Soccer Sports

The stage is set for the 2024 Euro Championship

Multiple teams will make their bid at winning this summer’s main football event.

The European Championship playoff round took place on March 26 to decide which final teams in the tournament would be. Now that the groups are set, it is time to deliberate who will be crowned European Champions in 2024.

This year’s tournament will include a mix of soccer powerhouses along with teams that may go under the radar. Six groups of four teams each will battle in the first round—the group stage—to decide who advances to the knockout rounds. The top two teams from each group, along with the best third place teams in the tournament, will punch their ticket to the next round.

In Group A, the host country, Germany, is likely a favourite to advance through to the knockout round. Young talent in attacking midfielder Kai Havertz, as well as established goalkeeper Manuel Nauer give the hosts a big advantage against opposing countries. Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland will battle tough to be the runner-up and clinch their spot in the next round.

Another notable group in the tournament is Group D. France, who came in second place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is likely to win the group. The runner-up spot is likely to be a tough battle between Netherlands, Austria and Poland. 

England is also a favourite in Group C with Slovenia, Denmark and Serbia. The same thing goes for Belgium in Group E with Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine. Group F is likely to be topped by Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal squad, as they will compete against Turkey, Czechia and Georgia.

Finally, the stacked Group B—ranked third in Europe is Spain. The Spanish powerhouse comes into the tournament with one of the most balanced squads in the world made up of striker Álvaro Morata, midfielder Dani Olmo and goalkeeper Unai Simón. Though they are favourites to win the tournament, advancing to the knockout stage will not be a breeze for Spain. First, they will have to get through Croatia. Led by the veteran striker Luka Modrić, Croatia came in third place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

They did, however, finish the Euro Qualifying stage by losing to Wales, whose team failed to qualify for the tournament. Despite the talent of both Spain and Croatia, the competition does not stop there. Italy, winner of the 2020 European Championship, comes into the tournament as the 18th nation in Europe. Yet, Italy has the experience as one of the top nations in the world. Striker Federico Chiesa and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma have the potential to carry Italy to the knockout stage even against the toughest opponents. Albania, the final nation in the group, will be up against large competition and will have to go on a magical run to make it out of the group stage.

The European Championship is a world-renowned tournament for a reason. Once again in 2024, it will be a best-on-best frenzy to see which nation will be crowned champions of the football capital of the world.


Get to know the Concordia women’s flag football family

The team is demonstrating impressive progress in only their third season.

It all started with the love for flag football and a lack of opportunities.

In 2021, students in Quebec joined forces with their institutions’ sports directors to create a flag football league. The universities involved include Concordia University, Université de Montréal, Université du Quebec à Montréal (UQAM), Université du Quebec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Université Laval, Universite de Sherbrooke, and Université du Quebec à Outaouais (UQO).

Eventually, the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) created a flag football pilot project which has been running for three years, now being extended for a fourth.

Sara Parker, Elyane Corneau-Dulude and Stéphanie Nazarov were the students who pushed for Concordia University to be involved in the possible flag football league. Corneau-Dulude and Nazarov are no longer with the team, but Parker is currently in her third year and serves as the offence captain for the Concordia Flag Football team and the quarterback of Canada’s national women’s flag football team. She will compete in Finland from August 25 to 30 at the 2024 IFAF Flag Football World Championship.

Besides Parker, the team is led by head coach and defensive coordinator Alexis Labonté, offensive coordinator Lovinski Geli, assistant coach Sydney Roche, team captain Amélie Brisebois Bentler and defence captain Leanne Majeau. Roche is an alum player in her first year of coaching, while it is the third year for Labonté and Geli.

The Concordia Flag Football team has been working hard to prove themselves, which shows in their results. The team finished first in the league this 2023-24 season with 11 wins and one loss. They made it to their first-ever finals after defeating the Laval Rouge et Or 38-14 in the semi-finals, but they lost to the Université de Montréal Carabins 38-13.

One common aspect the team shares is the sense of family they feel together. “Having each other’s back and bringing each other up when we’re down has kind of been the motto of our team,” said second-year player Victoria Di Loreto. “We’ve had some ups and downs, but when we have ups, I feel that the entire team feels it together.”

Loreto enjoys flag football because it requires using both feet and hands. She started playing soccer as a goalkeeper but never felt the “family feeling” on her team until flag football. 

Second-year player Frédérique Paul shares similar sentiments. “My favourite part about the sport is the friendships you make when you play. It’s a family, really,” she said. “I know we are always here for each other.”

Paul fell in love with the sport when she was 12 years old. She wanted to play tackle football but decided to try “flag” since women couldn’t play football at her high school. Paul even chose Concordia for its flag football program.

Team Captain and third-year player Amélie Brisebois Bentler started playing because her dad was a fan of college football. They would play catch together in their front yard, but she never knew if she could play on an official team until she learnt about her high school’s flag football team. 

Bentler played rugby in her first year at Concordia, with the intention of ultimately playing flag football as soon as the program started. She had many memorable moments with the team.

“I love the victories that we’ve gotten as a team, but I love being involved in the team management as well,” said Bentler. “We’re a small organization and we’re just starting, so we have to get our funding and put our name out there. We’re working really hard on our social media and financial state right now. I think it’s been very memorable to build the program from scratch.”

Although the Concordia Flag Football team is a small organization, they are making a name for themselves through their success and victories. The team even recently won a tournament in Laval.

Université Laval held their first edition of the Provincial Flag Football Tournament on Feb. 10. Concordia defeated team Subzero in the final to bring home their first banner of the season.

The flag football team celebrates their Provincial Flag Football Tournament win on Feb. 10
Credit: Laury-Anne Potvin

“The team Subzero consists of girls from Montreal who are representing Canada in the next world championship in Finland, so it felt great to win against them in the finals,” said Loreto. She mentioned the win was even more rewarding as they had previously lost against team Subzero before meeting again in the finals.

Coming off the tournament win in Laval, the team will play in the third edition of the ConU Tournament on April 7 at the Stinger Dome.

Even though the Concordia Women’s Flag Football team has yet to become varsity, they remain one of Concordia’s most successful teams.


Concordia on 64 squares

Learning about life through chess.

Among all the comings and goings to the Hall building’s seventh floor is a group of students all connected by the same passion for chess. Twice a week, a little over a dozen students from the Concordia Chess Club get together to play games, socialize, and get away from the stresses of university life.

Monday and Thursday afternoons are chess time for regular and the less regular chess players of all levels. Even I, with my (very) little experience in chess, was welcomed with open arms, and offered to play with other beginner players. 

Shoshana Wasserma is an executive committee member of the Concordia Chess Club. For her, chess is not only a game, but also a place to relax and forget about the stresses of life. “One of the biggest reasons I started playing chess was because I wanted a distraction from interpersonal struggles,” Wasserman said. “And I was like, man, chess is the perfect thing to throw myself into, because it can be very consuming and it can take up a lot of your mental energy.” 

Calculations, thinking and creating plans in chess are all transferable skills, according to Wasserman. And this, she noted, “helps just keep [her] life a little more organized.”

Sara Salehi is a member who joined the club last fall, and she likes how it gives her the opportunity to meet with friends and catch a break. “We’re fun. We make the environment fun,” she said. 

Whether you are a complete beginner (like me), or a very experienced player ready to take on Dario Martinez, the captain of Concordia’s team at the 2024 Canadian University Chess Championships, you can find someone at your level to play and have fun with. 

“I think it’s a really good opportunity to practise failure in a safe space,” Wasserman said. “Because with chess, there is so much responsibility and accountability put on you as a player that, like when you blunder a piece, when something goes wrong, you know that’s on you, but you are doing it in a contained environment. So you have the opportunity to practice failure and do that in a way where you can still learn from your mistakes.”

The Concordia Chess Club regularly posts information on their Instagram and Facebook pages. However, they also welcome people who simply want to come and play chess, no matter their level.

“Come join, tell us you’re a beginner and that you haven’t played that much,” Wasserman said. “And usually what we can do is we can pair you up with other people who are also just starting out.”

Sports Tennis

Concordia’s tennis team served up a hard-fought weekend of playoff action

The men and women’s teams each played their final matches of the season this past weekend.

While the varsity sports season ended for the Concordia Stingers, playoff action has not gone away completely. The Concordia Tennis Team, funded by the Concordia Student Union (CSU), is a club where students of Concordia University compete each year against opposing university teams around the Montreal area.

Though recognized as a club at Concordia, the team has all the elements of a varsity team. “The players are serious and the team has the structure,” said coach Rafaela Panizza. Panizza and co-coach Valentin Oswald are optimistic that someday, the team will become recognized as a varsity team.

March 29 marked the first day of the Quebec Tennis Playoffs at the IGA Stadium. For Concordia, the men’s team led off the action. Facing third-seeded McGill University in the quarterfinals, Concordia came in as the sixth-seeded team in the tournament.

The playoff format creates six simultaneous matches for singles competition. Two players from different universities go up against each other, and the university with the highest number of wins advances into the semifinals.

Concordia member Sergio Zaccaria lines up a backhand.
Credit: Heloise Appourchaux @alittlebetterthanadream

Through all of the matches, tough battles ensued. Some of the matches went to a tiebreaking set, some involved playing through physical pain, and some included continuous rallies. Despite a result that favoured McGill, Concordia’s coaches could not say enough about their players’ valiant performances.

“I think today showed how much our team has been working all year,” said Panizza after the men’s quarterfinals. “[Our team] has been serious since day one, and even if the other teams are strong, today showed that we make [winning] very hard on the other teams.”

The focus shifted quickly to the women’s quarterfinals held on March 30. In this matchup, Concordia faced the Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or. Concordia entered the playoffs as the fourth-seeded team while Sherbrooke was fifth. Concordia came to play in the quarterfinals.

A dominant 5-0 team win clinched Concordia Stingers a ticket to the semifinals against the top-seeded Université Laval Rouge et Or. The matchup came that same afternoon with a ticket to the provincial finals on the line.

Despite another hard-fought battle, Concordia came up short in the semifinals. Yet, this season represented a step in the right direction for the Concordia Tennis Team. The men’s team put up a tough fight against McGill while the women’s team won their quarterfinal matchup—the coaches feel this is only the beginning.

At the end of the day, both Panizza and Oswald believe that the most important takeaway from being in this club is the enjoyment it brings. “Every week, we tell our players that the goal is to have fun,” Oswald said. “We tell them to enjoy this time of being in university, going to classes with your teammates and enjoying their studies; because by creating a real social link between them, you create a family, and that is the best method of getting better.”

Basketball Sports

Jaheem Joseph dominates, no matter the circumstances.

The second-year basketball Stinger is a top scorer, despite being blind in one eye.

Jaheem Joseph plays basketball using one eye, and he has scored the most points in the RSEQ this season. The phenomenal shooting guard, in his second year at Concordia, is completely unphased by the fact that he only has five per cent vision in his right eye. It took lots of hard work to normalize his game.

Originally from Ottawa, Joseph spent his early years playing soccer. His father, a prolific basketball coach and ex-player, brought him to shoot around at their local gyms. This is where Jaheem discovered his love for basketball. He started playing on teams in his first year of secondary school, and discovered he had a talent when he was bumped up to play with older players due to his exceptional gameplay.

It was in July of 2020 that the hooper’s life would change forever. He and his friends were messing with fireworks at the park, and one flew into his right eye. At the time, he was getting ready to head to St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in New Jersey to pursue his athletic potential in America. Due to the unfortunate accident, he was now limited to rehabilitation, numerous surgical procedures and the classroom.

It was in April of the following year that Joseph would be ready to step on the hardwood again, accompanied by his high school athletic trainer Isabelle Chiasson at Saint Laurent Express. The two would spend four hours daily, every day for four months, performing sensory exercises and finding solutions to his impairment. Running, head positioning, positioning on the court and spatial awareness were their main targets for improvement.

That summer, Joseph played against Vanier College in the finals of a tournament while he was on the Red Rush Basketball Program, which is part of a grassroots leadership organization. The guard put on an incredible performance for a decisive win, and attracted attention from the CEGEP’s coach. 

“I just felt really natural. I felt like everything was just normal, like I’ve been through nothing in my life,” said the guard remembering the game. “It was just like playing basketball or just doing what I love. It was pretty normal, but when we go way back, I know it was all the work I had done with coach [Chiasson], of course.”

This 2023-24 season, Joseph dominated with the Stingers. He finished as the league’s second top-scorer, averaging 15.8 points per game. This was after being injured for two weeks after spraining his ankle playing at Université Laval on Nov. 25, before suffering a light concussion for a couple of days this past January.

Joseph was selected for the RSEQ All-Star second team, despite these outstanding statistics which he had thought sufficient to land him a place in the first team.

“I couldn’t understand why I got second team, but I feel like it’s pretty good,” he said. “I mean, I had a good season and I showed I should have been an all star this year, and then I think the next year coming up I can probably get on the first team and be MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the league one day.”

The star is grateful to have strong supportive people surrounding him, including head coach Rastko Popović, who was named RSEQ coach of the year in March. The trainer’s obsession with the game is contagious to his players. 

“[Popović] locks himself up and then just watches [game recap] film until he gets tired,” said Joseph. “You can see on film—it says he was watching a clip at 4:00 a.m., so he is crazy about details, but that’s what makes us like the number one team. So it’s really the passion, the drive that he has that really got the team going.”

Joseph is looking forward to next season, where he will be looking to prove himself all while being more supportive for the team.

Having only come up short by a hair this season when losing in the RSEQ finals to the UQAM Citadins, the Stingers team evidently has amazing potential. With more hard work, Jaheem Joseph and the men’s basketball team are sure to go the whole way next season.

Baseball Sports

The MLB Regular Season is almost here, and here’s why you should be excited

New rules, new names, and new teams for star players.

The Texas Rangers capped off the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) season winning their first World Series in franchise history. The offseason that followed would end up changing the image of how the league now looks going into the 2024 regular season.

Prior to the 2023 season, the MLB unveiled a groundbreaking new rule called the pitch clock. The implementation of the pitch clock gave pitchers 15 seconds between pitches when no runners were on base, and 20 seconds when there were runners on base. In 2024, the plan is to speed the pace of play up even more. 

One of the new rules approved by the league is to trim the pitch clock with runners on base from 20 seconds to 18 this season. On top of this, the amount of visits a coach is allowed to visit the pitching mound in a game will be reduced from five to four. As was the goal last season, the league hopes that these rule changes will reduce stoppages in play and give fans a more exciting product on the field.

Along with these rule changes coming in 2024, there will be no shortage of rookies featured on their respective teams’ opening day lineups. In the batter’s box, the number-two ranked prospect in all of baseball, Jackson Chourio, won his spot on the opening day roster for the Milwaukee Brewers. The 20-year-old put up outstanding numbers last year for the Brewers’ minor league affiliate, posting 91 runs batted in while ending the season with a .282 batting average in 128 games. 

Other notable rookie batters to look out for in 2024 include third baseman Junior Caminero, centre fielder Evan Carter, and left fielder Wyatt Langford. These three batters have all officially made their teams’ opening day lineups.

On the mound, the most notable name to keep an eye out for is2023 first overall pick Paul Skenes. While it has not yet been determined whether he will make the Pittsburgh Pirates’ opening day roster, the 21-year-old flamethrower will more than likely reach the major league field in 2024. Skenes has topped out his pitch velocity at an impressive 102 mph during spring training, most notably striking out the MLB’s top-ranked prospect Jackson Holliday.

Lastly, let’s look at the offseason trades and signings. Not often does a major sports league see its cover athlete get traded or signed elsewhere during an offseason, but Shohei Ohtani did just that this past winter. The reigning American League MVP is moving across Los Angeles from the Angels to the Dodgers. With Ohtani being added to the mix with the 2020 World Series champion Dodgers, the team also added top Japanese pitching prospect Yoshinobu Yamamoto, five-time 20-home run hitter Teoscar Hernandez, and 3.89 career earned-run-average pitcher Tyler Glasnow. The Dodgers have all the components of a star-studded team in 2024.

Three-time all-star and former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes was also on the move this offseason. He will become the top pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles’ rotation this season as the team looks to make a deep playoff run come November.

Lastly, the New York Yankees completed a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Padres to receive Juan Soto—the 25-year-old outfielder who is already a four-time Silver Slugger, three-time all star and World Series champion. Soto will be added to the lethal batting lineup for the Yankees, hitting alongside star players Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton.

Though the regular season featured two games on March 20 and 21 during the Seoul Series, the official date for opening day will be on March 28. When the teams hit the field for the first time, fans will be treated to the addition of new rules, rookies starting their major league careers, and all stars starting a new chapter on their new teams. This season has the ingredients for a very exciting summer of baseball. Time will tell which team comes out on top in November.

Our season predictions:

Exciting team to watch this season: With the additions of pitcher Jordan Hicks, third baseman Matt Chapman, and outfielder Jorge Soler, the San Francisco Giants come into 2024 looking like a much more complete team with a high-powered offence and a deep pitching rotation.

Underrated team to watch this season: Look out for the Kansas City Royals. The team has a good combination between rookie and veteran talent, the Royals could be a sneaky pick for a playoff spot in the American League Central Division this season.

World Series champion: There are plenty of teams that are in a ‘win now’ window across the major league. The Braves are coming off a historic season before losing to the Phillies in the playoffs. The Dodgers have loaded up over the offseason. Yet, the team that still shows an immense amount of potential is the Texas Rangers. They now have a World Series under their belt, they have up and coming talent across their lineup in Evan Carter and Wyatt Langford, and still have a very competitive pitching rotation led by Nathan Eovaldi. They are our pick to win it all in 2024.

Basketball Sports

Serena Tchida wins perseverance award through long-time passion for basketball

Women’s basketball star picked for RSEQ All-Star team, wins U SPORTS award.

Stingers star Serena Tchida dominated the 2023-24 basketball season, finishing with the most overall points scored and the second-highest scoring average in the league at 15.1 points per game in the RSEQ. The forward finished with the third-highest field goal percentage, and fourth place in rebounding, averaging 7.2 rebounds per game. She was selected for the RSEQ All-Star Team, along with teammates Areej Burgonio and Rowena Blais.

She performed at this level in her first year back from a season ending tear in her Achilles tendon, which she suffered in the second half of the 2022-23 season, away against ULaval’s Rouge et Or. For this impressive feat, Tchida won the Tracy MacLeod award for determination, perseverance, and an unwavering spirit while overcoming adversity.

“The first time I heard of this award was in my first year. Myriam Leclerc won the award, so I had an example of what you need to do,” Tchida said. 

Coincidentally, Leclerc won U SPORTS Rookie of the Year in 2019, and Tchida was selected for the RSEQ all-rookie team in 2021. “It was one of my goals to get that award,” she said. “I tried to focus on my work, and gave all my worries and stress to God.”

Tchida started playing basketball in her fourth year of high school. Growing up in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, she attended Saint-Luc High School, where she tried out for the school team with her friend. Her friend didn’t make the team, but Tchida did. She didn’t originally have a passion for basketball, but gradually discovered her talent along with a sense of family in her teammates, and support from her coaches which she didn’t have at home. 

One day, she was at Pagé Basketball with her friends for a shoot-around. A coach who was casually watching was impressed with her talent, and suggested that she try out for CEGEP Édouard-Montpetit. Which is what she did, and succeeded yet again. Although, for her, basketball was still only a pastime, and not pursuable in the future. 

Before her Achilles tear last season, Tchida suffered another major basketball injury in 2019, while she was playing for Édouard-Montpetit. She was anxious, as she was being scouted for the first time in her life. Coach Tenicha Gittens from Concordia University was visiting.

For the first time, she felt important, wanted, and looked forward to possibly being coached by a Black woman. Her whole career thus far, she had been coached by men. During the game, Tchida tore half of her ACL amid a scuffle on the hardwood. She shot right back up, and pushed to stay in the game. Unfortunately, her team’s athletic therapist refused. On the bright side, Gittens was convinced.

“That’s when my passion started,” Tchida said. “I saw that I was wanted by someone. [Gittens] took care of me since day one. I have a really good relationship with her… It was a dark time for me, but she didn’t let me quit, she didn’t let me go.” 

Fast forward to January 2023, Tchida tore her Achilles tendon in what seemed to be an unprompted, unexplainable manner. The small-forward was frustrated, as she had caught momentum after her impressive rookie season, where she averaged 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. 

“[Gittens] really helped me through the injury,” the All-Star forward explained. “She visited me at the hospital, she brought me to the hospital by car in Québec. She made sure that everything was on the table for me so I could just eat it. Her and my assistant coach, Shawn Browne, I’m super grateful for them because they made it so easy for me to get better. They made a good investment in me, and I was able to return it.”

Tchida said the secret to her speedy recovery was perseverance, all while staying calm and being in the present. “I didn’t put pressure on [myself],” Tchida said. “I was just going day by day and giving my all everyday. I was making sure that I gave the effort that I needed to, doing my exercise, eating good, being there for the girls, and putting 100 per cent effort.”

The leader has high expectations for her upcoming final season, and is grateful for every member of the Stingers. “I would love for us to go to nationals and play during nationals and live the experience that I lived when I went to get my award,” she said. “I want to win the championship for my coach and for my teammates and for everybody that believes in me.” 

Serena Tchida hopes to play at the professional level, and believes she will with help from her coaches.

Sports Wrestling

Alex Moore: Wrestling to Paris 2024

Former Stingers wrestler Alex Moore has qualified for his first Olympic Games this summer.

Four years ago, Alex Moore was preparing for the Canadian Olympic Trials leading to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. However, two weeks before the trials, he suffered a complete ACL tear, requiring an operation that ruled him out of the Tokyo 2020 qualifications. It was devastating news for him—he was number one in Canada in the men’s freestyle wrestling 86 kg category and felt confident in his chances of qualifying for the Olympics.

“It’s like your dreams flash before you and then kind of get crushed,” Moore said. “It was hard, and I remember the first day, I kind of felt bad for myself. I was upset. And then right away, I was like, hey, what can I do now? So I started the prehab [prehabilitation process] to strengthen my knee before I got into surgery.”

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic threw him a lifeline. With the games postponed to 2021, he had enough time to recover from his ACL tear. Moore’s previous performances in international competitions made him eligible for a wrestle-off against Clayton Pye, who had won the Canadian Olympic Trials, but failed to qualify for Canada through the Pan American Olympic Qualification Tournament. To be Canada’s representative at the 2021 World Wrestling Olympic Qualification Tournament, Moore had to win two fights in a row against Pye. 

Despite this opportunity, nothing seemed to work in Moore’s favour. One week before the wrestle-off, he tore his labrum in his right shoulder. It would be an understatement to say it handicapped him when it came time to wrestle against Pye.

“I didn’t know it was torn, but I couldn’t do a push-up,” Moore said. “It was hurting. I had no strength in my shoulder.”

Amateur Wrestling champion Alex Moore. Photo by Kaitlynn Rodney

Nonetheless, he still won the two matches to get to the world qualifiers, where he lost against the Armenian Hovhannes Mkhitaryan, officially ending his hopes of qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo.

After recovering from his torn labrum, he achieved many good results, including a bronze medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and a silver medal at the 2023 Pan American Wrestling Championships. In 2023, he obtained his Bachelor of Commerce in Management from the John Molson School of Business. He capped off his university wrestling career by winning the U SPORTS 90 kg wrestling championship title and the Male Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Year Award, both repeats of 2019. He was also named the Stingers Male Athlete of the Year.

Everything was going well for Moore, as he was preparing for the 2024 Pan American Olympic Qualification Tournament. Then, seven weeks before the qualifiers, he competed in a “small tournament just to tune up.” There, he broke something in his right hand and was put in a cast for four weeks. He thinks it happened when he accidentally punched one of his opponent’s shin. Nonetheless, he tried to remain positive in his recovery; when discussing the situation with his coach, David Zilberman, a former Olympian.

“We were going back and forth talking about how every time something bad happened, it would just make for a better story,” Moore said. “Like, wouldn’t that be cool? You know, after everything, getting the job done.”

Five days before competing, his second time getting back on the mats in six weeks, his hand still hurt, even when practicing against lighter high school wrestlers.

“You’re pulling on people and pushing in wrestling, so I’m pulling on the guy’s neck, and I have no strength in my hand,” he said. “There’s so much pain, and I remember thinking to myself: I’m not ready for it, so that was the only time where I was kind of like broken, almost mentally for a second.”

However, Moore was determined to wrestle no matter what, saying he was “not throwing away everything” because of this injury. Through a combination of determination and painkillers, he still wrestled at the qualifiers and obtained his ticket for Paris, beating Jorge Llano of Argentina and Pedro Ceballos of Venezuela. It was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream for him.

“The feeling was insane, like indescribable, but it was weird,” he said. “I never showboat, I never do anything, I just walk off the mat. But for this one, I was yelling, I was pumped, and emotions just took over… I’ll never forget it. This is crazy.”

What is his objective for Paris?

“Just a medal, preferably gold,” Moore said. “But yeah, it’s like a lifelong dream… You want to make that 5-year-old version of yourself happy… That little kid has that dream, and I’m doing it for that guy.”

Moore, practicing at a young age Courtesy of Alex Moore


Professional tennis: A beginner’s guide to the 2024 season

The reality of tennis at the highest level.

It may seem as simple as hitting a fuzzy yellow ball over a net, but in reality, tennis is arguably the most grueling and demanding professional sport.

The professional tennis season calendar for 2024 is loaded. It comprises approximately 60 events in about 30 different countries, played on three different surfaces (hard-court, clay-court, and grass-court). Tournaments are categorized based on their prestige, prize money, and ranking points awarded. The categories include Grand Slam tournaments otherwise known as Majors (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open), Masters 1000 tournaments, 500-level tournaments, and 250-level tournaments.

Tennis has a unique scoring system. Games make up sets, and sets make up matches. A set is won by the first player to claim six games. Once a point is won, scoring starts at 15, then progresses to 30, then 40, and finally, the game. If both players reach 40, it’s called “deuce.” After deuce, a player must win two consecutive points to claim the game. Matches are typically decided by whoever wins the best of three sets. The only instance where a match is decided by the best of five sets is at Majors, but only for the men, as has been tradition for decades.

Tennis players have similar goals—to win tournaments and to increase their world ranking. Winning one of the four Grand Slam tournaments is known as the pinnacle of tennis, and only a very small percentage of players can say they’ve reached it. Not only does the sport require physical toughness, but being mentally tough is equally as important.  

The 2024 season is off to a rocking start. Both the men’s and the women’s competitions have seen thrilling moments, whirlwinds of emotions, emerging talents, as well as solidified greatness.

As it does every year, the season begins on the other side of the world, in Australia. Competitors head Down Under early to get acclimated to Aussie conditions. This includes practice tournaments in Brisbane and Adelaide, followed by the first Major of the year in Melbourne.

On the women’s side, world number two Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus won her second straight Australian Open title, which also happened to be her second career Major title. It was a very straightforward title run for her, as she won the tournament without losing one set.

On the men’s side, this year’s Australian Open was one of the most exciting Majors in recent history. A record tying 35 matches went to a deciding fifth set, with one of them lasting four hours and twenty-three minutes, while ending at 3:39 a.m. Australian time. In the end, it was the 22-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner who came out on top beating the likes of world number one and 24-time Major champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, followed by a win against world number four Daniil Medvedev in the finals. This was the first Major win of Sinner’s young career, and certainly not the last.

Players are currently competing in what’s known as the Sunshine Swing. This includes back-to-back Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells, California, and Miami, Florida. They will then head to Europe until mid-July. The rest of the 2024 tennis season is undoubtedly going to be action-packed.

Hockey Sports

Stingers Women’s hockey team takes home gold at the National Championships

For the second time in three years, Concordia is the top team in Canada.

The Concordia Stingers Women’s Hockey team won their third-straight Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) championship on March 3. A 10-4 victory against the Université de Montréal Carabins propelled the Stingers into the U SPORTS National Championship tournament as the top-seeded team in Canada.

To advance to the next round, the Stingers’ had to take down the eighth-seeded University of Saskatchewan Huskies on March 14. The Huskies were coming off a heartbreaking series defeat in the Canada West (CW) quarterfinals, though qualified for the U SPORTS National Championship tournament as the host university.

As the puck dropped for the quarterfinal matchup, the Huskies came out strong on home ice. With nearly 2,400 fans in attendance, the first challenge for the Stingers was to weather the storm in the first ten minutes. Despite some close-range opportunities for the Huskies, Stingers goaltender Jordyn Verbeek kept the game scoreless.

With 11 minutes remaining in the first period, the Stingers drew their first penalty. Before the Huskies could get possession on the delayed penalty, Stingers forward and captain Emmy Fecteau took a shot that fortunately bounced over both the defenders and the Huskies goaltender, giving Concordia a 1-0 lead.

A fierce forecheck for the Stingers allowed forward Émilie Lavoie to linemate Rosalie Bégin-Cyr for the one-timer goal and the 2-0 lead. The Stingers carried this momentum into the third period with the semifinals inching closer.

Two late goals from forward Émilie Lussier capped off the shutout for Verbeek and the 4-0 victory in the quarterfinals. Two more wins and the Stingers were back on top of Canadian women’s hockey.

An off day gave the Stingers the opportunity to enjoy their win and get ready for their semifinal opponent on March 16. The Stingers had to get through the fourth-seeded University of Waterloo Warriors next if they wanted to advance to their third straight National Championship final.

Six minutes into action, the Stingers set the tone. Émilie Lavoie found forward Zoé Thibault wide open in front of the Waterloo goal crease, backhanding the puck five hole on Warriors goaltender Mikayla Schnarr to give Concordia a 1-0 lead. The Stingers were not done in the opening frame.

In what seemed like an innocent rush up the ice, Stingers forward Courtney Rice skated through the Warriors defence and rifled a shot past Schnarr to give Concordia some insurance and a 2-0 lead.

The second period saw the Stingers play a disciplined, balanced game where they outshot the Warriors 14-6 but could not add to their lead. Yet, they would retain their two-goal lead heading into the final frame.

Desperate, the Warriors came into the third period with a power play, and they took advantage almost immediately. A goal 29 seconds into the period cut the Concordia lead in half with plenty of time remaining, 2-1. Concordia responded well in the minutes that followed.

With the clock ticking down, the Warriors found themselves with a golden opportunity to tie the game—on a power play with two minutes remaining. What followed did not favour the Warriors, however.

Stingers forward Jessymaude Drapeau stole the puck, drew the Warriors goalie out of position, and buried the dagger as Concordia was now up 3-1 with one minute remaining. The defeated Warriors did not earn any late opportunities as the Stingers had now clinched a ticket to the National Championship final.

With the vibes high for Concordia, one last opponent stood in the way from being crowned Canadian champions. That final team was the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.

With the stage set for the winner-takes-all game, the Stingers came out buzzing. One minute into the opening frame, Lussier scored her third of the tournament and most importantly, put her team in front 1-0 in the championship final. Just minutes later, the Stingers added to their lead.

Drapeau fired the puck from a sharp angle behind the net that found its way through Toronto goaltender Erica Fryer, making it 2-0 Concordia early. Toronto answered by sharpening up their defence to calm the storm of Stingers goals. They kept the game 2-0 until the third period.

With Concordia doubling Toronto’s shot total, the Stingers were in a good position despite not being able to add to their lead. Toronto came into the third period searching for an answer, but early penalty trouble only helped the Stingers. Bégin-Cyr corralled the puck and took a mid-slot wrister to beat Fryer. It was 3-0 Stingers with the clock on their side.

Toronto pulled their goalie as a last-ditch effort to pull off a miracle comeback, but that was stopped short as they could only get one goal before the final buzzer. 

As the scoreboard hit zero seconds, the Stingers had officially done it. One year after a heartbreaking silver-medal finish, six months after beginning a perfect regular season campaign, and one month after their playoff journey began, the Concordia Stingers had checked off the final box on their season goals list: becoming U SPORTS national champions.

Basketball Sports

The Stingers’ quest for a RSEQ basketball title ends at the final hurdle

Concordia’s men’s basketball team loses in the final, the women’s in the semifinal.

The Stingers men’s basketball team hosted the UQAM Citadins on Saturday, March 2, for the RSEQ title and a place in the 2024 U SPORTS Final 8.

It had been a successful season for the Stingers up until the final. A 12-4 league record propelled them to first place in the RSEQ in the regular season. A 77-67 win against the Université Laval Rouge et Or in the semifinal set up the provincial final against UQAM for a spot in the U SPORTS men’s basketball national championship.

This was the fourth matchup between the two teams in less than a month. The Citadins won the first one, as well as another one in November 2023. But the Stingers had won the most recent two, including one on Feb. 24 to finish the regular season. 

The Stingers came into the playoffs without their first-team all-star guard Sami Jahan, who suffered an injury in a game against McGill on Feb. 17. As such, the two key players for Concordia were Jaheem Joseph and Alec Phaneuf. They ranked second and eighth, respectively, in terms of points per game in the RSEQ during the regular season. Proving their importance, they combined for 46 of the team’s 77 points in the semifinal against Laval.

In front of a sold-out crowd at the Concordia Gymnasium, it was UQAM who would be crowned provincial champions and book their tickets for the Men’s Final 8. Leading 17-14 after the first quarter, the Citadins would never surrender the lead and ultimately win by the final score of 63-57. Karam Sahly was the Stingers’ top performer in the final, scoring 18 points.

The road ends in the semifinal for the Stingers women’s basketball team

Concordia’s women’s basketball team has had a season full of ups and downs. After finishing 2023 with a 4-2 league record, the team lost six straight games to start the new year. However, they finished the season strong, winning three of their final four games. As such, the Stingers finished the regular season with a 7-9 record, good for a third place in the RSEQ.

This third-place finish called for a trip to Lennoxville to play the Bishop’s University Gaiters, who finished second in the league with a 9-7 record. Both teams equally split their four matchups this season, with Concordia winning the first two in 2023 and Bishop’s taking the last two in early February. 

However, the Stingers could not avoid a third defeat in 28 days against the Gaiters, losing 77-67. This final game concluded the season for the women’s basketball team.

There are still some positives to take away from the women’s team’s season. Serena Tchida is a RSEQ first-team all-star. Her 15.1 point-per-game average places her second in the province. She is also the RSEQ nominee for the U SPORTS Tracy MacLeod Award, which “rewards determination, perseverance and unwavering spirit.” She could become the second Stinger to win this award after Myriam Leclerc in 2021-22.

Areej Burgonio and Rowena Blais were also named on the RSEQ second all-star team.

Sports Wrestling

Past and present Stingers compete at the highest levels of wrestling

Concordia alumnus Alex Moore qualifies for the Paris Olympics, while two first-year Stingers pick up gold and silver medals at the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships.

Last week was an active one for Concordia Stingers and high performance wrestling. Concordia alumni Alexander Moore and Linda Morais competed in the Pan American Olympic Qualifiers held in Acapulco, Mexico between Feb 28 and March 1, while nine students competed in the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships at the University of Guelph on March 2. 

A total of 17 Canadians competed in the Pan American Qualifiers. As mentioned previously, three wrestlers competed out of the Montreal Wrestling Club, run by Victor and David Zilberman, the father-son tandem coaching the Concordia Stingers. 

Out of the three categories which included men’s Greco-Roman and men’s and women’s freestyle, five Canadians emerged victorious, the third-most behind the USA and Cuba who tied at six. They will be heading to Paris in July.

Linda Morais, who graduated from Concordia in 2016, competed at 62 kg in women’s freestyle and had a good run against Venezuelan competitor Soleymi Caraballo in her first matchup on Feb 29. Morais had scored nine points against Caraballo when she was pinned for a fall (VFA). Caraballo went on to beat Chilean Virginia Jiménez to secure a qualification spot alongside American Amit Elor. 

Unfortunately, the young Stone Lewis from Vanier College and the third Pan American participant from the Montreal Wrestling Club was defeated by Puerto Rico wrestler and University of North Carolina Tar Heel Sonny Santiago in the round of 16. 

Both Morais and Lewis have another chance to qualify for the Olympic Games at the World Olympic Games Qualifiers in Istanbul, Turkey, held May 9-12. 

Alex Moore, U SPORTS 2023 outstanding male competitor, gave it his all on March 1 and will be heading to the Olympics at 86 kg. He was happily surprised at his fortune of not needing to face Cuban Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta, who had been pinned by Anthony Valencia Gomez of Mexico. The Cuban and Montreal natives previously faced off in Argentina in 2023 for the Pan American Championship finals, and the former had won by superiority (VSU1).

On Friday, Moore was able to dominate against Argentinian Jorge Llano in his quarterfinals matchup, winning by superiority, 11-0. He faced Venezuelan Pedro Ceballos in the semifinals matchup, where he turned a takedown into a pin for the win.  

Moore had sustained various injuries in his recent career, including a torn ACL four years ago, a shoulder surgery, and a broken hand only seven weeks ago. “I always thought that I would make the Olympics, but to face all the adversity I have, to stick with it and now I’m going to the Olympics, I’m an Olympian! It is the greatest feeling in the world.” said Moore to Wrestling Canada. “

Coach David Zilberman accompanied Moore to Mexico, and is proud of the work he put in leading up to the tournament. “[Moore] worked extremely hard on his conditioning and really pushed the cardiovascular portion of it, which ultimately helped him win that match,” says the trainer. “He was in better shape than his opponents by far. He was proactive in finding solutions, so we were able to find different workouts for him to do.”

On Saturday, March 2, Concordia participated in the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships in Guelph, Ontario. Seventeen schools across Canada participated for the men’s and women’s freestyle categories. Concordia, showing its well-roundedness, placed 8th for both. Stingers men amassed a total of 20 points, while the women accumulated 25. Brock University, which placed first in both the men’s and women’s categories, collected 83 and 75 total points, respectively. 

Two Concordia competitors finished bearing hardware. In men’s, rookie Yann Heymug won the silver medal at 72 kg, while Jolie Brisco won gold at 62 kg in women’s. 

Heymug, a Saint-Césaire native, was able to defeat University of Calgary’s Shane Richards to move on to the final, conceding to Brock University’s Bobby Narwal. Impressive for his first semester with the Stingers. Jolie Brisco, also in her first semester, faced Olivia Lichti from McMaster University and prevailed. 

“Well, you know, [Brisco] is a talented athlete for sure, and she works really hard. She has a lot of experience, so that helps quite a bit,” says David Zilberman.  “And she’s just a fighter.” The coach commended her for winning the tournament so recently after recovering from shoulder surgery just a year ago.

 “With [Heymug]… he has the ability to win,” adds Ziberman. In my opinion, I think he could have won that tournament. They’re solid athletes, so it’s nice to see them do well.”

While the week in Acapulco proves that Concordia has a tremendous past, the Stingers’ performance in Guelph is a demonstration of a bright and dangerous future.

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