Best-ever basketball seasons led by two best-ever players
Cole Syllas was named to the U SPORTS First All-Canadian after averaging an impressive 17 points and nine rebounds per game. His grit in the paint helped the Gaels fight back from many deficits and brought the Gaels to a second consecutive appearance at the U SPORTS National Championship.
This is the first time a Queen’s Men’s Basketball player has been named a First Team All-Canadian, and just the second All-Canadian in program history.
What stands out as one of Syllas’ most memorable games is the Gaels’ Nov. 18 matchup against Carelton. That night, both teams stepped onto the courts with undefeated records, so the stakes were high. It didn’t look good for the Gaels after they got out to a slow start; Syllas couldn’t get his signature jumpers to drop. Instead of pressing, he pivoted to set up his teammates and the Gaels secured a 76-62 victory 12 assists later to maintain their perfect record.
Julia Chadwick, the first Queen’s Women’s Basketball player to receive a U SPORTS honour in over 25 years, was named Second Team All-Canadian this year. Chadwick anchored her season in consistency and averaged a double-double. Her unstoppable rebounding and impressive moves in the paint helped her team finish with their best-ever record.
On Nov. 25, the Gaels faced the Laurier Golden Hawks and continued their undefeated streak. In her 31 minutes on the court, Chadwick was a rebounding beast and unstoppable offensive force as she drained 21 points and grabbed 22 rebounds.
Julia Chadwick takes it to the basket. Photo: Herbert Wang
Runners old and new succeed in Cross Country
Mitchell Kirby, Cross Country’s oldest runner, and Elizabeth Vroom, a rookie, both received major national awards for their performances this year. Kirby was named a First Team All-Canadian following his fourth place individual finish and third place team finish at the U SPORTS National Championship.
Vroom also had an amazing season and was named U SPORTS Rookie of the Year after achieving the best finish of any rookie at the same tournament. This honour is made even more impressive by the fact she didn’t win this award for the OUA meet, meaning she had to beat out some competitors who had previously beaten her.
Vroom is also one of the youngest rookies in the country; many of her Quebec competitors attended an extra year of high school despite keeping their rookie status.
Mitchell Kirby leads the pack. Photo: Supplied by Miles Brackenbury.
Six Queen’s footballers named All-Canadians
Queen’s Football had another exceptional season this year. Despite many long-term injuries and unpredictable weather patterns, the team has only clocked losses against the Western Mustangs since the pandemic, and this success is a result of contributions across many positions.
Silas Hubert, defensive linebacker, Ashton Miller-Melancon, defensive back, and Tyler Mullan, kicker, were all named U SPORTS First Team All-Canadians this year. All three were powerhouses on the field this season.
Hubert racked up six sacks this season, three of which were against the Guelph Gryphons during their homecoming game. Miller-Melancon was also a defensive specialist this season, totaling 38 tackles, seven pass break ups, and five interceptions.
Tyler Mullan’s season was unexpected, but his awards were not after the performance he gave. Mullan stepped in after the Gaels’ original starting kicker got injured in the pre-season, but it didn’t take long for fans to learn his name. Mullan is the first kicker in the country to flex a 100 per cent accuracy record since 2012—Mullan doesn’t miss.
Richard Burton, receiver, Evan Floren, offensive line, and Darien Newel, defensive lineman, were all awarded a position on the U SPORTS Second All-Canadian Team. These players truly demonstrated the depth and breadth of the Gaels line-up this season.
Burton’s presence this season goes beyond his 851 receiving yards—his wisdom helped ground the team in other ways. After his first start ever against the York Lions, quarterback Alex Vreeken spoke highly of the guidance and calmness Burton brought to his big moment.
Tyler Mullan doesn’t miss. Photo: Curtis Heinzl
Women’s Rugby continues dynasty with standout scorers
Lizzie Gibson obtained the highest honour in Canadian University rugby: the U SPORTS Rugby Player of the Year. She was also named a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian.
Over the course of the regular season, Gibson accrued 176 points. Her stand-out game against Trent culminated with the Gaels blanking the Excaliburs 125-0. She led the team in points with 50, from four tries and 15 conversions.
Mya Brubacher received U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian in recognition of her stand-out performance this year as a prop.
In the Gaels game against the Brock Badgers, Brubacher started the team of with a swift break. The Badgers struggled to get the ball out of their end from then on as the Gaels went on to dominate their way to a 64-0 win.
Maggie Banks’ impressive season as a centre earned her U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian.
Banks standout moment occurred during the team’s Homecoming game against the Western Mustangs. She obtained a try in the first minute, setting the tone for the rest of the game. The crowd agreed, chanting her name after the game-opening try.
Back three Carmen Izyk and scrum half Magali Harvey also obtained U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian and Second Team All-Canadian, respectively. Their efforts helped lead the Gaels to their first-place finish in the OUA and their second-place finish in U SPORTS.
Lizzie Gibson scores a try. Photo: Herbert Wang
Women’s Soccer’s midfield dominates
Seema Sakran started off her university career with a bang, obtaining U SPORTS All-Rookie Team. As a midfield, Sakran finished fifth in the OUA—and third on the team—in goals scored with nine. She was a huge asset to the Gaels offence, starting in every regular season game.
Sakran’s stand-out performance against RMC was one of the highlights of her season. The Gaels crushed RMC 10-0 as Sakran scored a hattrick. She also demonstrated her mental strength, staying consistent despite the numerous offsides called against the Gaels.
Tori Chia, a second-year midfield, played a key role on the women’s soccer team this year, leading her to achieve U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian. Although she didn’t get the same spotlight that Cecilia Way and Jenna Matsukubo shared, Chia deserves recognition for consistently creating offensive opportunities for the Gaels.
The Gaels played one of their closest games against uOttawa, battling for 90 minutes to end in a 1-1 draw that kept their record perfect. While in Ottawa, Chia did what she does best, controlling the centre and bringing a much-needed defensive force to the aggressive Gee Gees.
Seema Sakran celebrates. Photo: Supplied by Athletics and Recreation
Men’s Volleyball has two rocks amidst rollercoaster season
Outside Erik Siksna was an unstoppable force for the Gaels throughout the whole season. He led the OUA in hitting percentage and was second in total kills and total points. His dominant offensive presence led him to receive U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian.
Siksna had a standout performance during the team’s home game against the Western Mustangs. During the match, he bagged 34 kills—more than the rest of the Gaels combined. He showed he could attack from all over the court, demonstrating both power and skill.
Chris Zimmerman’s first year with the Gaels was a resounding success. The starting setter was top 10 in the OUA in assists per set, obtaining an impressive 575. Zimmerman also contributed to the Gaels defensively, accruing 97 digs over the regular season. His impressive statistics and steadiness under pressure led him to be named to the U SPORTS All-Rookie team.
Zimmerman’s incredible consistency made it impossible to choose one standout moment. Every time he stepped on the court, the Gaels knew exactly what they were getting: a talented setter with an eye for making his teammates better.
Erik Siksna serves. Photo: Max Yi
Basketball, cross country, Football, Men's Volleyball, rugby, soccer
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