Footballers say adios

By Sean Nyilassy

If you have ever painted yourself red, drank yourself silly and been to a Dinos football game–especially a homecoming game–then you know that football here at the University of Calgary is something else. You’re not sitting in the Jack or on some random stands by a random field. You’re yelling at the top of your lungs outside in the same massive stadium the Stamps play in.

Five of those Dinos you may have seen working their asses off on the field are now finished their football careers at the U of C. Many of them have accomplished great things and deserve to go out with a bang. But going out with a pop in the Gauntlet is cool, too.

Receiver Ahmed Marshall will have a pretty BSc in Kinesiology on his wall post-exams. He hopes to eventually return to school after paying off the debt so many of us accumulate in our years here.

Marshall is one of the team’s most athletic players, boasting the highest vertical, longest triple jump and fastest 40 in testing, along with other records. I’m going to assume the fastest 40 is measured in some sort of distance, not ounces–although that would be something to be proud of, too.

Marshall also competes for the Dinos track and field team and was even a member of the Canadian Bobsled team from 1998-2002, travelling to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He hopes to continue bobsledding now that his football career is done, aiming at the 2006 Olympics.

Marshall enjoyed his time here as an athlete and takes many fond memories away from the experience.

"Every time I touched the ball was a favourite memory," Marshall recalled.

Another departing two-sport Dino is Mike MacDonald. He has one more year to complete his education degree, but has run out of eligibility as a Dino. He competed not only as defensive tackle in football, but also as a track and field athlete in the shot put and hammer throw.

He was nominated as the Canada West Student of the Year this season for excelling not only in athletics but also in academics and citizenship. Add to this honour three years standing as a Royal Bank Academic All-Canadian and Dean’s List Student and you have yourself one hell of an all-around athlete.

MacDonald has enjoyed every second of his time on the field as well, from leading the team in sacks his rookie year to the final game he played. He will miss not only the game, but his teammates and coaches too.

"Football was the best thing I ever did," he reflected.

Another player who will be sorely missed is linebacker and team co-captain Agustin Barrenechea. Being one of the team’s leaders for the past few years, he will leave a gaping hole in the team following his departure to the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

This season alone he tallied 54 tackles, four sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.

Darren Presley is another name on the list of those departing. Ever since being nominated for the U of C’s Rookie of the Year award in the 2000-2001 season he has been an asset to the team.

Among other achievements he has been a Royal Bank Academic All-Canadian for the past two years, and was named to the Canada West All-Star team and CIS Second All-Star team in the 2002-2003 season.

Last but not least, defensive back Bradley Reinsch has also hung up his jersey for the last time as he completes his Masters of Business Administration this year. Even with a graduate student’s work load and football training, Reinsch still managed to earn Royal Bank Academic All-Canadian honours last year.

Although they lose five key members, don’t look for the Dinos at the bottom of the barrel next season. This team knows how to make it when the going gets tough.