By Taylor McKee
Upset of the year:
Women’s basketball upsetting number-one ranked Regina
On March 17, 2012, the Dinos women’s basketball team entered the CIS championships as the lowest-ranked seed in the entire tournament, which meant that in the first quarterfinal match they would be playing against the top-seeded team. The Dinos squared off against the University of Regina Cougars, a squad that had defeated them three times earlier in the season.
The Dinos made it into the championships by being the host city, as they were eliminated from the CW playoffs in the quarterfinals by the University of Fraser Valley. However, home-court advantage would carry the Dinos to a magical victory over the Cougars 75–66, a perfect end to the career of head coach Shawnee Harle who retired this year after 18 seasons with the Dinos.
In a press release, Cougars head coach Dave Taylor acknowledged the role played by the Calgary fans. “The crowd certainly played a factor, it was tough for us to run any sort of offence,” said the 2012 CIS coach of the year. “I’ve been to 11 [CIS finals] and this is exactly what happens with the home crowd. Calgary was jacked up and they did a great job shooting the ball and making things difficult for us.” The Dinos would finish fourth in the tournament, but the atmosphere in the Jack Simpson for the Dinos’s games in the quarterfinals and semifinals was simply electric.
Underdog team of the year:
The 2012 season was certainly one to remember for the University of Calgary baseball club. The Dinos finished their season losing in the semifinals of the Canadian College Baseball Conference to the Vancouver Island Baseball Institute in the ninth inning. However, the road to the semifinals was, to put it politely, unconventional.
The regular season was an absolute nightmare. Winning five of their first nine games, the Dinos were off to one of the best starts in club history. Then, through a combination of tough losses, injuries and mental fatigue from a strenuous travel schedule, the Dinos lost their next 17-straight games and finished with a conference worst record of 5–21. This earned them fifth seed going into the national championships in Kamloops and an exceedingly tough schedule in the tournament that included matchups against the top-two seeds. The Dinos lost their first game 6–1 to the top seed from Lethbridge but defiantly topped the second-ranked squad from Kamloops 7–6, a team that had beaten the Dinos six-straight times during the regular season. In their third game, the Dinos shellacked VIBI from Nanaimo 16–1 and secured a berth in the semifinal. That game was essentially meaningless for VIBI, but the victory marked the first time a U of C baseball club reached the semis of a national championship.
During the season — due to renovations being conducted to Foothills Stadium in the wake of the departure of the Calgary Vipers — the home field for the Dinos suddenly became unusable, for game or practice. This meant that the Dinos played a grand total of zero home games this season and practiced indoors at the Absolute Baseball Academy, located adjacent to Foothills Academy. For their perseverance and sheer force of will, the Dinos baseball squad are this year’s underdog team of the year.