So many 2018 Burnaby sports stories to celebrate

Novice ice dancers Miku Makita and Tyler Gunara launched the year right by capturing silver at the 2018 Canadian Tire national skating championships. The Burnaby-based pair posted a final score of 95.08, trailing champions Nadia Bashynska and Peter Beaumont by just 1.74 points. The dancing duo of Ashlynne Stairs and Lee Royer collected a second straight bronze in the senior division ice dance division at the nationals. Both ice dancing teams are coached by Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe…. Burnaby’s Aleksa Rakic posted the second best score in the men’s novice division to pick up silver at the Canadian Tire national skating championships. The Champs International Skating Club of B.C. member was in fine form, coming a close second in both the free and short programs…. The Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame welcomed seven new members and one team when it inducted athletes Ruky Abdulai, Bryan Miki and Wayne Van Dorp, the 1987 Cliff Avenue United under-16 boys soccer team, and builders Val Roche and John Stockdale and coaches Shelley Howieson and Adrian Lavigne as the 2018 class… With playoffs on the horizon, the Burnaby Central Wildcats and Moscrop Panthers delivered a marathon display of senior girls hoop skills in a rare four-overtime game, ending with the Wildcats’ 89-88 win. The Central was led by Jalynne Huynh’s 45 points, including seven treys, while Moscrop got 49 points from Pinar Kahraman…. The Byrne Creek Bulldogs and Burnaby South Rebels continued their long rivalry with a race to the finish in Burnaby-New West senior boys basketball action. The 3-A Bulldogs prevailed in the league playoffs, edging the Rebels 90-66, to enter the Lower Mainlands as the No. 1 seed. Despite the league playoff loss, the Rebels were also locked into the top ranking for the 4-A Lower Mainlands, setting the stage for a three-week-long march to the provincials…. The Burnaby Lakers hit the draft board under new general manager Kevin Hill in February, and walked away with a couple of Western Lacrosse Association prospects despite not drafting until the fifth round. Burnaby tabbed former junior Laker Tyler Vogrig, then found a steal in the seventh round in Brine Rice…. Cariboo Hill Secondary joined the ranks of sports academy faculties with the addition of volleyball and lacrosse as specialized courses…. A showdown of local squads saw St. Thomas More emerge victors over Burnaby South, 23-20, in the junior girls Lower Mainland basketball final. STM was led by the contributions of twins Bella and Gigi Gaspar and Kate Stewart-Barnett…. Burnaby Winter Club product Mathew Barzal made his return to the Lower Mainland in March as a member of the New York Islanders. The 21-year-old centre would run away with the NHL Rookie of the Year award... Putting their best feet forward, Simon Fraser University’s Julia Howley and Rowan Doherty set personal bests to run away with their respective 3,000-metre race titles at the 2018 GNAC Indoor Track and Field championships in Idaho. Coupled with a sweep of the distance medley relays and a four-peat by Vlad Tsygankov in long jump, put SFU’s gold haul at five…. The Grandview Steelers’ season came to a screeching halt in the Pacific Junior B Hockey League’s quarter-finals, with a four-game sweep at the hands of the Delta Ice Hawks…. Burnaby’s Kyle Carragher captured top honours as part of a strong team showing at the Aaron Johnson Memorial Cup and Trampoline Provincial Cup. Carragher finished first in both the individual trampoline and double-mini events, while Sam Smith also took gold in individual trampoline…. Kedar Salam, a senior guard with the SFU men’s basketball team, recorded a program first when he was selected to the GNAC’s first all-star team, as voted on by conference coaches. Salam, a transfer student from UBC, topped the conference with a 20.4 points per game average…. St. Thomas More wrestlers Gabriella Bellini and Amanda Silveri rose to the challenge at the B.C. high school wrestling championships, scoring gold in their respective divisions. Bellini, 16, topped the 64-kg division with a 4-1 victory. Silveri prevailed by pinning her opponent in 2:04 for the 110-kg crown… The Burnaby Speed Skating Club strode to the front of the pack and won the overall team award at the B.C. Short Track speed skating championships. Leading the way were gold medalists Cormac Chui, Hao Chen Lu, Kim Reid and Mike Hagen…. Burnaby Mountain alumna Jacey Bailey earned a big invitation to play for the Canadian women’s development team at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. The Northern Arizona University athlete, 19, averaged 11 minutes per game and scored 11 points as Canada placed fourth overall…. Nearly 40 years after their big achievement, the Burnaby Lakers intermediate A hockey team was given the ultimate honour as part of the latest inductees to the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame. The Lakers won the Hardy Cup, the Canadian intermediate A hockey title in 1980, by topping the Fredericton Capitals in the final…. Burnaby’s Peter Huang, 12, broke a long-standing national record for the 200-metre butterfly as part of a strong weekend at the Swim B.C. Tier 2 provincial championships. Huang, a member of the Hyack Swim Club, finished the series with three national age group titles, adding the 100m fly and 800m freestyle…. The St. Thomas More Knights gathered up their confidence and rebounded, after a heartbreaking 2-1 semifinal setback to eventual champion St. Michael's, to capture the bronze at the AA senior girls B.C. soccer championships. They defeated South Kamloops 4-1 for the third-place finish. Earning a spot on the Commissioner's 11 list was Mikaela Montagano... A surprising stumble provided a bit of inspiration for Burnaby’s Robert Couzens on his way to the national welterweight championship. The local boxer returned to the national ring as a champion, recovering from a second round fall, less by contact than an awkward step, and defeated Quebec’s Hamza Khabbaz by a 3-2 judges’ score…. A pair of Burnaby players played roles in the Bietigheim Steelers road to the Deutsch Ice Hockey League Div. 2 championship. Tyler McNeely and Marcus Sommerfeld contributed to the team’s march, which ended with a 4-1 series win over SC Reissersee…. In their first season of Masters A league play, the EDC Burnaby Over-35 men’s premier soccer team made mincemeat of the learning curve. The squad battled its way to the Deryl Hughes Masters A Cup final, edging Westside FC 1-0 in the final. Habil Otieno’s header proved to be the only goal of the contest, as netminder Hugo Vasquez picked up the shutout…. Winning became a good habit for the Burnaby District metro boys u13 United, added the provincial A Cup title to a running tally of wins, beating North Van 2-1 in the final. Supplying goals were Nicholas MacKinnon and Cesar Sherefani, who delivered the championship-winner. Earlier, they rolled to a Coastal Cup title with a 4-0 win over Surrey…. Burnaby’s Ty Ronning wrapped up his junior hockey career in style. The New York Rangers draft pick established a new Vancouver Giants franchise record for goals, counting 61 in his fourth and final season, surpassing Evander Kane’s record of 48…. The Burnaby Minor Hockey Association is often considered an underdog as it battles larger and richer programs. But in June the community organization was honoured by Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association with its Association of the Year award…. Gaining ground against the bigger, more established programs, the Burnaby North senior girls rugby team qualified for its second straight tier 2 provincials and emerged in fifth place…. The TSS Academy unveiled its women’s Rovers team for the Women’s Premier Soccer League, and featured a number of Burnaby products in the lineup. Among those representing the new squad were national team members Emma Regan and Julia Grosso, Kaela Hansen and Siena Porth…. Burnaby’s Declan McLean pulled on the Canadian red-and-white and captured bronze at the 2018 Trampoline Gymnastics junior Pan American championships in Bolivia. The Shasta club athlete and Byrne Creek student joined forces with Nova Scotia’s Kai Dwyer to finish third in the synchronized trampoline final…. Burnaby South’s Taye Batiste blazed to gold in the B.C. high school track and field championships’ junior girls 100-metre dash, completing the race in a lightning quick 12.58 seconds. Other Burnaby medalists from the event were St. Thomas More’s Shiloh Corrales Nelson, a silver in senior girls shotput, Burnaby Mountain’s Nikhil Hirani, a silver in 1500m junior boys racewalk, STM’s Giovanna Janes, silver in senior girls javelin, Zuzanna Liniewski, bronze in junior girls high jump, Burnaby Central’s Alessio Marengon, a bronze in senior boys triple jump and Kate Stewart-Barnett, silver in junior girls high jump… St. Thomas More’s track and field junior girls team paced the school to first place at the B.C. High School track and field championships among AA competition. Leading the way was Michelle Dadson, who won the shotput and picked up silver in discus and hammerthrow. On the boys side of the ledger, the senior 4x100m relay team bested all for the gold… Wielding a hot bat, Burnaby’s Emma March was among a select few in July to receive invitations to the women’s national baseball team selection camp in preparation for the Women’s Baseball World Cup. March, would make the grade and represent Canada at the international competition. They would capture the bronze medal, beating the U.S. 8-5. The 16-year-old, the youngest on the roster, delivered a clutch pinch-hit single to drive in Canada’s lone run in a 2-1 loss to No. 1 Japan…. When 15 teenagers work in unison, they can achieve a great deal. The Wesburn Galaxy u15 boys soccer team did just that, completing the season with a 1-0 victory over Penticton for the Les Sinnott Provincial B Cup title. Caleb Yoon’s goal proved to be all the offence on the day, as Aqeel Allidina locked it down with the shutout…. Rally Cycling made a clean sweep of the Giro di Burnaby in July. The racing team exited the Burnaby Heights cycling event with a pair of titles, thanks to the shrewd pedal moves of Eric Young and Summer Moak. The pair won the men’s and women’s pro races, leading a competitive pack. Young would add the bonus crowd prime, which occurred on the second-to-last lap…. The Vancouver Whitecaps continue searching for elite talent at the local level, unveiling Burnaby’s Michael Baldisimo in July as their latest homegrown player. The 18-year-old midfielder inked a multi-year deal with the MLS squad, after spending the past six seasons in the Whitecaps Residency program…. Rowers Stephanie Grauer and Madison Mailey pulled their weight and were big parts of Team Canada’s under-23 women’s eight win at the World Rowing championships in Poland. The pair, who are Burnaby Lake Rowing Club athletes, were in the boat as Canada edged powerhouse Netherlands by nearly two seconds…. One-time Burnaby junior Lakers captain Patrick Shoemay earned his share of kudos for a season where he played for both Burnaby and New West. Acquired by the junior ‘Bellies for the playoff run, Shoemay ended up earning the Pop Phillips Memorial award as the league’s best defensive player…. Burnaby’s Katherine Liu helped pilot Team B.C. to the win at the national female bantam box lacrosse championships. Liu scored once and set up four others during the tournament, as B.C. went 5-2 over the week-long tourney. The B.C. midget team, meanwhile, finished second overall. Burnaby’s Emily Kuhn counted two goals and three assists over five games. Clara Liu and Eva Regan also contributed in the run to the final…. When the National Lacrosse League handed out its hardware for the 2018 season, Burnaby’s Robert Church was front and centre. The Lakers captain, who plays for the Saskatchewan Rush, was named to the first All-Pro team after helping the club register its third playoff title in four seasons…. Burnaby's Ilirian Zalli enjoyed a breakthrough summer on the fairways in 2018. The 16 year old shot a sizzling 66 en route to winning the 13th annual Odlum Brown Classic-PGA of B.C. championship. A month earlier, he caught fire and came from behind to win the B.C. junior boys championship in Kamloops, again beating an older field in the process... Tennis Canada announced in August its design to team with the city and make Burnaby a partner in a new national regional training centre. The plan would result in an enhanced facility at Burnaby Lake called the Western Canada Tennis Centre. It would boost the number of courts to 12 indoor and 12 outdoor surfaces…. Long-time auto racing mogul Al Ores received some well-earned dues when the Vintage Racing Club of B.C. honoured the veteran racers with a special event in Mission. Ores, at 85, still has a passion for the sport, even if most times now it’s in working with the engines and advice to grandson Robbie Arthur…. Burnaby’s John Gallacher got to share in the glory as Team B.C. captured the Phil Farley Trophy at the 2018 Canadian men’s senior golf championships. The trio of Doug Roxburgh, Al Jensen and Gallacher combined to beat the Albertan team by a single stroke…. Billy Zhang capped a strong season by capturing the B.C. bantam boys golf title by eight strokes. The Burnaby Mountain golfer finished the two-round tourney with a 3-over 141…. SFU alumna and university coach Justina DiStasio receive a major honour in September when her photo was included in a B.C. Sports Hall of Fame display celebrating Aboriginal athletes. The one-time Pan Am Games wrestling champion would go on to win her first world title a month later, beating Mongolia’s Nasanburmaa Ochirbat in the 72kg division. DiStasio’s goal is to earn a spot for the 2020 Olympics…. It wasn't a good finish for the Burnaby Lakers, who failed to build on their 2017 Western Lacrosse Association regular season championship achievement. The Lakers lost a handful of key players from that team and ended up tumbling down the standings to finish second-to-last in 2018... Burnaby South alumna Seina Kashima was on her best behaviour as a senior with the Trinity Western University women’s soccer team. The standout established a Canada West single-season record of 13 assists over 14 games, and led the conference in scoring. Among her seven goals were three game winners, as she sparked the Spartans to a berth to the national championships. For her efforts, the 21-year-old forward was named Canada West’s women’s soccer Player of the Year. … Two members of the Burnaby Lake Field Hockey Club receive invitations to play for Canada at the Youth Olympic Games. Rowan Childs and Arjun Hothi were among nine players selected for the national team, which would compete at the Argentinian-hosted tournament… For a fourth consecutive year, middle blocker Tessa May was a name on the lips of GNAC voters as they named her to the All-Conference team. The senior captain from Robert’s Creek was one of five unanimous selections by conference coaches, after finishing second overall in hitting percentage… The Simon Fraser University men’s soccer team secured its third straight conference title en route to a berth to the NCAA championships. The Clan would see their Div. 2 title hopes dashed for a third straight year by archrival Cal Poly Pomona, this time in overtime. SFU was led by Burnaby North alumnus Luciano Trasolini, forward Matteo Polisi, defender Michael North and midfielder Mamadi Camara, with the first three All-Region first team selections. Camara was voted to the second team…The Moscrop Panthers clawed out the school’s first senior girls Lower Mainland volleyball title, edging Lord Byng 3-2. After falling behind 2-1, Moscrop bounced back with a two-game charge that locked up top prize. The Burnaby North Vikings would snare the last berth to the 4-A provincials, by finishing fourth at the tournament… The St. Thomas More Knights’ run to the Subway Bowl ended a tad prematurely, when eventual provincial champion Mount Douglas eliminated them in the quarter-final by a 43-21 decision. Despite the loss, the team enjoyed a strong season, going 6-1 during the regular season… Simon Fraser University’s Jenna-lee Baxter collected a club-first in November, when she was the Clan’s first-ever player named to the All-American women’s soccer second team for Div. 2. Baxter wrapped up her senior year with 11 goals and 10 assists to lead the GNAC in scoring… The STM Grade 8 football team marched all the way to BC Place, claiming second in the province after a tight 26-20 loss to Vancouver College. Kairo Chiang scored two touchdowns in the final… The Alpha Aztecs did virtually all they had to do, but came just a goal shot of advancing to the medal round at the AA senior boys soccer championships. The Aztecs, fielding a mostly Grade 11 lineup, didn’t suffer a loss during the tourney, but due to the tie-breaking formula ended up finishing ninth overall, despite winning its final three games… At the AAA senior boys provincials, Burnaby Mountain Lions scratched out a solid sixth-place result, going 2-2-1 along the way. They ended the tourney on the sad side of a 2-0 score with Dr. Charles Best… Accuracy and leadership were some of the metrics measured that put STM’s Dario Ciccone at the top of the list when high school coaches selected the senior as the 2018 AAA MVP. The Burnaby quarterback steered his team to a 6-2 record. Also receiving provincial honours were receiver Michael Simone, named to the all-star squad, and Kaishuan Carter, picked as one of two Top Grade 11s… Burnaby Winter Club product and Burnaby Central grad Massimo Rizzo overcame an injury that stalled his start of the 2018/19 season, to take on the captaincy with the B.C. Hockey League’s Penticton Vees. He’d also go on to represent Canada – as a member of Canada West, at the World Junior A Challenge… The St. Thomas More Knights hosted the provincial AA senior girls volleyball championships, and exited with a bronze medal. The team rallied after a tough 3-0 loss to eventual champion Pacific Academy to defeat MEI 2-1 for third place. Lauren Boddington was named to the first all-star team and Sienna Mastromonaco to the second team… The Burnaby Canoe and Kayak Club placed seven members to the provincial squad. Earning the honours were Mika Assano, Alex Brent, Edward Colhoun, Matthew Koehler, Ivan Strashenko and sisters Katrina and Samantha Loutet… The Moscrop Panthers and Burnaby North Vikings senior girls volleyball teams ventured to Penticton and returned with their heads high, finishing fourth and 15th, respectively. The Panthers matched opponent with everything they had, with a loss to eventual champ Kelowna the first blemish on their trip. Stephanie Sung picked up a second team all-star honour, while Alana Leung was an honourable mention. The Vikings ended the tourney with a win to claim the 15th spot… It was fourth overall for the Moscrop senior boys volleyball team, as they put it all on the court. The biggest battle came against a familiar foe, when the Panthers met Van Tech in the semifinal. Van Tech, which beat Moscrop in the Lower Mainland final, achieved the same result en route to second place at provincials. Earning first team all-star was Martin Prinsloo, while Ted Graveson was selected to the second team… As defending champions, the Burnaby South Rebels earned the honour of being ranked No. 1 in pre-season senior boys basketball polls. But their ranking was also based on the returnees who helped them to finish second at the season-opening Tsumura Invitational tournament. They did that despite losing star post Sasha Vujisic to injury… Brendan Wong and Beres Clements kicked off the figure skating season in December by scoring bronze in their respective divisions at the Skate Canada Challenge. The duo, who train with Burnaby’s Champs International Skating Club, earned medals in pre-novice and junior, respectively. The club also saw ice dancing team of Yuka Orihara and Lee Royer, and Haley Sales and Nikolas Wamsteeker step off the ice with silver medals, in junior and senior, respectively… It was another terrific year for Burnaby’s Christine Sinclair, who was recognized by Soccer Canada as the Player of the Year. Sinclair, 35, scored the key goal in Canada’s world cup-qualifying win over Panama in October, giving her 177 career international goals. That’s second-best in all-time records.

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