Decmeber 10, 2012, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team made a big splash in the 2013-14 recruiting pool this week with the signing of forward Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) and guard Jenna Bracken (Sherwood Park, Alta.) Monday.
The announcement of Gordon and Bracken’s commitments marks coach Cheryl Jean-Paul’s two earliest signings since she took over as the Spartans bench boss in 2010.
“Our recruiting class is starting out really strong with the additions of Jenna and Kayla,” Cheryl Jean-Paul said. “Both are committed to working hard in the coming months to be as prepared as possible for their transition to the CIS level. The future looks really bright with these young women of character.”
The 5-foot-11 shooting guard, who will graduate this spring from Strathcona Christian Academy, comes to TWU already possessing an impressive basketball-playing resume.
This past summer, Bracken played for Team Alberta and helped it to a seventh place finish at the national championship. This came on the heels of Bracken guiding Strathcona Christian to a fourth place finish at the 2012 “AA” Provincial Championship, where she averaged 16 points per game.
“Jenna is really excited to become a Spartan and we are just as excited,” Jean-Paul said. “She was able to experience our team culture last spring when she attended our identification camp, and has really been working hard to realize her dream of playing at the next level and becoming a student at TWU.
“We are graduating some key players this year, but with the addition of Jenna, we are going to continue moving forward. She brings in a gritty mindset and a very competitive attitude, yet she never compromises who she is as a person. We are looking forward to building into her as she begins the journey of becoming a Complete Champion. She represented Basketball Alberta this past summer and has worked hard in the Centre for Performance program and at Strathcona Christian. She will be able to take what we do and run with it. I’m really looking forward to working with Jenna and so are the athletes.”
Prior to last year’s success, Bracken, in 2011, was already a star in the making as she was named her high school team’s Rookie of the Year for both basketball and volleyball.
In the summer of 2010, she captained her Zone 5 team to a gold medal at the Alberta Summer Games.
That year, she, along with one of her schoolmates, shared the honor of being named her high school’s Female Athlete of the Year.
“For me TWU had always been my dream school,” Bracken said. “It had everything I wanted: a Christian education, an amazing location and the chance to play at the CIS level. I’m very excited to become a Spartan.”
Bracken plans to study sociology at TWU.
“Jenna is an outstanding young woman,” said Michelle Anderson, Bracken’s high school coach at Strathcona Christian. “She is extremely athletic, runs the floor well and works hard every time she steps on the court. I count it a privilege to have coached her through her high school career and I know she will excel both on the court and in the classroom at Trinity Western. I look forward to seeing what God is going to do through Jenna in the years to come.”
The 5-foot-11 Gordon, who will graduate this spring from Cedars Christian School has been a dominant presence on the court for several years. She has played for Team B.C. each year since her days with the U14 team. Most recently, she helped her Team B.C. U17 squad to a third place finish at the 2012 national championship, where she averaged 11.8 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game en route to being named a second team all-star.
On the high school court, Gordon guided her Cedars Christian side to a silver medal at both the 2011 and 2012 Senior Single “A” Provincial Championship. Last year, her high school team also captured the Prince George City Championship – a competition that includes “AA” and “AAA” schools – for the first time ever.
Individually, Gordon was named her high school team’s MVP in both 2011 and 2012 and was a first team all-star at both the 2011 and 2012 provincial championships.
“We are really excited to have Kayla join our program,” Jean-Paul said. “She is a tremendous basketball player, such a solid individual and we will definitely benefit from her presence both on and off the court. Playing with the Basketball BC provincial teams has really brought out her ability to stand out and define herself as an athlete who has a lot of potential to be a significant player at the next level. Her ability to help take her high school team to provincial championship levels has also shaped her as a leader, and that role at Cedars Christian will make her that much more prepared to be a future leader in our program.
“For the Spartans to sign one of the top players in the province is a huge step forward. With her great academic standing and with a solid faith background, TWU is going to provide a great environment that will continue to foster her growth as a person. Kayla is going to benefit from joining this past recruiting year’s young guards that are getting great experience and learning a lot from our senior athletes and leaders.”
Off the court, Gordon has been on the Principal’s List, in which a high “A” average is required, each semester throughout high school. Last year, she was also given her school’s Service Award.
“I am very excited to be a part of the vision Spartan Athletics aspires to,” said Gordon. “I can’t wait to experience everything this program has to offer, and everything I have to offer in return. As well, I look forward to learning from the highly renowned professors at such a prestigious university. I also feel that God has called me to TWU and that this university is exactly where I am supposed to develop my gifts and abilities.”
Gordon plans to study corporate communications at TWU.
“Kayla had an outstanding spring and summer season with the U17 provincial team,” said Shaun McGuinness, who coached Gordon with the BC U17 team. “She played with determination and a competitiveness that will truly help her succeed at the next level. Kayla demonstrated an outstanding work ethic coupled with a real commitment to improve. Through her dedication she has developed a good skill package that no doubt will continue to grow as she competes in the CIS.”
Allan MacDonald, Gordon’s high school coach at Cedars Christian added: “Kayla has been an impressive team leader both on and off the court. Her athletic gifts and spiritual contributions are numerous. In addition to being very coachable, she exhibits great all-round basketball abilities. Her play can best be described as dynamic. We have required Kayla to perform many roles on our team. Each season she continues to exceed our expectations. Kayla has been a key member in our two consecutive second place finishes at the Single ‘A’ provincials. In her senior year, we are confident Kayla will continue to excel as we pursue the Single ‘A’ championship. We are very excited about Kayla Gordon’s future at Trinity Western.”