If you’ve kept up with the Ooks this year, you’ve likely heard the name Mason Gorski. He’s made waves with NAIT’s golf team, achieving an impressive 18th place at the CCAA Nationals earlier this October. But not only is Gorski topping the ranks with the golf team, he’s also a new member of the men’s volleyball team’s “historic recruiting class.”
The Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan native said the decision to become an Ook was “pretty easy.”
“I really needed to kind of figure out what I wanted to do for school,” he said. “I looked through probably 40-50 different classes … what they [NAIT] offered definitely drew me in.”
Before heading to NAIT, Gorski played two seasons with the Kings University Eagles, where he won ACAC Rookie of the Year in 2022 and ACAC North Player of the Year in 2023.
While Gorski is entering his first year with the program, he’s confident he can create an immediate impact. “I can move the ball around,” he said. “The way my game works really fits into the type of team we have … it’s just finding your guys at the right time, and I think that’s something I do really well.”
The team underwent some major changes earlier in the year. Former Head Coach Jordan Taylor left to coach at York University, and Phil Dixon stepped up to take over. The team also recruited several new players, many of which bring impressive experience to the team. “Everyone wants to win a championship,” said Gorski. “The dedication everyone has and how much leadership is on our team, it really just speaks for itself.”
Despite the changes, Gorski believes the team is already clicking on the court and can achieve their goal of winning NAIT’s first championship since 1977. “It’s really special to have and, like, I am definitely not going to take it for granted.”
Making strides on the links
In addition to playing with NAIT’s volleyball team, Gorski also joined the Ooks golf team in their inaugural season back in ACAC competition and has led the charge for the blue and gold on the links, placing top five in two of three tournaments.
“I’ve been an avid golfer my whole life, like I’ve golfed since I can barely walk,” Gorski explained.
“My dad would push me around in a stroller while he golfed … I had to go and try out.”
Shooting a +12, +9 and +14 Total to Par Gross, Gorski finished as NAIT’s top men’s golfer at every tournament this year. With only three events on the schedule, the Instrumentation Engineering Technology student said the short golf season hasn’t stopped the team from bonding on and off the course.
“I’ve only known these guys now for a month, but they are some of my good friends … The tournament weekends have been super fun, and I got to know the guys really well.”
When the year started, the team wouldn’t have thought playing for a national title was an option. Now, with some experience under their belt and head coach Tyler Leicht being named ACAC Golf Coach of The Year, Gorski says the group is excited for the chance to gain some experience while playing for a National Championship.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “We are already here, there’s nothing to lose, like let’s go play the best golf we can.”
A demanding but rewarding experience
With golf, volleyball and schoolwork on Gorski’s schedule, balancing everything can be a challenge, but the multisport athlete said NAIT has supported him in whatever way they can.
“It’s been difficult,” he explained. “But the support from my volleyball team and Phil and the support from Tyler and the golf team … Everyone’s been really good about it.”
Entering his third year, Gorski has two more seasons of eligibility, and when discussing what the future has in store for him, he mentioned the possibility of playing volleyball professionally. “I’ve wanted to go and possibly play pro for a couple of years … The goal is to go play for a year or two.”
With aspirations of turning pro when he finishes university, Gorski’s biggest takeaway is the dedication required to win at a high level.
“It’s a full commitment … it’s almost like a job.” Gorski said. “It’s very demanding on your body for sure, but it is very rewarding, and if you love the game, you’ll love it.”
Cover photo by Mario Walker via X/Twitter: @ACAC_Sport