It’s graduation day at the Canadian Sport School in Saanich, which means about seven different directions for the seven different athletes who’ve reached the end of high school.
The six-year-old Canadian Sport School held its first official signing day on Wednesday, bidding farewell to its 2017 graduates. Ending their time with head coach Jenn Joyce are 2016 national junior road race champion Erin Attwell, downhill mountain biker Josh Dziwenka and golfer Keaton Gudz, all from Saanich. Also moving on are Oak Bay rugby-basketball player Sophie de Goede, Oak Bay rugby player Julian Foggit and Oak Bay rower Imogen White, as well as Esquimalt wrestler Erin Geddie.
“It’s not the typical type of signing day that you’d see in the NCAA,” said CSI communications manager Noah Wheelock. “We have athletes going to universities but also pursuing their sports in other ways.”
Attwell, for one, will continue her season chasing junior cycling supremacy in Canada. This summer she’s focused on getting into some B.C. Super Week events for the first time, while also targeting the junior Canadian Road Race Championships in Ottawa on June 24, the summer time 2017 World Junior Track Cycling Championships in August, and the junior road race World Championships in September.
However, Attwell will enrol in health sciences at Queen’s University and split time between Kingston and Milton, home of the Track Cycling NextGen program.
“There’s no cycling programs in [Canadian] universities,” Attwell said. “I’ll be training inside and also I heard we’ll be going to somewhere [warm] in Europe for a training stint during the winter.”
Also going to Queen’s is de Goede, as the school is willing to accommodate her wishes to play both rugby and basketball for the Queen’s Gaels. De Goede joined Rugby Canada’s centralized women’s rugby sevens program this fall and was later named their Young Female Player of the Year. She also played a leading role with a dominant Oak Bay senior girls’ basketball team that won 28 straight games this season.
De Goede had basketball offers from NCAA Div. 1 schools south of the border but opted to play for Queen’s, which has a notably strong rugby program, in particular. She hopes to follow in the footsteps of sisters Megan and Kaili Lukan, who played basketball at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and are now part of the national sevens rugby program.
“I had made the decision to play both sports before Christmas, and Queen’s was open to me playing both sports once I told them how much it meant to me,” de Goede said. “There are a lot of transferrable skills.”
Just last week Canadian Sport School grads Caroline Crossley (Oak Bay) and Charity Williams (Belmont) earned silver medals with the Canadian women’s rugby sevens team at the Canada 7s in Langford.
For Josh Dziwenka, who grew up in Royal Oak and is a Claremont student, finishing high school likely means leaving the country.
“I’ll compete in the B.C. Cup this summer and then head to New Zealand where I can train and race in their downhill championship series,” Dziwenka said. “The plan is to eventually enroll in helicopter school next year.”
The other graduating athletes inlcude Julian Foggitt, who is targeting the national under-19 and under-20 rugby teams. Esquimalt High’s Erin Geddie – 2017 Cadet National Champion in Greco-Roman wrestling – will compete for the University of Calgary Dinos next year while studying psychology. Golfer Keaton Gudz, out of Spectrum Community school, has signed with Oregon State University and will study business. Rower Imogen White of Oak Bay High has committed to the University of Victoria Vikes rowing team.