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Sports year in review

Some of the best shots of this sports year./ Composited by Brett Nielsen
Some of the best shots of this sports year./ Composited by Brett Nielsen

The Carillon and Cougars athletes look back on this past season

Once again, we find ourselves at the end of another school year, with finals fast approaching, and winter (hopefully) done for another seven months. This also means that the sports season has finally wrapped up, with all our teams gearing up for spring camps, or off-season relaxation (is there such a thing?). So, let’s look back on this past sports season and re-live the ups and downs for our Cougars athletes.

The football team kicked the fall sports season off with a bang when they took down the favoured UBC Thunderbirds 33-23, behind the arm of Cayman Shutter and hands of Addison Richards. While the Rams had a disappointing playoff game to end their season, they showed a lot of promise with QB Noah Picton and RB Atlee Simon set to lead the way with new head coach Mike Gibson, who replaced long time coach Frank McCrystal at the end of 2014.

The cross-country team had their fair share of success this season, posting some fantastic results all across Canada, and even into the United States! Third-year athlete Adam Strueby spoke about how proud he was of his teammates and what they accomplished this season.

“We had a lot of athletes step up when [we] needed to beat teams on paper we weren’t supposed to beat,” Strueby said. “Throughout cross country and track, we needed a full team effort as we had lost some guys from last year and our team answered the call. Moving forward we will lose more people, but we have a lot of hopefuls coming up next year looking to make a difference early that we are going to rely on.”

When the weather got colder, we transitioned inside with the men’s and women’s basketball and hockey teams. Third-year forward for the basketball team, Travis Sylvestre, talked about how the team’s season went, and the excitement for an even better season next year.

“This season was a good year for us. We were in the playoff run right to the end of the season which had all of us excited and gave us a small taste of what we want to achieve next year.”

Where the men’s basketball team fell short of the playoffs, the women’s team kept rolling through, winning a playoff series, and nearly winning another before their ride was stopped short of the Canada West Final Four. Despite that, they have a number of players returning next season, and much like the guys, expect next season to be even better.

While the men’s hockey team had their struggles, it once again the women’s side that dominated, en route to another successful season, which ended in one of the most exciting playoff finishes I’ve seen. Goalie Jen Schmidt talked about what it was like to have one final run at things, and what she will miss about her team next season.

“As a team, we didn’t have the best year, but every year is a learning year, and we had one this year. We still made playoffs, we didn’t make it as far as we had in previous years, but as a team we definitely came together like we do every year, and next year we will learn from it and be even better.”

Wrestling might not bring the big crowds that football, basketball and hockey might, but they certainly brought home the hardware this season, dominating both the Canada West and CIS National championships. Kayla Brodner brought home gold and silver medals respectively, and Jacob Luczak won a pair of bronze medals, securing the wrestling team as one of the most successful teams at the University of Regina.

Ending the sports year for the U of R was the track and field team, who might have had the best season out of all the Cougars teams. Dominating at the Canada West championships, the likes of Matt Johnson, Joy Becker, Adrea Propp, Tevaughn Campbell and many others put in some of the best performances of their careers. They represented the University of Regina well on the National Stage, putting in some impressive performances, and bringing home a pair of medals for the 60-metre dash and the men’s 4×200 relay.

Beyond the results of the individual teams, it seems that more than ever, University of Regina athletics have become a family, with each supporting one another, as evident by what Sylvestre tells the Carillon.

“Cougar sports as a whole is a family. I’m on the basketball team, but I feel as though my teammates extend to all the sports teams. I think we will all be making impacts in the CIS moving forward.”

Strueby added in that the U of R is a place where these athletes are given the chance to live out their dreams of participating in CIS competition. The drive for success is something that all these teams share, and is something that they are all striving for.

“Overall I think that the U of R is moving in the right direction and we as athletes can’t thank them enough for the opportunity they present us to, literally, chase down our dreams while working towards our degrees,” Strueby said. “We had a lot of success throughout a lot of our teams. I believe they are all going work hard over this off-season and come back hungry in the fall looking for more.”

Schmidt also talked about the camaraderie that the U of R athletes share with each other, and what she is going to miss most about being in that tight-knit community.

“The best thing about the U of R is that it’s small, and we all know each other. It’s nice having a small sports group where everyone knows everyone. I think the athletic program here is really supportive.” Schmidt said. “As I’m moving on, I’m excited to start a new chapter in my life, but I’m also going to miss being part of the team and the school. I’ll still be an alumni and still come out to games, but being part of this team and this community, is almost indescribable in words.”

So, as we say farewell to this season and the accomplishments that were achieved, we look forward to the next, and even more success. Here’s to even more success in the future for all our hard-working athletes.

About John Loeppky

I am an MFA candidate, writer, editor, and administrative firefighter.