Athletes of the week

Danny Brannagan
Danny Brannagan
Katya Herman
Katya Herman

Danny Brannagan

Gaels’ quarterback Danny Brannagan had an exceptional game Saturday, completing 21 of 33 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-16 victory over the Ottawa GeeGees.

With his aerial success against Ottawa, Brannagan’s career tally at Queen’s totals 7,992 yards, good enough to overtake two-time Hec Creighton winner Tommy Dennison’s record as the all-time school leader in passing yards.

He attributes his success to the team, especially in Saturday’s game.

“It was a solid team effort all around,” he said. “The O-line did their job; I didn’t take many hits. The running game was keeping [the GeeGees defence] honest and we just moved the ball well. … We have an excellent team, the best all-around team we’ve had in my four years here and we will dictate how far we go.”

Brannagan, in his fourth year of eligibility, hasn’t made a decision regarding his potential return to Queen’s football, but he has decided that the golden uniform will be the last he pulls on, looking instead to put his commerce degree to good use in the world of business in the future.

“I’ve thought about coming back [next year]. It’s something I’ve definitely considered,” he said. “Realistically once I’m done playing at Queen’s, I’ll be done my football career, so I’ll be looking for my undergrad degree to serve me in the future.”

Head coach Pat Sheahan said Brannagan has evolved his game since his rookie season and has grown into an elite CIS quarterback.

“He has gone from being a promising rookie to an experienced veteran with a great command of the game,” he said. “He is having a great senior year and is now one of the premier players in the country.”

Although a career in the CFL is difficult to attain for a Canadian-born quarterback, Sheahan said Brannagan will be successful in his life after Queen’s.

“[Any CIS quarterback knows] to play quarterback with a Canadian birth certificate means that playing at the CIS level is usually the pinnacle of their career,” he said. “But graduating with a Queen’s Commerce degree, I know he will have a bright future.”

—Amrit Ahluwalia and Dan Blackburn

Katya Herman
Women’s rowing

When asked what she enjoys doing in her spare time, rower Katya Herman paused, laughed, and answered honestly: “Row.” Her dedication to the sport helped her earn victories in both the heavyweight single and lightweight double races at this past weekend’s regatta at Brock University.

Herman, ranked third nationally, is currently in the fourth year of her PhD in Kinesiology at Queen’s, dealing specifically with issues of physical activity and obesity epidemiology. She has been rowing for nearly 20 years and it looks like her love for the sport hasn’t waned.

“Rowing is a sport that is ultimately challenging,” she said. “There’s the constant quest for the unachievable, perfect stroke. It’s a power and endurance sport, with high intensity training that you can do long out of your teenage years.” Following the national championships, Herman’s training routine consisted of rowing two to three times a day and putting in about 150 to 170 kilometres in the water each week.

“Katya is very tenacious in everything she does,” head coach John Armitage said.

“She is a high performance athlete committed to competing at the national level. She is dedicated to training, developing a training program and sticking to it.”

Herman is currently recovering from competitions and has reduced her training to once a day. In the next three to four weeks when the off-season begins, she will shift her focus to indoor training.  

“During off-season, I will mostly be using the rowing machines and doing weight training,” she said.

 Herman isn’t content to just row; she’s also an aspiring coach.

“I’ve coached the varsity heavyweight women at Queen’s and am currently working towards getting my Level Three coaching certification.” Having to overcome injuries and illness in the past, including a major back injury and the removal of her appendix in May, Herman said she’s taking life one day at a time. “My goals are to stay healthy, keep training and finish my PhD.”

—Hengameh Hassan-Yari

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