I normally have the opportunity to celebrate with each of you at the end of the season and I want to tell you how proud I am of our phenomenal success this year. It is very important to me that you all look back on the 2019-2020 season and remember all of the things that we can take pride in together.
In fact, during the season: when everyone is practicing, playing exhibition games, travelling to competitions, winning… and losing, setting new records, and doing great work in the community and in the classroom… it's often a blur of activity. It is only at the end of the season that can we truly look back and see what we all accomplished together, as a whole. And once again, I am incredibly proud of where we stand at the end of 2019-20.
We had eight varsity teams ranked in the U SPORTS Top Ten, and let me tell you, we had a few other teams that probably should have been there. Even still, we had no. 1 rankings for both women's soccer and basketball, and top 4 rankings for men's basketball, men's hockey, women's rugby, and men's swimming. Frankly, that's AMAZING.
I was in Quebec to watch our incredible women's rugby team win their sixth straight conference championship and so proud to present them with the bronze medal at nationals on our home field.
The remarkable journey of our men's hockey team's return to the Queen's Cup, winning OUA silver and qualifying for nationals had us all riveted and cheering them on.
Davide Casarin showed his freestyle dominance again with two gold medals and a U SPORTS record among his five medals at nationals. Will Barrett, Lauren Shearer, and the 4 x 200 men's freestyle relay national medal winners joined him on the national podium, lifting the swim team to BEST EVER team finishes at nationals.
Madison Clarke's thrilling 600m race for a silver medal at track nationals, the men's golf team competing hard for OUA silver medals, the Gee-Gees SWEEP at Capital Hoops, the women's hockey team taking the Alerts Cup and going on an amazing winning streak, the Panda Game win and incredible defensive performances throughout the football season, a triple-double at Montpetit Hall, hockey scoring records were broken – there was so much to remember this season.
And of course, the women's soccer team went to China and became the World Champions! The faces of determination and the smiles of victory have created memories that will last a lifetime.
On the competitive sport clubs side, we continue to see great individual results and team accomplishments. Among this year's highlights was the Women's Fencing team capturing OUA Gold in Women's Foil, the Fastball team winning the OIWFA silver medal with a great tournament run, our Badminton team placing fourth overall at the OUA Championship, the artistic swim team had great results while hosting the Eastern Canada Divisional Championships, and our cheerleading team competing at the World University Cheerleading Championships for the first time.
That's just a portion of the great things happening in the competitive sport clubs, and I want to say great job to everyone who continues to represent Garnet and Grey on our club teams, and congratulations to all of our MVPs and award winners this year.
There has been an outstanding effort happening across all our teams to engage with our community, both on the campus and off. It was fantastic to see Katherine Bearne, Meredith Sirrs, and Gordon Forrest recognized with conference awards for their work, and I know that so many more of you believe in the value of working within our community. Our behaviour day to day, and engagement in these kinds of activities, embody the spirit of a GEE-GEE and form an important part of us achieving our desired culture – a values-based culture – through the integration of True Sport Principles in everything we do.
We celebrated our group of 220 Academic All-Canadians and have a group of graduating student-athletes which includes 23 who have spent all five years of their eligibility in Garnet and Grey. To our graduating class – thank you for all that you have contributed to your programs and our university. You've made us all proud, time and again.
In conclusion…. It was another great season to be a Gee-Gee and I know that is because of the hard work that ALL of you have put in. And let's not forget the care and dedication your coaches, volunteer coaches and support staff invest in you to ensure your experience as a Gee-Gee is also worthy of a perennial national championship contender.
Keep that spirit of hard work and togetherness harnessed as we spend the next few weeks and months apart while we practice physical distancing. Keep your heads held up high, support one another, and reach out to someone if you need help. Take some time to look back on what you've accomplished so far and set your goals for the future.
I know the future is bright for the Gee-Gee nation.
Director, Varsity Athletics
It feels like quite some time has elapsed since we last crossed paths on campus! But I was delighted when Sue asked me to be part of this message. You all have so much to celebrate and be proud of again this year!
I believe strongly that challenging times reveal character. All of you, as dedicated student-athletes, have demonstrated that character time and time again: on the field, the court, the ice, in the gym and in the classroom. Yet, I'm not sure if most of you realize how much strength and honour you bring to our entire uOttawa community. I was touched to meet some of you this year, and I look forward to meeting more of our incredible student-athletes when the time is right, and we can come back together.
Despite the physical distancing, remember that our entire uOttawa family looks up to you, our Gee-Gees, and the power that sport has to rally everyone and keep us connected. The University of Ottawa has garnered a lot of positive momentum this year, and your accomplishments as students and athletes deserve to be celebrated.
If this year was your last as an active student-athlete with us, thank you. I hope you will look back with fondness on all you have achieved, and that you will continue to represent the Gee-Gees proudly wherever life takes you. If you are preparing to begin, or continue your career as a Gee-Gee student-athlete, we hope you embrace this experience to its fullest and remember that we are all incredibly proud of you.
Congratulations on a fantastic 2019-2020 season!
Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs