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Winnipeg's Pischke qualifies for beach volleyball worlds

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Taylor PISCHKE of the University of Manitoba and her women's beach volleyball teammate Melissa Humana-Parades of York University in Toronto will represent Canada in the women's division at the 2012 FISU Beach Volleyball World Championships on Sept. 12-16 in Maceio, Brazil.

The men's team is Sam Pedlow and Grant O'Gorman of Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.

Pischke, a Winnipeg native, earned the world championship berth with Humana-Parades last weekend at Volleyball Canada's Identification and Selection Camp at Volleyball Canada's new Beach High Performance Facility (HPF) located at Downsview Park in Toronto.

Ten women's teams and seven men's teams competing for the berths in a tournament format. In the women's final, Humana-Parades and Pischke beat Alexandra Hudson of the University of Toronto and Kayla Ng of Waterloo 21-11, 21-15, avenging an earlier loss in pool play.

Pischke is also member of the U of M Bisons women's indoor volleyball team.

Toban paces Canada

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Toon Van Lankvelt of Rivers, Man., scored a game high 16 points Tuesday as Canada dumped Puerto Rico in straight sets at the NORCECA Olympic qualifying tournament in men's volleyball.

Set scores were 25-19, 25-20 and 25-13.

Canada improved its record to 2-0 in round-robin play and will face world No. 5 Cuba for first spot in its group and a bye to the semifinal today. The tournament champion earns a ticket to the 2012 London Olympics.

The first place teams in each group get a bye to the semis while second and third cross over in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Thompson wins opener

BRET THOMPSON of Winnipeg started his season on a winning note with a four-shot win at the first Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour event of the season in Manitoba.

The 36-hole contest was held at The Meadows at East St. Paul, where 18-year-old Thompson posted the best score each day, 71-72, for a 143 total.

That was four better than Steve Young of LaSalle, whose 71-76 was good enough to capture top honours in the boys 14-16 division.

Jordan Sinclair of Fort Frances, Ont., finished second to Thompson in the boys 17-19 division with a 148 total.

Cole Peters, 16, was runner-up to Young in his division, with a 149 total.

Nathan Wright of Warren captured the boys 13 and under group with a 153 total.

In the girls division, Nicole McGlenen, 18, of Winnipeg was a two-shot winner with rounds of 76-87 and a total of 163.

She bested Veronica Velesnik, who carded 80-85-165.

Eagles repeat as champs

ST. JOHN'S-RAVENSCOURT successfully defended its title at the Canadian High School Ultimate Championship in Montreal on the weekend.

Coached by Dean Wright, Stephanie Chow and Sean Storm, the SJR Eagles made up of seven girls and seven boys, won all three of their preliminary pool games.

SJR then took a quarter-final match 10-3 over St. George's/York House of Vancouver and dispatched Seminaire des Pere Maristes of Quebec 15-10 in the semifinal.

In the championship game, SJR repeated as champions by waxing Westview of Toronto 15-5.

Gervais leads medal haul

MANITOBANS brought home 16 medals from the Western Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Langley, B.C., last weekend.

Manitoba was led by Natalie Gervais of the Springers Gymnastics Club, who earned gold with the National Open Team, as well as silvers for all-around and balance beam and a bronze on uneven bars.

Keanna Ponce, also of Springers, won three medals. She had a silver with her Aspire Team in pre-novice, and took gold in all-around and on vault. Other members of the Aspire Team members were Stephanie Clarkson, who also grabbed a silver on vault, Marielle Roy from the Panthers, who took bronze on uneven bars, Amelie Boissonneault of the Panthers and Taya Niessen of Springers.

The pre-novice Elite team, which included Danika Duncan of Fantastic Gymnastics and Amy Hryshko of Panthers, won bronze.

Joining with Gervais on the National Open team were Tegan Turner and Sydney McEachern, Madeleine Arbuckle and Brenley Toffan of Springers, Ryann Lewis from Brandon Eagles and Meghan Boulanger from Fantastic Gymnastics.

Turner also tied for a bronze on vault with McEachern, and won bronze on floor.

In the provincial category, Peyton Gale of Brandon Eagles won a gold on vault while Paige Kent of Springers won silver on uneven bars.

In the men's program, Ian Kielly of Winnipeg Gymnastics Centre won gold on parallel bars.

Team members now travel to Regina for the Canadian championships, May 21-27.

Rowers share award

PAUL THIESSEN and Nia Perron have been chosen to share the 2011-12 Peter Nykoluk Rowing Scholarship, the Winnipeg Rowing Club has announced.

The award is worth $2,700 to each rower.

Perron, 21, has earned Rowing Canada's Tony Zasada Award and Sport Manitoba's Woman to Watch Award.

Thiessen is training in Toronto as he continues chasing his goal to make the men's national team.

The club has given the award since 1995 to honour the memory of the former member and competitor and to recognize individuals for their outstanding contributions and achievements in the sport of rowing, paralleling Nykoluk's values of determination, commitment and sportsmanship.

Kudos for Thiessen

SANFORD'S Dennis Thiessen, skip of the Team Manitoba provincial wheelchair curling team, has been chosen to receive an athletic bursary from Petro-Canada's FACE (Fuelling Athletes and Coaching Excellence) program.

Thiessen is one of 50 Canadian athletes to receive an $8,000 bursary from the program.

Thiessen has captured a gold and three bronzes in the last four years at the national championships.

-- Ashley Prest, Tim Campbell, CP

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 9, 2012 C8

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