The Gee-Gees women's rugby team had four individuals recognized by the RSEQ today as the conference announced its All-Star teams and major award winners for 2019. Madison Grant won the Rookie of the Year award and joins Michaela Haley and Alex Ondo on the All-Star lists. Meredith Sirrs is the winner of the league's Leadership and Community Engagement award.
Madison Grant has been a leader among a young group of Gee-Gees this season. "As much as Maddy is a wonderful rugby player, she is a better person," says Jen Boyd. "Her character and the way that the girls respond to her personality and her caring nature is actually why we recruited her. She's a pretty tremendous athlete as well and she has given us great performances this season."
Grant's first year at uOttawa followed her strong showing at an RBC Training Ground event and competing at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires as well as an international rugby sevens tournament in Hokkaido, Japan. She is currently a member of Canada's Senior Women's roster for Rugby 7s. Hailing from Cornwall, Madison is a Criminology student who has started all six games at number 8 for the Gee-Gees, scoring seven tries. She was also named to the RSEQ Second Team of All-Stars.
Meredith Sirrs is also playing her first season for the Gee-Gees, although she has been a member of the team since 2018. An August injury meant she missed all of the 2018 season, but she made the most of her time on the sidelines. Sirrs has been very active as a community outreach ambassador for the Gee-Gees rugby team, continuing her strong history of building connections as a camp counselor since the age of 13. She has a passion for interacting with different people of different ages, bonding over their mutual love for a sport.
"I think it shows my passion for the community that I was able to hold a role within the team to still help and contribute to the rugby culture despite not being on the field at that time," says Sirrs upon reflection. "To me, it is very important to create an impact: make myself proud by paving the way for future girls to play."
"She truly loves working with young people. She just comes alive while she's around them working in the community. She's so engaged and relatable to young people," notes Boyd, who has a teaching background herself. "Her passion for it is contagious because she helps her teammates be less self-conscious about interacting with younger people. Through Meredith our team members see a clearer picture of their role-modeling opportunities with young people and see that they can create change."
This season, Sirrs has come back to the field and dressed all six games, starting three games in the front row. She is a second year student in International Development and Globalization, and lived abroad before her family settled in Ottawa.
Michaela Haley was the Gee-Gees leading scorer this season with 55 points on a league-high 11 tires. The fifth-year lock was named to the RSEQ All-Star team for the second straight season.
Alex Ondo is now a three-time RSEQ All-Star (2017, 2018, 2019), becoming just the fifth Gee-Gee player in team history to do so. This season, she was named at the centre position, after previously being named at fullback. Ondo had two tries for Ottawa this season, which is her fourth. Ondo hails from Gatineau, Que. and is studying International Development and Globalization.
The Gee-Gees will salute the award winners at the RSEQ semifinal game on Saturday night. Ottawa hosts Sherbrooke at 6 p.m. with tickets available online. The game will be webcast on YouTube.