This season, Julia Chadwick has led the Gaels to a perfect 12-0 record.
Chadwick was pegged early for basketball greatness. Her career began in grade four in her hometown of Ottawa, where she played for Durham Elite and Team Ontario.
Then, just a couple of weeks after receiving her high school diploma, Chadwick represented Team Canada at the national level and helped them bring home a silver medal. To put it simply, she’s been a basketball star since her elementary school games.
Following in the footsteps of many professional basketball players, Chadwick was recruited to an NCAA Division 1 school. Yet after one season at Robert Morris University, Chadwick decided the conventional route might not be for her.
“It just wasn’t really the right spot for me,” said Julia in an interview with The Journal. “I was confident that I would have a more enjoyable athletic career at Queen’s.”
So far this season, she’s averaging 17.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game as a 6’1’’ forward. This past weekend against the Algoma Thunderbirds, she had excelled defensively with seven steals and 13 rebounds in a whopping 77-34 Gaels win.
Chadwick isn’t one for superstitions. In a press release, she stated she doesn’t have a strict pre-game ritual, and usually has a grab-and-go meal from the Grocery Checkout before most games.
Chadwick’s nonchalant attitude towards life, and towards basketball, is portrayed through her laidback body language and relaxed tone of voice. For Chadwick, the sport has always been enjoyable, but throughout her high school career and Division 1 days, she fell under a lot of pressure—especially during the global pandemic.
“I guess in the last few years after COVID-19 I’ve just had to put a big emphasis on enjoying it and having fun with it,” Julia said of her relationship with basketball.
She said being close with her teammates makes intense workouts and high-stake games fun, saying, “I get to go into practice and see 15 of my best friends.”
Chadwick credited the coaching staff as a major reason why her experience on the team is so enjoyable. Head Coach Claire Meadows and Chadwick go way back, as Meadows coached her during her U18 season for Team Canada.
Coach Meadows understands the players, as she had five extremely impressive basketball seasons as a Gael herself. With a first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a student athlete at Queen’s, Meadows and the coaching staff respect the importance of balance.
“I just enjoy every aspect of it, and I think that’s sort of the culture that has allowed us to be successful,” Chadwick said.
With less than a dozen games left, the undefeated Gaels are preparing for the OUA playoffs after hosting them last year at the ARC. In 2022, the team brought home the U SPORTS Bronze medal. Their podium finish last year marked their first national medal in program history and given the season they’ve had so far, there’s a good chance they can medal again.
Queen’s fans and players are anticipating another intense playoff season come February. Until then, and her teammates will continue to enjoy the journey.
“I think we have a pretty special program,” Chadwick said. “It’s been really, really fun.”
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