FLEETWOOD – Four different athletes, four different sports.
Three student athletes from Holy Cross Regional High School recently signed letters of intent from UBC, while a fourth has signed with the University of Indianapolis.
Taylor Browne (basketball), Matteo Bordignon (soccer) and Vikaram Varpaul (football) will be staying in B.C. for postsecondary, while Parker Kump (lacrosse) will be heading to the American Midwest for his studies.
For Kump, going to school 3,800 kilometres away was an easy decision – and not just because he’s received a Division II scholarship.
"I always wanted to play lacrosse in the States," he said. "Greg Stocks, the coach for Indianapolis, he’s actually from Nanaimo. He coached at Lake Erie (College), which had a really successful program, and moved to start it at Indianapolis, so the year I get down there will be the first year of lacrosse. It might be rough the first couple years, but it’ll be exciting."
He added, "For the field that I’m going into, which is sports marketing, it just seems like a really good fit with the Colts, the Pacers, everything."
Back home, Browne – who was named
MVP at the 2015 B.C. High School Boys All-Star Game – said his decision to go with UBC was a long time coming, stemming from when he attended one of the schools junior T-Bird basketball camps in Grade 9. He also cited his history with the university’s new head coach, Pasha Bains, as a reason for signing.
"It’s way easier for me to go there because he was my coach for my club team for three years," said Browne. "It was a better decision for me because I didn’t want to be too far away from home, but at the same time, I wanted to play really good basketball."
Surrey United club midfielder Bordignon said he chose UBC because it was close to home and had a good balance of reputable athletic and academic programs, namely its business courses.
"I evenly weighed my academics as well as the soccer program, and for me, UBC was an obvious choice," he said.
Varpaul, who has played football on Holy Cross’s senior team since Grade 9, made his decision after talking with UBC football coach Blake Nill and getting an
understanding of the university’s plans for the football program.
The four signings bring Holy Cross’s 2015 athletic scholarship count to eight or nine. That count includes Nicole Vanderhelm, who’s headed to Santa Clara University on a full-ride basketball scholarship, and soccer player Brittney Zacharuk, who will be going to UFV.
Ken Buchan, who coaches football and lacrosse for the school, said part of his job is to secure scholarships for students, with an emphasis on schools in the United States.
"The biggest hurdle is convincing parents that it’s worthwhile and cost-effective," he said, noting many American schools have considerably more money for scholarships. "It’s teaching them what they need to do, just trying to open their eyes that there’s lots of stuff out there.
"Slowly but surely, we’re getting more B.C. kids into the States."
Nonetheless, Browne, Bordignon and Varpaul each agreed that UBC was the right choice for them.
"When I committed to UBC, it was a big weight off my shoulders," said Bordignon. "Now that I think I have my future planned out, it’s just about performing well in soccer and in school."
"It just takes a lot of stress away," added Browne. "Now I just have to maintain, keep my grades up, keep working hard."