For many students, September signals the start of a new academic year — with new courses, professors, essays, and labs lying in wait. However, for our Varsity Blues student athletes, September means not only academics, but athletics, with the commencement of the 2015 fall athletic season.
Hoping to defend their Ontario University Athletics (OUA) banner at home, the Varsity Blues field hockey team has established itself as a serious CIS team to be reckoned with.
The team, which fell to the UBC Thunderbirds, took second place at last year’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship, will no doubt be inspired by the impressive performances of teammate Amanda Woodcroft, and former teammate Alex Thicke, this summer. Both of whom were members of Canada’s bronze medal winning Pan Am field hockey team.
The Varsity team, lead by 2014 OUA coach of the year John DeSouza, will be aided by the addition of six new freshmen. The team kicks off their season on September 20 when they take on the University of Guelph Gryphons.
The Varsity Blues men and women’s swimming teams will also begin their 2015 season as reigning OUA champions.
The men’s swimming team — mirroring the results of our women’s field hockey team — came in second place behind the powerhouse UBC Thunderbirds by a 153 point deficit — the women’s team placed third.
Both teams, however, are coming into the new season with multiple assets. On the men’s side, freshman recruits Cameron Kidd and Osvald Nitski will assist the team in their quest for redemption at the CIS tournament. On the women’s roster, fresh off her gold medal winning performance this summer at the International University Sports Federation Universiade (FISU) in South Korea, second year student Kylie Masse will look to help our women’s team defend their OUA banner and climb to the top of the CIS podium.
Despite losing a number of male and female standouts, the Varsity Blues track and field program will look to defend its women’s OUA and CIS title this year, while endeavoring to improving the men’s team’s OUA standing.
Hoping to fill the void left by graduating athletes Greg MacNeill and Hayley Warren are James Turner and Gabriella Stafford, two more U of T athletes who represented Canada this summer at the FISU summer Universiade in South Korea.
Turner, who placed fifth in the decathlon competition missed out on a podium finish by the slimmest of margins — 262 points — while Stafford won a silver medal in the women’s 1500 meter competition, clocking a blistering time of 4:19.27.
Both the men and women’s teams will kick-off their season in November at the York University Christmas open.