More than two dozen T-Birds to star at the Commonwealth Games

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Kate Gillis

VANCOUVER – From the pool, to the pitch, to the track, the UBC Thunderbirds varsity athletics program will be well represented at the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, which begin on Wednesday, July 23.
 
The Thunderbirds contingent will feature 26 current, former and future UBC varsity athletes as well as one coach
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The men’s field hockey team will field 11 players with an association to UBC.
 
Four, Taylor CurranGordon JohnstonKeegan Pereira and Paul Wharton, are current members of the Thunderbirds squad while seven others, David Carter, Richard Hildreth, David Jameson, Benjamin Martin, Mark Pearson, Scott Tupper and Philip Wright, are UBC graduates.
 
Coached by Anthony Farry, Canada is currently 16th in the International Hockey Federation’s rankings and will open the tournament on July 24 against New Zealand, the sixth-ranked country in the world. Canada will also face England (No. 5), Malaysia (No. 13) and Trinidad and Tobago (No. 29) in Pool B action.

On the women’s side, UBC will have seven representatives on Team Canada.
 
New UBC graduates Kate Gillis and Abigail Raye join current T-Birds Hannah HaughnLauren LogushSara McManus and Poonam Sandhu on the roster, while newly-installed bench boss Robin D’Abreo is an assistant coach.

Canada, ranked 22nd in the world, will open the Commonwealth competition with a game against No. 13 India on July 24. The other teams in Canada’s pool, Pool A, are world No. 2 Australia, fourth-ranked New Zealand and 31st-ranked Trinidad and Tobago.

Both Canadian field hockey teams will have T-Birds as captains. Tupper will lead the men’s team while Gillis will be the skipper on the women’s side.

Field hockey will be played at Glasgow Green park.

There will also be six Thunderbirds in the pool, competing for Canada in swimming, which will be hosted at the Tollcross Park Aquatics Centre.
 
Two current UBC students, Coleman Allen and Luke Reilly, will swim for medals in the men’s events wearing the maple leaf. Incoming recruit Yuri Kisil will join his future varsity teammates as he will take part in the freestyle sprint races.
 
The women’s team will feature two current T-Birds, Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson and Tera Van Beilen, along with one alumna, Martha McCabe. Seltenreich-Hodgson is considered a medal contender in the 400-metre individual medley while McCabe placed fifth in the 200m breaststroke at the 2012 London Olympics. Van Beilen finished ahead of McCabe in the 200 breast at the Canadian Trials in April.
 
Two track and field alumni will carry the UBC banner at the athletics venue, Hampden Park, which normally serves as Scotland’s national soccer stadium.
 
Canadian record holder Liz Gleadle will contend for a place on the podium in the women’s javelin throw. She’s currently ranked fourth amongst Commonwealth competitors after resetting her national record in May with a throw of 64.50 metres.
 
Mike Mason will likely figure into the medals in the men’s high jump.
 
In men’s rugby sevens, UBC graduate Harry Jones will suit up for Canada. He will be the utility player for the Canadians, who have been placed in Pool A with four-time defending champions New Zealand, Barbados, and host-nation Scotland. The sevens tournament, to be played at Ibrox Stadium, will run over two days with preliminary rounds the first day and finals on the second.

“UBC Thunderbirds, both past and present, will be well represented at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow,” said Theresa Hanson, UBC Associate Director, Intercollegiate and High Performance Sport. “Twelve of the 26 athletes are current varsity athletes – an impressive number but an even more impressive pool of quality athletes. We wish them the best of luck as they represent Canada and we will be cheering for our Thunderbirds from afar. Congratulations to all and best of luck in Glasgow!”
 
Canada will field a total team of 265 athletes, competing in 16 out of the 17 sports on the Glasgow 2014 Games program (all sports except netball). This is the largest team ever fielded by this country for a Commonwealth Games not held on Canadian soil.
 
The games will begin with the opening ceremonies at famed Celtic Park at 12:30 p.m. Pacific. The CBC will have extensive coverage of the Commonwealth Games. Broadcast information can be found here: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/commonwealthgames
 
– with files from Commonwealth Games Canada