As the semester winds down and the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference hands out its final individual awards, it’s time to look back on the 2014-2015 NAIT Ooks Athletics season. There were highs and lows, surprises, drama and a lot of hardware. Yes, the Ooks brought home seven championships, a pair of silver medals and one bronze at the ACAC Conference Championships along with Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association gold, silver and bronze.
Even more impressive from the blue and gold was the overall level of competitiveness from the entire Athletics program. Every single Ooks squad qualified for the postseason and NAIT earned at least one conference medal in six of the nine sports in which the Ooks compete. Here are some of Ook Nation’s highlights this year:
Badminton Brilliant: NAIT’s badminton squad remains the best in the ACAC by a large margin. It won team gold, a men’s singles silver for Jason Rausch and a pair of doubles titles (Sam Kim/Andy Ko for the men and Kai-Li Huang/Hellena Fedoretz for the women). Kim and Ko were also golden at Nationals while Huan/Fedoretz took home CCAA bronze.
Basketball Bullish: While our basketball squads didn’t end their respective seasons the way they wanted to, both had impressive campaigns nonetheless. Both teams set new program highs for wins in a season and were nationally ranked all year. Donny Moss won Male Player of the Year and was joined on the All-Conference team by teammate Alvin Parker. The women saw SheaLynn Noyes and Torey Hill all-conference as well. Men’s coach Mike Connolly earned Coach of the Year honours.
Curling Crafty: The men and women slid and swept to good showings at the Final Four, with the women grabbing gold and the men taking silver. At Nationals, the ladies also took home a bronze. Nine players were named to the all conference team and Kathryn Florry won the ACAC women’s Curler of the Year award.
Hockey High: Double gold for Ooks hockey again this year as the ladies completed the three-peat while the men redeemed the previous season’s loss in the final. The Ooks had seven allstars, two scholar athletes of the year (Kenny Cameron and Breanna Frasca), two playoff MVPs (Sherri Bowles and Mike Piluso), two coaches of the year (Deanna Iwanicka and Serge Lajoie) and one player of the year (John Dunbar). What a season for NAIT hockey!
Soccer Sensational: The men’s and women’s soccer squads both won gold this past fall. The ladies went undefeated until the National Championship game while the men finished fourth at the CCAA tournament. Six females and four males made the all-conference team, including women’s Player of the Year Kayla Michaels, who set a new record for goals in a season with 26.
Volleyball Versatile: Both V-ball squads took a step forward this season. The ladies overcame a 6-6 first half to finish the second half 11-3 before losing to Red Deer in the opening round. Red Deer went on to win the national championship. The men improved on their eighth place finish from the previous year and took home bronze, the program’s first medal since 2006. Tiffany Evans won women’s volleyball rookie of the year. There’s some of what NAIT athletics experienced this year. Come out next fall and cheer on your Ooks!