Vancan Outta The Blue

NWSB – Catching up with BC Lions WR Marco Iannuzzi
May 14, 2013, 08:37
Filed under: Archived: Sports

Marco IannuzziJust one month are we from the kick-off of the 2013 CFL season. It will be a pre-season game against Calgary but it’s CFL action nonetheless. So we caught up with Wide Receiver Marco Iannuzzi via Twitter and he talks about how the Boston Bombing affected him having played in Massachusetts as well as what a recent mini camp did for players heading into main camp. There may be some other stuff thrown in there too.  Enjoy and Roar you Lions Roar!

RIGHT HERE: Catching up with BC Lions WR Marco Iannuzzi

Exclusive Twitterview: Canadian Marathoner Lanni Marchant
April 23, 2012, 11:58
Filed under: Archived: Sports

The Fight to Fly

I recently had an opportunity to chat with Lanni Marchant, Canadian Marathoner who’s currently embroiled in the fight of her life to get to the London 2012 Summer Olympics. 

Unfortunately for her, her personal best time which is the fastest by a Canadian woman in the last 6 years and even longer than that if you don’t count the Russian who acquired Canadian citizenship, is not good enough for Athletics Canada.

This means the London, Ontario native can’t compete in London, England and neither will any other Canadian woman. Below, Lanni answers questions about her track and field experience during her youth and what steps she is taking to convince Athletics Canada to allow her to compete.

JH: How were you involved in athletics throughout your youth?

LM: I grew up figure skating and always had to run to stay in shape for that. In HS I joined the LWTFC and turned my full attention to running.

I actually didn’t make the jump to the marathon until last Spring (Debut at the Ottawa Marathon 2H49m). I had a pretty decent race, but knew there was more in the tank. I definitely didn’t train like a marathon runner. I was finishing up law school and trying to plan the next stage of my life.

Then I decided to do the Chicago marathon in the Fall (2H44m) and at the time thought I had trained like a proper marathoner. Then this winter I went to Kenya to train. I don’t know if it was just training there, or actually giving myself the chance to put training at the top of my to do list, but it worked and I was able to make the jump up to the level of running I knew I was always capable of running. It just took me longer to level the playing field.

JH: So what’s the fastest marathon you’ve run and how does that compare to the OLYMPIC Qualifying standard?

LM: My Rotterdam time last weekend (2H31m50s) is now my fastest. I was 5 min under the IAAF Olympic Standard, but less than 2 min over the Canadian standard. Good enough for the Olympics but not good enough for my country eh?

JH: Which brings us to your dilemma; to an outsider, the Canadian standard being stricter than the Olympic one seems a little backwards. Any way you can elaborate on why it’s that way?

LM: It’s a numbers game apparently. Canada would rather send no one than send an athlete who may potentially only finish as high as 30th (My time would have put me in the top 20-22 in the last two Olympics) because having someone finish outside the 12th spot “drags the team down statistically.”

Athletics Canada is essentially too afraid to risk having low marks in significant categories. It is better to send 1 person who will finish in 12th than send a team of 5 who will score one in the top 12 and the other 4, 13th and higher. Having no representation is better statistically. Totally ignoring the spirit of the Olympics and the fact that none of us have a crystal ball to tell us how the race will go.

World Record Holder Paula Radcliffe was 23rd at the last Olympics. Goes to show that final placing shouldn’t determine who gets to line up.

JH: Seems awfully unfair of Athletics Canada to me. So what point are you at in your fight to get to London?

LM: We are in the initial appeal still. We anticipate it being denied and having to fight a long uphill battle. At some point, AC needs to be scrutinized by the rest of the country (and the U.S) & realize the only reason Canada isn’t as strong a force in the track/road world is because they are keeping our athletes out of competition.

The 6th Annual Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon was held on Saturday, March 18th, 2012. Lanni was the first female to finish the half marathon with a time of 1:14. (Photo – ANA LAURA ARAYA)

JH: Are you aware of any similar cases like this in other sports/events? How have they gone down?

LM: In 2008, Eric Gillis received “rising star” status to allow him to compete in the 10,000m race. Rising star is meant to give up and comers the Olympic and world experience necessary for them to place in the top 12 at the NEXT championships. Nicole Stevenson was in a similar position to me in 2008, but she opted not to appeal.

Right now I am not certain if any other runners are in my and Krista’s position. Comparable to cases in the past, Krista and I have a very strong argument. Unfortunately, AC will not extend rising star to the marathon.

JH: What kind of support have you received this far? How have your teammates and coaches and family contributed?

LM: My law school friends made a facebook page (www.facebook/letlannirun) and my family is helping me get the word out. Unlike the support on our men’s side, women’s marathoning has not been a focal point until this past week… so we are starting with some bare bones here to build upon.

JH: Seems like you have the opportunity to be somewhat of a pioneer here then. Are you prepared for AC to come back and say no?

LM: I am fully prepared for AC to say no. I just hope they are prepared for a very stubborn brunette with nothing to lose 😉 In all seriousness, I shouldn’t have to be a pioneer for women’s athletics in Canada. If AC truly wants to support Women’s running, they would be jumping at the opportunity to put women’s athletics in the lime light. They would not be hiding behind the COC and OTP.

JH: So while you continue your appeal, and have your law stuff to deal with, how do you go about continuing to train?

LM: This week will be my first week back to training since the race. Now I’ll focus on getting my mileage back up and gearing up for a summer season that will hopefully end with me toeing the line in London. Running will be more of my focus now, as I think it’s time to see how much faster I can get.

JH: I want you tell readers why they should take the time to send an email to AC and who they can send it to. Why is this SO important to you?

LM: We are a proud country and we have the rest of the world laughing at us. Every Olympics we have piles of athletes that sit at home watching the games because they weren’t good enough for our country. We are being judged against statistics, and not according to our competition.

Girls will be lining up in London who Krista and I beat in Rotterdam. We are at a point now where we cannot let AC put its head in the sand. It’s time for our country as a whole to argue for representation on the world stage.

Email Martin Goulet – he’s the chief high performance officer who will make the decision.

We have two female runners who are the 9th and 10th fastest women EVER in Canada in the marathon, and we aren’t allowed to compete for our country? No Canadian female has represented our country in the marathon since 1996! Any true Canadian would find these stats disgusting.

If YOU feel strongly about this or even if you feel just a twinge of hope for Lanni, take the time to email Martin Goulet at the address just above and follow Lanni on twitter @LMJ5252.

As well, please like her facebook page LET LANNI RUN

In addition, share this twitterview with your friends on twitter and facebook!

Let’s get Lanni to London!

Hall Of Sports Exclusive with Ryan Lucas
December 5, 2011, 14:17
Filed under: Archived: Sports | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This past November 30th, I sat down (Stood up) with Montreal Alouettes Defensive Tackle #97 Ryan Lucas.  Part 3 is to come and will be posted here shortly.

Part 1

Nov. 30, 2011 (Vancouver, BC) – Josh Hall interviewed Ryan Lucas of the Montreal Alouettes. In Part 1, Ryan talks about how he got his start in football and where he’s gone since then. Follow Josh on Twitter @vancan19 and Ryan on Twitter @RyLucas97. Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3.

Part 2

Nov. 30, 2011 (Vancouver, BC) – Josh Hall interviewed Ryan Lucas of the Montreal Alouettes. In part 2, Josh asks Ryan about his involvement with Game Ready Fitness, a company that runs fitness camps for youth. Ryan also talks about the 90 day challenge.

Part 3

Nov. 30, 2011 (Vancouver, BC) – Josh Hall interviewed Ryan Lucas of the Montreal Alouettes. In Part 3, they get trivial and fun it up a bit. The lighter side of a pro athlete is displayed.

Original Post on VSP

C’s: An Entertaining Championship Squad
September 11, 2011, 13:55
Filed under: Archived: Sports | Tags: , , , ,

By Josh Hall

Call me a homer or call me a bandwagoner. Having never been to a Vancouver Canadians baseball game before this season, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A championship helps, but even if the C’s had lost today, I can sum up action at the Nat in one word: Entertaining.

Today, the Canadians faced off in a winner take all game three in the Northwest League Final. Today, the Canadians won their first ever NWL title in 12 seasons as a franchise. It was powered by a 2nd strong post-season performance from Jesse Hernandez who threw 9 K’s, a career high, in 6 innings pitched. Hernandez was signed by the Blue Jays as a free agent in June 2010.

If you’ve followed the C’s all season long, you can attest to the story of two completely different halves. Tying for top spot in the first half, they took 2nddue to an inferior head to head record (5-7) against Eugene. Hoping to take the 2nd playoff spot by winning the 2nd half, they promptly failed at doing so, finishing dead last and yet squeaking into the playoffs as Eugene managed to win the 2nd half as well. Vancouver took said spot by virtue of having the 2nd best overall record. The team used the newspaper headlines saying they, “…backed in,” as bulletin board material.

It sure worked.

Up until today’s Game 3 season ending matchup, the road team had won in all of the C’s playoff games. It was Eugene in fact, who was up 1-0 in the opening series after taking Game 1 in Vancouver. It was all but over on paper, as Eugene not only took both halves in the West Division but the best overall record of all 8 teams in the NWL. Well the C’s gave the Em’s a swift kick in the rump the next night by winning 10-3 in Eugene, and then won a deciding game three after giving up a 5-0 lead only to win 5-4.

Off to the finals they went, taking game one in Pasco, Washington, home of the Tri-City Dust Devils. The Devils had the 2nd best overall record during the regular season. These C’s were for real and weren’t taking “on paper” statistics as legitimate reasons for why they should lose. Alas, it wasn’t going to end easily and TC took game two at The Nat by a score of 5-3.

It should be noted that due to NWL rules, despite Tri-City having a superior regular season record, Vancouver was privy to 2/3 finals games at home.

Finally, as mentioned, the Canadians did take today’s Championship match and handily, topping the Dust-Devils by a score of 9-2.

If there’s one thing I want people take away from this story and this year’s results for the Vancouver Canadians, it’s that baseball does work in Canada and Vancouver, more specifically. Not only have we see a star rising in Brett Lawrie from Langley become a starting 3B for the Toronto Blue Jays, but the Canadians this season became an affiliate of Canada’s only MLB team, said Toronto Blue Jays. It’s even been rumoured the C’s could be promoted to Triple-A ball next season from their current Single-A Short Season status.

The Canucks, Lions and it seems the Whitecaps will always garner more fans due to being in Major Leagues and having larger stadiums, but it cannot be denied the Canadians put out an entertainment value that is basically second to none.

The players come from all over the world to play in our city, so next season, when the 2012 Canadians take the field, go out to the Nat and welcome them with open arms for they really are the Best in the West.

Original Post on VSP

Championship Cometh
September 8, 2011, 13:51
Filed under: Archived: Sports | Tags: , , ,

By Josh Hall

Just when you thought the boys from Vancity were down and out of the Northwest League West Division Final, they stunned, and they shocked. Vancouver who had an overall road record of 14-24 this regular season, lost game 1 at the Nat and surely, on the brink of elimination headed to Eugene, were finished.

What happened was nothing short of a major upset. Vancouver did in fact close out the series last night with a tight 5-4 victory but the story is more about how they got to that point. It begins with game two.

Travelling to Eugene for the first time since mid-July, the C’s knew what they needed to do and knew it was a big job. The Emeralds won both halves of the season in the West Division handily. Back when these two teams played though, Vancouver took 3 of the 6 games played in Eugene and limited the Em’s to 3 runs in those three games compared to their 20. The sides hardly knew each other going into this series and yet it was assumed that Eugene had the upper hand, which they did going in. They proved that in Game 1, blowing out Vancouver 8-3.

Game 2 got underway in Eugene and it was clear the C’s weren’t going down without a fight. Leading by a score of 2-1 going into the 6th, the C’s scored, count ‘em, EIGHT runs in the inning. The final score was 10-3 and a message was sent. The story was the same as the regular season. Now in four wins the Canadians had managed at PK Park, the Em’s had been outrun 30-6.

Twenty-four hours later, the atmosphere was tense; the stadium was full and the crowd in Eugene ready to celebrate a game three victory and a trip to the NWL final. Surely, it was their day. That feeling didn’t last long as the Em’s found themselves down 5-0 after three innings. But Eugene didn’t win both halves for nothing. They fought back and come the bottom of the 9th, it was 5-3 Vancouver. Justin Miller scores for the Emeralds and it’s suddenly 5-4, an intentional walk and the bases are loaded with 1 out. The crowd was volatile and so were the players. On a delayed strikeout call on Travis Whitmore, he became irate with the umpire. Eventually cooler heads prevailed but now the C’s were only 1 out away from a trip to the Final.

It was pure beauty, the simplest of baseball plays, a grounder to shortstop and the throw to first. That was it. Series over and an upset of fairly epic proportions. The comeback of the season.

The C’s did what they needed to do, keep it tight and stay ahead.

Bring on those Dust-Devils Friday in Pasco, Washington.

Original Post on VSP

C’s Squeak Out Playoff Spot
September 4, 2011, 13:47
Filed under: Archived: Sports | Tags: , ,

By Josh Hall

Two weeks ago I walked out of Nat Bailey Stadium an optimistic fan, but realistically telling myself that the Canadians were most likely not going to make the playoffs. As great as I had seen them play up to that point, a 5 game pit to climb out of for the division and a 3 game lead for Everett in the 2nd half seemed insurmountable.

I go away for four days and bada-boom, bada-bing, Everett has hit a major road bump and Eugene has capitalized to take the West Division second half lead, leaving the C’s with a firm hold of 2nd place overall and not long to have to hold Everett off for that second playoff spot.

The stretch run the last few weeks has been hectic, but guess what; the Canadians are in the playoffs. They didn’t really help themselves out that much by losing 4 of 5 in a regular season ending series in Boise. Even on Saturday in the final game of the series, they lost 8-2 and had to rely on Eugene to beat Yakima or Everett to lose to secure that final playoff spot.

This will be the 2nd year in a row the C’s have made the playoffs. This time around it’ll be about improving on last year’s result in the West Finals against Everett, in which they lost.

On the other side of the coin, this is the first time the residents of Eugene, Portland will see NWL Playoffs since 2000. But that fact doesn’t really paint a picture of the success they have had the past 76 games. With the most wins in the NWL this season, the Emeralds recorded 46 victories to go with just 30 losses. On top of that, they dominated at home with 26 wins, were two games above .500 on the road and are going into the playoffs strong with a record of 7-3 in their last 10. Needless to say, the Em’s have the momentum going into the first round of the Scotiabank NWL Playoffs versus the C’s.

Alas, anything can happen in baseball, and sports in general, and as we have seen with how Everett plummeted in the standings late, all hope is not lost for Vancouver to come out on top against Eugene.

Who’s shown they’ve got what it takes to play big this season for the C’s. Well you can start with RHP Drew Permison who led the league in saves with 15. If the C’s can keep the games close, then Permison will become a key factor to whether or not the C’s advance. In contrast, the leading closers on the Emeralds, Chris Wilkes and Matthew Stites, both only have 5 saves. Staying on the mound, you can expect Blue Jays 1st Rounder Aaron Sanchez to get a start in the series. He went 0-1 in 3 starts but still looked impressive with his pitching.

Head to head, the C’s and Em’s match up fairly well. The two sides haven’t actually played each other since the first half but that doesn’t mean they don’t know each other. In 12 games, the C’s went 5-7. The surprising stat, considering the C’s overall road record of 14-24, is that 3 of their 5 wins against Eugene were at PK Park. Even more shocking, in those three victories, the Canadians out-scored Eugene 20-3. I don’t know all the nuances of baseball, but we here in Vancouver know that your head can mess you in playoff competition, so hopefully Eugene doesn’t forget those beatdowns from July.

Both teams had All-Star calibre players this season, which adds to the hype of this series. Potentially leading off the order for the Emeralds will be All-Star and Burlington, VA native, 2B Travis Whitmore who hit .297 this season in 62 games and 209 AB’s. Joining him on that same All-Star team is Canadians’ lead hitter and 2B Jon Berti who hit .291 in 213 AB’s this season. The previously mentioned Drew Permison also made the All-Star squad in addition to another C’s pitcher, Justin Nicolino. Nicolino went 5-1 in 9 starts with a miniscule 1.03 ERA.

All stats aside, the Emeralds have the clear advantage in the series, having won both the 1st and 2nd half in decisive fashion. Their record speaks for itself and the C’s will need to keep it tight. Letting a game get away from them early will spell disaster. Nonetheless, Vancouver has proven they can beat Eugene and they will try to do just that starting Monday at Nat Bailey Stadium. First pitch is at 1:05 PM and no doubt will be sold out come game time.

Bottom line for a C’s series win: Leave it ALL out on the field!

Original Post on VSP

A Day Off & On To The Playoffs…Hopefully
August 29, 2011, 13:44
Filed under: Archived: Sports | Tags: , ,

By Josh Hall

A day off today means the Vancouver Canadians can rest easy on a 12 hour bus trip to Boise, Idaho. That is where they close out the regular season with five games against the Hawks, whom they are 4-1 against so far this season.

The C’s are coming off a big loss yesterday, which should have been a win. Leading the Tri-City Dust-Devils going into the 7th, the game seemed to be locked up. Up until yesterday, the Devils were 0-28 when trailing after six innings. Vancouver up 4-3, Drew Permison comes in for the save in the top of the 8th, and on one pitch and one swing it was 4-4 and then it was 5-4 Tri-City. Permison, who has been stellar this season to say the least, and leads the NWL in saves, blew only his second save of the entire season. It was not his day.

Nonetheless, the Canadians playoff hopes were boosted when Eugene defeated Spokane 1-0. Here’s a breakdown of the C’s playoff chances:

Yesterday the C’s lost which officially eliminates them from winning the 2ndhalf, now 6 games back with 5 games remaining. The Eugene Emeralds won the first half, and since Vancouver is eliminated in the 2nd half, that means they need Eugene to win the 2nd half as well.

When the same team wins both halves, the 2nd team to make the playoffs is the team with the next best overall record. With five games to go for each team, Vancouver sits 3 games up on Everett and 5 up on Salem-Keizer in the overall standings.

The key for the C’s in securing that 2nd place overall spot is to just keep winning. Five games to go against a team they owned in the first half, the task is tall, but not gigantic.

We could have some playoff baseball at the Nat next week folks!

Original Post on VSP

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