UBC Okanagan women’s Heat basketball player Emily Kanester says scholarships played a vital role in being able to play sports and get an education.

Scholarships vital for UBC Okanagan varsity athletes

Annual Heat athletic scholarship breakfast set for March 29 at Coast Capri Hotel

Sports have always been a big part of Greg Niemantsverdriet’s life, and thanks to scholarships, the UBC Okanagan Heat volleyball player can pursue an education while continuing to compete.

The Heat recently completed their first season in Canadian Interuniversity Sports’ Canada West division—Canada’s highest level of post-secondary play—and Niemantsverdriet, of Vernon, relished the level of competition.

“There are not a lot of errors in this league,” he says. “Every game is really important. Everybody is good including their benches.”

Niemantsverdriet says scholarships are very important to student athletes.

“To have the chance to play and get an education is a privilege not a lot of students have,” he says.

Rob Johnson, director of athletics and recreation at UBC’s Okanagan campus, says the first year of Canada West competition met all expectations.

“We knew it would be challenging and we believed we could compete. Our student athletes and coaches really stepped up,” says Johnson. “We didn’t win as many games as we would have liked, but we won more than anyone outside UBC’s Okanagan campus predicted. What is more important to me than winning, our student athletes competed as hard as they could, the whole game, every game. You can’t ask for any more than that.”

Johnson says the Okanagan campus is starting to establish a reputation with recruits.

“I am sure a lot of people were watching closely to see if we really were an option for them as they make their post-secondary decisions,” he says. “Based on the number and quality of recruits we have signed so far, it seems they liked what they saw and want to help us develop our programs. This wouldn’t be possible without the support we get from the community in terms of spectators and financial support of our scholarships.”

Like Niemantsverdriet, scholarships played a significant role for basketball player Emily Kanester, from Vernon, who doubts she would have been able to play, go to class and work all at the same time.

“I wanted to play a sport in university since I was in high school. The scholarships were really important. It paid for my tuition. It was such a big help,” she says. “I don’t think there is any way I could do school and basketball without the scholarships.”

Tickets for the seventh-annual Valley First/UBC Okanagan Athletics Scholarship Breakfast are now on sale.  The event will be held at the Capri Hotel March 29 and features renowned sport psychologist David Cox. For more than 25 years, Cox has worked with athletes from grassroots to international levels. In particular, he has worked extensively with Tennis Canada, the Canadian Davis Cup Team, Skate Canada, Rugby Canada and a host of other Canadian national teams. He has attended the Olympics on numerous occasions, most recently in support of the Canadian Snow Board Team at the 2010 Games.

For more information on the event, UBC athletics or how to purchase tickets, go to www.goheat.ca or call 250-807-9168.


Just Posted

World Down Syndrome Day: The up side of Down

A Kelowna family’s journey with Down Syndrome: ‘There is tremendous beauty in these kids’

Kelowna cops crack down on drivers using cell phones

Drivers caught talking or texting behind the wheel now face a fine totalling $543

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

West Kelowna mayor meets finance minister to protest speculation tax

Doug Findlater presents Carole James with booklet of info outlining tax’s impact on his city

Kelowna celebrates World Down Syndrome Day

More than 50 people gathered in Kelowna to bring awareness to diversity and difference

Crook’s Corner

Arts and entertainment highlights this week across the Okanagan

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

Rockets’ Foote a finalist for top WHL D-man

Cal Foote named the Western Conference top defenseman; Foote and Dube named all-stars

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Shots fired in Kamloops

Kamloops RCMP are investigating a report of shots fired and a possible explosion at a trailer court

Most Read