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Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 28, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba Bl FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2002 SportsGOT A SPORTS TIP? Call in results toll-free within Manitoba to 1-877-786-5786 or locally to 571-7443 before ll p.m. You can fax us at 727-0385. E-mail: Neelin churning ’em out Van Lankvelt succeeds Eastley as provincial male athlete of year WINNIPEG — For the second consecutive year, a Neelin Spartan has been named the Manitoba High School Athletic Association’s male athlete of the year. Toon Van Lankvelt of the Spartans was named the Jostens award recipient yesterday. Last year’s winner was Reed Eastley of the Spartans. Van Lankvelt, who left for Edmonton shortly after the announcement to attend the national junior men’s volleyball camp, edged finalists Kevin McAuley of the Killarney Raiders and Ryan Bevan of the St. Norbert Celtics to claim the Jostens award. The Grade 12 graduate was ranked as the second-best volleyball player in the province after leading the AAA Spartans to the AAAA Final Four last December, then was named an all-star when he helped the Spartans claim the provincial AAA basketball crown. McAuley earned scholarship awards in basketball and volleyball and was a finalist for provincial high school hockey player of the year. He also competed in golf, badminton and track and field. Bevan was a graduating all-star in volleyball and basketball. The girls recipient of the Jostens award was Uzoma Asagwara of St. Norbert. Marrla Evans, yet another Neelin graduate, and Colleen Lamirande of Glenlawn Lions were the other finalists. Asagwara was rated the second best basketball player in the province and was recently invited to national women’s team assessment camp. She was a graduating all-star in basketball and volleyball, and also competed for the Celtics in track and field, bad minton and soccer. Evans led her Spartan teams to AAA provincial championships in both basketball and volleyball. She was named most valuable player in the hoop provincials. She also played soccer and beach volleyball for the Spartans. Lamirande was a graduating all-star in basketball and volleyball and competed for the Lions in track and field. Last year’s winner was Dara McLean of the Glenboro Panthers. — Brandon Sun TOON VAN LANKVELT ready to roll into history By Dan Ralph Canadian Press OTTAWA — Carl Coulter figured that after 12 CFL seasons and over 200 career games — including two Grey Cups — he had experienced just about every emotion there was in football. But the prospect of playing in the Ottawa Renegades inaugural CFL contest today (TSN, 6 p.m. CDT) against the Saskatchewan Roughriders is giving the veteran centre goose bumps. “This is a pretty exciting time,’’ a beaming Coulter said following practice yesterday at Frank Clair Stadium. “Playing in Grey Cups is where you want to be and you’ll never ever forget your first game. “But this is as exciting because it is a first game, it’s history in the making and for me to be able to come back to where I started playing competitive football in 1986 at Carleton is unbelievable. I was here in 1993 (with now defunct Ottawa Rough Riders) it was a very dysfunctional year and to be able to come back to Ottawa and run out that tunnel in a positive frame of mind and a with good feeling will be a great thrill.” The CFL is poised to make a triumphant return in Ottawa, after being forced to pull the plug on the Rough Riders in 1996 following years of mismanagement that left the once-proud franchise drifting aimlessly in a sea of red ink. The Renegades enter their season opener having sold 13,000 season tickets in the nine months after the CFL awarded the city an expansion franchise for the 2002 campaign. As of yesterday, about 25,000 tickets had been sold for today’s game, which is expected to be a sellout at the 27,695-seat Frank Clair Stadium. TSN will kick off its coverage of the 2002 season by carrying the Ottawa-Saskatchewan game nationally as part of a doubleheader. There’s little doubt that Ottawa has caught football fever. Many stores rn the downtown core are sporting Renegades signs and many local radio stations are holding various ticket promotions. News about the team dominated the local newspapers yesterday. The Ottawa Citizen featured a story on its sports front about the Renegades and devoted a full page on the team in its sports section while the Ottawa Sun gave three pages, including the entire sports front, to the CFL squad. Solid fan support for the Renegades isn’t overly surprising because Ottawa traditionally supported the Rough Riders, even dunng the team’s lean years in the 1980s and ’90s. The problem was terrible ownership — most notably in the 1990s under Detroit businessman Bernie Glieberman and his son, Lome, former Ottawa Senators owner Bruce Firestone and Chicago entrepreneur Horn Chen — that transformed 120 years of Rough Riders tradition into a joke. The Rough Riders had no continuity in those years. Over its final five seasons, the franchise had four different head coaches and won a total of 14 games from 1993 to ’96. And the club attracted a mynad of players, including a washed-up Dexter Manley, the former NFL star who played five games in 1992-’93 and was recently convicted on drug-related charges. But the Renegades aren’t your average expansion team. The active roster features just one rookie — Canadian running back Mike Vilimek — and only five players — Vilimek, defensive linemen Mike Moten, Pene Talamaivo and Michael Boireau and quarterback Chuck Clements — in their first CFL season. Coulter anchors an offensive line that features CFL veterans Seth Dittman, Val St. Germain, George Hudson and Mike Abou-Mechrek. And tackle Chris Burns, a former East Division all-star with Hamilton and a nine-year veteran, is a backup. BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN Chris McLachlan of Arsenal and Dane Samuel of Maple Leaf both wince as they battle for the ball with their heads last night in a men s soccer game at Canada Games Park. Robledos strike for Strikers Omar Robledo scored two goals to lead the Maple Leaf Strikers to a 3-2 victory over Arsenal in a Brandon Senior Soccer League men’s game last night at Canada Games Park. Victor Robledo also scored for the Strikers, who trailed 2-1 midway through the first half before grabbing a 3-2 halftime lead. Scott Turnbull scored for Arsenal while the Strikers were guilty of an own goal. — Brandon Sun Long weekend not short on ball tourneys Brandon’s baseball and fastball diamonds will be getting a workout this holiday weekend with four tournaments being played in three locations. Westbran Stadium is the site for the Marlins Canada Day senior baseball tournament that features five MSBL teams, an all-star team from the Houstons Senior B league, Yorkton and Devil’s Lake, N.D. Actions begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and concludes with the championship final at 7 p.m. Sunday. Meanwhile, a boys peewee baseball tournament is being staged at Simplot Millennium Park. Brandon’s Sports Excellence Storm, St. James, Regina and Carillon comprise one pool for round-robin play Saturday, while Oil Dome, Estevan, Interlake and North Winnipeg form the other pool. Playoff are slated for Sunday, with the championship final set for 3 p.m. And w'hile the boys of summer are sweating it out, the fastball diamonds at Simplot Millennium Park will be busy with a girls tournament featuring a three-team midget division, a four-team squirt division and an eight-team peewee division. The midget event, with Brandon teams J&G Supply and Sports Excellence playing a round-robin with Hamiota, begins Saturday at 9 a.m. and winds up with the final Saturday at 7 p.m. The squirt division, with teams from Virden, Brandon, Binscarth and the Moose Mountain district are playing a round-robin Saturday and playoffs Sunday. The championship final is slated for 5 p.m. Sunday. The peewee division includes eight teams divided into two pools for round-robin play Saturday and cross-over playoffs Sunday. Brandon Plumbing and Heating, Portage, Hamiota and Virden comprise one pool, while Boissevain, Binscarth, Killarney and St. Andrews make up the second pool. Semifinals are slated for 3:30 p.m. Sunday with the final set for 7:30 p.m. Finally, the Barnacles Athletics are hosting a Canada Day men’s fastball tournament at Curran Park all day Monday. Barnacles, Clanwilliam Greys, National Exchange Dakotas and Native Sons from the Brandon Commercial Fastball League will compete with teams from Fleming, Sask., and Winnipeg. Round-robin action begins at 9 a.m., with the final slated for 5 p.m. For complete tournament schedules, see Page B3. — Brandon Sun Stamps revamped champs Crandall has high hopes for new receiving corps By Jim Morris Canadian Press Marcus Crandell has established himself as the leading man of the Calgary Stampedes offence but heil have a new cast of supporting actors in the receiving corps when the defending Grey Cup champions open their CFL season tonight against the arch rival Edmonton Eskimos. “It’s an opportunity for us to get off to a good start if we win this game,” Crandell, the MVP of last year’s Grey Cup win over Winnipeg, said yesterday. “There’s a little bit of momentum to get our rivals right oft’ the top." In other games in the CFL’s first week of play, the Ottawa Renegades make their debut at home against the    Saskatchewan Roughriders while the Toronto Argonauts face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. On Saturday, the B.C. Lions, still licking their wounds from a loss to Montreal on Tuesday night, take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Edmonton (0-0) at Calgary (0-0) (TSN, 9 p.m. CDT) In a league where teams live and die by the pass, the Stampedes lost some firepower from their arsenal with the defection of wide receiver Marc Boerigter to the NFL, slotback Vince Danielsen’s retirement and Aubrey Cummings’ move to Ottawa. Calgary still has some teeth with veteran slotback Travis Moore, sophomore Kamau Peterson and rookies Rob Johnson and Versie Caddis. “It's definitely a different look. These are guys with a lot of talent." CALGARY QB MARCUS CRANDALL ON HIS NEW RECEIVING CORPS to do. We do have some continuity there which will help us out.” Toronto (0-0) at Winnipeg (0-0) The Argonauts will have huge offensive lineman Thomas Rayam in the lineup and some big words to back up. Rayam joined the Argos after being released from the Stampedes. At six-foot-seven, and 315 pounds, he’s about 30 pound lighter than his playing weight last year. “I just started eating a little better, less beer, more good foods,” he said. Receiver Derrell Mitchell told the Toronto Sun this week that the Argonauts would go undefeated this year. “I hope he’s correct,” said new head coach Gary Etcheverry. • “This is a marathon and Grey Cups aren’t won in June or July. They’re won in October and November.” For the Bombers, it will be the first step on the road back to avenging last year’s 27-19 loss to Calgary in the final. “Everyone remembers what it felt like last year not to finish it,” fullback Wade Miller said. “I don’t want to talk about it. I know we lost and that’s all that matters. I know what it felt like and I don’t ever want to feel that way again." B.C. (0-1) at Hamilton (0-0) (Saturday, TSN, 6:30 p.m. CDT) The Lions came away from then 27-20 season-opening loss to the Alouettes believing they played well enough to beat Montreal. What cost them was giving up three rushing touchdowns to Lawrence Phillips, being assessed 105 yards in penalties and scoring just one offensive touchdown. Defensive end Herman Smith said B.C. needs to tighten things up a bit if the Lions don’t want to slink home to the West Coast with an 0-2 record. “We need to believe in each other more," said Smith. “Things are going to happen, some people are going to make mistakes.” Veteran quarterback Damon Allen threw for 198 yards and ran for 18 more against Montreal. ( CP FILE PHOTO Marcus Crandall hoists the Cup in November. "It’s definitely a different look,” said Crandell. “These are guys with a lot of talent. Once they realize how much talent they have, they are going to help us out tremendously.” The Eskimos come to town with Jason Maas as the undisputed No. I quarterback and a renewed emphasis on the running game. Making everything work will be an offensive line that has more than 50 years combined experience. “We have a group that’s been together for a long time,” tackle Chns Morris told the Edmonton Sun. “It’s nice to know what the guy beside you is going I ;