Sports: Meet the 1st Two Wall of Distinction Nominees and Much More!

RMC’s Athletics Wall of Distinction (AWOD), founded and sponsored by the Class of 1970 through its endowment fund managed by the RMC Foundation, was established to honour those who have brought distinction to the college through significant achievements and contributions in sport while at RMC and/or following graduation throughout their athletic careers. After the first induction class in 2017, the selection committee is proud to present another accomplished group of inductees in 2019. More inductees to be announced next week.

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19791 Nathalie Yolande Birgentzlen

At the upcoming AWOD induction ceremony on 28 March 2019, RMC Athletics is proud to recognize Nathalie Birgentzlen in the Athlete category for her exceptional accomplishments in Taekwondo.

“It is a great honour to be recognized by the institution I was so eager to join as a little girl,” Birgentzlen said. “RMC is where it all starts, and this award is a great recognition of its athletes.”

With a father who graduated from CMRSJ, Birgentzlen grew up dreaming of enrolling at RMC. Starting at the College in 1991, where there was no Taekwondo club, Birgentzlen was unsure how she could continue to train in the sport to which she had already dedicated several years.

That changed one month after arriving in Kingston, when fourth-year student Andy Ross started a club.

“Because of his initiative, I was able to train and compete on behalf of the CAF at CISM and Canadian Nationals,” Birgentzlen said. “Andy also introduced me to the person who has been my mentor and coach for the last 28 years, Grand Master Young Su Choung. With his school being in Toronto, I was able to travel on most weekends and train with his high performance athletes.”

Her training quickly paid off, qualifying for the Canadian Taekwondo Championships just one year after landing at RMC.

“I remember telling my father at my first Taekwondo Nationals in 1992 that I had never imagined I would be competing at this level,” Birgentzlen said.

Disbelief wore off quickly, as the young athlete’s success started to snowball. Birgentzlen’s favourite memory from her time competing at RMC came in 1993, when she won lightweight gold at the CISM World Taekwondo Championship.

“I had just completed my second year, and this was my first CISM event,” she said. “The Canadian CISM team won many medals that day, so it was a great day for all of us. The fact that it was held at RMC made this event special because we were greatly supported by family and CAF members from RMC and CFB Kingston.”

For her incredible performance, Birgentzlen earned Female MVP honours at the Championship in addition to later being named the CAF Sports Female Athlete of the Year.

Unsurprisingly, Birgentzlen graduated from RMC as a Kelly Gawne and Prince of Wales cup recipient before going on to become a Canadian Taekwondo Champion in three different weight classes and compete at multiple World Championships, both military and civilian.

Certainly worthy of a place in RMC sports history, Birgentzlen is grateful for the honour that encapsulates her tremendous athletic career.

“Thank you to the Class of 1970 for this great initiative in recognizing excellence, dedication, and opportunity.”

Accomplishments as an Athlete while at RMC:

  • Lightweight CISM World Champion, 1993
  • Female MVP at the CISM World Championships in Kingston, ON, 1993
  • CAF Sports Female Athlete of the Year, 1993
  • Kelly Gawne Memorial Cup recipient as top female athlete at RMC, 1994
  • H.R.H. The Prince of Wales Cup recipient for excellence in athletics over her term at RMC, 1995

Accomplishments as an Athlete post RMC:

  • Welterweight Canadian Champion, 1997
  • Competed at the World Championships in Hong Kong, 1997
  • Competed at the World Cup in Egypt, 1997
  • Lightweight Canadian Champion, 1999
  • Female MVP at the Canadian Championships, 1999
  • Middleweight Canadian Champion, 2002
  • Competed at the World Cup in Japan, 2002
  • Competed at the Pan American Championships in Ecuador, 2002
  • Competed at the CISM World Championships in Croatia, 2002
  • Inducted into the CAF Sports Hall of Fame, 2003

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11914 Alan Frank Markewicz

At the upcoming AWOD induction ceremony on 28 March 2019, RMC Athletics is proud to recognize Alan Markewicz in the Athlete category for his exceptional accomplishments in pistol shooting.

“When I see the calibre of the other inductees, I’m humbled,” Markewicz said.

Markewicz attended both RRMC and RMC before continuing his career in the CAF. He took to rifle shooting and fencing at RRMC before continuing to fence once he arrived in Kingston in 1976.

“The best memories I have from my competition time would be some of the road trips to the other universities in Ontario,” Markewicz said. “In course of the year, I would be able to progress from being beaten by one or two of the fencers from Queen’s, to beating them at the end of the year.”

While his fencing days were memorable, the sport that stuck with him was shooting. Markewicz gravitated toward pistol shooting after graduation, although both shooting categories are well-suited to military members.

As his career advanced in the CAF, Markewicz continued to dedicated time to training sessions to improve his skill. Unlike some other sports, in shooting, getting older didn’t mean falling behind; in fact, it was more than a decade after graduation before Markewicz made the CISM Pistol Team and started competing internationally.

To make the jump from the CISM team to qualifying to be on the Canadian National Team in 2010 and compete at the Commonwealth Games, Markewicz relied on what he had learned from his days at RMC.

“Time was always limited at the College, and just as limited in the years following,” he said. “Over the years, the most enduring lesson was recognizing that achievements could be realized by hard work, and that hard work could be, and needed to be, fit into the time available.”

After traveling the world with the National Team and being inducted into the CAF Sports Hall of Fame, the feather in the cap of Markewicz’ international career was being the Canadian flag-bearer at the World Military Games in 2011.

40 years after leaving RMC, Markewicz continues to compete, winning consecutive gold medals at the Canadian National Pistol Championships from 2015 to the present. Even though some decades have passed, his thoughts still occasionally return to the time he spent at the College.

“My favourite memory was running Fort Henry hill once or twice a week – great run and a great view.”

Accomplishments as an Athlete at a CMC:

  • Member of the RRMC rifle and fencing teams, 1974-76
  • Member of the RMC fencing team, 1976-78

Accomplishments as an Athlete post CMC:

  • Member of Canada’s CISM Pistol Team, 1991-2016
  • NDHQ Athlete of the Year, 1995
  • Competed at four World Military Games throughout his career
  • As a member of the Canadian National Pistol Team in 2010 he competed at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup rifle and pistol championships in the USA, Germany and Australia
  • Silver medalist at the Championship of the Americas in Brazil, 2010
  • Competed in the Commonwealth Games in India, 2010
  • Won numerous medals at the Canadian National Pistol Championships throughout his career
  • Inducted into the CAF Sports Hall of Fame, 2010
  • Canadian Flag-Bearer at the Rio de Janeiro World Military Games, 2011
  • Canadian National Champion in 2700 Pistol competition, 2015-18

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RMC to Host Ontario Fencing Championships

Article by Peter Reimer, RMC Athletics

Kingston, Ont. (March 8, 2019) – The Paladins will play host to the best fencers from across the province, when the Ontario Fencing Association (OFA) Championship is held at RMC on March 16-17.

“Hosting a major provincial event, like the Ontario Fencing Championships, gives RMC the opportunity to showcase our excellent facilities and organizational skills,” RMC head coach Patricia Howes said. “It provides our varsity athletes the chance to fence against the top competition in the province, many from the National team, to build their competitive experience.”

RMC is coming off another medal year, having achieved overall bronze at both the men’s and women’s OUA Championships in February.

Sabre is the Paladins strongest weapon this year, with the men having won gold in the OUA team event. Gerson Zamor and Garrett Whelan are the RMC male athletes to watch heading into this weekend’s competition, while Haley Saulnier leads the women’s sabre team, which won bronze as a group at their OUA Championship.

Not restricted to just university athletes, the OFA Championship attracts the top fencers in the region, which has Howes limiting expectations.

“The goal for the two RMC varsity teams, having just completed their pinnacle event at their OUA Championships, is to reset their focus on making corrections technically and tactically, applying their full repertoire of skills and to build some Canadian Domestic Points for next season,” she said.

Domestic points help fencers move up the ranking in Canada, which helps them get better seeding at important tournaments.

This weekend’s event in the KMCSC marks the 40th anniversary of the OFA.

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Photo by 28074 OCdt R Haddow

Bike-A-Thon Raises More than $10 000 for Soldier On

Article by 28560 OCdt (II) Bennett Dickson

This past weekend (March 9th and 10th), the Royal Military College of Canada held the 2019 RMC Soldier On Bike-o-Thon to raise funds for the foundation and give the Cadets a better understanding of the military community outside of RMC and familiar regimental environments.

The event kicked off on Saturday with Major (Ret’d) Rob Hicks making an extremely emotional presentation of his story and his struggles. Almost moved to tears, he explained why he was representing Soldier On and explained how he was the Team Captain for Team Canada during the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia.

The air horn sounded, and the 15 minutes CSL race began. CSL’s from all 12 Squadrons, as well as RMC’s Commandant, 18777 BGen Sebastien Bouchard. Once they were done, the rest of the Cadet Wing jumped right in.

From 4pm on Saturday to noon on Sunday, Cadets from all 12 Squadrons biked their hearts out, blasted music, and really showed their true colours. The New Gym on the 3rd floor of Yeo Hall was decorated with squadron decorations and colours. What is usually a fairly quiet part of the College seemed to transform within a matter of seconds.

When the event ended at noon, a presentation of a cheque worth over $10,000 was presented to the Soldier On foundation. Nine Squadron won the event by biking the most kilometres over the course of the 20 hours.

For me, this event was something I know I’ll be looking forward to next year; the spirit, excitement, and challenges that presented themselves were something I believe I’ll remember for a long time.

I’d also like to extend a warm thank you to Major (Ret’d) Hicks for speaking to the group. Hearing his story and the obstacles he was able to overcome despite his limitations was beyond inspiring. It’s one thing to read stories like his in books or watch them on TV, but to see someone like him standing in front of you and telling you in-person is a whole different experience.

He emphasized how you’re only limited to your thoughts and what goes on in your head: no matter what your physical limitations are, you can always overcome them and push beyond your limits.

And I’m a firm believer that the Cadet Wing took this to heart and displayed this mentality while working on the bikes.

For lots more photos from the event click here.

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RMC Taekwondo Wins Medals in Toronto

Article submitted by RMC Taekwondo

The RMC Taekwondo team had another weekend of winning at the Sport TKD Taekwondo Open in Toronto.

Day One:

6 Gold, 4 Silver, 2 bronze medals in the regular colour belt and recreational black belt divisions. Then the team had an opportunity to compete, and dominate, against their collegiate peers from U of T and Western. The RMC team finished first and second in every division, scoring 4 gold and 4 silver medals. On day two:

The majority of the team’s black belts had an opportunity to take part in a three hour training camp, then OCdt Mina Lee competed and took the silver medal in the high performance black belt division.

Individual results were:

OCdt Michael Kim 1 Gold, 1 Silver

OCdt Mihai Nechifor 2 Gold

OCdt Jason Kang 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze

OCdt Patrick Breen 2 Gold

OCdt Dalton Lounsbury 2 Silver

OCdt Kara Dagyeong Lee 2 Silver

OCdt Kenny Yim 1 Gold, 1 Silver

OCdt Adam Abdelhamed 1 Gold, 1 Silver

OCdt Jordan Ridley 2 Gold

OCdt Mina Lee 1 Silver

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RMC Rowers in St. Catherines (indoors!)

Article submitted by NCdt Shamus Mountford

The RMC Crew headed out for its final competition of the 2018-19 winter season at the Ontario Ergometer Championships, held at Ridley College in St. Catherines, ON. The weekend get-away was funded by the RMC Foundation, and proved to be a perfect opportunity for the Crew to show off the results of their winter training. Coaches Stephen Lutz and Paul Overvelde accompanied the Crew on this excursion, and spent their weekend providing support to team members through race planning advice and enthusiastic cheering from the sidelines.

The Crew raced Saturday afternoon, with excellent results. Top ten finishers in the 2km race included team captain 27953 OCdt Daniel Walcott and N/OCdts 27864 Liam Cooke, 27710 Lewis MacPherson, 28025 Fraser Clark, 27719 Billy Campbell, 27912 Deven Deguara, 28901 Emily Stregger, 29103 Brittany Cooper and 27998 Frédérique Santerre. Stregger, Santerre and Cooper all attained personal best times with their top ten victories, alongside other RMC rowers Marc-Olivier Gagné, Connor Thompson and Samuel Kim.

Following the competition, the Crew stopped for dinner and the presentation of some cheeky paper-plate awards. It was a great way to wind down from the day’s racing and show some appreciation for the coaches with two photo albums of the Crew prepared by team captain Walcott.

The RMC Rowing team wants to thank the RMC Foundation for once again funding this amazing trip, which gave them something to train for and look forward to in the winter months when the lake is frozen. Every year the Foundation makes this trip possible, it gives the members of the Crew the chance to showcase their skills and the fruits of their labour during the winter months.

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RMC Sailing went to Florida to train over reading week. (See here for more!)

The RMC multisport club participated in the Pentathlon des Neiges in Quebec City.

One Comment

  • Don Kennedy

    March 13, 2019 at 1:00 am

    Love to see this level of success being celebrated.
    “Big Al, The Soldiers’ Pal” Markewicz is one of my favourite combat engineers. He was a helluva fine distant runner as well. He helped 2 Combat Engineer Regiment win the 2 CMBG cross country run competition in 1980. Yeah, the Airborne Regiment wasn’t too happy that a small unit beat them that day. Suck it up!
    I would still like to see Rick Douglas make the Athletic Wall of Distinction. The man was the best swimmer ever to graduate from RMC (possible exception being OCdt Lightbody, with respect).