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Bert Church grads prepare for post-secondary competition

With high school now finished, some of Bert Church High School’s graduating student-athletes are preparing to take the next step in their athletic careers.

Grade 12 multi-sport athlete Jocelyn Pierce is among the Chargers who will be competing at a college level. Pierce is set to join the SAIT Trojans women's basketball team.

“I’m excited to continue playing basketball, because that’s what I’ve loved to do for these past few years,” the 17-year-old guard said. “I’m just excited I got this opportunity to expand my abilities.”

Pierce said her interest in joining the Trojans was sparked following a 2019 preseason tournament the Chargers’ girls' basketball team competed in, where her play caught the eye of one of SAIT’s coaches.

After meeting SAIT's coaches, Pierce said she had the opportunity to train with the collegiate team in the winter, which further solidified her desire to play at the post-secondary level.

“They’ve had a great team in the past, and it’s close to home, so that’s why [I wanted to go there],” she said.

“It was pretty cool to see what level they’re at, how I compare and how I can hopefully advance by next year."

Due to COVID-19, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) cancelled its 2020 fall sports season and is delaying winter sports until January 2021, which means the start of the basketball season will be delayed. Pierce said if there is ultimately no ACAC basketball next year, she might defer her acceptance into SAIT’s travel and tourism program until the following year.

Pierce is coming off a successful high school sports career, during which she was named Bert Church’s senior female athlete of the year in Grade 11. In addition to being an important member of the basketball team, she represented the Chargers while competing in soccer, volleyball, badminton and track and field.

Another Bert Church graduate who is set to take the next step in her athletic career this fall is soccer player Alyssa Grieve. The 17-year-old midfielder will join the Olds College Broncos women’s soccer team, who scouted her last year.

“I wasn’t even thinking of going to school right away,” said Grieve, who also plays competitive club soccer for the Calgary Blizzard Soccer Club. “I was thinking of taking a year off, working and then thinking about going back to school. But then this opportunity came and it completely changed what I was thinking of doing.”

Unfortunately, soccer is among the sports impacted by the cancellation of the ACAC's fall season. Seeing as she will miss out on a year of competition, Grieve said she would likely extend her time on campus and use all three years of her eligibility. She added she plans to study business.

Grieve said her connection with Olds came about through her club soccer contacts. After watching the team play and touring the college’s campus, she was set on becoming a Bronco.

“They told us it’s more of a professional style – how they train and everything – and I’m just excited to experience that,” she said. “The girls on the team are super nice. I’ve already been in contact with a few of them.”

Grieve said she is excited to take the next step in a sport she has played since she was four years old. Along with her club accomplishments, she played a key role in helping the Chargers girls' soccer team finish third in the Rocky View Sports Association in 2019.

“I just love everything about the game – the way it’s played and what it’s done for me throughout my life,” she said. “I’ve always been a quiet kid and I felt soccer was a way for me to branch out and meet new people.”

Other Bert Church graduates who will play post-secondary sports next year include football players Dylan Sorsdahl and Blaise Newberry, who are joining the University of Calgary Dinos.

Scott Strasser

About the Author: Scott Strasser

Scott Strasser, editor
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