The University of Ottawa Sports Services hosted a reception Monday evening to honour the 127 student-athletes who achieved the noteworthy status of Academic All-Canadian last academic year.
Certificates were awarded to student-athletes who competed on a varsity or competitive club team during the 2011-12 season and also attained an overall academic average of 80 per cent or better. The gathering at the university’s Desmarais Building included friends and family members of the award recipients, as well as coaches and academic mentors who support each of the Gee-Gee teams in their pursuit of academic and athletic excellence.
Ericka Schmitz, a third year student in the Biomedical Sciences program, was recognized as the top female student-athlete from the competitive club teams. A member of the Gee-Gees dance team, Schmitz attained a 10.0 GPA in her courses last year and was leaving the reception to complete her medical school applications. “I picked neuroscience because the courses we have here are really good,” said Schmitz of her progression through the science faculty. “The program is a challenge, but that’s how I do better.”
Gabrielle Hayduk-Costa, a team mate of Schmitz, also achieved a 10.0 GPA but was unable to attend the reception. For the second year in a row Nicolas Martel of the men’s water polo team had the highest GPA among the male competitive club athletes, earning a 9.9 in the Faculty of Health Sciences School of Nursing.
On the varsity side there was another repeat winner as Victoria Smith had the highest GPA among female varsity athletes. The third year swimmer, who competed in the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly at the CIS Championships in February, posted a 9.9 GPA in her Human Kinetics program.
A native of Torsby, Sweden, Smith grew up in Niagara Falls and has found a passion for research through a summer job working in the university’s human kinetics lab with Dr. Diane Ste-Marie studying motor learning. “The thing that stood out to me in the research was self-control,” said Smith of her summer work. “As an athlete that’s interesting to me; you learn and perform better if you have control over the feedback you receive.”
Erin Rivers of the cross country team also achieved a GPA of 9.9, tying her with Smith for the top spot. On the men’s side, it was fellow cross country runner Matthieu Vierula who claimed the top spot, also with a 9.9 GPA in human kinetics.
The number one ranked women’s soccer team also collected an award for being the top GPA earning varsity team of last season, while the competitive club team award went to the women’s ultimate team.