All-star year for U of R Academic All-Canadians

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: December 21, 2020 12:00 a.m.

U of R swimmer Bree Crookshanks was one of the 91 student-athletes to be named an 2019-20 Academic All-Canadian by U Sport.
U of R swimmer Bree Crookshanks was one of the 91 student-athletes to be named an 2019-20 Academic All-Canadian by U Sport. Photo: Arthur Ward

The 2019-2020 year was a special one for many of the University’s varsity athletes. Ninety-one members of U of R teams were named Academic All-Canadians by U Sports, the governing body of university athletics in Canada. It’s the highest number of U of R athletes ever named to the exclusive club, the previous high being 78 in 2015-16.

Earning the distinction is no easy matter. Student-athletes must maintain an 80 per cent grade point average while competing for their respective squads.

Tamara McVannel was one of those Academic All-Canadians. In fact, she earned the distinction for five consecutive years. What kind of commitment does it take to become an Academic All Canadian? McVannel, a member of the women’s hockey team for five years, will tell you that it’s harder than scoring a hat trick. During the season she would typically be attending classes all morning and into the early afternoon. She would then go home, grab some lunch, and then head to the rink. Practices would usually go from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., sometimes until 6:30 p.m. Then she would go home, have supper, then study until 11:00 p.m. Rinse and repeat, practically every day from early September until February – longer if a team goes deep into the playoffs. Despite the 16-hour days and the sacrifices in her personal life, McVannel has no regrets.

“Looking back at my student-athlete experience it was definitely the best time of my life,” she says. “I was able to play the sport that I love, I was able to compete at a high level and I was also able to have academic success. That was very important to me.”

McVannel, currently a physiotherapy master’s student at the University of Manitoba, looks back at her university student-athlete experience with fondness.

“It was surreal that I got to live that experience. I certainly miss all the girls on the team, I miss playing the sport, and I miss the University of Regina,” she says.

Jet Davies, a former member of the U of R women’s soccer team was also a five-year student-athlete who earned Academic All-Canadian honours in each season she competed. She says that she was fortunate that her instructors accommodated her hectic schedule.

12-211.jpg 12-213.jpg 12-214.jpg
Former U of R women’s hockey
team member Tamara McVannel.
Photo by Arthur Ward
Lisa Robertson, University of
Regina Director of Sport,
Community Engagement and
Athlete Development.
Photo by U of R Photo Department
Former U of R women’s soccer
team member Jet Davies.
Photo by Arthur Ward

“I think I was lucky because in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies all the professors are really supportive of student-athletes and are very accommodating.”

Davies also managed to find time for a part-time job. She intends to apply for a master’s program in physiotherapy and hopes to start next fall. Both Davies and McVannel used longer road trips to study and work on assignments on the bus. Juggling academics, sports, and work wasn't easy, but it was more than worth it to Davies.

“I found it a very rewarding experience. I didn’t really know anybody when I first moved to Regina. Being a part of the team for me was a way to get a group of friends that were amazing. We still keep in touch.”
Lisa Robertson, University of Regina Director of Sport, Community Engagement and Athlete Development, says that in these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic these student-athlete’s accomplishments are particularly impressive.

"I am especially proud of this year's Academic All-Canadians because of the incredible challenges they faced with the pandemic forcing them to complete their winter classes online," she says. "Sport teaches perseverance and adaptability, and this group of young men and women exemplify these qualities. This really is a bright spot for our varsity sport programs in a year of few victories to celebrate. Congratulations to these amazing student athletes."

University of Regina's 2019-20 Academic All-Canadians
Women's Basketball - Ella Farthing, Zoe Hartmann, Michaela Kleisinger, Avery Pearce, Faith Reid, Kaitlyn Tonita.
Men's Basketball - Benjamin Hillis.
Rams Football - Maguire Abell, Riley Boersma, Joel Braden, Josh Donnelly, Cody Ellingson, Jesse Ens, Jaxon Ford, Aldo Galvan, Parker Hodel, Dallen Keen, Bryden O'Flaherty, Noah Sampson, Travis Semenok, Colin Stumborg, Sam Varao, Ryder Varga, Derek Walde, Dillon Zimmermann.
Women's Hockey - Morgan Baker, Paige Hubbard, Jane Kish, Jadyn Kushniruk, Jaycee Magwood, Tamara McVannel, Jenna Merk, Rachel O'Toole, Hannah Pennell, Ireland Sorestad, Shaelyn Vallotton.
Men's Hockey - Tyler Adams, Tanner Campbell, Conner Chaulk, Tristan Frei, James Hilsendager, Brandon Holtby, Isaac Schacher.
Women's Soccer - Taylor Bubnick, Emma Davidson, Jet Davies, Jessica Gaudet, Lauryn Hayes, Amou Madol, Natalia McCullough, Jessica Merk, Lauren Petras, Allyson Schneider, Micah Sollid.
Women's Swimming - Bree Crookshanks, Nataliia Kolesova.
Men's Swimming  - Joshua Adams, Mitchell Brough, Aden Dickinson, Brian Palaschuk, Brendan Van Herk.
Men's Track and Field - Ret Brailsford, Thomas Haidl, Mason Lanigan, Brayden Mytopher, Jacob Smith.
Women's Track and Field - Michaela Allen, Geselle Dela Merced, Tianna Dodds, Darbi Edwards, Kelsey Haczkewicz, Laura Huck, Amou Madol, Natalia McCullough, Kaila Neigum, Sarah Novakowski, Brooke Shatkowski, Avery South, Erika Stockhorst, Jenelle Sunderland, Joely Welburn, Molly Yungmann.
Women's Volleyball - Kaylyn Brown, Macy Copithorne, Britt Davis, Kirstin Greve, Annika Hufnagel, Jessica Lerminiaux, Madison Macfie, Emma Matheson, Caitlyn Spurr, Elizabeth Tooth.