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Top 8 Academic All-Canadians to be honoured by Governor General Julie Payette

Thursday November 9, 2017
Katherine Bearne and Eric Locke

November 9, 2017

TORONTO (U SPORTS) – U SPORTS proudly announced Thursday the student-athletes selected as Top 8 Academic All-Canadians for the 2016-17 season. Among the eight honourees are two current uOttawa student-athletes, Katherine Bearne of women’s soccer and Eric Locke, of men’s hockey.

All-Time Top 8 Academic All-Canadians

The elite group will be honoured at a later date by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, the newly-appointed Governor General of Canada.

The Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation was founded by the Right Honourable David Johnston, former Governor General of Canada, who first honoured Canada’s Top 8 student-athletes in 2013.

In 2016-17, 3,643 U SPORTS student-athletes are being recognized as Academic All-Canadians, having maintained an average of 80 per cent or better over the academic year while competing for one - or more - of their university’s varsity teams.

Among these outstanding individuals, one female and one male student-athlete from each of the four U SPORTS conferences are selected annually to make up the Top 8.  

“The list of Academic All-Canadians continues to grow each year,” said Graham Brown, President and CEO of U SPORTS. “The success of the Top 8 is a testament to the dedication of our student-athletes on the field of play, in the classroom and as leaders in their communities across the country.”

Profiles of each member of the 2016-17 Top 8 are available on the U SPORTS website.


Name: Katherine Bearne      

Hometown: Halifax, N.S.

School: University of Ottawa

Faculty: Science

Program: Physics and Mathematics, Co-op

Sports: Soccer

Eligibility in 2016-17: Second year

A three-time OUA All-Star at midfield and a 2017 Second Team All-Canadian, Katherine Bearne was also the University of Ottawa’s co-honouree as top Academic All-Canadian in 2016-17 with a perfect 10.0 GPA in the Faculty of Science’s Physics and Mathematics program. Bearne led the Gee-Gees in scoring in 2017 with eight goals in the 2017 regular season, setting a career high. Bearne started 13 games at midfield for Ottawa this season and also contributed two assists along with superb defensive play. As a rookie, Bearne was a member of the Gee-Gees’ 2014 OUA championship team.

After completing her International Baccalaureate diploma at Citadel High School in Halifax, N.S., Bearne chose to attend the University of Ottawa because of its unique combination degree of physics and mathematics. Having begun playing soccer at the age of six, Bearne feels extremely comfortable on the pitch and values highly the role of a teammate. Since her rookie season at uOttawa she has consistently made herself available to teammates for tutoring and academic assistance.

"Katherine likes to achieve mastery in every course that she takes - it is not about the marks it is about the knowledge that comes with completely understanding material,” says Gee-Gees head coach Steve Johnson. “She wants to know more and tries to expand her knowledge and challenge herself because she loves to learn.”

Katherine has completed two co-op placements in academic lab settings, with her most recent placement at a photonics lab which worked on solar cell devices, researching organic solar cells.

“All of the professors that I’ve worked with have been really great. They are just so passionate about what they do that it makes you want to find something that makes you as excited as them,” says Bearne. “My supervisor at my last job was very research-based and he was really great about teaching me about academia and how everyone functions, how everyone is connected as a scientific community around the world.

“It was really interesting because there was a lot of chemistry involved so we collaborated with chemists. They would make the molecules and then we would make them into solar cells, explains Bearne. “I enjoyed the hands-on work involved in that."

“Soccer has always been a peaceful thing for me,” adds Bearne, who represented Nova Scotia on the provincial soccer team. “When you are on the field, in that moment, that’s the only thing that matters.”


Name: Eric Locke

Hometown: Toronto, Ont.

School: St. Francis Xavier University

Faculty: Science

Program: Human Kinetics

Sport: Hockey

Eligibility in 2016-17: Third year

Over his three years at StFX, Eric Locke has reached the highest level of achievement in the four key pillars of student-athlete success: athletics, academics, citizenship and leadership. As a captain with the X-Men hockey team, he has excelled both on and off the ice.

Locke, a Toronto native, led the X-Men to back-to-back AUS conference championship banners, the first men’s hockey titles for StFX since 2004. The 2016 StFX male athlete of the year, he also appeared in three consecutive U SPORTS national championships and was a silver medalist with the team in 2016. Locke was honored as the 2016 Atlantic University Sport most valuable player, in addition to receiving AUS first team all-star status and being named a 2016 U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian. He was the X-Men top scorer and most valuable player in each of the past two seasons and received AUS second team all-star status in 2017.

In terms of academic success, Locke is a three-time U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian and Dean’s List student who ranked tops in his class in the Bachelor of Science, human kinetics program. He received the university’s Larkin Trophy awarded to the top senior male student for excellence in academics and extra-curriculars and was the recipient of the 2016-17 StFX Athletic Director’s Award for Academic Achievement with the highest grades of any male student-athlete on campus. Locke was also honored by the AUS as the 2017 James Bayer award-winner, recognizing excellence in academics, athletics, leadership, sportsmanship and citizenship. 

Building upon excellence in citizenship and leadership, Locke received the 2016-17 StFX Athletics Male Community X-Cellence award and the 2017 AUS men’s hockey Godfrey Award, recognizing community service. The outstanding work Eric has done in the community includes involvement with the Antigonish, N.S., minor hockey mentorship program, StFX Fit 4 Tots program, volunteering with the Antigonish Multisport Program and the Paq'Tnkek First Nation Learn to Play initiative. He was an X-Men representative on the StFX Student-Athlete Advisory Council for the past two years and was a member of the StFX Pre-Med Society. A member of the StFX Leadership Academy for three years, Eric was honoured as a ‘Leader of Distinction’, the highest honour bestowed by the Leadership Academy. Since graduating from StFX last May, Eric was accepted into medical school at the University of Ottawa and is now a member of the Gee-Gees hockey program.

 “Eric Locke is an outstanding example of what a student-athlete should stand for. He is an elite hockey player, a dynamic player on the ice and was a tremendous leader as our team captain,” said X-Men head coach Brad Peddle. “Off the ice, he is a three-time Academic All-Canadian, finishing at the top of his class last year with a 94 average. His ability to balance both athletics and academics is among the best I have seen, and he continues to drive himself to be better in every way.”