Vikes women athletes honoured

The University of Victoria’s women’s athletes are earning national recognition

UVic Vike Gabrielle Senft is the first UVic player to win a CIS major award in women’s rugby.

UVic Vike Gabrielle Senft is the first UVic player to win a CIS major award in women’s rugby.

The University of Victoria’s women’s athletes are earning national recognition.

Vikes field hockey head coach Lynne Beecroft was named the CIS Coach of the Year, her first nod at the national award in 32 years of coaching. Fourth-year midfielder Kathleen Leahy is the CIS Outstanding Contributor and a CIS First Team All-Canadian.

Leahy is only the third Vike to merit the Gail Wilson Award, recognizing student-athletes and community service. The three-time Canada West all-star earned her second all-Canadian nod this season, and is a Canadian senior national team member and co-captain of the 2015 Vikes, but is also an exceptional student and role model.

She has coached the Oak Bay High School field hockey team for the past four seasons, and helped coach in the Victoria Junior League and UVic Rising Stars program. She also volunteers as an assistant in the UVic Exercise Physiology labs.

“Kathleen has been a great representative for the Vikes women’s field hockey team both on and off the field,” said Beecroft.

“Most reflective of her impact are the things her teammates say about her. They say she inspires them and she respects everyone. She is a fair player and captain and her loyalty to the sport is easily seen in her play.”

Beecroft herself was recognized as coach of the year with the Marina van der Merwe Award.

In her 32nd year at the helm of the Vikes program, Beecroft led her squad to their second Canada West banner in three years thanks to a near-perfect 7-0-1 record.

Over her career, Beecroft has guided the Vikes to 11 CIS national titles and 13 of the program’s 17 Canada West championships.

In addition to the field hockey awards, UVic women’s rugby player Gabrielle Senft is CIS Rookie of the Year and a CIS Second Team All-Canadian.

The first UVic player to win a CIS major award in women’s rugby, Senft is a fine arts student who entered her first Canada West season with experience suiting up for the Canadian under-20 team this past summer.

She scored three tries in four league contests before adding two in two games at the conference championship to help the Vikes claim their first-ever title.

Senft will be one of three Vikes to join the Canadian Maple Leafs on a tour in England.

“Gabby has been one of our top try scorers this season,” said Vikes head coach Brittany Waters.

“She is very dynamic and a strong ball carrier. She has one of the highest work rates on defence and has been a key part of our success this season. Gabby is most deserving of this award and I am confident her strengths will only continue to grow in the coming years.”