Year in review: banner year for the Dinos

By Jon Roe

The Dinos had a fantastic 2009-10 season, capturing three Canadian Interuniversity Sport titles. It was the second best year in Dinos history, behind only 1989, a season in which they captured five national titles. The University of Calgary was tops in the country in swimming, both men’s and women’s, and men’s volleyball. Following a Canada West title by the football team in the fall semester, the men’s swimming team captured the Dinos’ second CW title of the season in the winter.

Here’s a review of the year, focusing on team’s completing play in the winter semester (with apologies to men’s wrestling and track and field, space was short).

Women’s swimming

CIS rank: first

CW rank: second

The Dinos ladies captured their second straight CIS title in dominating fashion, taking it over the University of Toronto by more than 100 points. Erica Morningstar led the way, picking up 200 of the Dinos 679 points. She has been perfect so far in CIS competition with 14 gold medals in 14 races so far in just her second-year. She also won the sprinter’s cup for the second year in a row, awarded to the winner of the 50- and 100- metre freestyle events.

Men’s swimming

CIS rank: 1st

CW rank: 1st

The men regained their CIS title after losing out last year to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, thanks to an over 80-point victory over the U of T.

Bodgan Knezevic took home the rookie of the year award thanks to a bronze-medal win in the 100-metre breaststroke, a sixth place finish in the 200-metre event and his part in the silver-medal winning 4×200-metre freestyle relay.

Captain Jason Block won three gold medals.

It was the Dinos 14th CIS championship.

Men’s volleyball

Regular season record: 13-5

Finish: CIS champions

The Dinos started the year looking to avenge the home playoff loss they suffered last year and did that and more. It was the U of C’s first championship since 1993 and fourth overall.

To say it was unexpected would be an understatement. They finished second in the Canada West conference and lost in the opening round of the Canada West playoffs. They then needed two five-set victories to get them to the national final. They then took down the Trinity Western Spartans in four games to capture the title.

Graham Vigrass was named the tournament MVP for his efforts.

Next year’s Dinos squad will look much different with five different Dinos running out of eligibility, but for now Rod Durrant can bask in accomplishing what he set out four years ago when he came to Calgary.

Women’s volleyball

Regular season record: 10-10

Finish: Lost in CW quarter finals

The Dinos streak of nine-straight appearances at the CIS championships ended this season, but head coach Jesse Knight got a lot from a young squad. Only two fifth years, Raynell Lavertu and Laura Spence, saw significant time. Another fifth-year, Laura Littlejohn, was limited to just 13 matches. Beyond Kathryn Moncks, a fourth-year, the rest of the squad was a mix of first, second and third years. With another year under their belt, this team will be much improved.

Men’s basketball

Regular season record: 15-5

Finish: Lost in CIS semi-finals

The Dinos season ended in the same way as it did last year, with a national semi-finals lost to the UBC T-Birds and final games for key Dinos seniors. Robbie Sihota and Ross Bekkering, pillars for the Dinos during their recent run of success, leave the team in the off-season. So do guards Lindsey Thouret and Jamie McLeod. Rookie Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson wowed everyone with his play during the national tournament, and will be a player to watch these next few years.

Women’s basketball

Regular season record: 8-12

Finish: Out of the playoffs

Head coach Shawnee Harle’s squad finished out of the playoffs, but, much like the women’s volleyball team, did it without much veteran help. Only two players had more than two years of experience with the squad heading into the season: fourth-year Ashley Hill and third-year Megan Lang.

Despite this, they were able to sneak away with a win over the UBC T-Birds in the winter semester, who won the CIS championship in 2008.

Men’s hockey

Regular season record: 13-9-6

Finish: Lost in CW semi-finals

Under new head coach Mark Howell, the Dinos returned to the playoffs after missing out last year. This despite the number of playoff spots shrinking from six to four.

A fourth-place finish earned them a playoff match-up with the hated University of Alberta Golden Bears. The Bears swept the series 2-0, though the Dinos gave it their best effort behind third-string goalie Nathan Deobald in game two. Deobald played because back-up goalie Jeff Weber was suspended and starter Dustin Butler injured.

Reid Jorgensen finished seventh in league scoring with 30 points.

Women’s hockey

Regular season record: 7-15-2

Finish: Out of playoffs

It wasn’t the best return to CIS competition the Dinos could hope for, but they did pick up some steam down the stretch — six of the team’s seven wins came in the second half of the season. Unfortunately, it was after the team had lost 13-games in a row. However, they finished just four points out of a playoff spot.

Women’s wrestling

CIS rank: second

CW rank: second

The Dinos didn’t win their second CIS championship in a row, but they gave it a hell of a shot. It came down to one match. The Dinos were only two points off the title-winning Simon Fraser University Clan.

Dino Gen Haley was named CIS outstanding wrestler of the meet. She has won four straight gold medals at the CIS championships.

Jazzie Barker and Leah Callahan also came away with gold medals, while Erica Wiebe finished with a silver behind U.S. Olympian Ali Wiebe, who came away with her fifth straight gold medal.

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