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Winnipeg receiver turning heads

Mike Sawatzky 5 minute read Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023

The label ‘generational player’ is thrown around much too casually these days.

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Fewer on field could boost football

Joshua Frey-Sam 8 minute read Preview

Fewer on field could boost football

Joshua Frey-Sam 8 minute read Monday, Dec. 26, 2022

More players, more participation, more opportunity — all prevented by a narrative that it’s not real football.

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Monday, Dec. 26, 2022

University of Manitoba

Ryder Klisowsky

Sabres won’t be denied

Mike Sawatzky 4 minute read Preview

Sabres won’t be denied

Mike Sawatzky 4 minute read Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022

The Steinbach Sabres had a taste of semifinal heartbreak in 2021. A year later, they weren’t about to be denied again.

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Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Steinbach Sabres’ Nik Reimer was a force to be reckoned with Thursday in the Sabres victory over the Vincent Massey (Winnipeg) Trojans.

Duncalfe leads Huskies to title game

Joshua Frey-Sam 6 minute read Preview

Duncalfe leads Huskies to title game

Joshua Frey-Sam 6 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022

The Sturgeon Heights varsity girl’s volleyball team was David, but leaned on a Goliath of its own to advance to its first AAAA provincial championship game since Sturgeon Creek and Silver Heights amalgamated to form Sturgeon Heights.

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Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022

Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press

The Sturgeon Heights Huskies (in white) defeated the Vincent Massey (Brandon) Vikings Wednesday to advance to the MHSAA AAAA varsity girls championship game against the Vincent Massey (Winnipeg) Trojans.

Crusaders the team to beat

Mike Sawatzky 4 minute read Preview

Crusaders the team to beat

Mike Sawatzky 4 minute read Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

The St. Paul’s Crusaders didn’t win a tournament until late October, but that breakthrough has made them the team to beat entering the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association AAAA varsity boys volleyball championship.

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Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

St. Paul’s Crusaders towering Jack Taylor’s offence can be a nightmare for opposing teams to defend against.

Talented Trojans not taking anything for granted in quest for MHSAA volleyball crown

Mike Sawatzky 4 minute read Preview

Talented Trojans not taking anything for granted in quest for MHSAA volleyball crown

Mike Sawatzky 4 minute read Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

A year ago, a youthful Vincent Massey Trojans squad was one win away from a berth in the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association AAAA varsity girls provincial final.

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Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Kaiya Krahn is one of three members of the Vincent Massey Trojans varisty girls volleyball team recently ranked among the province’s top-10 players.

Raiders star springs back to new heights

Mike Sawatzky 4 minute read Preview

Raiders star springs back to new heights

Mike Sawatzky 4 minute read Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022

Fiona Brown’s stellar play during the 2022 season has earned her the No. 1 spot in the Free Press’s inaugural coaches’ poll honouring the province’s best high school varsity girls volleyball players.

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Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Top-ranked high school girls volleyball player Fiona Brown is a team leader and an offensive force at Oak Park High School where she led the No. 5-ranked Raiders to a berth in Saturday’s AAAA quarter finals.

Crusaders march to title

Joshua Frey-Sam 6 minute read Preview

Crusaders march to title

Joshua Frey-Sam 6 minute read Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022

It’s fair to say the celebration was worth the wait.

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Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022

DANIEL CRUMP / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

St. Paul’s Crusaders celebrate after defeating the Dakota Lancers in the high school varsity football final at IG Field on Saturday.

Kildonan East caps perfect campaign

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Preview

Kildonan East caps perfect campaign

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022

The Kildonan East Collegiate varsity football team displayed excellence on a night they sought perfection.

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Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The Kildonan East Collegiate Reivers celebrate their division three finals win at IG Field on Wednesday after defeating the Dryden Eagles.

Huskies, Vikings to meet in WHSFL Division II final

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Preview

Huskies, Vikings to meet in WHSFL Division II final

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Monday, Nov. 7, 2022

Eric Vincent’s recipe for a championship-calibre team has come together like many do, after a number of seasons and across a painful series of trial and error.

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Monday, Nov. 7, 2022

Sturgeon Heights Collegiate running back Mason Thorn has respect for his opponents, but thinks his team has what it takes to win the championship. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Brown leads Dakota to victory

Joshua Frey-Sam 4 minute read Preview

Brown leads Dakota to victory

Joshua Frey-Sam 4 minute read Friday, Nov. 4, 2022

Dakota Collegiate inched one game closer to its first triple-A varsity provincial football crown on Friday evening.

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Friday, Nov. 4, 2022

Dakota Lancer Brock Beauchemin holds on to the ball while being tackled by Vincent Massey's Brady Fay on Friday. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

Softball academy helping students meet goals on the diamond, in the classroom

Joshua Frey-Sam 4 minute read Preview

Softball academy helping students meet goals on the diamond, in the classroom

Joshua Frey-Sam 4 minute read Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022

Moving to Winnipeg meant more than a fresh start for Sally Leask. It was the next chapter in her love affair with softball.

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Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Churchill Softball Academy student Sally Leask says she has experienced improvement in all aspects of her game since the beginning of the school year.

Lancers are in it to win it

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Preview

Lancers are in it to win it

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Monday, Oct. 31, 2022

Dakota Collegiate has never won a triple-A provincial championship in varsity football. It’s two games away from putting that slide to rest.

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Monday, Oct. 31, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Dakota Lancers linebacker Nevan Brown says his team has a an opportunity this year to ‘win it all.’

Sabres winning together

Joshua Frey-Sam 7 minute read Preview

Sabres winning together

Joshua Frey-Sam 7 minute read Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022

Boston Thiessen won’t deny it — he did not expect the Steinbach Regional Secondary School (SRSS) Sabres varsity boys’ volleyball team to be this dominant.

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Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Hudson Rempel of the Steinbach Regional Secondary School varsity volleyball team practices at the school.

Buckeyes sink Clippers

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Preview

Buckeyes sink Clippers

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022

An emphasis on responding was drilled into the Miles MacDonnell Collegiate football team all week with a pivotal matchup against the Kelvin Clippers on the horizon and the playoffs approaching.

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Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Miles Macdonell Buckeyes' Amari Griffiths-Sosoo runs for a touchdown against the Kelvin Clippers on Thursday at Kelvin High School.

Cold can’t slow down top cross-country runners

Joshua Frey-Sam 3 minute read Preview

Cold can’t slow down top cross-country runners

Joshua Frey-Sam 3 minute read Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022

Manitoba’s premier young long-distance runners bundled up to trek the rugged terrain in Killarney for the provincial high school cross-country championships on Wednesday.

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Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022

Oak Park gridiron star making daily commute and turning heads

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Preview

Oak Park gridiron star making daily commute and turning heads

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022

Jerome Fouillard makes the same drive to Winnipeg every morning with one goal: to prevent his parents from ever having to spend another dime on his aspirations.

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Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Jerome Fouillard hammers the sled at Raiders practice Tuesday. To get maximum production from a remarkable athlete Oak Park uses him on both offence and defence.

St. Mary’s, St. Paul’s successfully defend provincial golf titles

Joshua Frey-Sam 4 minute read Preview

St. Mary’s, St. Paul’s successfully defend provincial golf titles

Joshua Frey-Sam 4 minute read Friday, Sep. 23, 2022

St. Mary’s Academy and St. Paul’s High School extended their reign over golf in Manitoba on Friday.

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Friday, Sep. 23, 2022

JOSHUA FREY-SAM / Winnipeg Free Press

Swan River’s McKenna Gray eyes a long-range putt Friday on the 18th hole at Carman Golf and Curling Club.

Springfield makes quick work of opposition

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Preview

Springfield makes quick work of opposition

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2022

The Winnipeg High School Football League enters its third week of the 2022 regular season with some familiar squads atop the standings and noteworthy streaks on the line.

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Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2022

Brandon Sun Neelin Spartans halfback Levi Kanski faces a trio of Springfield Sabres defenders in the second quarter of Neelin's 41-6 loss to the Sabres at Neelin High School Wednesday, Oct. 23. (Ryan Stelter/The Brandon Sun)

Legendary coaches hang up their clipboards

Mike Sawatzky 6 minute read Preview

Legendary coaches hang up their clipboards

Mike Sawatzky 6 minute read Friday, Jul. 1, 2022

The reminders of past athletic glories are plastered all over gym walls at Oak Park High School.

It’s a proud legacy and two men — long-time varsity girls basketball coach Murray Brown and football coach Stu Nixon — were chief architects of programs that won 12 of those championship banners.

On Thursday, on the last day of the 2021-22 academic year, both men were retiring after lengthy teaching careers at the Charleswood area school.

Tears were shed and memories were recounted. There were no regrets.

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Friday, Jul. 1, 2022

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Oak Park High School coaching legends Murray Brown and Stu Nixon said their farewells Thursday on the last day of school after decades leading the Charleswood school’s teams.

Multi-sport athlete from Sanford takes top female honours

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Preview

Multi-sport athlete from Sanford takes top female honours

Joshua Frey-Sam 5 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

It was a 48-hour whirlwind for Gwen Bestland.

The 17-year-old graduated from Sanford Collegiate on Monday and thought she was going for lunch with her parents to celebrate on Wednesday.

That was until they made a pit stop at downtown’s Sport Manitoba, where a host of other secondary-school athletes and their families from across the province were gathered for the 2022 Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association (MHSAA) Athlete of the Year ceremony.

Bestland, surprised at the banquet by her hockey coach and two teammates, was a nominee for the award from the “AAA” girls category but had been kept in the dark about her nomination by her family and friends.

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Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Sam Ludwig (left) form Westgate Mennonite Collegiate and Gwen Bestland from Sanford Collegiate.

High-flying high-school standout a generational volleyball talent

Mike Sawatzky 5 minute read Preview

High-flying high-school standout a generational volleyball talent

Mike Sawatzky 5 minute read Friday, Jun. 10, 2022

Generational talent is an overused term to describe many outstanding athletes. It’s probably not an overstatement in the case of Raya Surinx.

The Grade 12 student at J.H. Bruns Collegiate has already been crowned the top female high school volleyball player in Manitoba and, unquestionably, the province’s top university recruit.

And, if not for a cruel twist, the 17-year-old would probably be one of the youngest players suiting up for Canada’s U21 team at the Pan American Cup currently underway in Mexico.

A positive COVID-19 test at the national team training camp in Edmonton forced Surinx into isolation for five days and a subsequent positive PCR test dashed any hopes she would travel with Team Canada.

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Friday, Jun. 10, 2022

Raya Surinx has been crowned the top female high school volleyball player in Manitoba and is the province’s top university recruit. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Diverse background fuels hoops star’s competitive spirit and desire to give back

Taylor Allen 5 minute read Preview

Diverse background fuels hoops star’s competitive spirit and desire to give back

Taylor Allen 5 minute read Tuesday, May. 17, 2022

Riya Donnelly has developed into one of the province’s top young basketball players by doing things her way.

The 17-year-old from Charleswood, who recently committed to play U Sports ball for the Algoma University Thunderbirds in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., left Oak Park High School to play her Grade 12 season in the inner-city at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute.

A strong connection with DMCI coaches Wyatt Anders and Carriera Lamoureux had Donnelly wanting to make a change. It ended up working out as the 5-8 small forward led the Maroons to a convincing victory over the Westwood Warriors in the Winnipeg School Division conference championship in March.

“I heard a lot of backlash from a bunch of people around Manitoba. Personally, I was skeptical of transferring to an inner-city school. It’s not something I was used to and it’s quite the drive from where I live,” said Donnelly, Oak Park’s junior varsity athlete of the year in 2020.

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Tuesday, May. 17, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Riya Donnelly is going to play college ball at Algoma University.

Poirier keeps her eyes on the prize

Taylor Allen 5 minute read Preview

Poirier keeps her eyes on the prize

Taylor Allen 5 minute read Wednesday, May. 4, 2022

Don’t tell Serenity Poirier that streaks are made to be ended.

The Grade 12 student at Lac du Bonnet Senior School hasn’t dropped a set in her high school badminton career and Poirier is determined to graduate with her flawless record intact. To do so, Poirier needs to end her high school career with a strong performance at this week’s MHSAA’s Provincial Badminton Championships at Prairie Badminton Club (May 5-7).

The junior varsity competitors get started Thursday while varsity action begins Friday.

“I know I’m one of the better athletes that are going to be out there. If someone isn’t as good of an athlete, I try to rally with them and get them moving. Cause you know, for other people to get better, playing against harder competition is what’s going to help,” Poirier told the Free Press over the phone on Wednesday.

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Wednesday, May. 4, 2022

Supplied
Serenity Poirier with coach Dale Kinley.

Demski, Grey Cup make visit to Oak Park

Taylor Allen 4 minute read Preview

Demski, Grey Cup make visit to Oak Park

Taylor Allen 4 minute read Monday, May. 2, 2022

It was the Monday morning after spring break when Oak Park High School principal Troy Scott received a call from one of the school’s most well-known alumnus, Nic Demski.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers wide receiver called to say that he wanted to bring the Grey Cup back to where he first made a name for himself in the sport.

As you can imagine, Scott quickly signed off on that idea.

The plan came to fruition on Monday as Demski, as well as Bombers running back Brady Oliveira, brought the top prize in three-down football to their former high school for students and staff to enjoy. Oak Park held an assembly for their two heroes and played a highlight video that included some of their top plays from their high school football days with the Raiders.

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Monday, May. 2, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Nic Demski (front, holding cup) and Brady Olivera visit Oak Park School with the Grey Cup in Winnipeg on Monday.

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