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How physical exercise makes your brain work better

Monday, September, 5, 2016

As OFSAA's 2015-16 season runs to the finish line and summer looms on the horizon, we encourage you to spend #Summer16 staying active and living healthy.

As proud proponents of Education Through School Sport we believe in the power of athletics to develop students' character both on the field and in the classroom.

The following excerpted article by neuroscientist Ben Martynoga the The Guardian puts research and facts behind the OFSAA philosophy:

"The brain is often described as being “like a muscle”. It’s a comparison that props up the brain training industry and keeps school children hunched over desks. We judge literacy and numeracy exercises as more beneficial for your brain than running, playing and learning on the move.

But the brain-as-muscle analogy doesn’t quite work. To build up your biceps you can’t avoid flexing them. When it comes to your brain, an oblique approach can be surprisingly effective. In particular, working your body’s muscles can actually benefit your grey matter.

Scientists are showing that the runner’s high and the yogi’s tranquility have profound effects on your brain. Moreover, specific physical activities can markedly alter its structure in precise ways.

A wave of studies exploring the unexpected links between mental and bodily fitness is emerging from labs. This research might give you the impetus to get more active. It can also help you choose the best ways to prepare physically for mental challenges such as exams, interviews and creative projects.

Boost your memory

The part of the brain that responds strongly to aerobic exercise is the hippocampus. Well-controlled experiments in childrenadults and the elderlyshow that this brain structure grows as people get fitter. Since the hippocampus is at the core of the brain’s learning and memory systems, this finding partly explains the memory-boosting effects of improved cardiovascular fitness.

As well as slowly improving your memory hardware, exercise can have a more immediate impact on memory formation. German researchers showed thatwalking or cycling during, but not before, learning helped new foreign language vocabulary to stick. So exercise while you revise. Don’t push it too hard, though: vigorous workouts can raise your stress levels, which can scupper your memory circuits.

Improve your concentration

Besides making memories stickier, exercise can help you focus and stay on task. The best scientific evidence comes from testing school children, but the same most likely applies to us all. Interspersing lessons with 20-minute bouts of aerobics-style exercise improved the attention spans of Dutch school pupils. Meanwhile, a large randomised controlled trial in the US looked at the effects of daily after-school sports classes over a school year. The children, of course, got fitter. Less predictably, their executive control improved. They became more adept at ignoring distractions, multitasking, and holding and manipulating information in their minds.

And if that all sounds like hard work, you may not have to get out of breath to reap the attention-honing effects of exercise. Just 10 minutes of playful coordination skills, like bouncing two balls at the same time, improved the attention of a large group of German teenagers.

Improve your mental health

Love it or hate it, bouts of physical activity can have potent effects on your mood. The runner’s high – that feeling of elation that follows intense exercise – is real.Even mice get it. It may not be due to an “endorphin rush”, though. Levels of the body’s homemade opiate do rise in the bloodstream, but it’s not clear how much endorphin actually gets into the brain.

What about yoga? Does it really help with stress? When anxiety levels rise, you tense up, your heart races and your attention narrows to a slit. This shift to “fight or flight” mode is automatic, but that doesn’t mean it’s wholly out of your control. Yoga teaches the deliberate command of movement and breathing, with the aim of turning on the body’s“relaxation response”. Science increasingly backs this claim. For example, a 2010 study put participants through eight weeks of daily yoga and meditation practice. In parallel with self-reported stress-reduction, brain scans showed shrinkage of part of their amygdala, a deep-brain structure strongly implicated in processing stress, fear and anxiety.

Exercise is also emerging as a promising way to overcome depression. A 2013 meta-analysis cautiously reported that exercise – both aerobic and resistance – was “moderately effective” in treating depressive symptoms. Strikingly, exercise seemed as effective as antidepressant drugs and psychological treatments. The study’s authors identified it as an area crying out for more rigorous investigation.

Enhance your creativity

Thoreau, Nietzsche and many other creative types have claimed that walking gives wings to the imagination. Last year, psychologists gave this empirical support. Walking, either on a treadmill or around Stanford’s leafy campus, bolstered divergent thinking: the free-roaming, idea-generating component of creative thought. It didn’t help convergent thinking, though. So if you’re struggling to home in on a single solution, an idle stroll may not be what you need.

Slowing cognitive decline

The evidence that staying physically fit keeps your brain healthy into old age is especially compelling. Most concrete is the link between aerobic fitness and cognitive preservation. Workouts needn’t be extreme either: 30-45 minutes of brisk walking, three times a week, can help fend off the mental wear and tear anddelay the onset of dementia. It pays to get used to regular exercise early, though.The protective effects are clearest before the cognitive signs of old age kick in.

Nor is it all about your heart and lungs. Exercises to improve balance, coordination and agility made a clear impact on the brain structure and cognitive function of a large group of German elderly people. Twice weekly sessions ofweightlifting can have a visible neurological impact. Dancing may also be restorative for ageing brains. Just an hour of dance a week, for six months, did little for elderly participants’ aerobic capacity, but the physical and social stimulation bolstered their cognitive wellbeing.

Researchers are still teasing out the critical factors that make exercise such a potent brain tonic. Prime suspects include increased blood flow to the brain, surges of growth hormones and expansion of the brain’s network of blood vessels. It’s also possible that exercise stimulates the birth of new neurons. Until recently, few believed this could happen in adult human brains.

Don’t sit still

The cognitive spillover from exercise reminds us that our brains don’t operate in isolation. What you do with your body impinges on your mental faculties. Sitting still all day, every day, is dangerous. So don’t dither about what form of exercise you do. Find something you enjoy, then get up and do it."

2016-17 Transfer Appeal Meeting Dates

Tuesday, August, 23, 2016

To appeal an association decision, please call the OFSAA office and give the name of the student and school, as well as the name of the principal. Please see the deadline dates posted below.

A letter will be sent to the student c/o the principal, stating the date, time, and location of the appeal hearing. The letter will outline what information the student must provide prior to the meeting date.

Meeting Date

Deadline for Applications

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Brian Maxwell Memorial Scholarship Winners

Wednesday, August, 3, 2016


OFSAA and the Brian Maxwell Memorial Scholarship Fund are pleased to announce the student-athletes who were awarded the 2016 scholarships.

The scholarship fund is in memory of Brian Maxwell, a successful distance runner. Brian competed in track & field and cross country and achieved success as an OFSAA champion, Canadian junior, juvenile and senior champion and won numerous international marathons. In 1980 he was selected on the Canadian Olympic team and later became a successful entrepreneur who, with his wife Jennifer, co-founded the nutritional supplement PowerBar. Brian was born with a defective heart valve and in 2004, at only 51, died of a heart attack.

The Brian Maxwell Memorial Scholarship awards amounts of $8,000, $4,000 and $2,000 each year to a male and female student athlete in Ontario who will continue their post-secondary education at a Canadian College or University. These scholar-athletes must also display qualities of honesty, integrity, compassion and an unwavering quest to accomplish the best academically and athletically while supporting fellow team members.


The 2016 Gold recipients of the $8000 scholarship are Kyle Madden of St. George, and Mackenzie Cameron of Georgetown.

Kyle Madden graduated from Paris District High School in St. George near Brantford with an 85% average. He competed at OFSAA Track & Field since sophomore year and finished Grade 12 on the podium twice with bronze in the 1500m and gold in the 3000m. Kyle also competed at the 2015 World Youth Track & Field Championships, and finished 12th at OFSAA Cross Country. He was president of the Eco Club and traveled to Costa Rica to help the Mangrove Reforestation Project as well as participated in leadership, athletic council and the anti-bullying programs at school. Kyle will be studying human kinetics at the University of Guelph in the fall.
Mackenzie Cameron is a graduate of Christ the King CSS in Georgetown where she accomplished a 91% average. She competed at OFSAA Cross Country and Track & Field all four years of high school including a silver-medal finish in 3000m in Grade 9. A multi-sport athlete, Mackenzie is also competitive in Nordic skiing, soccer, and dance. She’s a winner of the Father Patrick Fogarty Ontario Catholic Student Award, a student senator, Relay for Life organizer, school web master, and mathematics, Italian and Me to We club member. Mackenzie will study mathematics towards her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Guelph starting this fall.   


The 2016 Silver recipients of the $4000 scholarship are Mitchell Ubene of Tecumseh, and Lucia Stafford of Toronto.

Mitchell Ubene recently graduated from Tecumseh Vista Academy in Tecumseh with a 95% average. He competed at OFSAA Track & Field twice including a fifth-place finish in the 3000m this year, and in Grade 9 was a member of the first-place team at OFSAA Cross Country. A former winner of the Windsor-Essex Sports Person of the Year, he also represents his school in soccer, volleyball and badminton. Off the court Mitchell has competed in provincial mathematics, physics, and chemistry contests and fundraised for the Kidney Foundation and Terry Fox Foundation. Mitchell will study engineering at the University of Guelph in the fall.
Lucia Stafford graduated from Toronto French School with a 92% overall average. At OFSAA Track & Field she landed on the podium four times including double gold this year in 800m and 1500m. Her 1500m time of 4:22 is a new OFSAA and Canadian Interscholastic Record and the exact same time landed her in 12th at the IAAF World Youth Championships this July. Lucia is the Outreach Club prefect head, played Miss Hannigan in the musical Annie, is co-founder of the Cancer Awareness Club, and organizes the Light the Night fundraiser in memory of her mother that raises money for cancer research.  Lucia’s sister Gabriella is a former recipient of this award. Lucia will study Engineering at University of Toronto in the fall. 


The 2016 Bronze recipients of the $2000 scholarship are Millar Coveney of St. Catharines, and Kate Current of Cobourg.

Millar Coveney is a graduate of Sir Winston Churchill SS in St. Catharines with a 94% average. He participated in multiple OFSAA Cross Country and Track & Field Championships including a second-place team finish in XC this year. He won a Government of Canada History Essay Award for his French-language essay, “Canadian Artic Exploration and its Effect on Indigenous People.” He’s a member of the swim team, school prefect, leadership and Wintership leader, and concertmaster-playing violin. Millar will study engineering at Queen’s University this fall.

Kate Current recently graduated from Cobourg Collegiate with a 96% average. At OFSAA Track & Field she finished fifth in Grade 11 and second in Grade 12 in the 800m. Kate also placed fifth in the 800m at Youth Nationals. At school she is a member of the athletic council, interact club, link crew and aided an intellectually challenged student to compete at track & field. She also helps the elderly learn new technology, coaches youth gymnastics, and is becoming a lifeguard and swim instructor. Kate will pursue a dual degree in engineering and business from the University of Western Ontario starting this fall.


Congratulations to all scholarship recipients and we wish you the best of luck in continuing your education and athletic careers at the post-secondary level!

CLICK HERE to view all past recipients of the scholarship


Give a Little, Help a Lot with KidSport

Wednesday, July, 20, 2016

OFSAA and ‘KidSport’ will partner once again in the coming school year to help high school students in Ontario overcome financial barriers that are restricting their participation in school sports. 

Applications will be available soon through the OFSAA website for the 2016-17 school year, but in the meantime you can do your part to fund these deserving student-athletes by taking part in the KidSport program Give a Little, Help a Lot.


From July 15th to 28th, 2016, Ontario customers of Real Canadian Superstore® and Extra Foods® have the opportunity to get local under-serviced children off the sidelines and playing sport through the Give a Little, Help a Lot campaign and KidSport.



The annual in-store fundraising campaign is supporting KidSport in both major supermarket chains across Canada.  Over the two weeks, cashiers will be asking customers to donate $2 when they pay...So ALL Kids Can Play!  Every dollar donated at checkout will go back to local children facing financial barriers to their participation in organized sport, by way of a KidSport grant.


  • Click here for a list of participating stores in Ontario
  • For more information about KidSport please visit their website.


Character Athlete Award Winners 2015-16

Saturday, June, 18, 2016

Character Athlete Award 2015-16

OFSAA’s Character Athlete Award celebrates the efforts of the exceptional student-athletes in Ontario who best exemplify the characteristics that OFSAA is founded on.

Nominations come to the OFSAA office detailing the exceptional character of student-athletes across Ontario, inspiring those around them with their involvement on the playing field and in the classroom, in both school and the community.

Beginning in 2015-16 the Character Athlete Award comes with a $1000 scholarship from our partners at Josten’s, towards studies at a Canadian post-secondary institution.

Selecting just one boy and one girl recipient of the OFSAA Character Athlete Award is never easy, but the following two individuals stood out.

Samantha Despond

Nominated by Phil Hunks

Samantha is a Grade 12 student at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario where she is an active member of many school organizations as well as athletic teams that she persevered to be a part of.

After a serious shoulder injury took her out of the pool, determination allowed this promising swimmer to return to the water. After being forced to sit out all sports in Grade 9 while recovering Samantha began to run cross country in Grade 10 but was again sidelined for back surgery.

Finally healthy, and better than ever, Samantha blew away the competition winning the 2015 Senior Girls 1500m City Championship in Track & Field. Then after four years on dry land she churned the water to qualify for two OFSAA swimming events and placed fifth overall in the 100M individual medley.

“Although this wasn’t a medal finish the St. Mary school community was impacted by the courage, perseverance and determination she displayed to fulfill her dream of representing her school and swimming her best at OFSAA in her graduating year,” said her coach Phil Hunks.

Samantha served as assistant coach of the swim team all four years despite not being able to compete, was a member of the Healthy Action Team at St. Mary, and played a huge role with the Robotics team initiating and conducting special events and mentoring robotics rookies.

For overcoming adversity and pursuing her passion Samantha has earned the title of OFSAA Character Athlete.

Honourable Mention

  • Emily Wesseling
  • Madison Wilson-Walker
  • MacLean Press


Michael Bedarev

Nominated by: Bryan McAlpine

Michael is a Grade 12 student at Monarch Mark Collegiate in Toronto, Ontario whose involvement in school sports teams didn’t stop with his own athletic pursuits, instead inspiring physical participation throughout the school.

Taking on a leadership role, Michael created and implemented a “house” system at Monarch Park that generated an exciting intramural program and much more school spirit.

A respectful role model in the school to students and teachers alike, Michael was captain of the hockey team, libero for the volleyball team, learned and adapted to become vice captain of the cricket team, assistant captain of the ultimate Frisbee team, and a member of the table tennis and swimming teams as well.

Michael also represented his school as Head of Household for the athletic council, spirit chair of student council, editor and contributor to the parental newsletter, a Grade 9 mentor, and served in his community as a hockey coach, camp counselor, hospital tour guide and many other volunteer and charity opportunities.

“Michael’s greatest attribute cannot be found on a resume or a transcript,” said his teacher-coach Bryan McAlpine. “What sets him apart from other high achieving students is that he is a tremendously genuine and well-rounded person.”

For demonstrating OFSAA’s values of leadership, commitment, respect, equity and growth Michael has well earned the title of Character Athlete. Congratulations!

Honourable Mention

  • Thomas Walser
  • Evan Bodnar
  • Ethan Swailes


Past Recipients

Track & Field Results 2016

Wednesday, June, 15, 2016

OFSAA Records Set at 2016 Track & Field Championships

(See full results here)

visit the OFSAA Track & Field website 




New Record

Cameron Ormond

Aurora HS

MG 3000m


Jocelyn Chau

De La Salle

JG 1500m


Brogan MacDougall


JG 3000m


Liam Foudy

Neil McNeil

JB 300m Hurdles

37. 86

Trinity Tutti


JG Shot Put


Khamal Stewart-Baynes

Father Henry Carr

SB 400m


Lucia Stafford

Toronto French School

SG 1500m


Christiane Konstantopoul

Toronto Prep School

SG 3000m


Henry Carr Relay

Father Henry Carr

SB 400m Relay


Kylee Raftis

Bishop Strachan

1500m Steeplechase


Kristy Alford

Nantyr Shores

Para Int. Imp.



Jessica Tinney

Greenwood College

Para Wheelchair



Nicholas Neri

Cardinal Leger

Para Visually Impaired


2:07. 66

Madison Wilson-Walker

Lord Dorchester

Para Ambulatory


2:57. 98

Mitchell Chase


Para Ambulatory



Julianne Miszk

St. Michael

Para Int. Imp



Owen Konkle



Para Int. Imp




New Canadian Interscholastic Records set at OFSAA Track & Field 2016





New Record

Lucia Stafford

Toronto French School

SG 1500m


Christiane Konstantopoul

Toronto Prep School

SG 3000m


Baseball Results 2016

Wednesday, June, 8, 2016



Wednesday June 8th, 2016

Congratulations to St Anne's from SWOSSAA 
2016 OFSAA Baseball Champions



10 am  Bishop Allen (TDCAA) 6 at St. Michael's College (CISAA) 4, at Aldridge Field

10 am  Notre Dame (GHAC) 0 at St. Anne's (SWOSSAA) 3, at Dan Pulham Field


1 pm Bronze Medal - Notre Dame (GHAC) 10 at St. Michael's College (CISAA) 4, at Labatt Stadium

3 pm Gold Medal - St. Anne's (SWOSSAA) 4 at Bishop Allen (TDCAA) 2, at Labatt Stadium


see all results of OFSAA Baseball East and West regionals 

OFSAA Soccer Results 2016

Sunday, June, 5, 2016

OFSAA 2016 Girls' AAA Soccer Championship

June 2-4, 2016, Niagara Falls

Girls' AAA Soccer website

GOLD - Cardinal Newman, Hamilton (GHAC)

SILVER - Saint Michael Catholic, Niagara Falls (SOSSA)

BRONZE - Grand River CI, Kitchener (CWOSSA)

ANTIQUE BRONZE - St. Mary CSS, Pickering (LOSSA)


OFSAA 2016 Girls' AA Soccer Championship

June 2-4, 2016, North Bay

Girls' AA Soccer website

GOLD - Parkside CI, St. Thomas (WOSSAA)

SILVER - Cairine Wilson S.S., Ottawa (NCSSAA)

BRONZE - Holy Trinity H.S., Bradford (GBSSA)

ANTIQUE BRONZE - F.J. Brennan C.H.S., Windsor (SWOSSAA)


OFSAA 2016 Girls' A Soccer Championship

June 2-4, 2016, North Bay

Girls' A Soccer website

GOLD - E.S. Jean Vanier, Welland (SOSSA)

SILVER - De La Salle College, Toronto (CISAA)

BRONZE - Hamilton District Christian H.S., Hamilton (SOSSA)

ANTIQUE BRONZE - St. Benedict C.S.S., Sudbury (NOSSA


OFSAA 2016 Boys' AAA Soccer Championship

June 2-4, 2016, Kingston

Boys' AAA Soccer website

GOLD - David Suzuki HS, Brampton (ROPSSAA)

SILVER - St. Thomas More CSS, Hamilton (GHAC)

BRONZE - St. Michael CSS, Caledon (ROPSSAA)

ANTIQUE BRONZE - Holy Cross CSS, Kingston (EOSSAA)

OFSAA 2016 Boys' AA Soccer Championship

June 2-4, 2016, Kingsville

Boys' AA Soccer website

GOLD - Corpus Christi, Burlington (GHAC)

SILVER - St. Andre Bessette, London (WOSSAA) 

BRONZE - Bishop Marrocco, Toronto (TDCAA)

ANTIQUE BRONZE - Ascension, Mississauga (ROPSSAA)


OFSAA 2016 Boys' A Soccer Championship

June 2-4, 2016, Windsor

Boys' A Soccer website

GOLD - Nicholson Catholic College, Belleville (COSSA)

SILVER - Heritage Christian School, Jordan (SOSSA)

 BRONZE - Ridley College, St. Catharines (CISAA)

ANTIQUE BRONZE - École Secondaire Catholique St Charles Garnier, Whitby (LOSSA)

Boys' Rugby Results 2016

Saturday, June, 4, 2016

Boys' A/AA Rugby Championship

Host: Cobourg

June 2-4, 2016

view the website for full info

Gold Medal Winners:

Trenton High School (COSSA)

Silver Medal Winners:

La Salle SS (EOSSAA)


Bronze Medal Winners:

Ashbury College (NCSSAA)


Antique Bronze Medal Winners:

Streetsville SS (ROPSSAA)


Boys' AAA Rugby Championship

Host: Markham

June 2-4, 2016

view the website for full info

Gold Medal Winners:

Uxbridge S.S. (LOSSA)

Silver Medal Winners:

Oakville Trafalgar High School (GHAC)


Bronze Medal Winners:

St. John's College (CWOSSA)


Antique Bronze Medal Winners:

Adam Scott CVI (COSSA)

Tennis Results 2016

Thursday, June, 2, 2016

Host: Markham

OFSAA Tennis Championship

May 30 - June 1, 2016

view the website for full info

all results available here at OTA website

Photos of Tennis 2016 Championships on OFSAA Facebook page
High School Boys Singles

Carr Norton (CISAA) - Upper Canada College


Georg Zoidl [1] (YRAA) - St. Maximillian Kolbe


Keenan Conlon (CISAA)- Upper Canada College


Bryn Hafer (ROPSSAA) - Lorne Park S.S.

High School Boys Doubles

Matt Gibson [1] (WOSSA) - London Central
Victor Guziak


John Fischer [2] (WOSSA) - Stratford Central
Luke Fischer


Sam Finkelstein [3] (TDSSAA) - Lawrence Park
Jordan Welter


Michael Orrett [6] (LOSSA) - Henry Street High School
Spencer Robertson

High School Girls Singles

Paige Baynham [8] (WOSSA) - H.B. Beal SS


Megan Gilkes [2] (CISAA) - Holy Trinity School


Mara Stroe [1] (LOSSA) - J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate


Briahn Guthrie [4] (GBSSA) - Eastview S.S.

High School Girls Doubles

Rachel Navarro [2] (ROPSSAA) - Lorne Park S.S.
Victoria Tseng Paepcke


Charee Botha [8] (WOSSA) - Mother Teresa CSS
Zante Botha


Catherine Rastin [1] (SWOSSAA) - St. Patrick's
Clara Rastin


Sasha Malesevic (CWOSSA) - Cameron Heights CI
Ivana Milisic

High School Mixed Doubles

Meg Killeen [1] (TDSSAA) - Lawrence Park
Lachlan Carmichael


Madeleine Swenor (GHAC) - Georgetown District HS
Bryn De Chastelain


Alyssia Watkin (CISAA) - Appleby College
John Karakas


Rachel Mendelson (TDSSAA) - Forest Hill
Yigit Gedikli


Open Boys Singles

Jakob Nielsen [1] (CISAA) - Appleby College


Peter Coombs [3] (GHAC) - Oakville Trafalgar HS


Nathan Wong [4] (GHAC) - White Oaks Secondary School


Eric Cherniy [2] (TDCAA) - Michael Power

Open Boys Doubles

Malik Bhatnagar [1] (GHAC) - Robert Bateman
Roy Stepanov


Shane Bulitka (WOSSA) - St. Andre Bessette
Dj Fenerty


Brooks Coffey (TDSSAA) - North Toronto
Alp Tezol


Spencer Grant [2] (GHAC) - Oakville Trafalgar High School
Mark Jensen


Open Girls Singles
1 Rebecca Herrington [2] (GBSSA) - Banting Memorial H.S.
2 Mya Bui [5] (LOSSA) - Pickering High School
3 Victoria Dimuzio (CWOSSA) - Bishop MacDonell HS
4 Ksenia Providokhina [4] (YRAA) - Bill Crothers SS
Open Girls Doubles

Angela Chen [1] (GHAC) - Nelson High School
Alexandra Mikhailuk


Stephanie Afloroaei (LOSSA) - Dunbarton High School
Alicia Opatowski


Rita Kanaeva [2] (TDSSAA) - Malvern
Sofia Miller

4 Lily Zhang (SWOSSAA) -Vincent Massey
Nina Zhang


Open Mixed Doubles

Rita Colyer [1] (GHAC) - Robert Bateman
Luke Smrek


Elizabeth Rozin [2] (TDSSAA) - Lawrence Park
Marko Kacar


Mia Tamindzija [3] (CWOSSA) - Resurrection CSS
Ryan Maclean


Gabrielle Oancea [4] (LOSSA) - Dunbarton High School
Andrew Codita


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