The Ontario Women’s Judo Team Wins GOLD!

The Ontario Women's Judo Team stands atop the podium at the 2011 Canada Games in Halifax

It was an exciting day at St. Mary’s University in Halifax as the judo competition finished with the Canada Winter Games Team Judo Competition.

The Ontario Women’s Judo Team had a spectacular and exciting day that ended with the drama and thrill of being in the finals against Quebec.  After four matches against Quebec, Ontario women were tied at two wins each.  Jaya Creavalle was the tie breaking match in the +70kg weight class.  But her match ended in a hard fought draw. At this point, Ontario was tied with Quebec and a tie breaking match was required.  This tie-breaker was again fought by Jaya, who defeated her Quebec opponent by a dynamic ippon with drop seoi-nage. The crowd went wild!  What a fantastic way to finish off a terrific week of competition here in Halifax.

The Ontario Men’s Judo Team showed a lot of heart as they battled against New Brunswick, but were unfortunately beaten by a close three wins to two.  They were unable to advance in the competition on this day.

Congratulations and thanks should also go out to all of the officials, and volunteers who made the tournament possible. Also a special thanks to the Judo Ontario Referees, Tom Hino and Chuck Lee who worked tirelessly along with the other referees to provide us with a quality event.  You have done us proud!

Additionally, we would not have made it through the week without Jayson Doll and his colleagues at the Ontario Mission Staff! Thanks for everything.

We have had a great week here in Halifax and will remember our Games Experiences for years to come.  I have enjoyed the opportunity to share my thoughts on this blog, and I hope that you have enjoyed reading about them.

Thanks to all!

Aartje Sheffield


Another GOLD medal for the Ontario Judo Team

William (Cody) Dwyer of Ontario recieves his Gold medal in Judo at the 2011 Canada Games in Halifax

The second day of individual judo competition was a huge success for Team Ontario and the Ontario Judo Team.  The Ontario Judo Team was represented by six talented athletes who each showed a lot of heart during the competition.

Our overall results were one GOLD, and four BRONZE medals.

Our GOLD medal was won by William (Cody) Dwyer of Welland Ontario.  He won his final match by a spectacular, audience-pleasing ippon!  Cody has been a very supportive teammate and has show a quiet strength and determination.  He was a joy to watch.

Monika Burgess, of Kitchener, won her BRONZE medal match with flair.  She had a couple of beautiful, spectacular almost ippon scores and eventually came up with the big finale. 

Jaya Creavalle was strong and determined and was able to secure a BRONZE medal for Team Ontario through her efforts in her round robin pool in the -78kg class

Cynthia Beleno-Stitt, finished her round robin competition in a three-way tie.  The tied pool was rerun and Cynthia ended the day with a superb BRONZE medal finish in the +78kg class.

Andrew Balach showed grit and determination. Despite an injury to his elbow, he was able to make his way through his division to the semi-finals and ended the day with a BRONZE medal result.

Although Amanda Felker did not end the day with a medal, she certainly made her presence known by giving her very best effort.

With the individual competition over, we look forward to an exciting day at the Team Competition on Saturday!

Check out our photos on Flickr at:

Till then,

Aartje Sheffield

Four medals for the Ontario Judo Team including one GOLD!!

Team Ontario medalists in Judo

It makes me proud to be associated with the strong and dedicated group of athletes and coaches that make up the Ontario Judo Team. Each and every athlete put their heart and soul into Day 1 of the individual judo competition here at the Canada Winter Games.  I was impressed by the spunk and determination of Ontario’s judoka.

For their efforts the Ontario Team finished an outstanding day with one GOLD, two SILVER, and one BRONZE medal, along with two fifth place finishes and one seventh place finish! 

GOLD went to Nicole Jenicek, of Brampton, for her dominant performance in the -57kg womens’ class. She systematically defeated each opponent decisively, leaving no doubt as to who the winner should be.  When I asked Nicole afterwards about what drives her, she told me that “Dreams come true from dedication, hard work, will power and the support from loved ones.”  It is obvious that Nicole has the formula for success.  My congratulations go out to her family, coaches and friends!

Briana McCracken had a fantastic performance in the -52kg class and will proudly come home with a SILVER medal.  She fought all her matches with grit and not surprisingly made it to the finals.  Congratulations on winning the silver, Briana. 

Jonah Burt, walked through his -81 weight class with relative ease.  Although he did not win his final match against Jobb of BC, he did a spectacular job of winning a SILVER medal for Team Ontario.

Zachary Burt, got off to a tough start, but managed to end the day with a bang.  He went into his BRONZE medal match with determination and spunk which resulted in him winning the match with a spectacular throw for ippon.

Tyler Kamino competed throughout the day with skill and determination.  His efforts got him to the bronze medal match, but he unfortunately was unable to win the bronze. This put him in a very respectable 5th place finish.

Mackenzie Burt, our early bloomer in the -48kg class, show skill and class as she fought her way through her pool.  Unfortunately, the way the pool matches worked out, Mackenzie was unable to advance to the medal rounds, leaving her in a 5th place finish.

Despite travel challenges and delays to get to Halifax, Kenora’s Luke Heatherington, put himself out there and fought with heart and determination. His efforts earned him a 7th place finish.

Overall, it was a successful if not long day!  Four medals for the Ontario Judo Team on Day 1.  Who knows how many on Day 2?  Maybe all six!

We Are Ready

Ontario Judo Team

Today marked the last day of preparation prior to the start of the individual judo competition days at the Canada Winter Games.  The Ontario Judo Team was up and on the go very early this morning for our 8am training.  

On Wednesday, the day will begin early with a 7am official weigh-in at the Prince George Hotel in Halifax.  This will be followed by a plentiful, nutritious breakfast and lots of time to rest and mentally prepare.  The athletes are scheduled to arrive at St. Mary’s University at noon and the competition will begin at 1pm. The Ontario Judo Team will have 7 athletes competing on Wednesday.  In the women’s weight classes, Mackenzie Burt (-48kg), Briana McCracken (-52kg), and Nicole Jenicek (-57kg) will compete.  The men’s divisions will be represented  by Tyler Kamino (-60kg), Luke Heatherington (-66kg), Zachary Burt (-73kg) and Jonah Burt (-81kg). 

On Thursday, the schedule will be similar except Ontario’s female competitors will consist of Monika Burgess (-63kg), Amanda Felker (-70kg), Jaya Creavalle (-78kg), and Cynthia Beleno-Stitt (+78kg).  Our men competing on Thursday will be Andrew Balach (-90kg), and William (Cody) Dwyer (-100kg). 

Tonight the coaches will attend the draw and also look forward to meeting friends and family at the Team Ontario reception this evening. 

Stay tuned for more updates. 

Till then,

Aartje Sheffield

Embracing the Games Experience

Ontario's Judo Team at the Dartmouth Sportsplex supporting Ontario's Women's Hockey Team

The Canada Winter Games offers so much more than simply elite competition.  It offers athletes, coaches and managers the opportunity to watch other sports, take in the sights of the host city and be part of Team Ontario.  Team Ontario’s Judo Team has been doing all of those things.

On Sunday evening, a group of Judo athletes went to cheer for Team Ontario Women’s Hockey Team as they defeated BC by an astounding 4 – 1.  We attended with our “Noisy Sticks” in tow and showed our support for their fantastic effort and result. While at the game, the Judo athletes were able to chat and mingle with the Ontario Synchronized Swim Team and the Ontario Boxing Team members.  Certainly the evening has enhanced our Games experience.

Because Monday was a training day, many used their spare time to take in the sights of beautiful Halifax and browse through the many wonderful shops and buildings.  The Halifax Harbour is home to shops that specialize in pewter, crystal and, of course, souvenirs!  For those who are interested, there are also many historic sites to visit. 

In the evening, some of the judo athletes decided to go and watch the boxing matches.  A great time was had by all!

Tomorrow is also a training day, as we prepare for judo’s individual competition days on Wednesday and Thursday.  Who knows, maybe we’ll take in some Synchronized Swimming!

Till next time,

Aartje Sheffield

Training in the morning and cheering in the evening!

Team Ontario practice

Today, Team Ontario’s Judo Team went to the judo tournament venue at St. Mary’s University here in Halifax.  We met with Jayson Doll, our mission staff extraordinaire and walked to the bus stop.  The bus took us on a scenic route to St. Mary’s University where our competition will begin on Wednesday.  We passed the Citadel and drove through some beautiful residential Halifax neighbourhoods.

The competition venue is fantastic and features a great athletic centre and gym.  The team had a chance to work out some of the kinks associated with our long day of travel yesterday.  They were looking strong and confident.  Today’s training was scheduled for 12:30pm-2:00pm, after which we returned to the Village for a wonderful buffet lunch. 

We are still looking forward to the arrival of one of our team members who had some challenges getting here.  See you soon, Luke!

After a great morning of training, we are all planning to go to the Dartmouth Sportsplex to watch Ontario Women’s Hockey Team play against BC. 


Till next time,

Aartje Sheffield

No More Sleeps – We are on our way!

The day has finally arrived for Judo Ontario’s Team to join Team Ontario at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax.  I am writing this as I sit by the gate at Pearson International Airport.  When I look around the gate, I am impressed by the Team Ontario athletes of all sports who sit in quiet anticipation, waiting to board the flight. 

The Judo Ontario Team is made up of 13 athletes (seven women, six men), two very experienced Coaches and myself, the Team Manager.  The divisions are separated by age and weight. At the Canada Winter Games, all competitors are U20.  For women, the weight classes are -48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63kg, -70kg, -78kg and +78kg.  For the men, the weight classes for the competition are -60kg, -66kg, -73kg, -81kg, -90kg, -100kg and +100kg.  All our athletes are leaving from Toronto, except for Luke Heatherington (from Kenora) who will be flying out of Winnipeg and will meet up with us in Halifax.

The individual judo competitions will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, and the team competition will be held on Saturday.  I am confident that each of our judoka will outdo themselves, as our team is strong and full of talent.

Attached is our team photo (minus Luke from Kenora)…Can’t you just feel their excitement.

Until the next update,

Aartje Sheffield

Ontario Judo Team