Journal Athletes of the Week

Amanda Digel

Women’s Volleyball

Amanda Digel came very close to not even playing volleyball this year. Still, the fourth-year nursing student returned to the court and helped Queen’s split their weekend games against Brock and Ottawa. In the 3-1 victory over Brock, Digel had 16 kills.

This year, she felt it would be difficult to balance volleyball and academics. So she did not attend training camp and watched her four housemates, who all play on the team, go to tryouts each day.

“It was tough to watch them go to tryouts every day,” she said. “It made me realize how much I missed playing.” Digel’s return after training camp was well received. She has been an OUA all-star the past two seasons and was an academic all-Canadian last year.

The team she was a part of last year is much different than the current one.

“This team is very young, yet we are doing a fantastic job gelling as a unit,” she said. “One of the beauties of a younger team is the heart. We have a team where everyone is working together.”

Digel has taken on a leadership role.

“I try to be a stabilizing force,” she said. “I provide help where I need to and try to pick up the slack.” Yet Digel’s season would not have been possible without new head coach Chris Galbraith, who allowed her to return.

“He listens to us as players and as people,” she said. “He has our best interests in mind—he makes us realize why we love the game.” Digel said Galbraith and the new group of girls have made this team a much more positive experience for her.

“The goal of every team is to win the OUAs and get to CIs,” she said. “I want to play consistently well as an individual. I really would have regretted not playing this year.”

Ramsey Ida

Men’s Rugby

Last week, after a remarkable eight years of varsity athletics, Ramsey Ida’s playing days came to end.

Ida, finishing his PhD in chemistry, was part of the Gaels team that lost both their games last weekend, but finished the season fourth best in the OUA.

Ida, who spent five years playing Gaels football and the last three playing rugby, finished his career with individual accolades.

He scored five tries this season, earning him MVP status for the men’s East Division, as well as a spot on the OUA All-Star team.

“I didn’t expect to win anything,” Ida said. “I was trying to help the team out.”

Ida said his journey has been full of hard work and team camaraderie. Being several years older than his teammates, Ida said his role was very much like that of a father figure.

“As an older guy, people look up to you—you have to lead by example,” he said. “You can’t miss practice, because that breeds bad team spirit.”

Ida said the team has evolved since his first season playing Gaels rugby. The current team is younger than it was when he began and has a different atmosphere, he said.

“The older guys tended to get complacent—we got a lot of yapping penalties,” he said. “The younger guys are willing to learn. They are a lot more energetic.”

Ida, a three-time CIS academic all-Canadian and OUA all-star twice for football, said he is excited to finish his playing days.

“It feels good to retire,” he said. “It was a lot of hard work. I spend countless hours trying to get into shape.”

Ida said his success this year was a great way to finish his days as a Gael.

“I really enjoyed the time this team had together,” he said.

Gaels OUA all-stars

Men’s Football
First Team:
•Ian Hazlett, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Second Team:
•Brad Smith, Hudson, Que.
•Sean O’Donnell, Nanaimo, B.C.
•Kevin Scott, Ottawa, Ont.

Awards:
•Danny Brannagan, Burlington, Ont., won the Norm Marshall Trophy as the OUA Rookie of the Year after racking up 1,860 yards and 12 touchdown passes.

Women’s Soccer—East/West Division
First Team:
•Ashley Barrett, Nepean, Ont.
•Eilish McConville, Ottawa, Ont.
Second Team:
•Kate Chambers, West Vancouver, B.C.
•Andrea Pigozzo, Guelph, Ont.
•Laura Barker, Aurora, Ont.
•Julia Wilkes, Toronto, Ont.

Awards:
•Eilish McConville won the Player of the Year award for the OUA’s East/West division.
•Laura Barker won the Rookie of the Year award for the OUA’s East/West division.

Men’s Rugby
•Ramsey Ida, St. Catharines, Ont.
•Niall Kirby, Oakville, Ont.
•Spencer Cameron, Pickering, Ont.
•Kai Sorensen, Caledon East, Ont.
•James Potter, Vancouver, B.C.
•Justin Chang, Vancouver, B.C.

Awards:
•Ramsey Ida, a tight-head prop, won the award as the East Division’s Most Valuable Player.

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