Varsity clubs shine at Colour Awards

Women’s squash take home top team award, female athlete

Women's squash with the Award of Merit for Top Team.
Women's squash with the Award of Merit for Top Team.
Supplied by Queen's Athletics and Recreation

On Tuesday night, varsity club athletes celebrated a year full of achievement at the 82nd annual Colour Awards.

The annual ceremony honours the year’s best performances, most memorable moments and every effort put into Queen’s Athletics programs. Over eight months, many of these teams travelled across the continent to represent the University against some of Canada’s best student athletes.

Award of Merit for Top Team: Women’s Squash

After winning OUA gold for the fourth year in a row, the women’s squash team has proved themselves to be one of the most dominant athletic teams at Queen’s. En route to the championship, the Gaels ended the season with a 41-4 record.

“To get to see the team get so much recognition this year, we’ve had an amazing four years,” Marion Ross Trophy winner Nora Kamal said after the ceremony.  

To make the OUA Championship win even sweeter, the Gaels won this year’s provincial championship in the ARC. Winning this championship at home will remain one of Kamal’s fondest memories at Queen’s.

“It was great to win on home court and see the athletes and students come out and cheer … that was really nice,” Kamal said. Next season, the Gaels will be chasing an illustrious fifth consecutive OUA title.

Marion Ross Trophy for Top Female Athlete: Nora Kamal — Squash

In her final season at Queen’s, Kamal established herself as one of the OUA’s strongest female squash players. Named to the OUA Women’s All-Star team, Kamal has been a part of Queen’s four straight provincial titles.

“It really means a lot. It’s really an honour and it’s amazing to be recognized,” she said.

Kamal, who will graduate in the spring, reflected fondly on her time as a part of the squash team.

“Squash occupies a special place in my heart. I didn’t start playing until really late in high school, so I didn’t get to play much, so it’s nice to see most of my memories come in university,” Kamal said. “It’s really cool to see how far I could go with it.”

Spending this season as the team’s co-captian, Kamal said she’ll be leaving Queen’s with a smile on her face.

Jack Jarvis Trophy for Top Male Athlete: Zachary Baum — Sailing

In his fifth and final year with the sailing team, Zachary Baum was integral to Queen’s winning their seventh straight national championship. Also acting as the team’s co-president, Baum said a lot of hard work has gone into bringing the team to where it is  now.

“It means a lot this year for me to see the recognition for all the work I’ve put in … I accept the award is not just [for] me, there are other people in that boat,” Baum said.

The Gaels’ victory at nationals saw them barely break a tie with McGill in the final race. Baum said it will be one of his fondest memories of his time at Queen’s.

“When we crossed the line and had the confirmed victory, we all kind of just freaked out a bit and jumped into the water even though it was just five or six degrees.”

Even though Baum is no longer eligible to race, he will return to the Gaels next season as an assistant coach while he completes his Masters degree. With a wave of 24 rookies coming in this past season, Baum is looking forward to mentoring them next season.

“Being able to not only see them for one year, but see what they can accomplish in two years is really special.”

Alfie Pierce Trophy for Top Female Rookie: Kiah Shanks — Lacrosse

Kiah Shanks played a critical role in the women’s lacrosse 2017 OUA campaign, which saw the Gaels finish with a 10-2-1 record and win an OUA silver medal. 

“It was a really successful season and I’m really thankful to have all my teammates and coaches with me. They were really supportive and we worked really hard all season,” Shanks said.

During her first season, Shanks was one of three Gaels attackers named to the OUA All-Star First Team. Following the colour awards, Shanks was full of emotion.

“I didn’t expect to get this award so I’m really thankful. There’s a lot of amazing athletes here.”

Alfie Pierce Trophy for Top Male Rookie: Alex Collins — Squash

In his first season at Queen’s, Alex Collins was an integral member of the men’s squash team, which won bronze at the OUA Championships. Making an impression across the province, Collins was named OUA Rookie of the Year.

“The squash team has been doing pretty well this year and it’s great to be a part of it,” Collins said following the awards ceremony. “We have a really amazing, positive culture going there so it’s really fun.”

The squash team’s roster was a fountain of youth this season, with Collins belonging to a group of rookies that made up more than half of the roster. As they look to build on their experience from this year, Collins believes the Gaels can continue their success into next season.

“I think we’re going to be really strong and be a great team going forward,” he said.

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