Sad Time For Fanshawe’s Women’s Team Following Cancelled National Championships

Ashleigh LaBlance

Ashleigh LaBlance with the Fanshawe Falcons – Photo by Matt Hiscox

Athletes work their entire lives to play in a National Championship. For the Fanshawe College Falcons women’s basketball team, that achievement was only days away, before the coronavirus.

The team had just won an OCAA championship and was preparing for the CCAA’s when the news broke.

“Honestly I understand why the cancellation happened,” said Chatham’s Jessica Jordan, who is in her second season with the Falcons, and had the opportunity to go to the National championships last year.

“It’s just sad to end our season early, especially for our 5th years who didn’t even know that they were playing their last game at the time. I hope that Nationals can be rescheduled, but as of right now it’s just a sad time for the team.”

Jordan has been there, but for two other Chatham-Kent basketball products, Ashleigh LaBlance (Wallaceburg) and Legacie Blackbird (Walpole Island), this would have been a first.

LaBlance however, is trying to focus on the positives of winning an OCAA championship in her first season.

“Winning OCAA this year was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my entire basketball career,” said the Wallaceburg Airhawks alumni. “It’s easily my greatest accomplishment in my career and hopefully we can win a few more.”

That incredible experience didn’t fully remove the sting of being robbed of Nationals.

“When I heard nationals was cancelled it was something I had thought they might do but I didn’t want to believe it. It really didn’t feel real until the next day when I woke up the and we didn’t have practice,” said Ashleigh LaBlance.

“My first year playing with Fanshawe has been so fulfilling. I truly couldn’t have asked for better teammates and coaches that I can honestly call family.”

In an event that, in LaBlance’s words is “bigger than sport” however, measures needed to be taken to stop the spread of COVID-19. Now, LaBlance and the Falcons will use the sting of unfinished business as motivation heading into next year.

“The way this season has ended is just going to give us more drive than ever for next year.”

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