Sport Yukon continues to celebrate athletes joining the varsity ranks
Two more athletes have been identified in joining varsity programs. These are athletes who have dedicated countless hours in their athletic pursuits and deserved to be recognized.
Ross River First Nation swimmer Kassua Dreyer joined the University of Calgary Dinos this fall. Taking International Indigenous Studies, Dreyer said becoming a Dino was the right fit.
“Out of the universities I was looking at, they had the best program and student-athlete support,” said Dreyer. “It was a very exciting school.”
Dreyer said her best event was the individual medley, a position on the team she said the Dinos needed.
Compared to high school, Dreyer said training at the varsity level, with her teammates and coaches, is helping her improve quickly.
“The training environment is a lot different,” said Dreyer. “Here I have specific training sets toward individual medley and breaststroke and fly because those are my strengths. The coaches bring a different perspective. It’s really fun.
“For the veterans, they are really fast, which is exciting.”
One of her veteran teammates is Olympic silver medallist Rebecca Smith.
“Training with her is a wild experience, she’s so fast,” said Dreyer.
While training in the North, Dreyer said she learned about hard work.
“I learned hard work, getting up in the morning at minus 30,” said Dreyer. “Then having to travel to meets. You learn to love the sport for what it is.”
The Lakehead University Thunderwolves in Thunder Bay, Ontario added Noah Connell to their cross-country ski team.
"They've got an established program already and they have some good coaches and a good set-up for athletes," said Connell. "There's also some pretty good skiing in the area."
Connell is still waiting for the snow to fall in Ontario, but the team has been doing plenty of dry-land training.
"The coaches are really awesome," said Connell. "The older athletes are pretty high-level, so it's fun to be around."
As a rookie, Connell said he'll try and make his mark on the team by being a positive force.
"I like to have a good time, but I think I'll add another competitive person on the team," said Connell. "I bring race experience which will work with pushing myself and other athletes in training."
Growing up as an athlete in the Yukon gave Connell a good work ethic. That is what he said he learned as a developing skier in the territory.
"You have to work for everything," said Connell. "It's hard to get out of the Yukon, especially for skiing. You have to make all the teams. You can't expect anything, you have to work for it.
"I also learned to be a good teammate. The Yukon ski program, everyone is really friendly and welcoming, so that's a good thing to bring to a new place."
That brings the total of athletes signed to varsity programs in 2022 to six.