The best of 09

Matt Veno
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The Truro Daily News counts down the top 10 local sports stories of the past year

The best of 09

The dawning of a new year is a time when many of us look back on the past 365 days.
Sports fans are no different. The holiday season is full of memories of the year gone by and we thought it would be interesting to look back at the year that was in Colchester County sports.
It wasn't hard to come up with a list of deserving candidates. However, it was difficult to narrow the field to 10, and even more to place them because they are all excellent
So after much thought and deliberation, here is our list of Colchester County's top 10 sports stories of 2009:
10 - Wolves hunt down medal
The girls earned South Colchester Academy's first-ever provincial medal at the NSSAF Division 2 championship in Bridgewater on Dec. 5.
The Wolves fell 2-0 (25-18, 25-18) in the final to the hosts and defeated Par-en-Bas 25-21, 27-25 in the semifinal.
"It feels great, I'm so proud of the team and our accomplishment," senior power Marley Geddes said.
9 - No juvenile achievement
The Central Nova juveniles posted their second consecutive perfect season and capped it with a second consecutive provincial title at Truro Junior High April 19.
The powerhouse squad, led by tournament MVP Anastasia Callaghan, Hilary Sears, Allison Settle, Cassandra Teed and Alex Storr, posted straight sets victories (25-13, 25-12) over the Sackville Sonics in the final for the Tier 1 under-18 title. The girls dominated the event, as they did all season, with a perfect 6-0 record.
"It's so awesome. I'm lost for words," Callaghan said. "We've worked so hard. We really deserve this."
8 - Anil drops Manny
Truro dentist Anil Makkar cut ties with Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez after Ramirez was suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games on May 7 for testing positive for a banned substance, HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin).
A developer of the Pure Power Mouthguard, Makkar had been using pictures of Ramirez on the mouthguard's website after the baseball player started using the product in February 2008.
"You don't want to have that message going out to up-and-coming athletes that you need performance-enhancing drugs to get better," Makkar said.
7 - Palardy boots way into books
It was truly a memorable football season for Murray Siding resident Justin Palardy.
The 21-year-old kicker for the Saint Mary's Huskies became the AUS' all-time leader in field goals (65) and points scored (320). He also set a new single season field goal mark of 23 in just 27 attempts for an 85.2 per cent completion rate. Palardy also led the AUS in scoring this season with 96 points.
The numbers place Palardy fifth in all-time CIS scoring, third in field goals in a single season and third in career field goals, just five behind leader Frank Jagas of Western. All of those marks are within his grasp next season.
The six-foot, 200-pound Palardy was also named to the CIS All-Canadian second team.
6 - Cooke reaches the pinnacle
Brookfield resident Mitch Cooke made it to the top of the motocross racing world Oct. 3 when he represented Canada at the 2009 FIM Motocross of Nations in Brescia, Italy.
The top three riders were selected from each country to compete.
"It's a race I wanted to do before I was done," Cooke said. "It's the biggest race in the world so I'm glad (my chance) came sooner rather than later."
The 25-year-old and his Freedom Cycle Kawasaki KX450, competed in the MX3 division which combined both 450CC and 250CC machines, finishing 20th in his qualifying race.
5 - Mattatall skates figures
Wallace's John Mattatall strutted his stuff in front of the best in the world at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Championships at Staples Centre in Los Angeles March 22 to 29.
The 26-year-old qualified for the event when he and pairs partner Mylene Brodeur earned a bronze medal at the 2009 BMO Skate Canada Championships in Saskatoon in January. Competing at worlds was a fitting end to the pair's best season in their three years together.
"The Olympics is the pinnacle but as for the strength and depth of the field, worlds is definitely as big as it gets," Mattatall said.
4 - Brian dominates again
The 2009 golf season was another successful one for Brian MacLeod.
The 50-year-old Salmon River resident won eight of the nine blind golf tournaments he entered, competing in the B1 division for golfers with no sight. He finished third at the British Open in Scotland, just three strokes off the lead.
MacLeod started the season by winning the Leader Dogs Classic in Phoenix, Ariz., before taking the Canadian Blind Golf Championship in Comox, B.C., the Pacific Coast Championship in Kelowna, B.C., the North American Match Play Championship in Ohio, the provincial title, the California Blind Golf Classic, the Western Australian Golf Championship and Australian Open.
"I'm pretty happy," MacLeod said of his season. "I played more consistent overall and I was hitting the ball a lot better."
3 - The Pinkney rink
The town was buzzing March 29 when the Truro Curling Club's Colleen Pinkney foursome returned home with the Canadian Senior Women's Curling Championship.
The Pinkney rink, which also includes, mate Wendy Currie, second Karen Hennigar, lead Susan Creelman and coach Judy Burgess, was welcomed home with a parade from the Fundy Trail Mall to the curling club.
Pinkney downed British Columbia 6-4 in the final at the Silver Fox Curling Club in Summerside, P.E.I. The win earned the ladies the chance to represent Canada at the 2010 World Senior Women's Curling Championship in Chelyabinsk, Russia, April 16-24.
"We feel so privileged to have so many people excited for us," Pinkney said. "It's quite an honour to represent Truro, the Truro Curling Club and Nova Scotia. Now we'll be called Team Canada."
2 - Heidi makes it seven
A seventh national women's motocross crown in nine years is an outstanding achievement in itself.
But the way Cooke, a 28-year-old Brookfield resident, won it makes it one of her best.
The Freedom Cycle Monster Energy Cernic's Kawasaki rider dominated the Canadian Motosport Racing Club (CMRC) Royal Distributing Women's National Series this season, winning both motos in each of the series' five rounds (all 10 races on the season). Hurricane Heidi's dominance of the circuit allowed her to clinch the title before the series' finale at Sand Del Lee, near Ottawa.
Cooke finished 69 points clear of second-place rider Jocelyn Killough.
Cooke is hoping to go after an eighth title in 2010 with Kawasaki.
1 - Cougars comeback
The Cougars girls soccer team claimed its second consecutive NSSAF Northumberland region title with a thrilling 7-3 victory over the Dr. John Hugh Gillis Royals.
It could be argued the achievement is a small one when compared with the others on this list. But it's how the girls won that makes this story so special.
Any sports fan knows goals are hard to come by in soccer, so with the Cougars trailing 2-0 with 10 minutes remaining it looked as if their goose was cooked. But Lauren Sinclair's goal in the 81st minute changed the game drastically. The Cougars, then with all the momentum on their side, knotted the game with four minutes to go on a penalty kick by Carleigh Hiltz, sending the contest into overtime. In extra time the Cougars kept rolling and pumped in an amazing five goals, three from the foot of Erin MacKenzie.
"It just goes to show you should never give up, even when you're down," Hiltz said.
That's why we felt this is the top sports story of the year. Never giving up is a lesson that not only goes for sports, but can be applied to every day life as well.
It was a game that was filled with all the things that make playing and watching sports so great; the disappointment of falling behind, the glimmer of hope of coming back by scoring a goal and the joy of coming from behind to win. It was a privilege to witness.
What more can you ask for?

Honourable mentions
The flame comes to town
The Olympic flame passing through Truro was an exciting thing for all who witnessed it. Bob Piers lighting the cauldron at Victoria Park was the icing on the cake.
P.J. Moore rips it up
The 19-year-old Lower Onslow resident led all players in scoring in the Under-19 division of the Canadian Junior Ball Hockey Championship in Edmonton in August - as a defenceman - with 10 points in six games, earning a spot on Canada's team for the world championship in Austria this summer.
Fast, fast Brian Blaauwendraat
The 24-year-old Beaver Brook resident posted a career-best fourth-place finish in both the superbike and pro 600 supersport divisions of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship stop at Atlantic Motorsport Park in August.

Don't agree with our list? Send us yours as a letter to the editor.

Organizations: Truro Daily News, South Colchester Academy, NSSAF Division Tier 1 Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball Pure Power Mouthguard International Skating Union Truro Curling Club MX3 division Staples Centre Canadian Motosport Racing Club B1 division British Open Canadian Senior Women Silver Fox Curling Club Team Canada National Series

Geographic location: Colchester County, Bridgewater, Canada Saint Mary Brescia Italy Los Angeles Saskatoon Salmon River Scotland Phoenix, Ariz. Comox Kelowna Ohio Summerside Chelyabinsk Russia Nova Scotia Ottawa Victoria Park Edmonton Austria Beaver Brook Atlantic Motorsport Park

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