Men’s basketball finishes third in OUA

East division Blues' season marks hopeful future

Men’s basketball finishes third in OUA

Though the team won against Brock University and Queen’s University, the Men’s Basketball Team’s season came to a close at Windsor, falling 85-71. With the loss, the Blues were unable to qualify for the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Playoffs.

The Blues began the season hoping to improve on their disappointing 2013-2014 campaign. They successfully achieved this objective by ending the season with a 6-19 finish, coming in just behind the Ryerson University Rams and York University Lions. While the team still sees room for improvement, it is a gain over last year’s finish.

This achievement was influenced by the pair of National Collegiate Athletics Association division 1 transfers.

Toronto natives Julian Clarke and Manny Sahota returned to the city from Santa Clara University and Cornell University, respectively.

Clarke was named the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ most valuable player in 2010 and Sahota the high school athlete of the year by The Toronto Star.

The players finished this season strong in Toronto, coming in second and third in points per game respectively at 15.3 and 11.2. Devin Johnson, too, experienced success this season having been able to record a career high in January.

Playing against Queen’s Gaels, Johnson scored 25 points in one game and finished the season off leading the team in points per game at 17.5.

The team has faced a history of difficulty with turnovers and rebounds. After a loss against the York University Lions in February 2013, the interim Head Coach, Rick Dilena, noted a problem with ‘costly turnovers’ and difficulty ‘[rebounding] in key situations.’

John Campbell, who returned to the role, expressed similar concerns prior to the Windsor game, hoping to minimize turnovers and rebound well. This season saw the Blues’ rebound margin trailing by only 1.6 per game.

Moving forward, the Blues will likely look to continue guiding first-year point guard Sage Usher, who finished his rookie season off strong.

Usher averaged 6.4 points per game and was able to lead the team with 24 steals and 3.4 assists per game.

The Blues last brought home the Wilson Cup in 1995. The team proudly boasts second best in the OUA for having taken home the conference crown 14 times. The Blues have been to the post-season 23 times in the past 30 years.

Looking to the 2015-2016 season, the Blues will welcome Devon Williams from Sharon, Massachusetts to the team. Williams is currently rated a 3+ star recruit in High School Basketball Illustrated.

U of T hosts women’s volleyball CIS championship

Trinity Western Spartans win championship, Blues finish fourth

U of T hosts women’s volleyball CIS championship

Quarterfinal game 1: UBC vs. Montréal

The tournament began with a 3–0 Montréal Carabins win over the University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds.

The match began with a close set between the two teams with the Thunderbirds finally losing the set 25–22. After this point, UBC struggled to keep its momentum going forward in the game.

In the second set, Montréal continued its strong, composed play to keep a continuous lead over the Thunderbirds, taking the set 25–18.

In the final set, the Thunderbirds tried to fight back, but Montréal continued to hit empty court and keep its defense strong with sold blocks. UBC held its ground through many tough rallies, but was unable to come out on top, falling 25–16 to the Carabins.

Montréal’s composed structure and play would prove to be difficult to overcome in their later games in the tournament.

Montréal’s player of the game was Marie-Sophie Nadeau, in her final season of CIS eligibility, who had 11 digs throughout the game. UBC’s player of the game was Abbey Keeping, also in her final season of CIS eligibility.

— Elizabeth Benn

Quarterfinal game 2: Laval vs. Trinity Western

The Laval Rouge et Or fell to the Trinity Western Spartans after initially leading by two sets. Laval’s performance was strong, however, considering that the team was ranked eighth in the seeding and Trinity Western first.

The first set was close throughout, with the Spartans eventually tying the game at 18. The score was back and forth from this point on, with Laval finally taking the set 26–24.
The Spartans came back strong in the second set, winning the initial five points. As the score grew, so did Laval’s energy; the team eventually climbed back and took the lead for the first time in the set with a 25–24 score. The underdogs scored again to give themselves a 2–0 advantage heading into the third set.

Trinity Western’s energy picked up in the third set, and their strong play resulted in their 25–15 win.

The fourth set saw stronger play than had been seen earlier from either team, with many long rallies and strong plays. The score remained close until halfway through, when Trinity Western intensified their play and eventually took the set 25–16.

In the final set, Laval’s spirit was down and the Spartans stayed ahead the entire set, only allowing their opponents one point until they reached a comfortable lead at 10–1. The team took the set 15–8, advancing to the semi-finals.

Laval’s player of the game was attacker Valerie Lemay, who topped the team with 16 kills, while Trinity Western’s was Alicia Perrin, this season’s second-best blocker in Canada.

— Elizabeth Benn

Quarterfinal game 3: U of T vs. Dalhousie

Before an enthusiastic crowd at the Kimel Family Field House came what was to be a one-sided quarterfinal match. U of T took on the Dalhousie University Tigers, who were representing the Atlantic division. U of T did not let up the entire match, taking three sets 25–10, 25–19, and 25–6. Strong play from Dalhousie’s libero Marisa Mota forced the Blues’ offence to work hard all match, but setter Madelyn Mandryk kept U of T pressing.



Player of the game, Bojana Radan, explains, “The entire team is very close and we have a lot of fun. We all connect and have good communication, and every single person on the team makes such a big difference.”

CIS coach of the year, Kristine Drakich, noted, “We had a solid block, good defence, and were able to make some fast transitions to make it tough on them.”

U of T’s blocking accounted for 17 of their points, more than doubling their opponent’s total of 7.

— Peter Nash

Quarterfinal game 4: Alberta vs. Ottawa

Led by player of the game Kacey Otto’s 15 kills, the University of Alberta Pandas defeated the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees 3–0 in quarterfinal action on Thursday. The Pandas were able to build early leads and endure spirited comebacks by the Gee-Gees in each set, ensuring themselves a spot in the semi-finals.

The Gee-Gees were able to erase early Pandas’ leads along the way to tying the first set at 23–23. U of A maintained their composure despite the comeback and scored two quick points after a late timeout to take the tight first set 25–23.

U of A was able to build a 17–9 lead in the second set before an energetic Gee-Gees team electrified their lively fan base by closing the score to a 21–20 Pandas lead. This run was negated by a streak of five decisive points from a confident Pandas team, who took the set 25–21.

An early 7–7 tie was broken in the third set by a powerful kill from the University of Alberta’s Josephine Doerfler, and the Pandas were able to grab a 19–12 lead. The Gee-Gees brought the score to 20–16, but the Pandas stifled one final comeback attempt to take the decisive set 25–18.

The Gee-Gees were led by player of the game Myriam English, who had nine kills and nine digs during the match. Following Kacey Otto’s team-high 15 kills, the Pandas’ offensive effort was marked by Meg Cassault’s seven kills.

— Anthony Piruzza

Consolation game 1: Laval vs. UBC

The first consolation game between Laval and UBC resulted in a UBC win.

The Thunderbirds took the first easily with a 25–12 score. It was clear immediately that UBC’s defence was working overtime to ensure that none of Laval’s spike attacks caught them off guard.

Laval was quick to match UBC’s first point in the second set, but in spite of Laval’s increased tenacity UBC won 25–21.

The third and final set saw Laval showing a potential comeback. UBC landed kills right by Laval’s feet. Laval returned the favor by executing precise kills against UBC. The set remained tight right until the end of the set, but UBC came out on top winning its third and final set by a score of 33–31 after Laval’s net serve.

— Mary Githumbi

Consolation game 2: Dalhousie vs. Ottawa

The Ottawa Gee-Gees managed to defeat the Dalhousie Tigers in a three set sweep, advancing to the fifth-place game against UBC.

The three sets all ended very similarly. The Gee-Gees led by a range of 5–10 points mostly throughout the course of the game.

Myriam English was terrific from start to finish with 15 kills in the first two sets. In the second set, communication errors by the Gee-Gees were evident and allowed Dalhousie some hope, bringing themselves within four points.

But Dalhousie was only hanging by a thread with Ottawa leading 24–20, and then fell to the Gee-Gees.

In the final set of the game, Dalhousie’s sense of urgency was very evident. The Tigers would have their largest lead of the game at 6–3. However, Ottawa would resume its familiar style of play that was seen earlier in the game. Kaly Soro of Ottawa led the final set with beautiful spiked-down kills that would send Ottawa to the consolation finals.
English was named player of the game to complement her first All-Canadian First Team selection. Anna Dunn-Suen led Dalhousie with eight kills.

— Zaigham Ali

Semi-final game 1: Trinity Western vs. Montréal

Saturday’s first match ended in a 3–0 win for the Trinity Western Spartans over the Montréal Carabins.

The first set began with the Carabins appearing to have a slight edge over their opponents, but after a technical timeout, Trinity Western managed to pull slightly ahead.

Trinity Western’s Nikki Cornwall stood out as a consistently focused and energized player throughout the three sets. In the first set alone, Cornwall managed 14 assists, with her team taking the set 25–21.

In the second set, the Carabins earned an early lead, but Trinity Western turned the game around for a dramatic finish.

At set point 24–23 for TWU, an already intense set turned tense when Carabins’ Vicky Savard took a tumble and was evidently in pain as she clutched her left ankle.

The point was reset, and while the Carabins tried to remain focused, they were overtaken by TWU 25–23.

In the third set, TWU’s momentum continued to carry them through, while the Carabins, after two losses and an injured starter, tried to keep a positive outlook.

Carabins’ libero, Stéphanie Lojen, attempted to pump the girls up throughout the game and put in a lot of personal defensive effort, but the team was drowned out by the Spartans’ cleaner play, 25–18.

Carabins head coach Olivier Trudel noted: “We didn’t control the first contact tonight; when you don’t control the first contact against Trinity Western you’re going to have a tough night.”

Montréal’s player of the game Marie-Alex Bélanger explained, “We’re going into the game like [we’re playing for] the gold medal.”

Trinity Western’s head coach Ryan Hofer was ecstatic to see the Spartans moving on to the finals: “I’m pleased, I’m thrilled, we’ve never been in a national final. We’ve been working hard for it for many, many years, and I am really excited for this group of ladies.”

— India McAlister

Semi-final game 2: U of T vs. Alberta

The crowd in the Goldring Centre was loud and proud and ready for a game that would end up being a grueling five sets ending in heartbreak for the Blues and the home fans.

U of T had been hopeful to make it to the CIS finals for the first time in the team’s history. As coach Kristine Drakich explained, “This was a long and emotionally and physically tough match. We weren’t able to sustain it.”

U of T came out strong in the first two sets, with outside hitter CIS All-Canadian Charlotte Sider and third-year left side hitter Caleigh Cruikshank leading the team to two set wins in a row by scores of 25–20 and 25–23.

When the third set began, U of T’s systems began to falter and Alberta’s momentum began to build, devastating U of T 25–15.



U of T’s early energy surge was overtaken by Alberta’s calmer but more consistent play. With the leadership of All-Canadians Dione Lang and Meg Casault, as well as outside hitter Josephine Doerfler’s bold play, Alberta continued this momentum into the fourth set, tying the match 2–2 with a 25–18 win.

In the final set, U of T rallied but was unsuccessful, and lost a devastatingly close 15–13.

The team was upset, evident in U of T’s player of the game Jen Neilson receiving her award in tears.

Alberta, eight-time CIS finalists, were content, but not as ecstatic as were first-time finalists Trinity Western Spartans.

Alberta is now focused on the gold medal, as player of the game Doerfler explained: “We are not satisfied with silver.”

“At Canada West we got silver against Trinity… we want to do it better this time,” says Doerfler.

Jennifer Nielson was awarded player of the game for U of T.

“I think player of the game was definitely not reflected in my play,” says Nielson. “We played very strong as a collective, everyone on our team, even the bench players that came in played a role, and we all played really hard. Anyone would have been worthy of that recognition.”

U of T’s coach Kristine Drakich was disappointed by the loss but is ready for the bronze medal match up with Montréal.

“We were hoping to be in the finals — that was the plan,” says Drakich.

“Now we have to find a way to dig deep, maybe not for the medal we want, but still a medal,” Drakich says.

— India McAlister

Fifth-place game: Ottawa vs. UBC

The consolation game for fifth place took place on Sunday morning between the UBC Thunderbirds and the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
Ottawa was dominant from the first set despite some miscommunication between players, winning 25–20.

Gee-Gees head coach Lionel Woods was vocal with his team members throughout the game, which had a clear effect on the team, as seen in its composure.
UBC’s composure fell in the second set. Meanwhile, Ottawa was able to stay strong and respond to tough UBC shots with strong defence.

At times UBC showed comeback potential, but was never able to get ahead of the Gee-Gees. The set was close at the end, with UBC within one point of Montréal at 23–22, but Ottawa ended up winning 25–22.

UBC won the first point of the third set but was unable to set the tone with this lead, with Ottawa coming back immediately.

This was another sloppy set towards the start with a lot of out-of-bounds hits, missed passes, and frustrating rallies. However, these mistakes were more on the UBC side, which showed in the final score.

Ottawa standout Kelsie English won the final point for Ottawa with her final kill in CIS play, winning the match for the team 25–21 and earning the team a fifth-place finish in the championships.

UBC’s Danielle Brisebois stood out for the team with 13 kills, while Ottawa’s Alix Durivage was awarded with the team’s player of the game.

— Elizabeth Benn

Bronze medal game: Montréal vs. U of T

U of T took on the Montréal Carabins for the bronze medal, but similarly to their semi-final game, the team fell in a tough 3–2 loss. Both teams were champions of their divisions after championship play.



U of T had a weak start to the match, losing to Montréal 25–15 in the first set. Initially, the score was back and forth, but by Montréal’s second time out, when they were up 16–11, the team maintained solid play.

The Blues picked up their energy in the second set, winning 25–20 to tie the match 1–1. Like the first set, both teams traded points until Montréal held the first two-point lead of the set, 12–10. Play resumed to see the Blues come back and hold their lead.

The Blues won the third set 25–20, advancing with a 2–1 lead. By the first timeout, the Blues had a 7–4 lead on Montréal. They maintained the lead, 12–10, until the next timeout. The Blues kept up their momentum for the remainder of the set, giving them the lead in the match.

Montréal won the fourth set 25–17, tying the match 2–2. Montréal held an 11–6 lead after their second timeout. The Blues were on the verge of cutting the deficit, but were still down 16–10 by the technical timeout. The Carabins stayed more composed than the Blues.

Montréal won the final set 15–10, winning bronze at the CIS championship. The crowd’s cheers flooded every time the Blues scored a point, getting louder and louder as the game went on. The first timeout saw the Blues down 4–6 to Montréal. After their second timeout, Montréal grew their lead by five points, up 9–4. The Blues cut the lead down to three by Montréal’s first timeout, but Montréal maintained momentum to the end.

“There were moments of greatness. I think we capitalized on those opportunities,” said Jennifer Nielson. It was a hard fight and it shows how much resilience this team had, and how much we really wanted it and put our heart into it.”

Both Nielson and Charlotte Sider stood out for the team, with 13 and 14 kills each, respectively. Sider also had 12 digs throughout the match. Defensively, Denise Wooding had a strong performance for the Blues with 19 digs. Meanwhile, the stars of the game for Montréal were Marie-Alex Belanger with 19 kills, and Stephanie Lojen with 22 digs.
“We fought really hard this year,” said Sider. “We had an almost undefeated season; obviously there was a lot of work behind that… we fought for every point this tournament… so I can’t be upset about that.”

“Unfortunately, for a few crucial moments here, we weren’t able to bring our best,” explained coach Kristine Drakich. “It’s a tremendous experience, particularly for those who are going to continue on, on how to manage these types of situations.”

“I’m very proud of all the players and the team overall, they worked very hard… We were capable of creating opportunity, but we weren’t able to capitalize. But overall, top four in the country is still respectful,” said Drakich.

“They were driven all year, all season long… Day in, day out in physical training and strategic training. To be able… to win a championship banner, [when] the last time we won it in Ontario was in 2010; that was quite a feat for us, and we played pretty solid and focused,” she said.

— Ahmed-Zaki Hagar

Final game: Alberta vs. Trinity Western

An hour after the Varsity Blues women’s volleyball team lost a five-set epic to the Montréal Carabins, the University of Alberta Pandas faced off against the Trinity Western Spartans with a CIS title on the line.

A brilliant rally to open the match set the stage for a hotly-contested first set. The teams traded points in the opening minutes, before the Pandas surged to a 19–13 lead on the back of some strong play by U of A libero Jessie Niles.



The Spartans battled back, but couldn’t fully climb out of the hole, dropping the first set 25–22.

The momentum with them, the Pandas jumped out to an early lead in the second set, but the Spartans battled back once again to level the score at 11.

Trinty Western outside hitter Carly Hamilton was the difference-maker early on, helping her team get back into the game with some brilliant serving.

The teams continued to trade points for the rest of the set, with the Pandas ultimately taking the second set 25–23 following several furious rallies. For such an exciting set, the final point was actually rather anticlimactic, as a Spartans miscue (a wide return) gave the set to Alberta.

The third set featured the rally of the match, as the desperate Spartans squad dove all over the court to secure an early 3–2 lead. Undeterred, the Pandas battled right back, with a fantastic Niles dig the highlight of a five-point U of A run.

The Spartans responded with some stellar play of their own, with diving saves by Nikki Cornwall and Elizabeth Wendel helping Trinity Western jump to a 13–10 lead at the mid-point of the frame.



The Spartans kept up the pressure, playing noticeably desperate volleyball to take the set convincingly 25–15.

The Spartans kept up the intensity in the fourth set, outscoring the Pandas 6–2 early on. The Pandas surged back yet again, pulling within two points.

With the Spartans up 9–7, Wendel killed Alberta’s momentum, making a brilliant diving save to allow her team to win one of the match’s best rallies.

The Spartans scored six straight following Wendel’s spectacular play, prompting U of A to call a timeout. The stop did little to slow the bleeding, however, and Trinity Western took the set 25–15.

Niles began the final set with a terrific dig to give the Pandas the opening point, but it was the Spartans who jumped out to an early 7–4 lead.

The Alberta coaching staff called a timeout in an attempt to regroup, but the Pandas failed to close the gap, and found themselves behind 11–6 when the Spartans called their last timeout.

Wendel followed up the timeout by effectively putting the game out of reach. The third-year outside hitter made an incredible diving save, and then unleashed a thunderous spike to put her team up 12–6.

She followed this incredible individual effort up with another stunning spike. Wendel serving for the match, into the net, 14-8. Lang block, 14-9. Spatans out of bounds, 14-10. Miscue by Spartans leads to ace by 14. Trinity Western outside hitter Royal Richardson ends it with a booming spike.

Richardson explained that the point was the greatest point of her volleyball career: “At that point you’re on such an emotional high that you’re just trying to control everything and focus in… I was like ‘I’m just going to go out swinging… and I’m going to put this ball away.’”

“Our team has been in a lot of fifth sets before,” said player of the game Wendel. “I knew my team could do it. I just knew that we had to come out firing and as soon as we put pressure on the team, they’d crumble.”

“We’ve been working all year to be as fit as we possibly could and I knew that our team could rally together because our team has been through the grind before… and I knew we could do it again,” added Richardson.

— Sampson Coutts

Varsity Blues swimming team finishes impressive season

Swimming team competes strongly in both OUA and CIS championships

Varsity Blues swimming team finishes impressive season

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues men’s and women’s swim teams have enjoyed incredible success this season at both the provincial and national levels.

Two weeks ago, the Varsity Blues travelled to Victoria, B.C. to compete in the 2015 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships. Going into the championships, the men’s team held the title as reigning two-time champions and were hoping to leave with yet another victory.

According to veteran athlete Eli Wall, “We knew the provincial OUA title wouldn’t be too hard to maintain, however the national CIS championship was a whole other story. Our rivals at UBC recruited an amazing rookie class of top-level swimmers and we knew from the start that they would be tough to beat.”

Despite the Blues’ commendable performance at the CIS championships, the team was unable to defend the title. With 584 points, the men’s team placed behind the UBC Thunderbirds. But, notes Wall, “the team stayed positive throughout the meet and many people still had incredible swims.”

With two gold medals in the 100-metre and 200-metre breaststroke events and strong performances throughout the year, Wall was named CIS Swimmer of the Year. He was also praised for his continued improvement over the course of the season.

Wall credits much of his success this season to coaches Byron MacDonald and Linda Kiefer.

Wall swam with the Greater Ottawa Kingfish Swim Club for the entirety of his club swimming career, and, with the end of the varsity season, he will train with the Toronto Swim Club.

“Switching programs from club to varsity is a drastic change and I guess I’m finally adjusting to the change. Everything just sort of clicked this past week,” said Wall.

“I definitely had my eyes on a national title all year, so being able to win two events was incredible. I am also looking forward to this summer and hopefully qualifying for FISU [International University Sports Federation],” he added.

The women’s swim team had a strong performance at the CIS championships as well, finishing with a total of 412 points. The team won the bronze medal, finishing third behind UBC and the University of Montreal.

According to rookie Kylie Masse, the women’s team started off the season intending to win the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships, and to get a podium finish at the CIS championships. The team certainly achieved these goals.

“I am lucky to be a part of such an encouraging and hardworking group of athletes… I was nervous about adjusting to university and all the changes that come with it, but I quickly became a part of the swimming family because the team, coaches and support staff were all incredibly welcoming and I am grateful to be a Varsity Blue,” said Masse, who won a total of four individual medals throughout the meet.

Veteran Blue Paige Schultz won the Student-Athlete Community Service Award, and the Blues women’s 4×100 relay team won a silver medal.

Both Wall and Masse echoed similar hopes for another amazing season next year. The teams are excited for what the next season may bring, as they look forward to even greater success.

Varsity Blues February recap

Teams vie for playoff titles in winter season’s major tournaments

Varsity Blues February recap

Winter playoffs define the month of February for Varsity athletes. As the regular season ends, teams compete in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships for a shot at continuing their seasons.

On the ice, the men’s and women’s hockey teams continued their momentum from a strong regular season into the OUAs. The men’s team defeated Ryerson in a first round matchup, but lost to Guelph in the semi-finals.

This past weekend, the team’s playoff run ended with a 2-1 series loss against the Guelph Gryphons.

On the court, both men’s and women’s basketball teams earned playoff berths. In their first game, the men’s team lost to Windsor to end its season. The women’s won its first round game against Brock, but lost to Windsor University in the quarter-finals.

Recent excitement has filled the Goldring centre for the women’s volleyball Canadian championships. Although the men’s volleyball team did not qualify for playoffs, the women’s team finished its playoff run with a strong performance in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Championships. The team won the OUA championships to finish a strong season in their conference, and finished in fourth place at the CIS championships, losing 3-2 in the bronze medal game to the Montréal Carabins.

The swimming team continued its strong season into February and competed in its two major tournaments. The teams earned first place finishes at the OUAs and continued their successful season at the CIS Championships. The men finished second, the women finished third, and many swimmers earned individual awards.

The first-ranked indoor track and field team competed in their OUA championships to finish a strong February run, and the women’s team took home the OUA title while the men placed fifth, an improvement on their respective second and sixth place finishes last season.

Taking to the ice, the curling teams ed great success in their OUA Championships. The men’s teams earned a bronze medal finish and will continue their season at the CIS championships. The women’s team lost in its quarterfinal match against Guelph.

The figure skating team took the ice at the OUA championships and finished in sixth place. The team captured individual and team medals at the event.

In the frigid temperatures of North Bay, the Nordic skiing team competed in the relay, 6-kilometre and 10-kilometre races. The tournament continued a successful season for the skiers. The team will soon race at the Ontario Cup and CIS championships.

With mask on and sword in hand, the fencing teams competed in their OUA playoffs and both medaled. The men’s teams finished first in the sabre class, third in the foil class, and eighth in the epee class.

Individual members also earned OUA all-star recognition and individual awards. The women’s team earned a third place finish in the Epee class and two members earned individual all-star recognition.

Squash teams medaled at their respective OUA championships. The men’s team won a tiebreaker against McMaster to earn bronze. The women’s team earned a silver medal and will continue their season in the Jester’s University League playoffs.

Taking to the mat, the wrestling teams fought hard at their OUA championships. The team earned top 10 finishes overall. The men compete in the 52-120 kilogram weight classes and the women in the 48-82 kilogram classes.

Many U of T sports teams have had success at the OUAs. As February ends and some teams finish their seasons, others will keep going for their shot at the CIS Championship title.

Explaining injuries: sprained ankle

The second of a three-part series

Explaining injuries: sprained ankle

Many of us, at one point or another, have experienced a sprained ankle. When we make a quick shift in footing that causes the ankle to roll outward, it causes the outer ankle ligaments to twist and sometimes tear; the result is our “twisted ankle.”

There are three grades of severity to ligament injury, and thankfully the ankle ligaments are much less likely to tear fully, which is why it is so much more common that ankle sprains are minor — in the grade one or two range.

Grade one tears are usually minimal, and they occur when there is slight stretching, swelling, and little damage to the ligament fibres. Someone who experiences this type of sprain may feel discomfort when putting pressure on the foot, but the pain usually eases quickly with light exercise.

Second degree tears are partially torn ligaments and can cause a “looseness” of the ankle joint with certain ranges of motion. This sprain requires immobilization and range of motion exercises. Recovery time typically lasts a few months.

The most severe type of tear, the third degree tear, occurs when the ligament is completely torn. This type of injury occurs less frequently than the other two. The recovery from this kind of injury involves immobilization, physical therapy, and possibly reconstructive surgery.

“I sprained [my ankle] pretty severely playing basketball back in late October,” says Nathan Golish, a fourth-year philosophy student. “I went into ER to get an x-ray and… they gave me a boot and asked me to come back three weeks later to see how it had healed.”

The doctor also instructed Golish to participate in some light exercises, so that he could retain full motion once he started to heal. After this time, he could start physiotherapy.

“I had some slight pain and stiffness in my ankle [and when I began therapy] they would massage my calf and would ultrasound it. The healing really started to progress at this point and the exercises became more rigorous; doing some light jumping,” said Golish.

“By about 2 weeks later I…felt well enough to get back and practice basketball again… I had some stiffness after playing, but I would ice it and stretch it out and it felt even better the next day,” said Golish.

For Shaunesy Dyer, her sprain was minor and her treatment plan was different.

“[I] was walking down the stairs, and I rolled onto my ankle and sprained it. When I went to the doctor, he gave me anti-inflammatory drugs to help with the swelling because when I woke up the next morning, it was the size of a golf ball,” said Dyer.

“The doctor advised me to keep the weight off of my foot and only walk if it was essential… so now I just keep it wrapped up in a tensor bandage.”

Although a sprained ankle may appear to be a minor injury, it is very important to get it checked out by a doctor when you think that you have experienced one.
“I was the typical athlete and didn’t think too much of the injury at first,” says Rachel Pham, member of the Varsity Blues rugby team.

“I did not get treatment right away, the sprain continued to worsen until it became quite swollen. I then saw a therapist who told me to take a week off of sports to rest and then prescribed me some strength and stabilizing exercises,” she explains.

“After the week of rehab and rest, it was much better and I was able to return to play,” says Pham.

Back to our roots

Toronto's Wavelength festival champions the city's underground music scene

Back to our roots

When you first meet someone, there is, on some level, a mutual feeling of unspoken awkwardness. You don’t know whether to go in for a handshake, a hug, or just to wave at the first point of contact; there’s that awful moment when they tell you their name and you immediately forget.

Then you meet that one person who, for some reason, you just click with. You don’t dig in to find commonalities to keep the conversation going — you kind of just talk. Before you know it, you’re best friends.

The Wavelength festival is set up much like an introduction to such a friend. A younger friend, considering they are only about 15 years old, but one that somehow reminds you of yourself — a little naive, but somehow more put together than you; the kind of person you simultaneously resent and admire.

Despite this, I had never acquainted myself with this mysterious concert series until this year.

The festival didn’t officially start until February 13, but a fifteenth birthday celebration was in order. With Red Bull Sound Select, my three dollars got me a chance to see a band I missed during NXNE — Speedy Ortiz. Playing new songs and old favourites, Speedy Ortiz is the band you want to become — popular enough, but free enough to do whatever they choose. Relaxed and engaged with the crowd, they put on a solid show. Their openers, HSY and Wish, were cleverly chosen to complement two sides of the main act — HSY had a harsher instrumental sound, and Wish had shoe gaze vibes. This pre-party was a promising beginning to the weekend.

Artists perform at Wavelenth music festival.  PHOTO COURTESY OF EMILY SCHERZINGER

Artists perform at Wavelenth music festival. PHOTO COURTESY OF EMILY SCHERZINGER

The Wavelength festival has a knack for picking appropriate venues. Sneaky Dee’s was great for the first night because it was more intimate. Artists performed covers of past artists who had performed at Wavelength. Bands included Hervana, who performed songs by the Constantines; More or Les covering Toronto hip-hop artists; Lockbox and Laura Barrett covering Owen Pallett; Delta Will covering Caribou; and Most People covering hometown favourites Broken Social Scene.

I tend to shy away from cover bands, but this was a clever introduction to new groups without my feeling intimidated by being totally clueless about their songs. The headliner, Art Bergmann, put on a good, albeit long, set, filled with jabs at the Conservative party that I enjoyed a little more than I should have.

Saturday night took place at the Polish Combatant’s Hall. The oddly lit but charming wedding hall just south of the U of T campus was surprisingly fitting for the night’s performances. Last Ex, a band with members from Timber Timbre, presented eerie instrumentals fit for a Canadian X-Files spin-off. Del Bel impressed with their raspy lead vocalist and soulful tunes perfect for Valentine’s Day. The Acorn came on complimenting the audience with remarks like “we’re going to get you all pregnant” and “this is for all the sexy people.” Afterwards, it was time for the exuberant Lowell. Lowell is a true performer. Many technical problems occurred with her set, but her energy and conviction really did overcome those issues.

There were some bumps along the way with every show I attended, from a broken bass to cut electricity. But this wasn’t a negative, because every single artist who was affected —Speedy Ortiz, Controller Controller, Lowell — all bounced back with their own character. From Lowell grabbing a speakerphone and rapping, to Most People coming to the aid of Controller Controller by lending them a bass, performances were heightened by the curiosity of “how are they going to run with this?” Thankfully, the volunteers were quick to accommodate and the problem was solved within minutes. It really showed that, although Murphy’s Law is binding, the musicians and volunteers were committed to putting on a good show.

It further highlighted why Wavelength is so important to the Toronto music scene. Wavelength is a collective of people who clearly enjoy music and introducing people to underground music. With larger festivals increasingly coming to Toronto, from WayHome to the expansion of homegrown festivals like Field Trip, it’s festivals like Wavelength that remind us of the Toronto scene’s roots.

Best picture debate

Who should have won the best picture Academy Award?

Best picture debate

Boyhood: wrongfully snubbed

It took Boyhood 12 years to lose an Oscar it rightfully deserved

Some time last July, my dad and I sat down in our local multiplex to watch Boyhood. As soon as the film cut to black and the overhead lights came back on, I knew that what director Richard Linklater had put together over the course of 12 years was nothing short of spectacular. “A movie like this,” I thought, without an ounce of hyperbole, “only comes about once in a lifetime.”

So it came as quite a surprise — to me, at least — that Boyhood, which was included on 536 “Best of 2014” lists and topped 189 of them, left last Sunday’s Academy Awards (mostly) empty-handed. There have been plenty of upsets throughout Oscar history, and this year’s ceremony was no exception: Boyhood should have won Best Picture.

Boyhood’s greatness comes from the beauty and elegance with which it treats the typical and the mundane. It strings together snapshots of everyday life and presents the world with such tender honesty that it feels less like a movie and more like real life. This feeling is because the film is, quite possibly, as close to real life as a film has ever come; Boyhood is as much a story about Mason, Samantha, Olivia, and Mason Sr. as it is about the performers that play them. Knowing that Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Patricia Arquette, and Ethan Hawke committed to this project not only spotlights the astonishing scope of the project and the admirable perseverance in its creation, but also the tremendous risk Richard Linklater took in bringing it to life.

Practically unprecedented (documentarian Michael Apted’s Up Series being the notable exception), Boyhood’s form forges a unique relationship with its audience. Despite its small budget and hyper-specific focus, it is a surprisingly big — perhaps even universal — film. This “gimmick,” as detractors have been inclined to call it, is Boyhood’s elemental strength; Linklater unflinchingly presents the journey every human being takes on their trek into adulthood, showing it in as close to real time as a movie shot over 12 years will allow. As Peter Howell of the Toronto Star wrote, “It mirrors all lives in the passage of one.”

Audiences can easily read themselves into the film; each formative experience shown onscreen inspires within viewers a distinct nostalgia, like a montage of moments from their own lives. In capturing the truth of human existence so exactly and in shooting the passage of time with such pointed attention, Linklater makes time visible — a distinct character as important as Mason or the rest of his family.

Boyhood tells a simple story: a child grows up to become a man. But it does so in a way no film has ever done before, and no film will likely ever do again. In its totality, Boyhood is more than a movie: it’s real life. And it’s a shame that, in an industry built upon the pleasures of predominantly uninspired fiction, the Academy can’t recognize and honour a three-hour glimpse of honest, beautiful reality.

— Daniel Konikoff

Birdman: a worthy winner

Despite the backlash, Birdman deserved its Best Picture win

It’s the same every year; after the biggest awards show’s red carpet has been rolled up and the gold statues given their new homes, there are always the complaints of snubs.

That’s not to say these aren’t sometimes justified — Crash over Brokeback Mountain, anyone? — but, despite this year being another demonstration of the Academy’s lack of diversity, at least two truly great and unconventional films were nominated: Birdman and Boyhood.

When Birdman won Best Picture I can’t say I was surprised; it was a masterful demonstration of innovation in film, one that explored so many ideas, yet never felt stifled by them.

Yet, inevitably, those convinced that Boyhood was going to win were up in arms across the Internet. Even my favourite film critic, BBC’s Mark Kermode, went as far as comparing Birdman’s victory to infamous snubs of the past: “It felt like there will be a pub quiz question in 10 years’ time, and the question will be: What won the Oscar for best picture the year that Boyhood didn’t?”

I know it’s an awards show, and by definition trying to say one piece of art is better than the other is futile, but it’s comments like these that really grind my Birdman-fanboy brain. To act as if Birdman will only be remembered in infamy, in the shadow of a Linklater snubbing, to me, is not a fair representation of one of the year’s best films.
Let’s get one thing straight: they’re both good movies. Both could be passed off as simply gimmicks: Boyhood with its filming over a 12-year period and Birdman with its simulated continuous shot. Both integrate these selling points marvelously, but Boyhood seems to drag.

When I watched Boyhood, I could understand why it was three hours long due to its filming period, but I could also definitely feel those three hours. Every so often, when I felt it was dragging, I almost felt guilty: “I can’t be bored by this film — it was filmed over 12 years, I’ve got to appreciate the effort,” I thought to myself. It was a beautiful film, with terrific performances, but when you become aware of your own boredom during a film, there is a problem.

Meanwhile, with Birdman, I wished it had lasted longer. Not only did the continuous take fit with the subject matter and heighten the other moments of theatrical symbolism — the exposed musician who popped in from time to time, for example — but for such an enclosed movie, it felt visceral. You could feel the anger coming from every member of the cast, every argument, every feeling of dread that couldn’t quite be articulated. Conversely, Boyhood lacked sometimes in terms of its script and its pace.

I’m not trying to say Boyhood didn’t deserve to win — I would have been happy if it did. Nevertheless, just because it didn’t, doesn’t mean there was a snub.

— Oliver Thompson

Robarts: from top to bottom

A definitive ranking of every floor of Robarts library

Robarts: from top to bottom

In a way, Robarts is like Hogwarts — not only does its name sound slightly similar, but it also has new rooms to discover, hidden corridors to stumble across, and a bit of magic around every corner.

Well, scratch that last bit.

For those of us who use this gigantic cement turkey as a home away from home, we’ve learned to accept Robarts as a looming presence in our university life. In order to extract some light from the general gloom that encompasses these long, arduous study sessions, here is a ranking of every floor in Robarts Library.

The 14th floor — 2/5 stars

When James Cameron landed at the bottom of Mariana’s Trench, he described it as a desolate landscape and a distant “alien limbo,” but he also could have compared it to the fourteenth floor of Robarts. It’s a confusing maze of hallways that zigzag around different cubicles, seemingly trying to encourage you to find a different floor to study on.

The 13th floor — 3/5 stars

If you’re superstitious, obviously you want to stay away from the thirteenth of anything. Nevertheless, this floor gets brownie points for the semi-majestic staircase that winds its way onto the middle of the twelfth floor. On a busy day, make like Hermione Granger’s arrival at the Yule Ball, and saunter elegantly downwards to your enamoured study-buddies.

The 12th floor — 3/5 stars

This is a nice one. Silence? Check. Bathrooms? Check. Cell service? Sadly, no, but that’s alright — it has a pretty lovely view of the city from the southern end if you can fight your way to a coveted window seat.

The 11th floor — 1/5 stars

The eleventh floor would be nice, had somebody cared to provide the desks with chairs. I find myself standing up as I write this. Do not study here.

The 10th floor — 4/5 stars

There is no clear difference between this floor and the twelfth floor. In fact, the two are eerily similar. Silence? Yes. Bathrooms? Yep. Cell Service? Oh wait, there is cell service! Lo’ and behold, the tenth floor has a minimal but ever-present cellular connection, just barely edging its way past the twelfth floor in ranking.

The 9th floor — 3/5 stars

Once again, we find ourselves in the bleak midway section of Robarts, where every floor and passed-out student looks oddly similar.

The 8th floor — 5/5 stars

The eighth floor is a world of mystery and hidden treasures. Other than the impeccably named Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong library, this floor is also home to a prayer room and the East Asian Studies Library. The Richard Charles library is a haven of vibrant colors and charm — which is refreshing coming from a building that has the colour range of, well, 50 Shades of Grey (I am so sorry). In the back, you’ll find round orange sofas that are accompanied by a view of western Toronto. If you can bushwhack your way through the thickets of the densely shelved East Asian Library, you will find yourself in a cozy little study area looking out on to the back of our sacred turkey’s head.

The 7th floor — 5/5 stars

I made the mistake of going up to this floor around 10:40 on a Thursday evening. Having forgotten that the upper levels of Robarts close around 10:45 pm, I quickly found myself stuck on the seventh floor without means of escape. After having to call the Robarts main office, a begrudging security guard came to retrieve me, utterly bewildered by my lame reasons for being here (“I, uh, thought it was a different floor”). Unconvinced, he escorted me to the staircase, surreptitiously revealing that this floor is the central agency for ITS (Information Technology Services). It is basically the powerhouse of the university, the same way that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell (shout-out to grade 11 science; I haven’t forgotten you). He then went on to remind me, at least five times, that this place was under no circumstances open for students. Illuminati? Maybe. Either way, sounds fishy.

The 6th floor — 1/5 stars

The sixth floor is also a “staff-only” floor, albeit with comfy chairs, a fridge, and WAY nicer bathrooms. However, it is only accessible to students via the staircase — staff may use the staff elevators. This floor would have ranked nicely had I not been intensely out of breath by the time I got there.

The 5th floor — 2/5 stars

If you want a quiet, secluded area to study in, do not pick the fifth floor. Having ventured up to this floor mid-afternoon, I was met by the on-and-off sound of what sounded like a power tool coming from the enclosed “staff only” area. This was quickly followed by disembodied giggling, and then by nasty looks from the plethora of students trying to study. The word ‘plethora,’ as in, holy-mother-of-God it is crowded up here, comes to mind. I would have given this floor bonus points for the abundance of outlets, but there will be no outlets for you. They’re all taken.

The 4th floor — 3/5 stars

We now find ourselves venturing closer and closer towards the Robarts core. Within minutes of stepping into the large study room via the escalators, I spot at least five vaguely familiar faces from tutorials past. The fourth floor is pretty crowded, too. However, if you edge your way to the perimeter, behind all the bookshelves, you may be lucky enough to find a spot to settle down.

The 3rd floor — 3/5 stars

The third floor is a mixed basket. On the one hand, this floor is blessed with the library’s largest bathroom, and that’s not to mention the Media Commons, which is like the Room of Requirement for film students everywhere. However, come exam time, the study room is so jam-packed with stressed out students, you can almost visualize the tension in the air. This floor is recommended in small doses; spend too much time here and a nervous breakdown is in order.

The 2nd floor — 4/5 stars

Food. Need I say more?

The 1st floor — 5/5 stars 

We’ve finally hit Ground Zero.
The first floor is actually great, because if you find yourself without a computer, no problem – this floor has plenty for you to use. Other positive aspects include a well-kept bathroom, solid Wi-Fi connection, and, best of all, a quick exit from this godforsaken library.