by Derek Cassoff
It was a memorable year for Concordia's varsity sports program, as several teams and individual players proved they are among the best in Canada.
The women's hockey team, a powerful force on the collegiate sports scene for nearly two decades, proved its dominance once again this year, winning its second straight Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) national championship by defeating the University of Alberta 2-0 in the title game. The Stingers finished atop the Quebec Student Sports Federation (QSSF) standings with a 13-0-1 win-loss-tie record, and also won the Theresa Humes and Border Battle tournaments.
After years of high expectations and close calls, the Stingers football team advanced to its first-ever Vanier Cup appearance, losing 24-17 to the University of Saskatchewan. The team cobbled together a nine-game winning streak that included its first-ever Ontario-Quebec Interuniversity Football Conference title, a league championship win over l'Université de Laval and a victory over Acadia University in the Atlantic Bowl in Halifax.
Other Stinger teams that advanced to their national championships included the women's basketball team and the women's rugby team. The basketball team won their third straight conference title with a 15-5 record, and finished sixth at the CIAU finals in Thunder Bay. The rugby squad won their league title with a 12-8 win over McGill University, and competed in the sport's inaugural CIAU championship. They finished fourth out of six teams.
The men's basketball team challenged Bishop's University for conference supremacy all season long, losing the best-of-three league final two-games-to-one. The men'ssoccer team finished atop the QSSF regular-season standings with a 4- 1-3 record, but failed to qualify for the nationals when they lost the conference championship game in a shootout.
The men's hockey team, ranked fourth in the country, waged a fierce battle in the tough Ontario University Athletic Association's Far East division, winding up in second place. They lost the division finals to the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.
The men's rugby team finished third in the QSSF with a 4-2-1 record, losing the semi-finals, while the women's soccer team missed the playoffs with a 3-8-1 record.
Concordia was well represented on the wrestling podium this season. Kaha Verkviachvili, first at the CIAU championships in the 76-kilogram weight class, and Clint Kingsbury, second in the 52-kilogram class, were both named All-Canadian. Female wrestler Tamara Medwidsky, who competes in the 72-kilogram class, won
a gold medal at the Concordia Invitational Tournament and finished seventh for Canada at the World Championships in Poland before
her season ended early because of a knee injury.
Track star Headley Bent Jr. finished second in the 600-metre race at the CIAU championships and earned All-Canadian status.