Senior Tigers Update: November 10, 2021

For the first time in school history, the York House Tigers are the AA Field Hockey BC Champions. The Tigers closed out a terrific season in Victoria last week (November 3-5), at the BCs hosted by St. Michaels University School (SMUS). YHS entered the tournament as the fourth seed in the field of 12 teams from all over BC. However, with the team healthy and at full strength, the Tigers knew they had as good a chance as anyone to take home the title. 

In fact, York House dominated the tournament through round-robin play with wins over J.L. Crowe Secondary and Mount Douglas Secondary. In the quarter-finals, the Tigers defeated Windsor Secondary. They faced Brentwood College in the semi-final and the Tigers reached the final with a 2-0 win. In the final, YHS faced the host team from SMUS who had defeated Crofton House in the other semi-final. The Tigers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and despite several great chances for a third goal, held on for an exciting 2-1 win. The Tigers never trailed in a game all tournament. Congratulations to the entire team and their awesome coaching staff which includes: Mr. Matt Sarmento, Mr. John Smythe, and Ms. Katherine Atkinson.

YHS was led by a star-studded and committed group of Grade 12s. These girls lost a chance to win a title last season due to the pandemic and took full advantage of the opportunity this year, to win the school’s first field hockey banner The contributions of Zoe, Fran, Ahria, Maleka, Ava, Laura, Sophie, and Kasey to our program are truly special. Furthermore, more graduating seniors contributed to the undefeated season of our Senior Field Hockey Team. They include Annika, Chloe, Olivia, and Abby.

Success like this always makes me pause to reflect on our journey to success. It never happens overnight and it takes a village. While the credit for this championship goes to these girls and these coaches, it is important to recognize what came before that helped make this all happen.

Field Hockey began at YHS due to the work and determination of Mr. David Kerr. David was a Social Studies teacher at YHS who convinced me, as Athletics Director, to start a field hockey team. The first teams were made up of players from Grade 7-12. Over the years, due to Mr. Kerr’s leadership, that program grew. Several girls first picked up a stick at YHS in Grade 7 and some fell in love with the game and went on to much bigger things in the sport. We attended a provincial championship and celebrated some lower finishes. Mr. Kerr and his family moved to Victoria and currently is one of the SMUS coaches. 

Several staff stepped in and continued the success. Coaches have included Mr. Cropley, Ms. Keating, Ms. Flemming, Ms. Lee, and several alumnae such as Helen T., Charlotte H., Alanna S. to name a few. We attended more provincial championships along the way but were never a serious contender. Our program took another step and elevated in success and grew over the past six years due to the commitment and hard work of several committed and talented student-athletes and several coaches. Coaches here at YHS and in the greater community who work to develop players at clubs and at camps. It is impossible not to recognize the work of Ms. Atkinson, Stephen Bissett, and community leaders like Andrew Schouten. The Tigers first medalled at BCs in 2017-18 season with a bronze and followed up with another bronze in 2019. YHS was now a championship contender.

Ms. Atkinson, Mr. John Smythe, and Mr. Matt Sarmento led the Varsity Team over these past three seasons and have been supported by other excellent coaches developing our junior players, Mr. Oliver Schofield and Mr. Nik Williams-Walshe.

Very important in this growth and success was the commitment and support by many YHS parents. Parents who saw the potential in our student-athletes and our program. Their positive and supportive communication helped inform decisions and recommend some coaches and resources for our program. There are too many names to mention, but my hope is that all those involved in our program recognize their influence and support in building toward this success. Today, I hope they are proud and are enjoying this championship. Thank you.

The YHS Tigers Cross-Country Team wrapped up their season on a cold wet Saturday morning at Jericho Park for the 2021 BC Championships. Three senior girls and six juniors qualified for the meet by placing among the top runners at the Vancouver Sea to Sky Zone Championships on October 26. 

To truly appreciate the toughness and courage these runners face one must attend the meet. A cold, wet day. A long, difficult and muddy racecourse. Then include over 200 runners on the course. 

YHS now has a field hockey banner. Few schools in BC can compete with the success of YHS over the past 21 years. We have won 24 BC School Sports Championships (senior level only) in a range of sports that includes: Basketball (8), Alpine Skiing (8), Aquatics (6), Volleyball (1) and now Field Hockey (1). As well, YHS has won some non-BCSS titles: *Ultimate (2) and Table Tennis (2).

*Ultimate was not a BCSS sanctioned sport when we won our BC titles. Since 2018, Ultimate has been a BCSS sanctioned sport and championship.

David Prissinotti
Senior Athletics Director