Summer break at UBC Okanagan is only a few weeks away. Students are soaking up the sun in the courtyard, iced matchas are taking the place of hot chocolates, and all of those weekly assigned readings are (finally) a thing of the past. 

As the weather is warming up, the sports season is cooling down. Not surprisingly, the Heat had another amazing year. This season our teams broke records, won titles, and even made some championship appearances. The list of athletic achievements could fill up a newspaper on its own, but there are a few successes in particular that we would like to highlight from the 2023–24 season.

Starting off strong is Stephanie Young from the women’s soccer team. Young has been dominating women’s soccer with the Heat for three years, and in this past season alone was named a Canada West First Team All-Star, won the 2024 Community Sport Hero Athletic Excellence Award, and scored 14 goals to become the all-time goal scorer in the program. 

Young will be graduating from the health and exercise science program at the end of the term, and though her time at UBCO has come to an end, her soccer career is far from over. In January, she signed a contract to play professional soccer with Treaty United in the League of Ireland Women’s Premier Division for the upcoming 2024 season. Throughout the years, Young demonstrated an incredible amount of talent, community involvement, and Heat pride. Like her past teammate, Molly Race, her transition into professional soccer is the perfect ending that will open up the doors for others to follow in her footsteps.

Young solidified her name in the soccer world by becoming the all-time goal scorer, but she was certainly not the only athlete to break records this season. In men’s basketball, third-year guard, Jalen Shirley, scored 359 points, setting a new UBCO single-season program record. Shirley played 20 games, averaged 18 points per game, and shot 46 per cent from the three-point line. 

His teammates, Jas Dhudwal and Hafith Moallin, broke three additional records this season. In November, Dhudwal got his hands on 17 rebounds, the most in a single game in UBCO history, and his 19 blocks against the Victoria Vikes in January were the most blocks made in a single season. The forward finished his fourth year with a total of 228 rebounds and 44 blocks. Moallin took the lead for most steals in UBCO history; he racked up 180 steals over five years, finishing this season with 50.

Keeping things on the court, there were two volleyball players who put their names in the books this season. Olivia Tymkiw, an outside hitter from the women’s team, had 19 kills in her February game against Regina, tying the record for most kills in a three-set match in program history. A kill occurs when the attacking player hits the ball down onto the opponent’s side of the court or when the ball deflects off the opposing player to go out of bounds. Tymkiw finished the year with 203 kills, averaging 2.18 kills per set. In the same month, outside hitter from the men’s team, Seba Manuel, served up seven aces to set a new record for the most aces in a single match. An ace occurs when a player serves the ball and the opposing team either lets the ball hit the ground or cannot keep the ball in play. Manuel closed out his second year with 22 service aces.

A sports game would not be successful without its fans, so we want to recognize those who showed unwavering support for their athletes. Rain or shine, our stands were always filled with supporters who brought the energy and carried our teams to victory. This season, while our athletes were battling their opponents, over 10,000 fans showed up to cheer them on. 

Away from the game, our sports teams also felt the love from the community on UBC Giving Day. On April 4, 2024, Heat faculty, alumni, staff, and friends took part in a 24-hour challenge to raise funds for UBCO’s ten sports programs. Individuals were encouraged to donate to their favourite teams, and the Stober Foundation donated $50 for every follow, like, and tag they received on Instagram. By the end of the day, an astounding total of $156,365 was donated, with $75,000 coming from the Stober Foundation. What an incredible way to end the season!

It is safe to say that the 2023–24 sports season was one for the books. Thanks to your support, records were broken, contracts were signed, and many careers were changed. Moving into next year, many athletes will have graduated, and many will be joining for their rookie seasons, but the performance level and pride in the UBCO sports programs will always stay the same. 

By attending games, supporting our teams on social media, and even reading this paper, you have kept sports at UBCO exciting. In this final stretch of school, continue to bring that positive energy to everything you do. Whether you are finishing up your first year, graduating into the big leagues, or somewhere in between, you should congratulate yourself on making it through the term. We had an amazing year, and we cannot wait for you to bring on the heat in September.