essential part of our community. The adversity the women’s team showed this year was nothing short of remarkable. It’s safe to say that Valvasori would have certiainly been proud. 

The baseball season finished in the fall with the men losing in the semi-finals to the Laurier Golden Hawks, who went on to win the tournament. Despite being unable to place, the team had many significant accomplishments throughout the season, including outfielder Nik Motruk being named a co-recipient of the OUA’s Most Valuable Player award, as well as the sole winner of the top hitter award for the conference. Motruk also earned OUA first team All-star honours along with his teammate Michael Ong. Sliding over to women’s softball, the team managed to win the Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastpitch Association bronze medal this year. Emily Campbell was one of the team’s studs throughout the year, having won female athlete of the week earlier this year. 

Coach Quinn Fairley of the men’s water polo team won his second consecutive coach of the year award following his team's loss to Queen’s in the bronze medal round, earning them fourth place this season. This year’s award marks coach Fairley’s fifth in his career. Colin Colterjohn, the team’s star player, was named an All-star for the fifth time in his career as well. 

To cap it all off, Talia Ng of the badminton team shined this season, achieving an absurd undefeated record of seven wins and zero losses at the OUA championship, aiding the team in securing their fifth place finish in the tournament. Ng, being in her first year, is among many young athletes on the badminton team, whose talent will only mature in future years. McMaster is set to be a future powerhouse team in this sport, and will undoubtedly be a great team to watch for years to come. 

While the school year was cut short, it is important to focus on past successes, especially in troubling times like these. Hopefully the which are hopefully an indication of great things to come. All in all, it’s safe to say 2019-2020 was a successful year for McMaster sports across the board, which could be an indication of great years to come. We are certainly primed for a great year next year.


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Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor

As local businesses, schools and social gatherings face cancellations in response to the COVID-10 pandemic, major sports organizations have also been braving turbulent changes.

The four major national sports in North America — basketball, baseball, hockey and football — have all been greatly affected by the virus. The original plan was to have games continue, but not allow fans or unnecessary personnel near games.

In theory, this was a great idea; it would have allowed for play to continue and the multi-billion dollar industry to continue creating some revenue, such as through television ads. However, when the first pro athlete, Rudy Gobert, the center for the Utah Jazz, contracted the virus, this idea went out the window along with any hope of play to continue. After the NBA cancelled games, the rest of the sports world soon followed suit.

As the days progress, more professional athletes are testing positive for COVID-19. This has been attributed to athletes' consistent travels from city to city for games and practices, which makes them more susceptible to contracting the virus and spreading it. 

It has been suggested that the best way to mitigate exposure and transmission of the virus is for athletes to restrict travel and self-quarantine. 

When I read the reports of the National Basketball Association postponing its season for a minimum of 30 days, subject to change depending on the future state of the virus, and the National College Athletics Association ending all of its national tournaments for the year, I wondered how this may affect Canadian university sports. As updates and articles shared information about major sports leagues, the Ontario University Athletics and U Sports had yet to release statements on how they were going to factor the coronavirus into their decision-making.

University and college cancellations across Ontario began on March 12 and 13 with Western University, McMaster University, Mohawk College and others cancelling in-person classes and student events for the remainder of the semester. The U Sports association then followed suit, cancelling that weekends’ scheduled national championships in volleyball and hockey, but continuing with the curling championships.

U Sports’ championships require competing varsity teams to travel to chosen host locations. The volleyball championship was set to take place in Winnipeg and Calgary over the weekend of March 14 to 16 and the hockey championships to take place in Halifax and Charlottetown over that same weekend. 

Both of these tournaments were expecting teams from across the country to attend, from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island. This potentially heightened the risk of spreading the virus. To limit the spread of COVID-19, Canadians have been advised to avoid international non-essential travel; while the travel measures announced on March 16 did not include domestic flights, the situation is continuously changing from day to day. Recently, airlines such as Air Canada began suspending domestic flights. 

This begs the question of why the U Sports National Championships for curling were not cancelled. This tournament involved universities from all over the country such as McMaster University, University of Dalhousie and the University of Alberta, and took place the very same weekend as the aforementioned volleyball and hockey tournaments. 

At the time of writing this article, U Sports had yet to post any material on their social media to answer those questions or comment on why they made contradictory decisions to cancel volleyball and hockey tournaments, while continuing the curling championships. 

After having reached out to U Sports for a statement, John Bower of U Sports stated that the curling championships had been in line with government regulations at the time.

The total number of participants in the Curling championship was inferior to the 250 established by the Government of Manitoba on Thursday and therefore was allowed by the Province to continue and had begun prior to the cancellation of the hockey and volleyball championships,” said Bower. 

It is important to keep in mind that the volleyball championships, which were also planned to take place in Manitoba, and the hockey championships in Prince Edward Island were cancelled.

The following was the response to my questions about their tournament handlings:

As stated by Bower from U Sports.

While these precautions seemed to be adequate at the time of the curling tournament’s start date on March 10, the tournament would go on to see play for another five days. All the players and potential companions travelled in and out of the province over this time. 

The representative from U Sports said that Curling Canada was able to guarantee a safe and secure environment for the curling championships to take place. As we have seen the pandemic continue to spread, it seems that it would have been very difficult to guarantee anything. The tournament should have been shut down.

The U Sports national championships was not alone in the building. The event coincided with the Senior Men’s and Women’s Championships, the Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Championships and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA)/Curling Canada Championships. 

The amount of people at any given time in the arena might have been under the mandated 250 person limit, but this limit became quickly outdated as the Centre for Disease Control lowered the limit to no more than 50 people just one day after the tournament finished on March 16. Considering the curling teams, general fans and family members that were in attendance, it is unlikely that this limit was adhered to during the tournament. 

The first red flag was that this tournament was continued while the other national tournaments were cancelled. The second red flag was that there was no postponing or cancelling as the tournament progressed. Just as COVID-19 spread across the country, the red flags spread across this event. 


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c/o Valerie Wutti

Reading week is a time for catching up. Whether studying or on Netflix, hopefully you spent your reading week well—the Marauders sure did. Some of the highlights include several U Sports championships, dominant regular season performances and playoff berths being secured over reading week. Here is what you missed:

Men’s Volleyball

The men’s volleyball team has been on a tear as of late, notching their 13th straight win as they progress to 15-1 on the season. The Western University Mustangs stood no chance on Feb. 21 as they were swept in straight sets. The only time the Mustangs had a glimpse of a win was in the second set, where they lost by only two points. Other than that the Marauders won every other set by at least six points.

Some of the top performers were box score regulars Craig Ireland, Nathan Delguidice and Matt Passalent. Ireland lead the team with 15 kills, an ace and a block to end of the day with the W. The Marauders are currently sitting at a staggering .938 winning percentage on the season so far. 

They took on the Windsor Lancers on Feb. 22 and came off with additional win before heading to the Forsyth Cup, the OUA quarter finals. The team has built up an impressive 14 game winning momentum that will hopefully lead to an ace of a performance during the quickly approaching playoffs.


The basketball championship run has started. Both the men’s and women’s teams have entered the first round of the playoffs. 

The men’s team took over Burridge as the Brock University Badgers desperately tried to hold onto their playoff hopes. However, the Marauders had an immense defensive stand in the second quarter, holding Brock to only nine points, helping McMaster widen a gap that the Badgers could not fill. The Marauders are now on their way to our national capital to take on the Carleton Ravens in the next round of the playoffs.

The women’s team also clinched a quarterfinal appearance as they toppled the University of Guelph Gryphons in the first round of the OUA playoffs. Mac was a favourite coming into the season, as they are coming off a national championship win. With the last regular season win against an incredibly tough Ottawa University Gee-Gee’s team, the Marauders entered the post-season with strong momentum to take over the first round against the Gryphons. The grey and maroon headed to London to take on the University of Western Mustangs in the next round.

Unfortunately both the Marauders and the Mustangs lost in the OUA quarterfinals, putting an unfortunate end to an otherwise impressive showing by both squads.

[pjc_slideshow slide_type="what-you-missed-in-sports"]



U Sports Championships

The men’s and women’s wrestling squads were heading into the U Sports national championships hot after having completed an impressive showing at the OUA championships. 

Ben Zahra was the man to watch going into the tournament as he was McMaster’s most competitive force at OUA Championships, winning the gold medal and accolade of the year’s best wrestler. As he entered into the total match, Marauders were on the edge of their seats as the match was tight all the way through. 

Unfortunately, the decision was a close loss to Concordia’s Guseyn Ruslanzada with 5-4 as the final judge decision. This close match was not uncommon for Zahra, as he has regularly taken on the nation’s top talents and fought until the bitter end. His Silver medal at nationals is still an immense accomplishment.

There were another three medals won on the weekend, with Connor Quinton and Ameen Agdhamirian also coming away with silvers in their respective weight classes. The last medalist on the day was second-year wrestler Francesco Fortino who grabbed a bronze medal in the 57kg weight class.

Fortino looks to be the bright future of the program as he absolutely dominated his opponent with a 10-0 victory over Harris Valdes of the Alberta Golden Bears. Being only in his second year and delivering a powerful performance at nationals bodes very well for his future in the grey and maroon.

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Photo C/O Zack Jones

The McMaster cross country team had an exceptional run during the fall and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down during their track season. At the Eastern Michigan Can-Am meet on Jan. 25, the top six athletes were McMaster Marauders.

Yes. You read that right.  At the top of the podium was none other than Alex Drover. Drover finished the three-kilometre race within eight minutes, 14 seconds and 60 milliseconds, four whole seconds ahead of second-place finisher Sergio Raez-Villanueva. Drover achieved the second-fastest time this season of any runner for a three-kilometre race, and his performance earned him the title of the male Pink’s athlete of the week. 

In preparing for a race, not only does Drover have to focus on the physical aspects of competing such as training and eating well, but he also has to prepare mentally.

“Preparing for a race long term is about consistent training. Doing everything you can, sleeping, hydrating, eating properly. [. . .] Just getting your mind in the right place, going into a race with a lot of confidence is important and knowing you can race with a lot of the top guys who are there has been one of the biggest changes to my mental preparation,” Drover said. 

Alex Drover - Cross Country/Distance Track

Alex Drover

Diet and what you eat can be huge makes a big difference in sports, as it influences not only for health, and performance and endurance but it can also help increase your longevity. Drover has some particularly interesting insight on his diet and why it helps him. While Drover pays attention to his eating habits, he does not restrict himself too heavily.

“More than specific eating habits it’s more than just eating a generally healthy diet throughout and not deviating too much from it. Not to say I won’t have a dessert, I think it’s worse for you than anything to restrict your diet too much to the point where you’re obsessing over it. A specific thing I eat before races, beets are a good one, the nitrates help open up the blood vessels supposedly. So yea, there’s your fun fact,” Drover laughs.

Whatever Drover’s doing has clearly been working for him, as he has consistently been one of the team’s top performers. Drover finished fifth at the U Sports cross country national championship earlier in the year, which put a huge test on his mental game. 

“At the U sports championships in cross country this past year, I fell twice during the race. Once on the first two and a half kilometre lap and once on the last lap. The first lap I fell we were probably 800 meters in the race and at that point, there’s still a bunch of people around so falling can put you twenty or thirty spots back,” said Drover. 

The ability to stand back up and continue to push through adversity has long been a defining characteristic of top athletes. Drover’s ability to pick himself back up during that race, and then finish within the top five, is part of why he’s one of Mac’s absolute best runners.

Although he placed first at the Can-Am meet, Drover is setting his sights even further. The David Hemery Valentine Invite, taking place in Boston on Feb. 8 and 9, is renowned for its extremely high level of competition. Drover noted that all of the Marauders on the track team have been preparing for a long time and are looking to set some personal bests at the meet. 

The cross country/track team has been outstanding this year, and there is no indication that they’re slowing down. Nabbing the top six spots at their most recent meet is the type of dominance that is almost out of a fairytale. They’ll be facing their top competition yet at the David Hemery Valentine Invite in early February, but it wouldn’t be a long shot to expect to see at least one of our Marauders repping on the podium. 


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Photo C/O Brandon Vandecaveye / Western Mustangs

On Nov. 9, the McMaster Marauders beat the Western Mustangs 29-15. This marks the eighth Yates Cup win in school history and will hopefully lead to the fifth Vanier Cup appearance for McMaster, although the Marauders will have to get through the University of Calgary Dinos first. 

Although it was a big win for the school, we wish a speedy and full recovery for Mustangs’ quarterback Chris Merchant, who left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Merchant was the league’s Most Valuable Player this year and had a phenomenal season leading Western to an undefeated regular season.

The game was won in old school football fashion, with a strong run game and even better defensive play. With 37 rushing attempts for 123 yards, the Marauders were able to dominate time of possession at 34 minutes and 30 seconds out of a total game time of 60 minutes. In addition to their successful run game, the team upheld the old saying “defence wins championships”. The Marauders’ defence held Western’s high flying offence to just nine yards in the second quarter. The Marauders also had two safeties, six sacks, two recovered fumbles, two interceptions and a blocked punt. 

In addition to their successful run game, the team upheld the old saying “defence wins championships”. The Marauders’ defence held Western’s high flying offence to just nine yards in the second quarter. The Marauders also had two safeties, six sacks, two recovered fumbles, two interceptions and a blocked punt. 

Stunning stat at the #YatesCup: @WesternMustangs had 9 yards of offence in the second quarter. #HamOnt #OUA @McMasterSports

— Scott Radley (@radleyatthespec) November 9, 2019

No game can be perfect. In particular, the Marauders had three turnovers in the first quarter. Retaining possession of the ball will be a key factor in the Mitchell Bowl, the game they play this Saturday Nov. 16 which is the precursor to the Vanier Cup, where they play the Calgary Dinos. The Marauders won’t be able to get away with that many turnovers in one quarter on the higher stage. Calgary’s defence has been a force all season and they held the University of Saskatchewan Huskies to just four points in the Hardy Cup, the final game of the Canada West division. 

The University of Calgary will undoubtedly be a tough opponent, as they boast an undefeated home record this season. The game will be played at McMahon Stadium, on the Dinos’ home turf. The odds are certainly stacked against us as no Ontario University Athletics team has won a bowl game out West since 1968.

The odds are certainly stacked against us as no Ontario University Athletics team has won a bowl game out West since 1968.

If the maroon and grey beat the Dinos, then it will mark their first Vanier Cup appearance since 2014, where they lost by only one point to the University of Montreal Carabins. If the Marauders win against Calgary, then they will play the winners of the Uteck Bowl, which will be either the University of Acadia Axemen or the University of Montreal Carabins. The Uteck Bowl and Mitchell Bowl are essentially the semi-finals leading up to the Vanier Cup, where the top teams from the different conferences will take turns hosting and visiting.  

The Marauders have prospered under head coach Stefan Ptaszek. He has been the head coach for the team  in their past three out of four Vanier Cup appearances. In other words, Ptaszek has been influential in three-quarters of the Marauders’ Vanier Cup appearances. Not only is Ptaszek a prolific coach, but he was also an outstanding player. Ptaszek remains the current all-time leader in receiving yards for the University of Laurier Golden Hawks and played in the Canadian National Football league from 1995-2000, as a player, and from 2016-2017 as an offensive coordinator and receivers coach. 

On Nov. 16 we play the Dinos for a Vanier Cup bid, where two of the best defences in Canada will battle for a place in the history books. 


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Photo C/O

When many professional athletes finish their careers, they struggle with how to use their skills and knowledge to make a living. For former National Hockey League forward T.J. Galiardi, his path after hockey involved co-founding and becoming the chief marketing officer of TDF Sports, a sports nutrition company that McMaster has recently partnered up with. The partnership will provide McMaster athletes with TDF Sports’ supplements. TDF Sports specializes in plant-based and vegan supplements, such as protein powder, creatine and multivitamins. 

Galiardi played for the Colorado Avalanche, the Winnipeg Jets, the Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks. When asked whether he had relied on plant-based supplements, Galiardi mentioned that he had started using them late in his career, due to the fact that plant-based supplements were not widely available available or were unappetizing. 

“Later in my career, I did my best to stomach most of the plant-based proteins on the market but that was not easy as most made me want to gag! It took us almost 2 years to formulate a plant-based protein that we were happy with the flavour and texture — Plant-Strong Protein is a product we are very proud of,” Galiardi added, in reference to one of TDF Sports’ protein powders.

The benefits of plant-based diets are well-documented. They have been shown to help with weight loss, potentially prevent and help manage diabetes and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. However, not all individuals will experience the same effects on their health, which is why it is important to take all study conclusions with a grain of salt. 

A common argument against relying on plant-based supplements or diets (for example, the vegan diet) is that they lack necessary nutrients compared to animal-based supplements or diets. These micronutrients include, but are not limited to, calcium, vitamin B12, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. For example, a lower proportion of the iron in kidney beans, spinach, cashews and other plant-based foods will enter our circulation compared to the iron in meat. However, the American Diabetic Association reported that a plant-based diet can meet iron requirements. 

On the other hand, vitamin B12, a key nutrient for our blood and cells, is difficult to obtain without consuming animal-based products. Therefore, additional supplementation would likely be necessary when on a vegan diet. Mistakenly, many people believe that protein, a key macronutrient, is also lacking in plant-based supplements diets. Galiardi had strong words towards those that believe this.

Get on Google and look at all of the most up to date studies that prove this wrong,” Galiardi said. 

Brown rice and beans, whole wheat bread, quinoa and other plant-based foods can provide adequate protein for an individual if properly incorporated into one’s diet. 

A key unique element that Galiardi believes sets TDF Sports apart from other supplement companies is that they try to take an eco-friendly approach through a sustainable production system. 

“It is our goal to reduce food waste in North America, and to achieve this we divert near end-of-life produce that would have normally been wasted and divert it to our facility to be converted into nutrient dense powders which we use in our supplements,” Galiardi added. 

Galiardi is trying to lead by example by creating sustainable products. He hopes that this will encourage others to lead a more eco-friendly life. 

Plant-based diets have been growing in popularity among athletes and the general public alike. In support of this, and as a result of the growing popularity, there is more research being done on how plant-based diets can sufficiently provide the nutrients that athletes need to perform at a high level. Whether this trend will continue remains to be seen, although Galiardi believes that it will. 

“I believe that this trend will continue to grow as more athletes make the switch to plant-based diets . . . ” Galiardi added, “Earlier this month a movie was released called The Game Changers featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and other elite plant-based athletes that highlights the benefits of plant-based diets for athletes. It is movies and icons like these who will help to push the movement even further, and I expect to see even more high-level athletes make the switch.”

Galiardi extends the philosophy behind TDF Sports to his personal life. Having been vegan for five years, Galiardi sees it as a lifestyle change that has many benefits and is not too difficult for most people to pick up. 

“I’ve been vegan for over five years now and the fact of the matter is, it’s not that hard if you put a little bit of thought and effort into your meals. There are restaurants all over the world with plant-based options and the category as a whole has grown significantly in the last three years and continues to do so at a rapid pace,” Galiardi said.

An area where TDF’s  plant-based supplements shine is in filling the nutritional gaps for athletes and individuals. It can be difficult to keep a balanced diet with all the stressors of life, especially as a student-athlete. 

“Many plant-based supplements contain a wide variety of healthy greens, fruits and/or other vegetables which provide an abundance of nutrients that many athletes lack in their diets. Although whole foods are where we should be getting the majority of our nutrients from, plant-based supplements will provide additional nutrients that an athlete may not be consuming enough of,” Galiardi mentioned. 

Many former professional athletes can lose their footing after they retire. This could be due to a lack of direction or a resistance to adopting a certain lifestyle, but these obstacles did not stop Galiardi. The transition to business was rather smooth for him because he was excited to embark on a new path. 

“By the time I retired, I was definitely ready to test my skills at something new so the transition was not that difficult. That being said, I was lucky enough to partner with Dr. Burke who has helped my transition from sport to business immensely,” Galiardi added.

Dr. Burke is the co-founder and chief executive officer of TDF Sports. 

“Dr. Burke and I were blessed to have great first careers, his with a successful business and mine with hockey. We wanted to create a business that made a difference for the customers and the planet,” Galiardi said.

A partnership with TDF Sports could be beneficial for McMaster as well as our athletes. Last week, we took a look at supplements and how effective they are. It is important to make sure we remain educated on supplements and the effects they have on us and our bodies. 


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