By: Simran Sarai, SFU Student
Although the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has shed some uncertainty on the Spring 2022 athletic calendar, several SFU teams are still scheduled to play. With that said, The Peak takes a look at which SFU teams you should keep your eyes peeled for.
Wrestling — #1
On the men’s side, fans should keep their eyes on senior Logan Nelson. Nelson qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships back in 2020 and is striving to become an NCAA champion. He is ranked 10ᵗʰ in his weight class this season. Heavyweight class wrestler Taniela Feliciano-Takafua and teammate Riley Prough were among SFU wrestlers who were unbeaten at the Desert Duals meet on December 19, 2021, and will also be key pieces for SFU men’s wrestling.
SFU women’s wrestling was ranked fourth in the NCAA Preseason Coaches Poll. Teammates Karla Godinez-Gonzalez and Alex Hedrick are ranked number one in their respective weight classes. Godinez-Gonzalez (13–0) and teammate Maddie Mackenzie (11–0) remain unbeaten.
Although SFU’s wrestling program has never had an NCAA champion, a roster with this many accolades is sure to go far this season. Men’s and women’s wrestling championships are scheduled to begin in late February. Expect to see teammates Nelson, Feliciano-Takafua, Godinez-Gonzalez, and Hedrick as top contenders for playoff spots.
Hockey — #2
SFU’s men’s hockey team currently sits at the top of the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) with an impressive 6–0 record. Forwards Garrett Hilton and rookie Logan Bromhead lead the team in points, and goaltender Cale Dolan was awarded BCIHL goaltender of the month for November 2021.
During the 2019–20 season, SFU finished second in regular-season play. With SFU’s dominance out of the gate, the team is in the driver’s seat to come out as champions if they can keep their winning streak going.
Swimming — #3
Both the men’s and women’s teams have continuously set records meet after meet. At October’s Logger Relays, SFU’s first meet of the season, both teams placed first overall. At the Winter Collegiate Invitational, SFU swimmers won 28 out of 38 races, set four school records, and 14 meet records.
On the men’s side, junior Collyn Gagne has impressed, winning two medals at the 2021 Toyota US Open Championships. Junior Kennedy Loewen has led the women’s team, collecting victories and setting records. Preseason swimming and diving polls conducted by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America have SFU’s men’s team ranked 15ᵗʰ and the women’s team 19ᵗʰ.
Students should continue to expect strong performances from the swim team. However, SFU faces a difficult path in their quest to qualify for NCAA Championships in March. The men’s and women’s teams have never finished better than ninth. Under new coach Demone Tissira, will SFU swimming be able to improve their finishes?
Track and Field — #4
Headed by GNAC head coach of the year for cross country, Britt Townsend, SFU’s track team is expected to reach new heights this season. Building upon fourth place finishes at the 2019–20 GNAC Championships, SFU track and field athletes will be toeing the line all season in anticipation of qualifying for the 2022 DII Indoor Track and Field Championships, set to take place March 11–12.
Golf — #5
SFU men’s and women’s golf have boasted impressive finishes since their season began in September. Freshman Bailey Bjornson’s third place finish during the Dennis Rose Intercollegiate tournament led the men’s team to a fourth place finish in the tournament. Team captain Ryan Stolys will continue to be a leading force when the golf season resumes in the Spring, based on his fall performances that saw him tied for 30ᵗʰ at the South Central-West Regional Preview tournament.
Basketball — #6
The men’s basketball team has had several highlights this season, including victories over UBC for the Buchanan Cup in front of a sold-out crowd, and conference opponents Western Washington University in a nail-biting 82–80 finish.
Players to watch include senior forward Jasdeep Singh, who was selected to this season’s GNAC Men’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team, and fellow senior Julian Roche (centre), who leads the team, averaging 15.1 points per game.
Despite a slow start to the season, the women’s team is poised for a turnaround with sophomore Jessica Wisotzki (guard/forward), who has had multiple career-best games already this season. Alongside the forward is senior guard Jessica Jones, who was named GNAC’s Preseason Player of the Year.
Men’s basketball hasn’t qualified for the GNAC championships since the 2013–14 season, while the women’s team qualified more recently, making it to the first round of the 2018–19 championships. After almost two years of no competition, both the men’s and women’s teams have considerable depth heading into the Spring season. With GNAC championships scheduled to take place March 3–5, expect both teams to be strong contenders for a championship spot.
Softball — #7
SFU softball is gearing up for what should be a strong season despite missing two seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic and losing key players, such as catcher Amanda Janes and outfielder Kate Fergusson, to graduation. With the return of seasoned players such as sophomore Anissa Zacharczuk, juniors Hanna Finkelstein and Alex Ogg, and seniors Chelsea Hotner and Courtney De Adder, SFU softball should be able to hold their own this season.
The last time SFU softball punched a ticket to the GNAC Championships was during the 2018 season when they finished second to number one ranked Northwest Nazarene. After the hiring of head coach Tina Andreana in 2019, the team saw a revitalization that led them to the top of the GNAC standings, with a 7–1 record in 2020. SFU’s GNAC games are scheduled to start on February 18.