Three stars of the week: Labach, Kisil earn first after leading teams to titles

Julie Labach (left) and Yuri Kisil (right) are the CW first stars of the week.
Julie Labach (left) and Yuri Kisil (right) are the CW first stars of the week.

Canada West Communications


  • Saskatchewan’s Julie Labach (T&F) and UBC’s Yuri Kisil (SWIM) are the Canada West first stars of the week for the period ending February 25
  • Labach earned four medals at the CW Track and Field Championships in Winnipeg, while Kisil took home six medals at the U SPORTS Swimming Championships in Toronto
  • Manitoba’s Lauren Taraschuk (HKY) and Calgary’s Temi Ogunjimi (WRES) are the other women’s stars, while Lethbridge’s Ben Ingvaldson (T&F) and UFV’s Parker McBride (WRES) are the other men’s stars

EDMONTON – Saskatchewan’s Julie Labach and UBC’s Yuri Kisil are the Canada West first stars for the period ending Sunday, Feb. 25 after leading their respective teams to a conference and national banner respectively. 

Labach is the women’s first star after claiming three individual medals 600m (gold), 1000m (gold), 1500m (silver) at the CW Track and Field Championships in Winnipeg over the weekend. The fourth-year runner also added a 4x400m silver, as the Huskies claimed the conference’s women’s banner. 

Kisil, a Canadian Olympian at the Rio Games, earned the U SPORTS Men’s Swimmer of the Year award after earning five gold medals (4x100m free, 50m free, 4x200m free, 100m free, 4x100m medley), and a silver (200m free) at the U SPORTS Championships in Toronto. 

Also earning stars this week were: Manitoba’s Lauren Taraschuk (HKY) and Calgary’s Temi Ogunjimi (WRES) on the women’s side, while Lethbridge’s Ben Ingvaldson (T&F) and UFV’s Parker McBride (WRES) are the other men’s stars

Be sure to watch all the conference playoff action in basketball, volleyball, and hockey this weekend by tuning into Canada West TV.

You can also catch the women’s basketball championship game (7 p.m. CST / Friday, March 2), along with the Alberta-Calgary men’s basketball title game (7:30 p.m. MST / Saturday, March 3) live on SaskTel maxTV (348 HD and 48 SD) and TELUS Optik TV (998 HD and 9998 SD)


Women’s first star – Julie Labach

Saskatchewan Huskies track and field


Saskatoon, Sask.


Meet log: Friday, Feb. 23 – Saturday, Feb. 24 – 600m (gold), 1000m (gold), 1500m (silver), and 4x400m (silver) at CW Track and Field Championships 

University of Saskatchewan dual sport athlete Julie Labach helped the Huskies to a Canada West women’s track & field title winning two gold medals and two silver medals at the two-day event on the weekend in Winnipeg. 

The fourth-year Business student from Saskatoon crossed the finish line in 2:43.73 in the 1000-metres to capture her first gold of the meet. She stood on top of the podium again for the 600-metres finishing in a time of 1:29.89. Labach, who also plays soccer for the UofS, added a silver medal in the 1500-metres (4:23.17) and with the 4X400-metre relay team (3:52.53). The results in the 1000 and 1500 races broke Huskie Athletics and provincial records. 

Labach accumulated 21 of the team’s 97 points en route to the team title. For her efforts, she was also named the Most Outstanding Female Track Performer.

The Huskies will compete at the U SPORTS Championship March 8-10 in Windsor. 


Men’s first star – Yuri Kisil

UBC Thunderbirds swimming


Calgary, Alta.


Meet log: Thursday, Feb. 22 – Saturday, Feb. 24 – 4x100m free (gold), 50m free (gold), 4x200m free (gold), 100m free (gold), 4x100m medley (gold), 200m free (silver) at U SPORTS Championships. 

With a spectacular U SPORTS national championship, Kisil finished with five gold medals and a silver which claiming his second straight Swimmer of the Year award.

The third-year swimmer from Calgary started the meet with a bang winning gold as part of the 4 x 100m freestyle relay while also taking silver in the 200m free. 

Friday was a double gold medal day for Kisil as part of the 4 x 200m freestyle relay while also winning the 50m free in a U SPORTS record time of 21.50.

Saturday was a second straight double golden day for Kisil who won with UBC’s 4 x 100m medley relay as well as the 100m freestyle which secure him his second straight Sprinter’s Cup title. 

Kisil went a long way to helping the T-Birds claim their second straight national banner and third in the last four years.


Women’s second star – Lauren Taraschuk

Manitoba Bisons hockey



Winnipeg, Man.

University 1

Game log: Saturday, Feb. 24 – 21 saves in 2-1 OTW vs. Alberta / Sunday, Feb. 25 – 31-save shutout in 1-0 4OTW vs. Alberta.

The Bison women’s hockey team pushed their ticket to 2018 U SPORTS Championships over the weekend, but not before battling through an epic Canada West semi-final best-of-three series against the defending champion Alberta Pandas. 

The come-from-behind series win saw the Bisons get back to the nationals for the first time since the 2010-11 season, with first-year goalie Lauren Taraschuk was a big contributor in the 2-1 playoff series victory. The rookie posted two wins and one shutout with 52 combined saves. She played in all 185:16 minutes during the last two games of the series. 

The rookie was thrust into the net in Game 2 after Manitoba went down 1-0 in the series and proceeded to earn the crucial Game 2 result after making 21 saves and preserving a 2-1 overtime win on Sat., Feb. 24.

In the third and deciding game, Taraschuk saved her best for last as she stonewalled the Pandas through seven periods and 123:30 of intense playoff action – the second longest game played in CW women’s hockey history – to earn the 1-0 shutout in four overtimes. She made 31 saves in the clinching game. 

The goalie leads the conference in playoff stats with a 0.29 GAA, and is first in CW SV% at .981.

The Bisons now host the second-place Saskatchewan Huskies in the 2018 Canada West Final at the Wayne Fleming Arena on March 2-4.


Men’s second star – Ben Ingvaldson

Lethbridge Pronghorns track and field



Surrey, B.C.


Meet log: Friday, Feb. 23 – Saturday, Feb. 24 – weight throw (gold) and shot put (gold) at CW Track and Field Championships.

Continuing the strong tradition of Pronghorn throwers, third-year Ben Ingvaldson stood on top of the podium in both men’s throwing events at the 2018 Canada West Track and Field Championships and was named the Canada West Field Athlete of the Year.

The double gold medal performance is the fifth year in a row that a Pronghorn has achieved the feat, following Peter Millman’s four-year reign at the top of both podiums. In his shot put win, the 5-foot-11, third-year thrower set a new personal best with a throw of 15.99 metres and narrowly missed his personal best in his weight throw win. 

Ingvaldson has medaled at the Canada West Championships in both events all three years, but these were the first two gold medals of his Canada West career. Last year, he won silver in the shot put and bronze in the weight throw, and as a freshman won bronze in both events. 

Ingvaldson will compete at the U SPORTS Track and Field Championships in Windsor in two weeks and enters the national meet ranked second in the shot put and third in the weight throw.


Women’s third star – Temi Ogunjimi

Calgary Dinos wrestling

67 kg


Calgary, Alta.


Tournament log: Friday, Feb. 23 – Saturday, Feb. 24 – 4-0 record to claim gold in the women’s 67 kg division at the U SPORTS Championships. 

Temi Ogunjimi of the University of Calgary Dinos completed her collegiate sport career in spectacular fashion this past weekend at the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. 

Ogunjimi went undefeated in the 67-kg weight class, defeating four opponents, including Indira Moores of the Brock Badges in a hard-fought gold medal bout. It was her first U SPORTS gold medal on her final attempt after winning the Canada West gold medal in each of her five seasons. 

She wraps up her varsity career as one of the most decorated athletes in Dinos history, with seven Canada West gold medals (five in wrestling, two in rugby) along with two rugby All-Canadian awards and now the wrestling national title. Now, she can add two more honours: for her efforts, the fifth-year Dino was named the U SPORTS Outstanding Wrestler of the Year and also brought home the student-athlete community service award.


Men’s third star – Parker McBride

UFV Cascades wrestling


Duvall, Wash.


Tournament log: Friday, Feb. 23 – Saturday, Feb. 24 – 3-0 record to claim gold in the men’s 54 kg division at the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships. 

Parker McBride wrapped up his rookie season with the University of the Fraser Valley wrestling team with a flourish, winning gold in the men’s 54 kg division and earning national rookie of the year honours at the U SPORTS championships in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. 

McBride, who hails from Duvall, Wash., opened the tournament last Friday with wins over Kingston Wong of the Brock Badgers and Vidran Thanarajah of the McMaster Marauders – the latter triumph coming via pin – to earn a spot in Saturday’s title match. His opponent in the final was none other than Jordan Wong of the Alberta Golden Bears, who had defeated McBride in three of four prior meetings this season, most recently at the Canada West championships. This time, though, McBride was a “different person” in the words of Cascades head coach Raj Virdi. He defeated Wong by technical superiority (10-0) to clinch the gold. 

At tournament’s end, McBride was voted the U SPORTS men’s rookie of the year – the first time a Cascades athlete has earned a national rookie of the year nod at the U SPORTS level.