The new Golden Gaels

New arrivals aim high

Mitch Leger, ArtSci ’10, will play for the varsity men’s basketball team
Mitch Leger, ArtSci ’10, will play for the varsity men’s basketball team
Maddie Soye has been playing basketball since Grade 7.
Maddie Soye has been playing basketball since Grade 7.
First-year law student Jodey Therriault comes to Queen’s from Guelph.
First-year law student Jodey Therriault comes to Queen’s from Guelph.

A new crop of Golden Gaels is ready to don the tricolour. Here’s a look at a few of the bright spots in men’s and women’s basketball, rowing and lacrosse for the 2006/07 season.

Mitch Leger—Basketball

Queen’s athletics will welcome many new faces to its rosters this fall but there is one in particular that will be especially hard to miss. Standing an imposing 6’6”, forward Mitch Leger will be joining the men’s basketball team. A native of Kingston, Leger graduated from Frontenac Secondary School. He began playing club basketball in grade five with the encouragement of a friend.

“He signed up for house league and I just decided to go with him,” Leger said. He played for his high school team for three years, but not without overcoming some obstacles. He was cut from the team in grade nine, but persevered andd found himself on the squad a year later. Throughout high school he continued to play for local clubs including the Eastern Elite, playing under former Queen’s player Chris Oliver, as well as for current Carleton head basketball coach, Dave Smart.

Leger says it wasn’t until Grade 12 when he started hearing from university coaches from all over Ontario that he seriously considered university athletics.

“I got letters from schools I hadn’t even applied to or talked to,” he said. He chose Queen’s because he liked the coaches and because he would still be close to home.

“Friends and family are really important,” he said.

Leadership and chemistry are key components for a successful team, Leger said, and he believes that Queen’s has both.

“I’ve played on teams where there are five great players on the court but no leader,” he said.

Leger said he is looking to make a real contribution to the team and that he believes his style of play will mesh well with that of the rest of the players.

Janelle Roger—Basketball

Janelle Roger is one of five new recruits to join the women's basketball team and one of two from her home province of British Columbia.

Before she chose to focus on basketball, Roger played volleyball and soccer at various levels throughout her life. She said that sports have taken her many interesting places, including Chicago, Salt Lake City and London. Only a few months ago, Roger returned to the court after tearing her Anterior Cruciate Ligament. She endured surgery and seven months of rehabilitation.

Choosing a university that was right for her was a difficult task, Roger said, but in the end the answer became clear. She said she chose Queen’s ultimately for its academic reputation, but she was also influenced by women’s basketball coach Dave Wilson. Roger will be studying commerce and is not the first in her family to do so. She currently has a cousin in the same program.

She said she will be sad to leave White Rock, B.C., the place that she has always called home, but said she realizes it’s time for a change and is excited to get on with the rest of her life.

Genevieve Hunter—Basketball

Genevieve Hunter was the first of the women’s basketball recruits to sign on with the Golden Gaels and will be looking to make a name for herself here at Queen’s.

Hunter, experienced in both the power forward and post positions, hails from North Vancouver, B.C. where she graduated this year from Handsworth Secondary School. She has been a member of the senior women’s basketball team for the past four years. The team has made the trip to the provincial championships all four years, and this year posted the best results ever in team history, placing fourth overall. In addition to her high school program, Hunter has been involved in the Basketball B.C. program, including the U15 and U16 provincial teams. She has also participated in the Centre for Performance elite training program in B.C.

Hunter said she hopes to contribute her strong defensive skills and her versatility to the team dynamics. She said she is continuing to improve her fitness and foot speed. Hunter said she was drawn to Queen’s by a variety of factors, from the campus, to the school’s academic reputation. She said she was also influenced greatly by head coach Dave Wilson.

“I was impressed by Coach Wilson and the basketball program when I visited, and that was very important to me, as playing CIS ball has been a long time goal.”

Maddie Soye - Basketball

Maddie Soye of Kitchener, ON is a 5’9” guard from Grand River Collegiate who began playing basketball in Grade 7 at the urging of her older sister. Up until that point, Soye said, she played every sport she could, taking part in soccer volleyball, track and field and lacrosse teams. She said it wasn’t until Grade 11 that she began to think about a university basketball career.

She credits her high school coach with giving her the confidence to keep playing. “She’s the one who helped me believe I could play beyond the level I was at when I met her,” Soye said.

Soye said that chemistry between players is one of the most important things needed to build a successful team.

She said she found that with the women of Queen’s. “When you have people just as determined as you it helps you crack down and work hard,” she said.

“I met other school teams and these girls were just different.” Soye said her fast-paced game will integrate easily into the team.

She will also be rejoining former high school teammate Teddi Firmi. During her time at Queen’s Soye plans to pursue a career in physiotherapy.

Georgie Gane - Rowing

The latest addition to the rowing team is an athlete who is returning from a long sabbatical from her sport while also making a long trip from her home in New Zealand. A fourth-year student at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand, Gane hasn’t rowed since high school. Despite her four year hiatus, Gane has always demonstrated a natural inclination for the sport. In her first year she was named to the top crew at Rangi Ruru Girls’ School. There she won nine national titles rowing with various crews. Her parents and especially her dad have been a great influence on her, teaching her dedication and perseverance, Gane said.

“My brothers and I have been brought up to never do things by halves, and so anything that interests me I always give 200 percent.” She said the athletics program she participated in during high school was very intense, preparing her for university level competition. She had to overcome several obstacles to re-enter the sport including a recovery from recent shoulder surgery. She said finding a crew to train with also proved more difficult than she anticipated. She said she believes her years of racing experience, combined with time on the water, will get her through the tough first weeks. She hopes to contribute her experience competing with different athletes to the rowing team’s dynamic. She said she has learned that all successful crews have three things in common.

“Trust in each other, a common goal, a shared knowledge of and desire to do what it takes to get there.”

Jodey Therriault—Lacrosse

Jodey Therriault is player who will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the women of Queen’s lacrosse this season. Along with four years experience playing for teams in Guelph and in Australia, she has several years of experience as an umpire for junior teams. She is coming to Queen’s to study law, having graduated with distinction this spring from the University of Guelph.

A midfielder, Therriault says she fell in love with lacrosse because it combines many different aspects of her favourite sports. She said it pairs the strategy of hockey and basketball with her love of running. Therriault has played for the Guelph Gryphons varsity team for the past three years and captained the squad in her final year. Therriault said that while she enjoyed her time with the Gryphons, she is looking forward to joining a more successful team. The Gaels captured OUA silver last season and head coach Brendan Sweeney was awarded OUA Coach of the Year.

“I think that the most important thing is team dynamics,” she said of what makes a great team. Therriault is looking to become a key member of the team, adding that she is looking for an environment that will push her limits and challenge her to improve.

“At some point [I want to] try to achieve some sort of leadership role on the team,” she said.

Therriault said that she enjoyed being very involved in the community at Guelph and is looking forward to finding a place for herself at Queen’s. Martha Ross—Lacrosse

A second addition to the women’s lacrosse roster is American Martha Ross. A graduate of Newton North High School in Massachusetts, Ross will be rejoining older sister Kaleigh, her teammate in high school. Ross is the third child from her family to take up the sport. She said she was always passing around a ball in the backyard with her dad and her sisters and joined her first team in Grade 8.

“It’s what I assumed I would always do,” she said. She added that she is looking forward to playing with her sister again.

“We’re both very competitive people,” she said.

Ross said family was a big part of her decision to come to Canada and to Queen’s. Her parents are originally from Ontario and the family has a summer home near Kingston. Ross said the closeness of family, as well as her sister’s positive experience at Queen’s and with the team, calmed any fears she had about making the transition.

She said that she hopes to make a significant contribution to the team in her rookie year.

“I don’t want to be someone in the background,” she said. As for her future in the sport, she said she doubts she will play beyond her years with the Gaels, but plans to play every moment to its fullest.

Football Schedule

Golden Gaels football season tickets are on sale now and available at the Physical Education Centre Monday to Friday 10:00a.m. to 4:30pm or by phone at 533-6000 ext. 74715. Admission to regular season games is free for Queen’s students with a valid student card.

The team will warm up for the regular season with an exhibition game at Richardson Stadium against the 2005 Quebec League semi-finalists, the Concordia Stingers. Here’s a look at the dates for the Gaels fall home games.

Sunday, August 27 vs. Concordia 2p.m. (Exhibition) Monday, Sept. 4 vs. Toronto 2p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 16 vs. Windsor 2p.m. (Homecoming) (Televised) Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. Ottawa 2p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 21 vs. Western 2pm

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