After a landmark 2018-19 season at the University of Ottawa, a host of Gee-Gees are prepared to take their talents to the international level at the 2019 FISU Summer Universiade in Napoli, Italy.
The Universiade provides an opportunity for athletes and staff to represent their country on the international level in a Summer and Winter games every two years. This year, nine representatives from the Gee-Gees will be traveling to Italy to proudly wear the maple leaf.
The defending national champion Gee-Gees women's soccer team has the strongest contingent selected to go to Italy, with four players making the Canadian roster.
Fifth-year defender Kayla Da Costa-Pacheco (Gatineau, Que.) has been named to her second Universiade after last attending in Taipei in 2017. Da Costa-Pacheco capped off a fantastic Gee-Gees career being named a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian in 2018. Da Costa-Pacheco was also named Ottawa's top women's soccer player at the 2018 Ottawa Sports Awards.
Fourth-year midfielder Katherine Bearne (Halifax, NS) will cap off another spectacular season with a selection to represent Canada in Napoli. Bearne was also named a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian in 2018, the second All-Canadian nod of her career. In the 2018 regular season, Bearne scored seven goals including four game winners and was later named to the U SPORTS National Championship Tournament All-Star team.
Fifth-year midfielder Miranda Smith (Ottawa, Ont.), was team captain and played hero of the National Championship with a go-ahead goal to clinch the title for the Gee-Gees. For her play at Nationals, Smith was named the MVP of the U SPORTS National Championship Tournament. Smith tallied two goals and two assists throughout the season en route to being named an OUA East First Team All-Star for the second consecutive season. She was also named uOttawa's Female Athlete of the Year.
Fourth-year defender Thea Abdul Nour (Ottawa, Ont.), will also be a first-time representative of Canada at the Universiade. One of the OUA's best defensive players, Abdul Nour's skill shined in the U SPORTS National Tournament, as she was named to the tournament's All-Star team, playing a significant role in the National Championship win.
In women's basketball, fourth-year forward Angela Ribarich (Toronto, Ont.) will represent Canada after a stand-out second season in Garnet and Grey. A dominant 6-5 post presence for the national bronze medalist Gee-Gees, Ribarich averaged 11 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in 2018. Shooting 54.8 per cent from the field, Ribarich led the OUA in field goal percentage and was third in the nation. Meanwhile, on the defensive end, her 44 blocks led the OUA and was second in the nation.
In swimming, fifth-year Montana Champagne (Ottawa, Ont.) will be attending his first Universiade after having previously represented Canada on various international tours. Champagne had an incredible 2018-19 varsity swim season capturing two gold medals at the U SPORTS Championships in the 200m Individual Medley (2:02.09-U SPORTS Record) and the 400m IM (4:24.25). Champagne also competed at the 2019 Canadian World Swimming Trials picking up two silver medals in the 200m Butterfly (1:59.21) and the 400m IM (4:21.40). These times place him second overall in the nation going into the final months of the 2018-19 season.
The Gee-Gees will also have solid representation on the rugby sevens pitch in Italy, with three total representatives between the men's and women's sides.
On the men's side, James Flemming (Belleville, Ont.) will have the opportunity to represent Canada at his first Universiade. Flemming, a fourth-year back, was named a Second-Team RSEQ All-Star with the Gee-Gees men's rugby team in 2018. Flemming scored four tries last season to place him eighth overall in points scored in the RSEQ. At the conclusion of the 2018-19 season, Flemming was named his team's Most Valuable Player.
Third-year centre Rachel McCallan (Ottawa, Ont.) will be the national bronze medal winning women's rugby team's representative on the sevens team. McCallan had a solid 2018 season where she appeared in each game and scored four tries for the Gee-Gees. McCallan is no stranger to donning the red and white, having previously represented Canada at the Youth Commonwealth Games and the U18 European Women's Sevens Championships.
Also with women's rugby, Sarah Keindal will be the team's athletic therapist. Keindal has been an Assistant Athletic Therapist with the Gee-Gees for six seasons, and has worked closely with the women's rugby team for the past three, seeing them capture a national medal each year. The Universiade will be Keindal's second time working with as an Athletic Therapist with Rugby Canada, having previously worked with the U20 team.
This marks the tenth straight Summer Universiade that has had University of Ottawa representatives: for a list of known uOttawa participants please click here.