‘I was blown away’: Sophie de Goede named Top 8 U Sports Academic All-Canadian

194 Queen’s students receive Academic All-Canadian honours

Sophie de Goede becomes just the second Queen’s female athlete and only Gael from rugby and basketball to receive the Top 8 honour.
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Files from Jeff Chan

On Jan. 11, U Sports announced the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians for the 2019-20 season, and among the select group was Queen’s own Sophie de Goede.

The Top 8 was founded in 2013 by former Governor General, David Johnston, and is awarded to one male and one female athlete from each of U Sports’ four conferences. Under normal circumstances, the athletes would attend a ceremony at the Governor General’s residence, Rideau Hall, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event will be held virtually. De Goede becomes just the second Queen’s female athlete to receive the honour and the only Gael from rugby or basketball.

While some athletes with a list of achievements like de Goede’s may come to expect large honours, the Gael told The Journal she was caught off guard.

“I was blown away,” She said.

“It was really special to receive the recognition, but it would be in no way possible were it not for the support I get from my coaches and teammates and the university,” de Goede said. “I think they really help me to stay grounded and remember to enjoy it and have fun.”

The award caps off a laundry list of achievements for the dual-sport athlete, who helped women’s rugby win silver at the 2019 U Sports championships after leading the OUA in scoring with 76 points and being named an OUA MVP, as well as Queen’s Offensive Player of the Year. De Goede also placed sixthin the OUA for rebounds in basketball. The fourth-year is currently in the UK playing professional rugby for the Saracens Women.

READ MORE: Queen’s rugby player Sophie de Goede finds new home abroad with Saracens

This level of success is just as present in the classroom. The commerce student has received the Chancellor’s scholarship the past three years, along with Academic All-Canadian status for each year she’s attended Queen’s.

“Sophie is really in uncharted waters here. The time commitment she makes outside of the classroom far exceeds that of a normal athlete,” women’s basketball Head Coach Dave Wilson told U Sports.

“In my 38 years of U Sports coaching, I have not seen another athlete or another person reach such elite status in all of the different endeavours to which she devotes her time.”

Asked whether her coach’s statements resonated with her, de Goede remained humble.

“I feel like that was a really special thing for Dave to say, and I really appreciate the kind words, but I wouldn’t say that I think I’m more likely to succeed than [anyone else]. It’s just that when I start something, it’s more of a mindset of wanting to put your best effort forward out and always trying to make myself and my teams or family or anyone I represent proud, and so that kind of drives my behaviour more than anything.”

This week’s Top 8 honourees followed U Sports' announcement of 4,900 Canadian post-secondary athletes achieving Academic All-Canadian status, earned by hitting an average of 80 per cent or higher while playing a varsity sport. This year’s tally marked nearly a 23 per cent increase in honourees from last year and was the most students to receive the honour since its founding 32 years ago.

Queen’s ranked third nationally with 196 honourees, behind the University of Calgary’s 204 and Western’s 201.

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