Celebrating Yukon Athletes in Post Secondary Athletics

“You were born to be a player.  You were meant to be here.  This moment is yours.” 

– Herb Brooks




Minot, North Dakota

When Aimery signed up to join the Minot State University golf team it was mission accomplished.  “I had always wanted to play in the NCAA,” he said. “I had to take this opportunity.”  Aimery will be joining eight teammates and said he’s looking forward to learning from them.  “There are some seniors and juniors to help get me through the first year,”.  He has been in constant communication with his coach, who wants his wedges dialled in and his short putts consistent to prepare for a tough tournament circuit.  “The competition is going to be real good,” said Aimery. “You have to be shooting in the low 70’s or high 60’s. That’s going to motivate me.”  Aimery said his coaches and teammates can expect a hard-working athlete. “I’m going to put the work in to get better,” he said. “This is a big stepping stone.”  Playing on the Yukon’s courses, Aimery said, will have him ready for the challenges ahead of him.  “Playing in the Yukon has taught me the importance of hitting the fairways,” said Aimery. “Our treeline, it’s so crazy and it’s hard to find the ball. You definitely have to keep it in play.”





Victoria, BC

“I’m so excited to be a Charger,” said Maren, who had offers from other schools but decided Victoria was too beautiful to pass up.  Stepping in as a rookie on a basketball team is no easy feat, especially for a Chargers team who perennially sit among the league’s top – to prepare, she has been watching game tape so she is up to speed.  “Being a rookie, I’m definitely going to have to prove myself,” Maren said. “I’m going to put everything into it. I’m going to do it for my teammates, and the love of the game.”  Having taken a leadership role on many Yukon teams, that is what she believes she can offer in her first season.  “I’m strong on the mental side of things,” Maren said. “I know how to take care of myself and others. I’m going in ready.”  As her basketball career takes her south, Maren said the Yukon has taught her plenty of lessons that will stick with her.  “Being an athlete in the Yukon you grow up knowing not to give up,” she said. “You are the underdog. I’ve been on teams that have lost a lot, but you gain a never give up mentality. “The Yukon definitely teaches you resiliency and a thought that you can take on anything.”





Calgary, Alberta

Emma is set to be joining a talent-rich Mount Royal University squad.  In her offseason, Emma has been watching game-tapes of Mount Royal’s team.”I’m really impressed,” said Emma. “They have a national team player who is really good, they are always challenging each other.”  Although she doesn’t know what position she’ll be playing come the fall, Emma said she will do anything to help the team succeed.  “I just want to be the hardest working player,” Emma said. “In the Yukon, you don’t get as much gameplay, you can only control how hard you work. “I want to be a real consistent player and prove myself to my teammates and coaches.”  Emma said in the last few years she has taken on a leadership role on Yukon teams, and that’s what the territory has taught her.  “I want to bring that leadership and sportsmanship to Mount Royal,” said Emma. “On a few teams I was playing up and the older girls took me under their wing and that really helped me progress.”  Emma said she’d never thought she’d get to play U SPORTS, but now that she’s there, she is looking forward to representing the Yukon the best she can.





Canmore, Alberta

Romeo Champagne is as proficient on skis as he is with a rifle and he will join the Alpine Insurance World Cup Academy come the fall.   Joining the Insurance World Cup Academy is an exciting opportunity for Romeo as he is breaking in on the ground floor.  “This is the first year they have a biathlon program,” Romeo said. “Before there were not many places for biathletes to go, options were limited. “It’s cool to be one of the first athletes on the team to help shape the program.”  “The team has great athletes and everyone is motivated. I’m excited to push myself and to be pushed by others.” As a born-and-raised Yukoner, Romeo said the territory has taught him plenty of lessons he will carry forward in his athletic endeavours. “In the Yukon, you get some super gifts you don’t always realize you have at the moment,” said Romeo.  “I’ve learned grit, resilience and patience.  That’s especially important now. It’s a time to focus on what you can work on. That is something to cherish.”





Anchorage, Alaska

Derek Deuling has already achieved a lot in his promising cross country career. He has posted quality results at many nation-wide competitions and had the honour of skiing for Team Canada at the Youth Olympic Games in Switzerland. Now, he is ready to take the next step. Joining the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, Derek believes, will help him further his skiing career. The Seawolves cross country team is in the NCAA Division 1. “The team is full of incredible athletes,” he said. “It’s going to be a big jump for me but it’s going to be fun and I’m up for the challenge.” Derek will be the only freshmen on the talent-laden squad. “There will be some big shoes to fill,” said Derek. “There is just a little pressure, but I’m going to show my teammates and coaches my determination to get better and reach that next level.” When Derek makes his way to Alaska, he said he won’t forget what the Yukon has taught him. “The Yukon taught me to always have fun when training,” said Derek. “When you are enjoying your training it makes it easier to ensure the commitment level stays the same.”





Calgary, Alberta

By his own admission, Rhys Faragher said he doesn’t know exactly what he is getting himself into when he continues his promising soccer career at the University of Calgary.  What Rhys is sure of is he’s joining a strong Dino team. “The last few years I’ve looked at the U SPORTS league and they were always pretty good,” said Rhys. Competing at the top level is something Rhys has dreamt about from a young age. “Ever since I was little I have wanted to play at the highest level,” he said. “This is just surreal. Growing up here you don’t always have the opportunity to show yourself off.” Rhys said when he steps on the field with his Dino teammates for the first time he hopes to bring energy to the pitch, but there will be some adjustment to the varsity game. “Lots of the guys are going to be bigger and stronger than me,” said Rhys. “I’m just a skinny guy right now. The university level will be completely different – I’ll be playing against grown men.” As he continues chasing his soccer ambitions, Rhys said he will always be thankful for his coaches here in the Yukon. “Jake Hanson, Victor Lavanderos, Ash Jordan, I’m just so grateful for their coaching,” said Rhys. “They helped me improve so much.”





Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Soccer goalie Ole Heath is primed and ready to battle for minutes in the University of Saskatchewan Huskies net. After honing his keeper skills in the Yukon, Ole is ready to take the next step, and joining the University of Saskatchewan team is the way to do it. “They teach a wide variety of techniques,” said Ole. “I find it intriguing that they put so much effort into goalkeeping.” The Huskies will carry two other keepers in his rookie season, and Ole is ready to challenge them for playing time. “It’s definitely a motivator,” said Ole. “I would much rather have to fight for my minutes.” That determination is what he said he will bring to the table. “Anywhere I’ve gone I’ve given 100 per cent to my coaches and teams,” said Ole. “I’m definitely a vocal leader. I’m trying to reach my highest potential and give 100 percent dedication to the team.” Competing and training in the Yukon, Ole said he has learned to keep moving forward. “I used to take mistakes as setbacks, but that’s the single way of improving,” he said. “You have to take the mistakes and focus on what you did wrong.” Ole said he is grateful to his many coaches who have “given me so much.”





York, England

Andreas will make the move across the Atlantic to attend York St. John University in England. When it comes time to step on the pitch with his new team, Andreas said they can expect a hard-working player.  “I’m a player who puts their heart on the field,” said Andreas. “I’m versatile and can play any position to help the team win. I’ll be a good teammate and help with team chemistry.”  His preferred position is attacking midfielder, a spot Andreas said other players are gunning for – this is just motivation for him.  Andreas thanks his coaches Jake Hanson and Ash Jordan, as well as his teammates for being with him throughout his soccer career.  With the UK calling, Andreas said the lessons learned from his coaches and teammates will carry with him. “I learned how to create chemistry and work hard,” said Andreas. “I’ve learned how to work through any struggles and keep persevering. “It will be tough competition every match, but Andreas is ready to represent the Yukon.”I’m going to show them what the Yukon is all about,”.





Quebec City, Quebec

In January 2020, Sasha had the honour of donning the Canadian colours at the Youth Olympic Games in Switzerland. Sasha’s athletic pursuits will now bring him to Laval University in Quebec, where he will become a Rouge et Or.  “There are ex-national team skiers that I look up to and I’m excited to join them. That’s what attracted me to the team.”  “They can expect professionalism from me,” said Sasha, who noted his time on the Canadian team helped him in this area. “They can also expect good results. “I will be more than ready to go when the season starts. I’ve been putting in the kilometers, the distance.”  Although his journey is bringing him east, Sasha said he will be carrying the lessons learned in the Yukon with him. “Even though the Yukon is small, it produces great athletes,” said Sasha. “We are like the secret weapon, undercover athletes. “For skiing, we are more well known but we are still the odd ones out. Hopefully, they will continue to find out about us at competitions. No matter where his athletic career takes him, Sasha said he will always be a proud Yukoner and is always excited to represent the territory.





Canmore, Alberta

Cross country skier Sonjaa Schmidt will be training with the Alpine Insurance Alberta World Cup Academy. Sonjaa said her new coaches and teammates  “can expect an athlete who is hard-working and self-disciplined,”.“Cross country is a huge part of my life. I love to work hard in this area and I’m looking forward to bettering myself as a skier.” Sonjaa explained, she will be joining some of the best skiers in the country including fellow Yukoner and Olympian Dahria Beatty. Being surrounded by a talented group of skiers is motivation to continue improving. “They are some of the best skiers in Canada and I’m excited to ski with them,” said Sonjaa. “I’ll be nervous to first start but there will be lots of opportunities to improve myself and get faster.” Training in the Yukon has taught Sonjaa the importance of teamwork. “I have lots of team spirit, that’s what I learned here,” she said. “I love the team here. They are all hard-working and dedicated. “Although cross country is seen as an individual sport, it’s nice knowing your team is there to support you. You need them to succeed, you improve each other.”



Posters – Nelson Communications
Bios – John Tonin