15th annual Queen's-McGill Challenge Boat Race on Sunday



MONTREAL -- The 15th annual Queen's-McGill Challenge Boat Race is scheduled for Sunday morning (May 1) on the Cataraqui River in Kingston, Ont. The Queen's Gaels lead the all-time series 8-6 between the long-time foes since the head-to-head competition was first introduced in 1997. This unique regatta is the Canadian equivalent of England's annual Oxford-Cambridge and the annual Harvard-Yale race in the U.S.


Each crew will compete in a six-kilometre head race, followed by a 500m sprint. Two points are awarded for a 6k win and one point for a victory in the 500m dash. Three trophies will be up for grabs (men, women, overall) and the points accumulated from each race will decide the overall winning university, which will claim the Lorne Gales Challenge Cup. Queen's has won the Cup six times in the last seven years.


The launching point will be at the Kingston Rowing Club, located at 1 Cataraqui Street, near Orchard Park. The long-time rivals traditionally bet crew shirts on the sprint, with the winner receiving the shirt off the back of his opponent.  A trophy presentation is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.


The 2011 event begins with a launch ceremony 7 a.m., followed at 7:40 a.m. by the varsity men's heavyweight eight competing in a six-kilometre head race and a 500-mtere sprint. The women's launch ceremony gets underway at 7:40 a.m., followed by the women's and men's and novice races at 9 a.m. and 9:40 a.m., respectively.


Last year, Queen's needed the assistance of a tie-breaker to edge McGill by one second and capture the overall title for the competition, which was held on the Lachine Canal. McGill swept all four races in the men's competition to capture the Challenge Blade for the first time since 2003 and the seventh time in 14 years, since it was introduced in 1997.


But Queen's matched that by sweeping all four events in the women's division to merit the Challenge trophy, ending a two-year win streak for the Martlets and improving their all-time record to 8-4 against the McGill women, since it was introduced in 1999


At the end of the day, the rivals were tied in the scoring and race officials broke the deadlock using the varsity boat that had the largest margin of victory. The Redmen varsity eight had completed their race in nine minutes and 12 seconds, finishing five seconds ahead of Queen's. However, the Gaels women won their race in 10:45, six seconds ahead of the Martlets, which gave Queen's a one-second victory and the Lorne Gales trophy as overall champions.


The Queen's-McGill Challenge adds another dimension to the long-standing athletic rivalry that has existed between these two schools since 1884 when the first football confrontation began.


The inaugural Challenge Boat Race, held in 1997 at the Olympic rowing basin in Montreal, was comprised of a men's 2000m head race and a 500m dash. That year, McGill claimed the Gales Cup.


As the Queen's-McGill Challenge Boat Race has evolved over the past decade, so has its format. The long-standing rivals alternate hosting the event from year to year, and the traditional format is usually a 5km or 6km headrace, depending upon course conditions, followed by a 500m sprint.




(listed by seating order in each boat)


Varsity Heavyweight Women:


Bow - Megan Lydon, Montreal, Que.

2 - Kelly Murphy, Boston, MA

3 - Chiara Cipriano, Belmont, MA

4 - Emily Collins, Boston, MA

5 - Juliette Robert-Bigras, Montreal, Que.

6 - Jennifer Jones, Gatineau, Que.

7 - Catherine Bouchard-Pilote, Montreal, Que.

Stroke - Kalyna Franko, Toronto, Ont.

Cox - Laura Marks, Montreal, Que.



Varsity Heavyweight Men:


Bow - Michael Ross, Scarborough, Que.

2 - Elliot Silber, Montreal, Que.

3 - *Philippe Toren, Montreal, Que.

4 - Evan Kelso, Menlo Park, CA

5 - Liam Kirwin, Edmonton, Alta.

6 - Amedée d'Aboville, McLean, VA

7 - Steven Pampreen, Dover, NH

Stroke - Renaud Garon-Gendron, Boucherville, Que.

Cox - Nicole Bewski, Winnipeg, Man.



Novice Women:


Bow - Charlotte Skinner, London, England

2 - Erica McDonald, Calgary, Alta.

3 - Aleksandra Bursac, Montreal, Que.

4 - Sonja Washer, Gatineau, Que.

5 - Elisse Lefaive, Perkinsfield, Ont.

6 - Valerie Verschelden, St. Jean sur Richelieu, Que.

7 - Clemence Fortier-Morissette, Montreal, Que.

Stroke - Elise Meertens, Cambridge, Ont.

Cox - Victoria Gillan, Saint John, N.B.



Novice Men:


Bow - Phil Belzile, Longueuil, Que.

2 - Wesley Yland, Northport, NY

3 - Mark York, Toronto, Ont.

4 - Dru Perkins, Montreal West, Que.

5 - Laurent Tardif, St. Jean Baptiste, Que.

6 - Yann Beaulieu, Quebec City, Que.

7 - Robert Laniel, Gatineau, Que.

Stroke - *Philippe Toren, Montreal, Que.

Cox - Philippe Bouchard, Quebec City, Que.


*competing in two different boats



2011 Schedule of Events


7:00 a.m.  Varsity Men Launch Ceremony
7:40 a.m.  Varsity Men 6k head race
8:10 a.m.  Varsity Men 500m sprint


7:40 a.m.  Varsity Women Launch Ceremony
8:20 a.m.  Varsity Women 6k head race
8:50 a.m.  Varsity Women 500m sprint


8:20 a.m.  Novice Women Launch Ceremony
9:00 a.m.  Novice Women 6k race
9:30 a.m.  Novice Women 500m sprint


9:00 a.m.  Novice Men Launch Ceremony
9:40 a.m.  Novice Men 6k race
10:10 a.m. Novice Men 500m sprint


10:30 a.m. Trophy presentation at Rowing Club



Past Lorne Gales Challenge Cup Recipients (overall champions)

2010 - Queen's

2009 - McGill

2008 - Queen's

2007 - Queen's

2006 - Queen's

2005 - Queen's

2004 - Queen's

2003 - McGill

2002 - McGill

2001 - Queen's

2000 - Queen's

1999 - McGill

1998 - McGill

1997 - McGill


Past Challenge Blade Recipients (men's champions)

2010 - McGill

2009 - Queen's

2008 - Queen's

2007 - Queen's

2006 - Queen's

2005 - Queen's

2004 - Queen's

2003 - McGill

2002 - McGill

2001 - Queen's

2000 - McGill

1999 - McGill

1998 - McGill

1997 - McGill


Past Challenge Trophy Recipients (women's champions)

2010 - Queen's

2009 - McGill

2008 - McGill

2007 - Queen's

2006 - McGill

2005 - Queen's

2004 - Queen's

2003 - Queen's

2002 - Queen's

2001 - Queen's

2000 - Queen's

1999 - McGill




Earl Zukerman

Communications Officer

Athletics & Recreation

McGill University


m.athletics.mcgill.ca (mobile website)


earl.zukerman [at] mcgill.ca?subject=E-mail%20hyperlink%20for%20Earl%20Zukerman"> earl.zukerman [at] mcgill.ca