The second weekend of November 2023 will go down in history as the most successful in UBC’s sporting history.
The Thunderbirds excelled on the national stage in events hosted as far away as Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to the Vancouver campus, at Thunderbird Stadium. Over the course of two days, UBC earned an unprecedented four National Championship wins, one Hardy Cup title, and National Championship silver and bronze medals to top it all off.
“This was a incredible weekend that the UBC community will remember for a long time,” says Kavie Toor, Managing Director, UBC Athletics and Recreation. “It was thrilling to see our UBC student athletes rise to the occasion and compete at their highest level on the national stage.”
The weekend of winning began on Saturday in football with a stunning Hardy Cup victory when UBC completed an incredible final minute comeback to defeat the Alberta Golden Bears. On a third down with no time remaining and trailing by six points, T-Birds quarterback Garrett Rooker threw to Sam Davenport who leaped up to haul it in, tying the game. Kieran Flannery-Fleck converted to seal a 28-27 comeback win for the ages.
The T-Birds hoisted the Hardy Cup for the 17th time in program history. With that win, UBC is one of four teams left standing across the country in the road to the Canada Life Vanier Cup. Next for the T-Birds is AUS champion, St Francis Xavier, in the Mitchell Bowl on Saturday, Nov. 18 at Thunderbird Stadium.
The winning momentum carried into the rest of the weekend, with Sunday proving to be the day to bring home championship banners.
UBC’s cross country men’s and women’s teams raced in London, Ont., where, for the first time in program history, they were crowned U SPORTS Champions. UBC’s Katie Newlove claimed individual gold to lead the T-Birds women to their first ever U SPORTS banner, while Andrew Davies claimed bronze, helping the men’s squad to their first Canadian title since 1993.
Thunderbird fans were given even more reason to celebrate Sunday, when the UBC women’s soccer team became National Champions for a record eighth time. U SPORTS Player of the Year Katalin Tolnai headed the ball into Trinity Western’s net, earning the 1-0 victory for UBC in the 120th minute of the game. It was extra sweet for UBC as they avenged their Canada West Finals loss one week prior at the hands of the Spartans. Meanwhile, the UBC men’s soccer team battled Mount Royal for third place at Nationals. UBC came out victorious, defeating the Cougars 1-0, and earning the bronze medal.
On the water at Burnaby Lake, the UBC Thunderbirds men’s rowing team defended its national title after compiling 123 points to finish well ahead of Brock and Victoria. The T-Birds men’s team was able to secure its seventh banner in nine years off three gold and three silver medal performances in six races. On the women’s side it came down to the final race, the women’s eight, with Victoria edging UBC for first place, and the Thunderbird women finishing with the silver medal.
“This weekend’s success is a testament to the tremendous dedication and effort our student athletes, coaches and support staff are putting in every day both on the field of play, in the classroom and in the community,” added Toor. “This year is looking to be a special one with many teams’ seasons just starting.”
With these latest championship wins UBC further cements its title as the most successful Varsity program in Canada.