Langara Falcons – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca News, entertainment and sports from Langara College journalism students Fri, 26 Mar 2021 08:10:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://www.langaravoice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/LOGO-100x100.png Langara Falcons – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca 32 32 Langara Falcons struggle with athlete recruitment https://www.langaravoice.ca/langara-falcons-struggle-with-athlete-recruitment/ Wed, 24 Mar 2021 23:33:17 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48398 By Amir Khan  Langara Falcons are struggling to recruit new players due to PACWEST protocols limiting coaches’ scouting access to prospects. Virginia Watson, the Falcons women’s basketball head coach, said she’s attempting to bolster interest in those thinking of playing at the college level by maintaining constant contact with prospects through emails, until PACWEST gives […]]]>

By Amir Khan 

Langara Falcons are struggling to recruit new players due to PACWEST protocols limiting coaches’ scouting access to prospects.

Virginia Watson, the Falcons women’s basketball head coach, said she’s attempting to bolster interest in those thinking of playing at the college level by maintaining constant contact with prospects through emails, until PACWEST gives clearance for confirmed prospects to be able to attend training sessions with coaches.

“Prospects for next year still aren’t allowed in the gym yet,” Watson said.

Currently, Langara College is holding  Zoom info-sessions in March for athletes interested in joining the Langara Falcons women’s basketball team, or the Langara Falcons men’s soccer team.

Coaches have maintained virtual contact with prospects

Watson said that current prospects have anxieties about their post-secondary careers and that she’s been providing them information about the Langara athletics and intramurals department, so that they can “make informed decisions” about where they want to go.

“Obviously the college route is a little bit cheaper than going to university,” Watson said. “That also gives a lot of players the ability to continue playing basketball when maybe if they went directly to university they wouldn’t be allowed to [play].”

Elijah Devison, a former student at Lord Tweedsmuir secondary school in Surrey, joined the Langara Falcons men’s basketball team as a point-guard/shooting guard last November. Devison said usually coaches would contact prospects to recruit them. However, during the pandemic, he said he had to contact Langara’s basketball coach Paul Eberhardt, to join the Falcons team.

“I think we were emailing back and forth for probably about four or five months prior to me actually joining the team,” Devison said. “Just keeping in contact and him letting me know what was going on with the school and all the restrictions and everything.

“And eventually he invited me to come for one of the practices and that’s kind of how it all started.”

Binny Atwal, the women’s basketball team point-guard, said that persistence is key if prospects hope to become a part of a Langara Falcons team.

“It’s a lot harder now than it’s been before because obviously coaches are not … going to watch your games,” she said. “Keep your eyes open, try to contact coaches, our coaches are very willing to let you come in and try out and play ball. The best thing to do is keep trying.”

Coaches and prospects finally have a chance to meet

For next season, Watson is glad to have eight of her current athletes return for the next tentative competitive season. She’s also looking forward to meeting her prospects once PACWEST updates the rules for coaches recruiting.

“Recruiting has been tough this year and I have a few kids who have verbally committed,” Watson said, adding that soon they’ll be able to have them in the gym.

“It will be really nice to see them,” Watson said.

In the slideshow below reporter Amir Khan is speaking to Elijah Devison, Virginia Watson and Binny Atwal about the challenges of recruiting in 2020/2021.  

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Langara Falcons trade games for Zoom sessions https://www.langaravoice.ca/langara-falcons-trade-games-for-zoom-sessions/ Thu, 11 Mar 2021 00:49:18 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48176 By Hannah Snider Since tougher COVID-19 restrictions were introduced in B.C. late last year, the Langara men’s basketball team has been navigating how to maintain competitive mental and physical fitness — only now through Zoom sessions and creative drills.  The athletes, used to a tough regular training regimen to build skill, team spirit and hone […]]]>

By Hannah Snider

Since tougher COVID-19 restrictions were introduced in B.C. late last year, the Langara men’s basketball team has been navigating how to maintain competitive mental and physical fitness — only now through Zoom sessions and creative drills. 

The athletes, used to a tough regular training regimen to build skill, team spirit and hone their competitive edge, found themselves working out in limited numbers, without any games to play.

Head coach Paul Eberhardt and his trainers, who had to pivot quickly last spring, have implemented different techniques and individual drills sessions to inspire players.

By mid-November, even tighter restrictions caused the players to scale back further, allowing only modified training and no competitive games. In addition, teammates are now only able to see each other two or three times a week. 

Online sessions help players keep in touch

Eberhardt also holds Zoom sessions every other week to help the team stay connected. Some players say the Zoom sessions help as a substitute for bonding, and to make sure the team is on top of their studies. 

“It’s difficult because the main reason why people love to be involved in competitive team sports is a chance to train and test yourself by having the opportunity to compete,” he said. “There are times I’m sure the guys have lost their motivation at practice.

“It’s up to us coaching staff to be creative and original and keep them focused.”

Men’s basketball head coach, Paul Eberhardt, runs an online Zoom session. Photo: Paul Eberhardt

 

Centre Jas Dhudwal said it is tough without competition. Having grown up playing basketball, this is the longest he has gone without playing.

“You prepare in the summer for a whole season. You ask yourself ‘What am I practising for?’” he said. “Ebe has been doing a good job of keeping us on our toes, and trying to stay as engaged as possible.”

Forward Saleem Ali-Musa, a first-year international student from Napa Valley, Calif., said moving to stricter restrictions in November was disappointing. He is eager for next season, when they are able to compete against other teams again. 

Ali-Musa said he now has a “deeper appreciation for the sport when you have an opportunity to have it back again.”

Rise in athletes seeking support since competitions ended due to COVID-19

Sarah Kiengersky, a Game Plan advisor at Canadian Sports Institute Pacific in Richmond, B.C., said that consequences occur when athletes are deprived of competition. 

Since March 2020, Kiengersky said that through Game Plan, she has seen a rise in athletes seeking out mental health support. 

Delivered through sports experts throughout Canada, Game Plan aims to help athletes identify how the skills they have developed in team sports can be transferred into other environments.

“We have spent a lot of time at home and away from the support network (that) we may have built directly with our teammates,” said Kiengersky.

She said this isolation creates a “ripple effect” in an athlete’s life, impacting everything from graduation to retirement. 

Michael Schratter, founder of Ride Don’t Hide — an organization which intends to break mental health stigma — said that athletes who suddenly quit their sport often struggle.

“Our brain during exercise is bathed in endorphins,” he said. “There is a trend of professional athletes having difficulty coming off their sport simply because the amount of endorphins traveling through their brain has to be re-adjusted.”

In the video below, Sarah Kiengersky explains the consequences for athletes when they can’t compete

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Langara Falcons basketball teams to go 48 days without a game https://www.langaravoice.ca/langara-falcons-basketball-teams-to-go-48-days-without-a-game/ Fri, 22 Nov 2019 14:57:11 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=44592 The inter-semester break is fast approaching, and that means the men’s and women’s basketball teams are about to have their most prolonged stretch of non-competitive action.]]>

By Ray Chopping

The inter-semester break is fast approaching, and that means the men’s and women’s basketball teams are about to have their most prolonged stretch of non-competitive action.

Following the men’s and women’s games against Columbia Bible College on Nov. 23, a 48-day stretch without another game will begin. It’s within that time period that players are expected to continue training and remain academically eligible to play, which the director of athletics at Langara, Jake McCallum, said can be hard to sustain.

“Teams are rarely the same after the break, you lose people academically,” McCallum said.

Conversely, McCallum added, that a slow start to the season isn’t always indicative of the teams’ final standing because most games are played after the inter-semester break.

“The fall is one-third of the season,” McCallum said. “It’s almost like two different seasons. If you have no wins or only a few, this break is a time to reboot, revamp and look at where the roster needs work.”

Falcons take a break

For the Falcons women’s team, head coach Virginia Watson will keep the practice as usual, even with no games on the horizon. The Falcons will play a couple of exhibition games in that time to stay in game-shape and continue to work on their man-to-man and zone marking systems.

“From the end of November to the beginning of January we’re going to be on the court a ton,” Watson said.

According to Steph Von Riedemann, the team’s only returning veteran player because of the training regimen, fitness won’t be an issue come Jan. 10, when both the men and women restart their seasons.

“It’s important to be diligent with workouts. Doing our own training program, to maintain fitness is really important before those exhibition games,” Von Riedemann said.

It’s not all work and no play, however. The players get ten days off over the Christmas period, and Watson wants them to use it to get some rest.

“They work super hard for eight months a year, it’s important they take time off,” Watson said.

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Falcons off to a hard start for basketball https://www.langaravoice.ca/falcons-off-to-a-hard-start-for-basketball/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 15:00:42 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=44226 Langara’s basketball teams had a tumultuous week, with the women’s team losing two consecutive games — as well as their coach. Meanwhile, the men fared slightly better, defeating one of their top rivals and losing to another.]]>

By Kristen Holliday

Langara’s basketball teams had a tumultuous week, with the women’s team losing two consecutive games — as well as their coach. Meanwhile, the men fared slightly better, defeating one of their top rivals and losing to another.

Rough patches

The women’s team lost to Capilano University on Nov. 8 and Douglas College on Nov. 9. They now have three losses and zero wins

Emma Jones, a guard for the Langara Falcons, said she was frustrated with the game’s outcome.

“To lose a third one is kind of tough, when we have the potential and capabilities to play a lot better,” Jones said.

Curtis Nelson, the former women’s head coach, resigned in the week leading up to the Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 games. Virginia Watson was previously an assistant coach for the Falcons.

Watson said all three games were close and the women are focused on refining skills and maintaining control of the ball while on the offensive. 

“They work harder than a lot of other teams,” she said. “If we can show that we don’t care about our previous three game losses and show that we can play just as hard, I think we are going to win a lot of games.” 

A balanced experience

The men’s team won against Capilano University on Nov. 8, but lost to Douglas College on Nov. 9. 

Before the weekend, Paul Eberhardt, the team’s head coach, predicted a tough game against Douglas, who won second place last season. 

“The more important test is going to be when we play [Douglas] again in January, when we’ve had a chance to get better,” Eberhardt said. 

Eberhardt said with 11 new players, the Falcons were still continuing to build their team. 

Falcons’ point guard Luka Lizdek said the team is feeling positive after the win against Capilano and is learning from the Douglas loss. 

“We talked about communication all week and that’s where we showed in the second half,” Lizdek said. “If we can have two halves like that, we’ll be better next time.”

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Langara Falcons basketball previews https://www.langaravoice.ca/langara-falcons-basketball-previews/ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 14:34:25 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=43555 Only one returning female athlete for the Falcons means fans will be seeing many new players this year, while on the men’s side, the returning veterans will lead the offensive.]]>

Reported by Steven Chang

Only one returning female athlete for the Falcons means fans will be seeing many new players this year, while on the men’s side, the returning veterans will lead the team on both ends of the floor.

Heading into the season, which begins Nov. 1, both women’s and men’s basketball are working to improve on last year’s performances. Last season, with a string of injuries and a weak defense, the men lost in the quarterfinal of the Pacific Western Conference. Meanwhile, the women finished in fourth place, and will build on gelling in the hopes to rank higher this year.

Men’s preview

 Men’s team coach Paul Eberhardt stated they intend to press more aggressively and force more turnovers this season.

“I would expect by late January and February that we’ll be competitive with everyone else in the league,” Eberhardt said.

Returning veterans Moeiz Athaya, a third-year student, and Tyler Anderson, in his fourth-year, will provide leadership and keep an eye on younger team members who may need more support.

Last year, the team lost players due to injuries and academic issues which gave redshirt team member Jason Claur a chance to step in and help the team. Now a full-fledged player, Claur will make a big difference on the men’s team according to Anderson.

“Jason will help us out. We were in a tough situation last year and having him as a redshirt to be ready to play made a big difference,” said Anderson.

Women’s preview

Steph von Riedemann is the only returning female athlete this year for the women’s basketball team at Langara College, with many of the new players coming from the U.S.

The women’s coach Curtis Nelson praised his team for the extra preparation and work all 12 team members have put in, saying they wouldn’t expect anything less than excellence.

“Work ethic has been the key,” first-year recruit Binny Atwal said. “We tried to adapt the mentality of always doing more and not settling for average.”

Katie Skipworth a native from Lebanon, Oregon, said they have been working very hard this season.

“We’re pretty young. I think we all have the attitude of wanting to be here,” Skipworth said.

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Basketball championships wraps up https://www.langaravoice.ca/basketball-championships-wraps-up/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 19:00:07 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=41601 The Langara Falcons were unable to repeat their success from the 2014 men’s national basketball championships, finishing last at this year’s Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships in Langley.]]>

Reported by Joshua Rey

The Langara Falcons were unable to repeat their success from the 2014 men’s national basketball championships, finishing last at this year’s Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships in Langley.

Over the course of the tournament, the Falcons lost 77-120 to the Holland Hurricanes,  92-98 to the Nomades de Montmorency and and 99-114 to the SAIT Trojans.

Star shooter

But starting point guard Royce Sargeant — who scored 22, 29 and 28 points in the three games — was awarded all-star honours.

Despite entering the tournament as the last seeded team, the coach of the host Falcons had told The Voice he was optimistic his players might be able to leverage their underdog status and surprise some of the top-ranked teams.

A learning experience

Paul Eberhardt, who was ejected from the SAIT Trojans game after receiving his second technical foul, said his players got the opportunity to see the athleticism at that level.

“For those players that are returning, it will be a positive because they realize now the things they have to do to get better,”  he said.

Eberhardt gave huge thanks to athletics director Jake McCallum, Langara College and the Langley Events Centre for hosting the event.

The VIU Mariners were crowned national champions, defeating the Sheridan Bruins in a tight game that ended 85-82. The Humber Hawks defeated Nomades de Montmorency 84-76 to take the bronze medal.

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Langara unveils Indigenous name on jerseys https://www.langaravoice.ca/langara-unveils-indigenous-name-on-jerseys/ Fri, 22 Mar 2019 16:00:54 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=41599 Langara College's Indigenous name made its launch on a national sporting platform with its debut on the team's basketball uniforms.]]>

Reported by Jennifer Blake

Langara College’s Indigenous name made its launch on a national sporting platform with its debut on the team’s basketball uniforms.

This is the first representation of the branding campaign Langara has rolled out since they were given their Musqueam name in 2016, according to Rick Ouellet. the school’s director of Aboriginal education.

“Sports is such a face of any college,” said Ouellet. “The idea is to promote the new name that we have.”

Ouellet said he believes it’s the first time a college has its Indigenous name on a sports jersey.

Photo by Dom Gagne

Jake McCallum, director of athletics, consulted with Ouellet and the Musqueam people to create the new uniforms, which were unveiled at the CCAA Men’s Basketball Championships on Saturday. The idea was to make sure the uniforms were done tastefully, according to Ouellet. 

Ouellet said that he advised McCallum in the process of creating the uniforms, but the uniforms were McCallum’s idea.

“He did a wonderful job,” said Ouellet. “It’s an awesome project.”

Sports pride

Head coach Paul Eberhardt, said Langara’s basketball team is proud to have the name    on their new jerseys.

Eberhardt said the championships included a lot of blending with Indigenous culture,  such as drumming during opening ceremonies and half time. 

“It was really cool,” said Eberhardt. “The guys thought it was really spiritual and it was a good learning experience.”

Eberhardt said the team received the new uniforms days before the tournament. Players responded enthusiastically to the design and the feel of them.

Guard Alexa Leynes of the women’s basketball team said the new uniforms are superior to the previous ones in both fit and design. The old uniforms often got in the way during games.              

Leynes said it’s great that the name is displayed on the jerseys. 

“It’s going to be an honour to represent that jersey in games,” she said.

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National basketball championship predicted to pay-off for Langara https://www.langaravoice.ca/national-basketball-championship-predicted-to-pay-off-for-langara/ Thu, 07 Mar 2019 17:00:12 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=41175 Langara is expected to get a return on the money and labour it is investing into hosting the men’s national college basketball championship, according to the head of the athletic department.]]>

Reported by Rena Medow

Langara is expected to get a return on the money and labour it’s investing in hosting the men’s national college basketball championship, according to the head of the athletic department.

Jake McCallum, Langara’s director of athletics and intramurals, is confident hosting the prestigious eight-team tournament is worth the cost, despite having to rent space at the Langley Events Centre due to the unsuitable conditions of Langara’s gym.

For the first time since 1997, Langara will host the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, from March 14-16.

“The men’s basketball is highly sought after, so for us to host a national event of this calibre puts us in good standing nationally,” McCallum said. “It can be used for recruiting as well.”

Accumulating costs as host

The college’s financial responsibilities include dozens of different expenses, such as gifts for athletes, a banquet and the standard bid for the CCAA licensing fee of $7,500.

McCallum said he won’t know the final price-tag of hosting until after the event is over.

“I would say if you do a good job it’s cheaper to host the CCAA than it is to go [travel] to the championship,” McCallum said.

Sponsors like Clif Bar & Company, gate money and revenue from apparel sales help buffer the end cost for the college.

Albert Roche, the athletic director at Holland College, said when they hosted the championship in 2017 it was well worth the $15,000 total.

“When you get to host the country, it brings a lot of profile to your area and creates a lot of economic activity,” Roche said.

Because Langara’s gym capacity cannot handle the expected attendance, the college has entered a profit-sharing agreement with Langley’s stadium.

Student support

McCallum also acknowledged that hosting the championship in Langley will likely decrease student attendance.

“Obviously proximity is difficult,” McCallum said. “If we were hosting [in Langara’s gym], students would come down after class and watch.”

Health science student, Amandeep Kaur, thinks many Langara students are unaware of the upcoming event.

“I have never seen sports happening at Langara,” she said.

Biology student Amandeep Singh suggested, “Langara should put more advertisements or banners so that other students can know.”

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Langara athletes to lose training facilities when YMCA closes https://www.langaravoice.ca/langara-athletes-to-lose-training-facilities-when-ymca-closes/ Thu, 28 Feb 2019 17:00:25 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=40969 As of 2021, Langara athletes will need to find an alternative training facility that is accessible and convenient.]]>

Reported by Kim Lau

As of 2021, Langara athletes will need to find an alternative training facility that is accessible and convenient.

The South Vancouver YMCA is set to close from 2021-2023 for renovations and Langara officials have said there are no immediate plans to build a facility on campus.

With no training facilities on campus except for a gymnasium in Building G, the athletes have long used the facility at the YMCA next door for training.

“It will make it much more difficult for some of them to get a consistent place to work out,” said Paul Eberhardt, head coach of the men’s basketball team. “I would say about half of them regularly use the YMCA pass.”

According to Wendy Lannard, Langara facilities director, the 25-year Master Plan is a road map for the future of the campus growth over the next 25-plus years. She said a new gym will not be addressed in the first phase of the new Master Plan.

“Langara will have a new 25-year Master Plan by late 2019/2020. There are no timelines for any buildings nor a new gym,” Lannard said.

Two-year window to find new training space

Simran Basra, the Falcons’ women’s soccer goalkeeper, said athletes have been asking about an on-campus athletics facility for ages.

“We are always asking what’s happening about the new gym,” she said.

The YMCA’s closure means that the athletes will not have easy access to a convenient location for regular workouts.

“The Y has always been there,” Basra said. “It is so close and so convenient. We used to go in-between classes and then come back for more classes.”

The YMCA is scheduled to close in 2021, which gives the college a two-year window to look for new training venues for its athletes.

“It’s something we definitely have to figure out. I mean that I don’t think the institution would react by building a new facility because the YMCA is going to be not there. So, that is something I have to sort out where that will be this summer,” said Jake McCallum, athletics director at Langara.

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Recovering from an injury requires more than physical healing, says expert https://www.langaravoice.ca/recovering-from-an-injury-requires-more-than-physical-healing-says-expert/ Mon, 11 Feb 2019 19:00:36 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=40462 The physical side of sports injuries are always talked about, but never the mental side, said a Langara women’s basketball coach.]]>

Reported by Joshua Rey

The physical side of sports injuries are always talked about, but never the mental side, said a Langara women’s basketball coach.

The Falcons were down two players for the last few games of the fall semester due to injuries. Head coach Curtis Nelson said it really affected the team’s game on and off the court.

“It was very difficult,” Nelson said. “Our team was so depleted we had to play with one or no subs. Injuries change everything from management to strategy and the coach must be creative.”

The players, Jules Duong and Alexa Laines, suffered injuries last semester that affected their mental health.

Dr. John Coleman discusses the importance of taking care of injuries and seeking support:

During the last game of the fall semester Laines suffered her fifth concussion.

“I had to take time off to heal the brain,” Laines said. “I had to not only take time off from basketball, but from other things as well.”

For example, Laines said she was told to limit her screen time.

She said it was tough for her to watch from the sidelines, especially after seeing the team blow a big lead against Camosun. As the number of injuries on the team increased, Laines said she felt angry and down, especially when people asked about how she was doing.

Dr. John Coleman of the Canadian Sports Psychologist Association said the mental aspects of injuries are just as important as the physical.

Dr. John Coleman discusses the mental response to an injury:

“The mind and body are connected and cannot be separated,” Coleman said. “Athletes are competitive and when they get injured, they feel like they are not contributing to the team. That’s why they can get elements of depression and anxiety.”

Injuries are inevitable in sports. It is a matter of when and not how. Nelson said it is all about perspective from a player.

“An injury is a test,” Nelson said. “You can let it bring you down mentally, or persevere and come back stronger. It’s up to you.”

Dr. John Coleman discusses devastating injuries: 

 

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