Ooks women’s teams score big in landmark season
The Ooks women’s sports teams are in the midst of a record year, racking up more major wins than ever before. That streak could continue this week as the women’s hockey team goes for provincial gold in a best-of-five series against Red Deer College and the volleyball squad heads to the nationals.
“This is a landmark year – the most winning season ever for our women’s teams,” said Linda Henderson, NAIT’s director of athletics and recreation. “Never before have these teams collectively gone on to as many championships, and brought home as many medals, as they have this season.”
Under the direction of head coach Deanna Iwanicka, the hockey team finished the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) regular season in first place and received a first round bye to the championship, winning their first two games 2-1 and 3-0. The next game is Friday, March 8 at NAIT.
The volleyball squad, meanwhile, is seeded fourth in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Women's Volleyball National Championship, which takes place March 6-9 in Lloydminster, AB.
The NAIT volleyball team, under the direction of head coach Lorne Sawula, won gold Feb. 25 in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) women’s volleyball championship, defeating the Lakeland Rustlers and earning them a spot to the nationals. This was the first gold medal in NAIT women’s volleyball history. Setter Kelsey Bleier also became the first ever NAIT MVP of the tournament.
Elsewhere, the women’s basketball squad, under coach Todd Warnick, played in their first-ever ACAC championship Feb. 28 to March 2. They went in as the No. 3 seed, winning bronze in a close 55-53 game against the Grant MacEwan University Griffins. That same weekend, NAIT’s Ellexis Lathan and Renee Au won bronze in the CCAA Badminton National Championship, hosted by Georgian College in Barrie, Ont., while Jessica Yu and Lei Chen won gold in mixed doubles.
Earlier, the women won top spot in the provincial curling championship. The women’s soccer team also won gold in the provincials and bronze at the nationals.
“We’re so proud of our athletes and their coaches,” said Henderson. “They have worked incredibly hard and set the bar high. This has, and continues to be, an incredible year for our women and for NAIT athletics.”
NAIT is one of Canada’s leading polytechnics, with almost 80,000 registrations worldwide in key areas including science, technology and the environment, business, health and trades. Known for real-world education and student success, NAIT also engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. NAIT enrolled its first students - 29 communication electrician apprentices - in 1962 and this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.
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