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Sophie de Goede named Top 8 Academic All-Canadian for 2019-20 season

Sophie de Goede. Image provided by Queen’s University.

Gaels dual-sport star in women’s rugby and basketball, Sophie de Goede was named among the student-athletes selected as Top 8 Academic All-Canadians for the 2019-20 season by U SPORTS on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

Sophie de Goede becomes the sixth Gaels athlete to receive the honour and second straight after Slater Doggett of men’s hockey received the honour in 2018-19. She is the first Gaels rugby or basketball player to receive the honour.

She continued to shine for the Queen’s Gaels last season, adding yet another award to her decorated case. According to a news release from Queen’s University, dated Monday, Jan, 11, 2021, the two-sport star for the Queen’s women’s rugby and basketball teams, was the OUA’s top rugby scorer in 2019. She churned out an outstanding 76 points on the year, surpassing her closest competitor by 26, as a result of her three tries and 26 conversions. 

Moving into on the Gaels’ all-time scoring list, the conference MVP nod is the second straight for the No. 8, after taking home U SPORTS Player of the Year honours in 2018, according to the release. Following the Gaels’ first OUA championship title since 2013, de Goede led Queen’s to the national tournament where she tallied three tries and 10 conversions for 35 points – earning a silver medal and her third straight Tournament All-Star honours. 

Throughout the rest of her now three years on the pitch, Queen’s says the commerce major has also claimed a trio of all-star nods at the provincial level, a pair of All-Canadian recognitions and both OUA and U SPORTS Rookie of the Year honours. On the basketball court, de Goede was named the Queen’s Rookie of the Year in 2017-18, and led the team last season to a 15-7 record, averaging 12.5  points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. 

Internationally, de Goede has four caps with Team Canada’s rugby side and hopes to earn roster spots in 2021 at the Tokyo Olympics and the Women’s World Cup. She recently signed with Saracens of the English Premier League, according to the release.  

“Sophie’s ability to excel in the classroom and on the pitch is a testament to her hard work, drive, and commitment to excellence as a student and an athlete,” said Gaels women’s rugby head coach Dan Valley. “Although the demands that are placed on a varsity athlete are challenging at the best of times, to watch Sophie not only manage but excel as a commerce student and member of two varsity sport programs speaks to her truly unique skill set. In this regard, Sophie is unlike any student-athlete in the country.” 

A three-time Academic All-Canadian, Queen’s says de Goede excels in the classroom, having received the Chancellor’s Scholarship the last three years and the DI McLeod Dean’s List Scholarship in both 2018 and 2019. According to the release, she is also active in the community in both her sports, serving as an assistant in 2017 with the Willows Elementary School Grade 4&5 Girls’ basketball team, fundraising for the annual U SPORTS Women’s Basketball Shoot for the Cure campaign to raise money to fight breast cancer, and volunteering at the Queen’s Rugby Academy teaching local high school athletes rugby skills.  

In addition, she has participated in the CIBC Run for the Cure every year since 2014, taken part in the Live Different Builds humanitarian trip in Mexico in 2016, and assisted with the Gaels’ holiday community outreach project collecting donations for Martha’s Table last year.  

“Sophie is really in uncharted waters here. The time commitment she makes outside of the classroom far exceeds that of a normal athlete, not to mention a normal student, and yet she manages to balance all of her involvements while attaining academic excellence,” said Gaels women’s basketball head coach Dave Wilson. “In my 38 years of U SPORT coaching, I have not seen another athlete or another person, reach such elite status in all of the different endeavours to which she devotes her time. It is truly remarkable!” 

In lieu of a formal ceremony at Rideau Hall, the elite group of student-athletes receiving the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians honour for the 2019-20 season will participate in a public virtual conversation with Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, in mid-February, due to COVID-19 restrictions, according to the release.

The Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation was founded by the Right Honourable David Johnston, former Governor General of Canada, who first honoured Canada’s Top 8 student-athletes in 2013.

“We are extremely proud of the Top 8 for their overwhelming academic success during the 2019-20 season,” said U SPORTS Interim CEO Dick White. “Faced with immense challenges, this year’s class of Academic All-Canadians adapted remarkably to altered COVID-19 learning environments, demonstrating their leadership in the classroom and in their respective communities.”

The selection of the Top 8 follows last week’s announcement of over 4,900 U SPORTS student-athletes who achieved Academic All-Canadian status in 2019-20, having maintained an average of 80 per cent or better over the academic year while competing for one or more of their university’s U SPORTS varsity teams, Queen’s said in the release. Among these outstanding individuals, one female and one male student-athlete from each of the four U SPORTS conferences are selected annually to make up the Top 8.  

In the lead-up to this year’s event, U SPORTS is set to run a national promotional campaign in collaboration with long-standing partner Sherrard Kuzz LLP, highlighted by a Top 8 alumni feature series, a leadership development program and professional mentorship, according to the release. Led by former U SPORTS student-athletes, Sherrard Kuzz continues to serve as the Official Supporter of those selected to the Top 8 and the U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian Program. 

“The opportunity to support the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians has been our pleasure and honour,” said Michael Sherrard, founding partner of Sherrard Kuzz, and a former men’s basketball student-athlete and coach with the UNB Reds. “High-performance student-athletes are hard-working and resilient, they take nothing for granted and are always striving to get better at what they do. They are precisely the people corporate Canada, including firms like ours, want and need as part of our future Canadian executive leadership teams. The combination of athletics and academics created balance and discipline throughout my university experience.  Without athletics, I would never have succeeded academically.” 

De Goede is the seventh Gael and second Queen’s female to earn the Top 8 honour, joining volleyball’s Kristine Spekkens in 1999-2000. She is also the eighth female multi-sport student-athlete to be recognized including the first in rugby and basketball. 

Sophie de Goede joins former Gaels Slater Doggett, 2018-19 (Hockey) Justin Hall, 2006-07 (X-Country – T&F), Kristine Spekkens, 1999-00 (Volleyball), Bob McGill, 1998-99 (X-Country – T&F) and David Kantor, (Volleyball) who was a recipient of the honour in 1995-96 and 1994-95.

All members of the Top 8 will also receive a customized ring from Baron, the Exclusive Provider of championship rings and recognition jewelry for U SPORTS, according to the release.

For details on the other Academic All-Stars, visit the U SPORTS website: https://usports.ca/en/awards/news/2021/01/2073336141/top-8-academic-all-canadians-announced-for-2019-20-season

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