Ontario University Athletics announced the members of its First and Second Team All-Stars on Wednesday in preparation for the upcoming Yates Cup Championship. For 2016, four members of University of Ottawa Gee-Gees were recognized as all-stars: Derek Wendel, Mitchell Baines, Jackson Bennett, and Lewis Ward.
Derek Wendel was named to the First Team of All-Stars for 2016 after earning a spot on the second team in 2015. The fifth-year quarterback from Belleville, Ont., was impressive throughout the season, helping to lead Ottawa to a 6-2 record. Wendel led the conference in completion percentage (66.9), yards per game (367) and touchdowns (22). He also set new national single season attempts (232) and completions records (347) for a second consecutive season. Wendel leaves uOttawa as the program’s second most prolific quarterback with 8863 career passing yards and 67 touchdown passes.
Mitchell Baines joins his quaterback on the First Team after leading the nation with 123 receiving yards per game in the regular season. This is the first all-star recognition for the fifth-year target from Ottawa, who also led the OUA with 65 receptions. Many of those catches were of the lengthy variety, with Baines hauling in a pass for at least 40 yards in five different games. He took eight catches to the endzone, ranking third in the country. Baines was added to the Saskatchewan Roughriders exclusive negotiation list on October 4.
Jackson Bennett returns to the OUA awards this season after being named to the All-Rookie squad in 2014. The Ottawa product and Sir Wilfrid Laurier S.S. grad was a huge factor for the Gee-Gees defence, ranking third on the team with 38 tackles including seven for a loss of yardage. Playing at the SAM linebacking position, Bennett logged 33 solo tackles, three breakups, and one fumble recovery. Although his award is in recognition of his defence, Bennett also played a key role down the stretch for Ottawa as a returner.
Lewis Ward joins Bennett on the second team of all-stars – the first nod in the senior place-kicker’s four-year career. Ward was 20-24 on field goal attempts this season and added 31 extra point conversions. The twenty field goals is a career high for the Kingston, Ont. product, as was the 51-yard kick against Guelph on September 17. That was also the longest field goal in the nation this season.