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Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Celebrating Ryerson’s stand-out athletes of the year
For extra content, complete galleries and to vote for your favourite athlete, visit www.theeyeopener.com
By Josh Beneteau
There’s really nothing like a hockey dad. They tie your skates, build you rinks and teach you everything you know about the game. For Jamie Wise, it even meant being the water boy for the York University Lions, getting to ride the team bus and spending as much time at the rink as he could. But by coaching at York, Jamie’s father, Graham Wise, was mostly with the team and wasn’t home as much as he wishes he had been. “It’s probably something I regret,” Graham says. “You look back on it and that’s one thing I tell young coaches right now with families — is you really have to balance it because it goes by so quick.” It was Jamie’s mother Sue — a former track and ﬁeld coach at York — who would drive her two sons to practice and games. She had to take a teaching position in the kinesiology department and stop coaching track and ﬁeld so that she could spend time getting her sons where they needed to be. But she could tell early on that Jamie was going to be a great hockey player. “He was athletic and saw the game well,” she says. “He was passionate about the sport.” After 19 years with the York Lions, Graham made the move to Ryerson in 2006. So when Sue found out Jamie would be joining the Rams, she was very excited. She says she tries to go to as many games as she can and is glad they are ﬁnding success together. “It’s special to see them both reaching their goals,” she says. “I know it’s been a long, hard road with Ryerson and this was a really fun year.” Graham just ﬁnished his eighth season with the Rams and Jamie his ﬁrst. Together they
PHOTO: FARNIA FEKRI
have created a very strong team — leading Ryerson’s men’s hockey team to their best regular season record, 17-11-0, good for third in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) west division. Jamie says he was happy to be able to go through this historic season with his father. “It was good for [dad] to turn around Ryerson,” Jamie says. “Ryerson used to get two wins a season, so it’s good to do it with him.” Jamie has seemingly found his place at Ryerson as the team’s top scorer and the secondleading scorer in the country. With 21 goals this season, his teammates agree that he has proven himself on the ice and is more than just the ‘coach’s son.’ Outgoing captain Andrew Buck says Jamie leads by example more than anything else. “Obviously he’s a really good player, but he doesn’t act like it,” Buck says. “He’s a pretty humble guy and he really wants to win.” Graham and Jamie both emphasize the importance of keeping their relationship professional when around the team. They agree that to be successful, Jamie has to be treated like any other guy on the team. “When we’re in the environment of the team, then it is a coach-player relationship. When we’re at home, it’s a father-son relationship,” Graham says. “We probably watch more golf together [than hockey].” Although the Rams lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Lakehead University Thunderwolves, both Jamie and Graham were recognized by the OUA for their accomplishments. Graham was named OUA West coach of the year and Jamie was named a ﬁrst-team all-star.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
By Monique Hutson
It was 8:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 23 when Keneca PingueGiles decided to pick up and go to Winnipeg. After throwing some clothes into a backpack, she hailed a cab and had just about an hour to make it to Toronto Pearson International Airport to catch her 10:30 p.m. ﬂight. In the car, she took to her iPhone, frantically trying to book a ticket online. She says it was the most spontaneous thing she has ever done. On the court, she’s Ryerson’s star guard. But off the court, she is a big sister — a big sister who bought a $400 plane ticket to Manitoba so that she could surprise her 15-year-old sister, who is on her high school’s varsity basketball team and had a provincial championship game the next day. “She ran up to me and she started crying and I started crying and it was just a super-nice moment. I’m really glad that I went,” Pingue-Giles says. “And I know she appreciated having her older sister there to support her.” Thirty-ﬁve hours later she was back on a plane to Toronto. The third-year criminal justice student and aspiring lawyer strives to support others the way she was supported on her journey to becoming the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) all-star that she is today. “This is my ﬁrst year being injury-free so I actually had the opportunity to show all my talents this season… but [being an OUA all-star] was something I wasn’t even expecting,” PingueGiles says. “If I can go to practice and be as efﬁcient as possible and get shots up and help my team, then it’s a success to me whether we win or lose.” Pingue-Giles achieved career highs in almost every statistical category this season — leading the team with 12.9 points per game and more than doubling her rebounds. Born in Winnipeg to parents of Caribbean descent, PingueGiles realized that she loved basketball when she was 10 years old. She was enrolled in the Boys and Girls Club of Canada — an elementary afterschool program that organizes various activities for children, like time for gym and help with homework. She thanks former volunteer George Bain Pacolba for sparking her interest in basketball. “Anytime we had to do something sports-wise, I would always go to George. He was the basketball guy and would help me no matter what,” she says. “Even if just the boys wanted to play, he would make them play with me... he was like the older brother of the group.” Pingue-Giles spent eight years in the Boys and Girls Club and volunteered for four years after leaving elementary school. In 2011, she was invited by former Rams coach Charles Kissi to attend training camp and received a basketball scholarship to attend Ryerson in the fall. But she still keeps volunteering close to her heart. The day after a three-point loss to University of Toronto on Feb. 19 — the team’s ﬁrst and ﬁnal playoff game of the season — the team was scheduled to hold a basketball clinic at Island Public School in Toronto to work with younger students and teach them drills. Some players were reluctant to go, still upset from the previous night’s game, but Pingue-Giles focused on “just helping out the kids.” The team worked with Grade 2 students, who were assigned to each draw a picture of their role model. Little did she know that one student would decide to draw her. “I had only spent a couple of hours with her and I was already her role model,” PingueGiles says. “It just shows the power that sport can have on someone, physically and academically. You learn skills that you can use forever.” Pingue-Giles says it was her proudest moment off the court.
PHOTO: FARNIA FEKRI
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
By Nitish Bissonauth
PHOTOS BY JESS TSANG
Representing Ryerson is a routine Lisa Makeeva has been gracefully doing since day one. In her rookie season as a Ram, Makeeva won an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) gold medal in the gold free skate event and she’s been medalling every year since. In her third year with the Rams, Makeeva is without a doubt an important ﬁgure for the program — winning gold, silver and bronze in three events at the 2013–14 OUAs held at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. Makeeva’s journey to success started only a few blocks away at Moss Park Arena. “When I was ﬁve, my mother decided to take me to a public skating session and I guess I liked it enough to keep coming back every week,” she says. Both of Makeeva’s parents were athletes, so it was important that she became involved in some kind of sport. She explored ballet and rhythmic gymnastics for several years before eventually sticking to skating. “Just like most kids attend school and don’t really question it, skating was just another part of my daily routine and something I enjoyed doing,” Makeeva says. “As I got older, I began to take it more seriously.” She trained at the Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie, Ont. and at the age of 14, she got the opportunity to train in St. Petersburg, Russia — which she describes as one of the best things that happened to her through skating. “Through this experience I got to learn more about the Russian culture and train with some of the best coaches in the world,” she says. “It was a rewarding three years, but at the same
time it was very challenging to be away from my family at the age of 14.” Makeeva says she was lucky to be surrounded by supportive friends who welcomed her into their families while she was in Russia. “My life now does not revolve around skating as it used to in the past,” she says. “Having said that, without skating, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and it deﬁnitely taught me some of my most important life lessons.” Like most athletes, Makeeva has a secret to her success on the ice. A stuffed toy elephant on skates follows her in her skating bag everywhere she goes. As for the signiﬁcance, she says there is no special meaning behind it, just that elephants bring her good luck. “Elephants are just sort of my good luck charm and people [who] know me well tend to give me elephant gifts,” she says. Makeeva also likes to drink coffee and eat dark chocolate the day of competition, and right before she hits the ice she drinks something citrus to wake herself up. It may not be the usual pre-competition diet — especially for a nutrition and food student — but it does the trick and will continue to do so since she doesn’t plan om walking away from skating anytime soon. Makeeva says she will be skating for the Rams in her fourth year and then continuing to work as a coach after she graduates. “Having a clean skate and landing all your triples after so many years of practice is a great feeling.”
If you ask Rams basketball player Jean-Victor Mukama to share the secret to his award-winning season, he won’t give you shooting tips or training advice. He’ll tell you it started with an attitude adjustment. “I think my strength right now is I’m willing to learn from anybody,” Mukama says. “I had times when I would be stubborn and pick and choose who I would listen to. But since I’ve been [at Ryerson], I’m way more humble, I’m way more willing to listen to anybody.” The 19-year-old shooting guard says it was this change that helped lead him to becoming the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East rookie of the year. Mukama appeared in all 22 conference games for the Rams this season, starting in six of them while averaging 16.5 minutes per game and racking up 145 points and 66 rebounds. His 26 steals and 10 blocks were also good enough for ranking second and fourth on the team, respectively. Those statistics are indicative of the commitment that the Quebec native admits he lacked during his high school basketball days at École secondaire Académie catholique MèreTeresa, a Catholic French-immersion school in Hamilton, Ont. “I was just kind of standing around,
pretending to play it was offence, I w cent,” Mukama say habits under Ryers Rana’s defence-foc But Mukama that the advantag foot-eight frame g guards doesn’t hu standing there, it shot,” he says. “T because they can’t times. When I pu even worse.” Mukama is now his listed height f of the season, but such a pace. He e he entered high sc ﬁve-foot-nine. By was six-foot-six an ing to take notice o One of those peo is also a coach wi nior men’s nationa Mukama when he out for the squad didn’t make that cluded the likes o and Tyler Ennis w 2014 National Ba (NBA) drafts — developed with Ra helped make Ryer of choice over a n and American scho
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
By Daniel Rocchi
By Tristan Simpson
y defence and when would play 100 per ys. He outgrew these son head coach Roy cused system. also acknowledges ge his towering sixgives him over other urt either. “Just by changes someone’s They want to shoot ’t see the rim someut my hand up it’s
w an inch taller than from the beginning t he’s no stranger to estimates that when chool, he was about the time he left, he nd people were startof his play. ople was Rana, who ith the Canadian jual team. He ﬁrst met e invited him to try d. Though Mukama team — which inof Andrew Wiggins who have entered the asketball Association the relationship he ana during that time rson his destination number of Canadian ools.
“He’s committed, he works hard, he loves the game and does it the right way — very respectful, very polite,” Rana says. “He’s a high-character kid, the kind of kid you want in your program.” Mukama is in the ﬁrst year of a child and youth care degree, a program he ﬁrst heard about while struggling to decide what to do after high school. He isn’t certain where it will take him, but he’s conﬁdent that it’s a natural ﬁt for his philanthropic aspirations. “I don’t know for sure what I’m going to do, but I know it has to do with helping the community and helping kids,” he says. “Even if I don’t play basketball [or] even if I play pro, I’m going to have a good impact on the community wherever I am, helping people.” In the meantime Mukama has his sights set on next season, when Ryerson hosts the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) men’s basketball championships. As the host team, the Rams will automatically qualify for the tournament in what will be the ﬁnal season for many of the team’s veterans. Mukama is eager to repay the teammates who have helped him grow on and off the court. “We have to do everything we can to make sure they leave with a national championship,” he says.
Julie Longman is similar to the Incredible Hulk. No, the ﬁve-foot seven-inch libero doesn’t turn green and smash every competitor on the wrong side of the net, but she says, “The Hulk would represent me because off the court I’m small [but] when I’m on the court I have a big presence.” A libero specializes in defensive skills and wears a contrasting jersey colour from his or her teammates. They are not allowed to block or attack the ball when it is entirely above the net and they can replace any back-row player without prior notice to the ofﬁcials. The women’s volleyball team has only two liberos on its roster. “As the libero, I take control of the backcourt,” Longman says. “I enjoy the challenge. You have to pass the ball perfectly every time.” Longman’s pre-game routine is to get mentally prepared by listening to Eminem tracks. “The old stuff, not the new stuff,” says says. The Newmarket-native is an in-
tegral part of Ryerson’s women’s volleyball team. Her 3.79 digs per game average leads the team and ranks seventh in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA). She was also named the OUA East libero of the year and selected as a member of the all-rookie team. But she admits that she wasn’t expecting the challenge. “Not once was I told I was going to be our starting libero,” she says. Longman started playing competitive volleyball in grade school and had the chance to watch Ryerson’s women’s volleyball team play in her ﬁnal year of high school. “I remember watching them play last year and I liked the dynamics and how they played together,” she says. After head coach Dustin Ried approached her to join the Rams, “It’s been all Ryerson [ever since].” But her success on the court hasn’t always transferred to her academics. Longman says the transition to university from high school was her biggest obstacle. “School is not my specialty, but I
know I have to work hard in it to be successful,” the ﬁrst-year economics and ﬁnance student said. Longman wanted to succeed in all aspects of her time at Ryerson, so she changed her work ethic completely. Now she prides herself on being able to produce in both athletics and academics. “I knew coming in my ﬁrst year I would have to prove myself in school before I can play,” she says. Longman has a strong determination to achieve her goals. The season is over, but Longman says she won’t stop working. This summer she plans to play beach volleyball with her teammates to continue developing her game. Unlike indoor volleyball, the beach game will require her to dig and spike — which could be the chance for her innerHulk to start smashing. “Outside of volleyballl I think people would think I’m boring,” she says. But if Longman ever did have to stop playing volleyball, she says her life would be simple — “just work hard and make money.”
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
By Sarah Cunningham-Scharf
Adam Anagnostopoulos came into his rookie season on Ryerson’s men’s volleyball team with a couple of lofty goals: to receive the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) men’s volleyball rookie of the year award and to be named to both the OUA and Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) allrookie all-star team. The driven 19-year-old knew he’d have to work hard to carve out his role as the team’s starting setter in order to get the playtime needed to achieve those goals. Not only did he accomplish all of this, but he was named assistant captain and led his team to the ﬁnal four in the OUA men’s volleyball playoffs. Anagnostopoulos says that ﬁnding out he had achieved these recognitions was a relief. “For me, my goals push me but they kind of weigh on my shoulders at the same time. I was happy when my coach told me [about receiving rookie of the year] before the quarter-ﬁnals. He did the same thing with the CIS team before the semiﬁnals and that was another load off.” From his warm personality, you wouldn’t expect the blondehaired Anagnostopoulos to be a competitive person, but he’s been an athlete for most of his life. He grew up loving basketball, but in Grade 9 he attended a Kitchener-Waterloo Predators competitive volleyball club tryout for fun. Afterwards, thencoach Barrett Schitka convinced Anagnostopoulos to stick with volleyball. “The ﬁrst thing he said to me was ‘I’m going to change your mind about basket-
ball,’” Anagnostopoulos says. Now, Anagnostopoulos is Ryerson’s OUA and CIS all-star setter — leading the OUA with 441 total assists and ranking fourth in assists per game with an average of 9.59. But even Ryerson’s best can have bad — and sometimes embarrassing — days on the court. “We have a team policy that if you ever serve it under the net, you have to pull down your shorts and make your next serve. And everyone starts clapping and everyone’s obviously looking at you,” he says. “I had to do that at Royal Military College — it isn’t the place to do that.” While he has fun with his team, one of the biggest factors in Anagnostopoulos’s decision to attend Ryerson and play for the Rams was the draw of the creative industries program. He is adamant that his focus should, ﬁrst and foremost, be on his education. “I likely won’t be playing volleyball in four years. We’re student athletes and the student comes ﬁrst,” he says. After achieving — and surpassing — his goals for his ﬁrst season as a Ram, Anagnostopoulos is looking forward to his next three years on the team. “As a team, I think we can go all the way — top four in Canada, we have the talent,” he says. “For myself, I’d obviously like to make ﬁrst or second-team allstar. And I hope I can keep that [starting setter] position next year, that’s my goal.”
PHOTO: MARISSA DEDERER
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
By Daniel Morand
PHOTO: FARNIA FEKRI
Jahmal Jones and Aaron Best may be the Rams’ leading scorers, but don’t expect to ﬁnd them in a club popping bottles after a big win or at a restaurant discussing the victory over eight-ounce steaks. After each game, the due are back on the court for up to an hour taking jump shots and focusing on what matters most — basketball. It’s a routine that gives the teammates-turned-roommates peace of mind. “As an athlete, it’s always nice to know that you’re always prepared,” Best says. “It’s a precautionary method. It’s something that you get into the groove of doing and it became a ritual.” With a 17-3 record in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference games, it’s hard to blame Jones and Best for enjoying their time on home court. Both have been named OUA all-stars and this season saw Jones become the second-leading scorer in Ryerson history, averaging 19.1 points per game. Jones was also named to the OUA ﬁrst-team all-star team for the third time in his career. Best’s scoring ability this season was second only to Jones — averaging more than 10 points per game. While they have found success together as Rams, their relationship extends years before either considered Ryerson as their post-secondary school of choice. At 15 years old, Best played alongside Jones in the Ontario basketball development program. Years later, the friendship they developed on the court as teenagers helped inﬂuence Best to join the Rams basketball team with as long-time teammate was Ryerson’s starting point-guard. From the get-go, their chemistry in the Rams basketball program was obvious. In Best’s second game as a Ram, Jones jokingly taunted the rookie to showcase his high-ﬂying talents. “I want a dunk from you, I
want a dunk from you,” Jones teased. Best made good on the request and bested a George Brown College player with a one-handed dunk — Jones was the ﬁrst to run over to him and celebrate. “When I came here, he was one of the ﬁrst guys to really show me the ropes,” Best says. “He’s deﬁnitely someone who leads by example and I look to him for that.” Since Jones embraced his leadership role as Ryerson’s starting pointguard, he and Best have led the Rams from OUA bottom-dwellers to being nationally ranked. In Jones and Best’s ﬁrst year playing together, the Rams ﬁnished second in the OUA East — the best conference ﬁnish in over 20 years. When playing together, the pair thrive in transition. The point-guard ﬁnds Best sprinting up court to attack the rim. That cookie-cutter play is tough to handle for even the quickest of defences and has been repeated countless times this season. The duo laughs off comparisons to Batman and Robin. Yet, their friendship has all the makings of a leader-apprentice dynamic. “I’m the bad cop,” Jones says of his relationship with his teammate. “[But] sometimes you got to reel him in and tell him ‘its alright, you’re still growing, you’re going to make mistakes.’” The Canadian Interuniversity Sports Final 8 will take place at the Mattamy Athletic Centre next year in what is Jones’s ﬁnal season as a Ryerson Ram. Coach Roy Rana is looking to improve his team’s thirdplace ﬁnish in the OUA East, and Jones wants to deliver Ryerson its ﬁrst-ever national championship. “Knowing that nationals is in our backyard, we have no excuses,” Jones says. “I guess teams will see what we really have to offer in front of our friends, family and school.”
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
By Michael Grace-Dacosta
PHOTO: NATALIA BALCERZAK
Realizing that he is about to be surrounded by Nipissing University defenders in the third game of the season, Alex Braletic decides to launch a shot from well outside the box. The opposing keeper never stood a chance against the brilliance of Braletic. The ﬁfth-year midﬁelder saved his best season for last — scoring 13 goals in the regular season before leading the Rams to nationals for the ﬁrst time in the program’s history. Braletic also became Ryerson’s ﬁrst athlete in any sport to win a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) most outstanding player award. For most athletes, winning MVP is the highlight of their career. For Braletic, it’s just an afterthought. “I look back at the season I had and just think, ‘We made it to nationals, we had an undefeated season and had a great time,’” he says. But like some athletes before him, Braletic’s academic struggles jeopardized his athletic dreams. In his second year with the Rams, Braletic — one of the men’s soccer team’s most valuable players — was strapped to the bench as a gloriﬁed water boy for the entire season because he failed to maintain the 2.0 GPA required of student athletes at Ryerson. Even during the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarter-ﬁnal game against the University of Toronto that ended the Rams’ 2011–12 season, Braletic was forced to sit out. “I deﬁnitely thought the loss was avoidable if I had played. I felt terrible, absolutely terrible,” he says. Braletic ﬁnished the 2011 Spring semester with a 1.84 GPA while studying electrical engineering. Braletic says he skipped most of his classes because he was focusing on soccer and felt that he could still pass his classes even if he didn’t show up. But Braletic’s outlook on life and academics changed after a heart-to-heart talk with head coach and director of athletics Ivan Joseph. He says their conversation made him realize that there’s more to life than soccer and he was wasting an opportunity to receive a higher education by not trying his best in all aspects of his life. Joseph says Braletic needed someone to challenge him and not let him slip through the academic cracks just because he’s a talented soccer player. “He was cheating himself. He’s probably one of the smartest guys I’ve
ever coached,” Joseph says. After that discussion Braletic did everything to get back on the ﬁeld. He attended all of his classes, submitted assignments on time and started studying for tests well in advance. His hard work paid off — by the end of the 2012 Winter semester Braletic’s GPA was 3.0. But he also made sure his soccer skills stayed sharp during his time away from the ﬁeld. Braletic continued to be a part of the team as an assistant coach, went to every practice and game that didn’t conﬂict with class, worked out six hours a day and played in three competitive men’s leagues outside of school. Braletic could also be found embarrassing defenders while wearing a ﬂuorescent pink tank top and matching headband in Ryerson’s intramural soccer league at the Recreation and Athletic Centre. Now Braletic is on pace to graduate next year. His grades have never been higher and his performance on the ﬁeld has never been better. But Braletic’s leadership is the biggest change his coaches noticed. “The piece he was always missing was the ability to lead,” Joseph says. “Not for the recognition or the crowd but for the desire to make people around him better.” In the 49th minute of the Rams’ ﬁnal regular season match against Laurentian University, Braletic buries the ball deep inside his opponent’s net from a kick just outside the box. But instead of ﬂexing or hugging his teammates like he usually does to celebrate, he takes off his jersey and reveals that he’s wearing a second one. The other jersey belonged to fellow Rams midﬁelder Martin Dabrowski, who couldn’t attend the game because his father was in the ﬁnal stages of his battle with cancer. Braletic wore the jersey in a show of support for Dabrowski and his father. Then when Dabrowski’s father died just before the quarter-ﬁnals, Braletic gave an emotional speech at halftime to rally the team around Dabrowski before scoring a game-tying goal in the 90th minute to send the match into overtime — where the Rams would eventually pull out the win. “[Braletic’s] best attribute isn’t his striking, or goal-scoring ability,” associate coach Filip Prostran says. “It’s his ability to inspire the people around him.”
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
SEBASTIEN DUBOIS-DIDCOCK JOANNA KOLBE
By Krista Robinson
PHOTO: JESS TSANG
When Sebastien Dubois-Didcock ﬁrst pulled on his protective jacket and épée mask, he wasn’t sure what he was getting himself into. All he knew was that his mom told him he would get to ﬁght with swords. As a 10-year-old boy this wasn’t an opportunity he could turn down. At his ﬁrst practice the coach motioned for his junior team to gather around. “Being in this sport, as physical as it can be and as much as it can demand, let’s just admit up front that we all got into this sport because deep down we’re all kind of nerds and geeks,” the coach said. The boys couldn’t help but agree. Flash-forward to 2014, DuboisDidcock just won his ﬁrst-ever Ontario University Athletics (OUA) fencing championship, helped lead the Rams to silver in the team épée event and is about to graduate with a degree in photography. The 21-year-old Desjarlais trophy winner has been considered one of the best fencers in Ontario since he started his varsity career, but it wasn’t until his fourth and last year as a Ram that he brought home the gold. “I tried not to get ahead of myself, but halfway through the ﬁnal match it hit me,” says the captain of the men’s fencing team. “It was a really weird moment, but I knew I had the situation under control.” Fencers in the épée discipline score points by touching the tip of their swords anywhere on their
opponent’s body. Dubois-Didcock managed to win the ﬁnal match by a score of 15-12. The sport is unique in that it doesn’t get a lot of coverage and isn’t anywhere near as popular as hockey or basketball. Other than the Olympics every four years, most Canadians won’t catch a sword ﬁght on TV unless they’re watching Game of Thrones. But Dubois-Didcock doesn’t mind. “Once you get into the sport, your mentality changes a lot,” he says. “At the end of the day we’re just as intense as athletes from any other sport.” According to the Toronto-native, mental preparation requirements are much higher than other sports that may be more physical. “That being said, our sport is still very draining.” Joanna Kolbe, captain of Ryerson’s women’s team, grew up fencing with Dudois-Didcock at the Toronto Fencing Club. Despite winning the championship three years in a row, she was unable to capture her fourth and ﬁnal OUA championship this year — coming home with the bronze. “Even though I lost my ﬁrst match, I still managed to win the bronze medal match, which is hard to do,” she says. “I was still sad that I lost, but the girls who I lost against are pretty good ... So, no regrets.” Although Kolbe may not have had the best personal ﬁnish to her time as a Ram, she did help lead the
way to silver in the team épée event and was named an OUA all-star. Dubois-Didcock was also named an OUA all-star and is the ﬁrst Ram to ever win gold in the individual épée event. As captain, Dubois-Didcock says that participating in sports throughout his life has helped him land crucial qualities like patience, conﬁdence and independence. On Ryerson’s team, he doesn’t consider himself the leader, just an integral member who instructs footwork and blade work in practice and, above all, supports his fellow fencers. He admits there aren’t many photographers who are also athletes, but contends that these roles complement each other well when learning to work as a team. “[In photography] we have clients and art directors, people who we might not agree with, but we have to learn to work with each other while still being assertive to our own style and ideas,” he says. Dubois-Didcock plans to freelance for a while after he graduates. Specializing in food and drink photography, he plans to shoot for magazines, advertising companies and websites. As for fencing, he’s taking a break. “It was an honour to represent Ryerson, but it’s time to move on with my life,” he says. “I’m sure I’ll get back to it eventually, but I’m in no rush.”
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