5-on-5: The Ubyssey's year-end Thunderbird performance year

It's the end of the school year and the end of many varsity seasons. For our final print issue of the 2023/24 academic year, we asked five Ubyssey sports writers the most important questions about the Thunderbirds' year. Here's what they said.

Annaliese Gumboc (AG): sports senior staff

Caleb Peterson (CP): sports senior staff

Iman Janmohamed (IJ): volleyball columnist

Lauren Kasowski (LK): sports + rec editor

Siyah Basi (SB): hockey columnist

1. Who was the T-Bird GOAT this year?

AG: Katalin Tolnai. The fourth-year forward broke so many records this season, including becoming the third Thunderbird ever to earn the U Sports women’s soccer Player of the Year award and propelling the T-Birds to their eighth national championship.

CP: Football quarterback Garrett Rooker. After an injury last season, it was doubtful if he’d even see the field this year. Not only did Rooker play, but he led the Thunderbirds on a historic season, from the regular season to their national championship appearance. For all that, he is the clear pick for me.

IJ: Women’s volleyball coach Doug Reimer. His leadership brought the T-Birds to the Canada West final for the first time since 2018 and won back-to-back U Sports championships. He brings both kindness and fire to the coaching staff and won the CW Women’s Volleyball Coach of the Year.

LK: Katie Newlove. The cross-country runner topped the individual U Sports race and led the women's team to their first U Sports banner. She's also had success outside the 'Birds, competing at the Canadian and World Cross-Country Championships.

SB: Mackenzie Kordic from women’s hockey. Not only did she lead her team in points with 15 goals and 21 assists, but she was also the top points leader in the Canada West standings.

2. Which athlete should start a TikTok account?

AG: The entire UBC Quadball team. Give quadball more credit.

CP: I’m going to cheat on this question and nominate a whole team — either the men’s or women’s golf team. Golf doesn’t get nearly enough pop as a varsity sport.

IJ: CW Libero of the Year Kacey Jost! Whether it’s videos about drills or even a dance TikTok, Jost brings heart to the team (and would do the same as a TikToker).

LK: Adam Olsen. Stop mooching off BWALL and start your own.

SB: Kylee Glanville from women’s volleyball. She’s always interviewing her teammates on the UBC women’s volleyball TikTok and her interview skills are top notch. So basically she needs to either join The Ubyssey or make her own TikTok.

3. What team do you have high hopes for next year?

AG: Men’s tennis. In March, the Thunderbird Sports Club won the Western Canadian Championships for the second time in program history, clinching a spot in the national championships in August.

CP: Men's hockey. After winning Canada West for the first time in 53 years, the T-Birds had a quick exit from the national tournament. But with the team's improvement this year, I think they'll go even further at the national level next season.

IJ: Women’s rugby. After winning their fourth consecutive CW championship title, they are a dominant team that students should watch out for.

LK: After U Sports bronze in 2023 and silver in 2022, I think next season will be the year that men's soccer finally brings home the gold.

SB: The women’s basketball team. After a 22–8 overall season, they unfortunately lost by 3 points in the Canada West quarter finals against the University of Victoria Vikes. I believe they have the ability to win the Canada West Championship.

4. What song is a must-have on the pregame playlist?

AG: "Real Gone" from the Cars soundtrack. No explanation needed.

CP: “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill. I can’t deny that beat switch — makes me want to run through a wall.

IJ: “Get’cha Head in the Game” from the High School Musical soundtrack.

LK: "What's Up Danger" by Blackway & Black Caviar has never failed to get me hyped.

SB: "Party In the U.S.A" by the icon herself Miley Cyrus. I don’t think I need to explain it any further.

5. Most surprising Thunderbird moment?

AG: Football’s last-second touchdown in the CW title game. Down 27–21 with no time left on the clock, quarterback Garrett Rooker made a stunning 13-yard touchdown pass to Sam Davenport. A successful extra point bumped UBC’s score to 28–27 for their first Hardy Cup since 2015.

CP: I’m going to show my football bias here, but the team making it all the way to the Vanier Cup was super special, even if they couldn’t take it all the way in the final game. The T-Birds had a playoff run to remember.

IJ: Women’s volleyball’s loss to the University of Manitoba Bisons for the CW final. It was a tough game, and it was disheartening to see it not go the ‘Birds way. But the team redeemed themselves with a sweet back-to-back national championship.

LK: Men's swimming dropping from six consecutive national championships last year to fourth this year. I know that rosters change each year, but man (pun intended) I was not expecting that much of a drop from the fairly strong team.

SB: When the men’s hockey team was eliminated from the University Cup National Championship in the first game. They had a historic season and won the Canada West Championship for the first time in 53 years, but came up short at nationals. However, I am excited for their redemption era next year.