Warrior representation

The Waterloo Warriors have been receiving considerable recognition around the country in a string of recent appointments across multiple sports. From student athletes to staff, Warriors have been noticed in a variety of disciplines and are reaping the rewards.

Brothers Jeff and Jason Park of Mississauga, Ontario were announced as members of Canada’s team at the International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Rugby Sevens Championship in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil. Jeff, a 6’1” second-year science student, plays back row (a forward position that either collects the ball out of scrums, or flanks, trying to tackle and steal the ball). Jason, a 6’0” third-year recreation and leisure student, plays centre (a three-quarters back that helps direct the attack and disrupt the middle of the opposing team’s attack).

Rugby sevens is a shorter format, with only seven players on the field for each team instead of 15. Though the Warriors generally play Rugby Union, the longer format with bigger teams, rugby sevens shouldn’t be that strange to the Parks. Regularly played at all levels, rugby sevens is becoming more popular as an international event and will debut at the 2016 summer Olympics.

The tournament will take place from August 8 to 10, 2014. Sao Jose dos Campos is an industrial municipality of over 670,000 people in the south of Brazil.

Matt Vonk, a fourth-year offensive lineman studying kinesiology, was selected 38th by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the fifth round of the 2013 CFL draft. He is once again a step away from playing professionally as he has been invited to join the Roughriders practice squad. Vonk has now played in two Roughriders training camps, but has not yet cracked the regular roster due to Saskatchewan’s stable and formidable offensive line.

A 6’4”, 295 pound giant, Vonk has been described as extremely athletic and was a highly-sought Canadian university recruit. His achievements, such as a spot in the CIS East-West bowl and his impressive numbers (four solo tackles in a game against McMaster last October) have put him in a strong position to become a professional. Vonk was one of the seven clean Warriors allowed to transfer to the Laurier Golden Hawks in the wake of the football team steroid scandal. He returned to play for the Warriors in 2012.

Former Warriors men’s hockey team head coach Karl Taylor, who most recently worked as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks of the major junior Western Hockey League, has been named assistant coach with the Texas Stars, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Dallas Stars. Taylor served as the Warriors’ bench boss from 2003–2005, winning an OUA Coach of the Year award in his final season. Taylor led the Winterhawks to the WHL finals, and will join another successful squad, as the Stars won the Calder Cup last season.

Accolades and positions for Warriors will likely continue to appear during the offseason as non-varsity competition continues.