Last year was a big step for the athletics program, with continued excellence in curling, biathlon, cross-country running and skiing and new heights in volleyball basketball and hockey. Among the many highlights were an ACAC championship in hockey and a gold medal performance at the CCAA cross country running championships by Andy Pohl. This year looks to be even better and has already started off with a bang.
To start the year off we hosted the first Vikings Wall of Fame. Being a part of that event was quite special and something I will never forget. From seeing the inductees on stage receiving there due respect and admiration from the generation they helped to pave, to the wisdom and humor provided guest speakers Craig Simpson and Bryan Trottier, it was a very memorable night indeed. Before the festivities got underway, I got to speak to Trottier, Simpson and his wife Jamie Sale before the event and it was wonderful to find people with a celeb status that were so down to earth and humble.
Another event already on the year’s past highlights list was the 4th Annual Earle Berry Classic, a high school volleyball tournament consisting of over 30 boys and girls teams. Attendance from friends and family was at its highest yet in the tournament’s history and showcased a number of local teams that are building or maintaining strong volleyball programs. The best example came with Bawlf High School, who defeated former 3A silver medalists RF Staples in the tournament final. The tournament also showed the growth in the Battle River Volleyball Club with 17 members competing for 7 different teams on the men’s side alone.
There is plenty more to look forward to. Between hosting the ACAC cross-country running championships, the ACAC women’s basketball championship, the provincial championship for 3A girl’s high school volleyball, and the 50+ regular season home contests held on campus and at Encana arena, there will be spectacle to enjoy nearly every weekend. The quest for excellence at Augustana has grown, with every team looking to make an appearance in the playoffs. Stay tuned folks; this is going to be one heck of a year.