As the first season post pandemic, the Lions made it one to remember

(Maryam Nihal)

After a successful first year in the OUAs, York’s men’s hockey defender Connor Senken has earned a place on the OUAs 2021-2022 all-rookie team.

Having previously played in the junior hockey league, Senken acknowledged that the transition could be challenging, which is why he wanted to make sure his body was in good shape going into camp.

Senken reflects on the season and credits the team’s management for supporting him throughout. “We’re very fortunate to have Jesse Cook as our strength and conditioning coach, he was supplying us with player-specific workout programs throughout the pandemic and the offseason. In addition, I was on the ice practicing my skills throughout the entirety of the pandemic (when rinks were open). 

“As far as my on-ice success this year, I owe much of that to the great group of veteran players we had this year and to our fantastic coaching staff,” Senken adds.

Senken believes that the key to success is having a balanced team of veterans and rookies. 

“As a defenseman I was lucky to be able to be back there and learn from veteran guys like Justin Bean, David D’Agostino, and Xavier Pouliot. I also have to thank our coaches, Russ Herrington and Dan Poliziani for the effort they dedicate to the team and having trust in me as a younger player. I am already looking forward to next season and I know that special things are ahead for our hockey program.”

Meanwhile, the badminton team at York recorded a historic event at the OUA championship. They maintained a perfect record throughout the season and came home with silver medals. 

Women’s all-star Giselle Chan expresses her feelings on what she describes as a “surreal experience.”

“The team gained several valuable players this year, including several national athletes, Pan Am medalists, and an olympian. Having been underdogs at OUA the past couple of years, our draws were difficult. With our low rank entering the competition, we fought to defeat higher ranked teams and pull through into the finals. Our result was a surprise to the OUA badminton circuit, and the best the York team has performed in the last decade. 

“In addition to our silver medal, our team also went on to compete at nationals. Although we lost to Université de Montreal in the finals, our players pulled through to win another silver medal. This season has been a great success, I can’t wait to compete alongside our amazing players to aim for gold next season!”

Previously, track and field stars Leah Jones and Kaitlin Brooks were preparing for USports after securing gold in their events.

They continued their streak in the USports championship held in New Brunswick and added a gold and a silver medal respectively to the Lions track and field trophy room. 

Leah Jones feels proud over her performance this past season and in achieving the goals she set out for herself.

“I am very happy because my goal this year was to break the school record since I felt I was very close to it. I am grateful for the support from my family, teammates and coaches for being there to help me through this! This was the best way to end my varsity career and looking back I don’t regret a thing.”

About the Author

By Maryam Nihal

Sports Editor

sports@excal.on.ca

Maryam is a fourth-year student majoring in Kinesiology and Health Science. She's a huge fan of anything sports related, but loves to explore the sports realm beyond the stats and the numbers. When she’s not fielding calls from ESPN, you can find her studying, re-watching Crash Landing on You, and listen to the Taylor’s Version albums — all at the same time.

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