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June 22, 2023

See How She Got Started - Showcasing the OUA's Talented Student-Athletes


A Journey to the Top

For so many varsity student-athletes, having the chance to compete and play sport at the university level represents the pinnacle of their sport journey.  The twists and turns student-athletes take to reach the top of their game are numerous, varied and certainly unique to each indivdual’s own experiences in sport.

And, more often than not, there is very little appreciation for the efforts, motivations and inspirations that drive each of these athletes to want to play varsity sport. Like the tip of an iceberg, so much more can be found below the water line.


See How She Got Started

Anchored in the efforts to spotlight Ontario University Athletics (OUA) student-athletes, the initiative See How She Got Started showcases and tells the story of how some of the conference’s talented student-athletes first got involved in sport and have made their way to the varsity stage on which they currently shine. 

It is also hoped that their stories can inspire young athletes to aspire to compete in varsity-level sports.


Storytelling through Q&A

To help facilitate storytelling, each student-athlete was asked eleven questions that addressed a variety of topics. In addition to asking about their study majors, hometowns and years of eligibility, we asked questions that would help them share deeper insights around what they thought of their time in university sport; what excited them about competing in the OUA; and when did they believe they could play at the elite level of their sport. 

We also wanted to know more about how they first got started, what were their fondest memories, and who or what in their lives had inspired them to strive to be their best athletically. 

Finally, we wanted to give each student-athlete an opportunity to share what they thought was unique about their particular sport; the advice they'd give to someone who was thinking about taking up their sport; and what they would say to their 10-year-old self if they could go back in time.  



Just the Facts: Student-Athlete Survey Summaries

Survey summary statistics are based on the answers received from 90 Student-Athlete respondents who completed and returned our survey.



Student-Athlete Respondent Statistics

Universities Represented By Student-Athlete Respondents

Algoma University / Algoma Thunderbirds (3)*

McMaster University / McMaster Marauders (19)

Nipissing University / Nipissing Lakers (8)

Ontario Tech University / Ontario Tech Ridgebacks (4)

University of Ottawa / Ottawa Gee Gees (6)

Royal Military College of Canada / RMC Paladins (2)

Toronto Metropolitan University / TMU Bold (7)

Trent University / Trent Excalibur (15)

University of Waterloo / Waterloo Warriors (7)

Wilfrid Laurier University / Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (12)

University of Windsor / Windsor Lancers (7)

* Number of student-athletes who completed and returned survey


Provinces Represented by Student-Athlete Respondents


British Columbia


Nova Scotia

Northwest Territories




* Student-Athletes represented over 50 different communities from across Ontario



Countries Represented by Student-Athlete Respondents



New Zealand

United States of America




Current Year of Study/Eligibility for Student-Athlete Respondents

1st Year (19) - 21%

2nd Year (28) - 31%

3rd Year (18) - 20%

4th Year (19) - 21%

5th Year (4) - 4%

6th Year (2) - 2%


Sports Represented by Student-Athlete Respondents

Basketball - 8

Cross Country - 6

Curling - 5

Fencing - 2

Field Hockey - 3

Figure Skating - 2

Golf - 1

Ice Hockey - 9

Lacrosse - 2

Nordic Skiing - 5

Rowing - 3

Rugby - 14

Soccer - 13

Squash - 2

Swimming - 2

Tennis - 2

Track & Field - 2

Volleyball - 7

Wrestling - 2



University Majors of Student-Athlete Respondents

Science/Tech/Engineering/Mathematics (STEM) - 37

Human Behaviour/Psychology/Sociology - 15

Business & Economics - 12

Criminology/Policing - 6

Nursing - 5

Education - 3

Communications/Media & English - 3

Music Performance - 1

Law - 2

Sport & Recreation - 1

Arts & Contemporary Studies - 1

Physical Education - 2

Urban Planning - 1

Philosophy - 1


Photo by Chen on Pixabay

In Their Own Words - Student-Athlete Stories

OUA student-athletes shared many thoughtful and insightful feedback to our questions around their journey to varsity sport.  Over the next eleven weeks we will share their stories across multiple sports. We will also share respondent summaries to each progressive survey question posed to student-athletes. We invite you to taket the time to get to know these amazingly talented student-athletes, learn more about what drives them to be their best in their chosen sport and to be inspired by their athletic involvement with the OUA conference.



Student-Athlete Insights 

Question 1 - How did you first get involved in your sport?




Question 2: What most interested you about your sport that made you want to pursue it at a high level? 



Question #3: What is your fondest memory/experience of being involved in your sport thus far? 




Question #4: What excites you most about continuing your athletic journey at the varsity level within the OUA?




Question 5: Who inspires you to continue to pursue your sport and to pursue it at a high level?




Question 6: Was there a specific moment/experience that led you to believe you could compete in your sport at a high level?




Question 7: What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting in your sport?




Question #8: What is one critical thing you do to experience improvement within your sport? 




Question #9: What would you say to your 10-year-old self about playing and staying in sport?




Question #10: What are some of the more unique aspects of your sport that others may not know about?




Question #11: How do you create a positive student/athlete balance in your life? **New Survey Question**




**New Student-Athlete Stories for the sports of Figure Skating, Lacrosse and Tennis!**


Student-Athlete Stories by Sport


Sarah Gates - McMaster University

Arianne Soriano - McMaster University

Tiya Misir - Toronto Metropolitan University 

Summer Pahl - University of Waterloo

Emmanuelle Felix - Wilfrid Laurier University 

Janet Rose (Enge) - Wilfrid Laurier University 

Isabella Anes - University of Windsor

Sofia Kennedy - University of Windsor


Photo by Mike Martin Photography


Cross Country

Hannah Goodjohn - McMaster University

Sarah Nolan - McMaster University

Kathy Dufour - University of Ottawa

Hannah Badin - Wilfrid Laurier University

Maya Robinson - Wilfrid Laurier University

Sylvia Dean - University of Windsor




Julia Hambly - Ontario Tech University

Jayna Wrightson - Trent University

Jillian Cousineau - Trent University

Rebecca Jahoor - Trent University

Deanna Fisher - University of Windsor




Lauren Lee - Royal Military College of Canada

Hannah Maughan - Royal Military College of Canada



Field Hockey

Jessica Lim - McMaster University

Angela Ponikvar - McMaster University

Serena Uppal - McMaster University



Figure Skating (Week 11 New Stories!)

Victoria Gao - University of Waterloo

Reka Somogyi - University of Waterloo




Daneka Miller - University of Waterloo




Ontario Tech University - Nicole Escano

Nipissing University - Bryanne Baker

Nipissing University - Madison Laberge

Nipissing University - Emma Thomas

Nipissing University - Kara den Hoed

Toronto Metropolitan University - Tori Butler

Toronto Metropolitan University - Olivia Giardetti

Toronto Metropolitan University - Erika Crouse



Lacrosse (Week 11 New Stories!)

Avery Di Giorgio - Trent University

Emma Wilson - Ontario Tech University



Nordic Skiing

Riana Deroy - University of Ottawa

Claudia Di Fazio - University of Waterloo

Rochelle Lariviere - University of Ottawa

Emilie Lum - University of Ottawa

Grace McInytre - University of Ottawa




Karlie Stewart - Ontario Tech University  

Regan Mania - Trent University 

Sophie Basile - Trent University




Osa Olaye - McMaster University

Jessica MacKinnon - McMaster University

Taylor Fronchak - Trent University

Amanda McCarthy - Trent University

Jess Malcolm - Trent University

Juliana Bossom - University of Waterloo

Tasha Cory - Wilfrid Laurier University

Kristen Dajka - Wilfrid Laurier University

Paige Hallett - Wilfrid Laurier University

Chloe Herron - Wilfrid Laurier University

Madison Keats - Wilfrid Laurier University

Morgan Longley - Wilfrid Laurier University

Mecayllah Patos - Wilfrid Laurier University

Torrance Paulitzki - Wilfrid Laurier University




Faith Holmes - Algoma University

Francheska Onasanya - Algoma University

Jessica Weir - Algoma University

Madison Goertz - McMaster University

Tiam Pourbakhtiari - McMaster University

Avery Duguay - Nipissing University

Paris Grosselle - Nipissing University

Victoria Sica - Nipissing University

Rylee Traicoff - Nipissing University

Victoria Ivey-Town - Trent University

Mariah Shaw - Trent University

Alexandra Shipp - Trent University

Kat Campana - University of Windsor




Claudia Gadinger - University of Ottawa 

Khaaliqa Nimji - University of Waterloo







Tennis (Week 11 New Stories!)

Meghan Mazer - McMaster University

Maia Mureseanu - McMaster University



Track & Field 

Ella Koller - University of Windsor

Ema Kralik - University of Windsor




Sullie Sandara - McMaster University

Ellie Hatashita - McMaster University

Adyson Wilson - Toronto Metropolitan University

Sarah Zonneveld - Toronto Metropolitan University

Brooke Elliott - Trent University

Isabelle Pellerine - Trent University

Jamie Spencer - Trent University 




Simi Jayeoba - McMaster University

Olivia Lichti - McMaster University




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