Three female student athletes spilt prestigious Vikes Provost Award

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With top academic honours, the athletes talk balancing their sports and studies

Sofia Donnecke, Trinity Kettyls, and Katie Martens. Photo via UVic Vikes.

At the 17th annual Vikes Honour Roll Luncheon, three female student athletes were surprised to hear their names called for the distinguished Provost Award. Trinity Kettyls from the women’s soccer team, Katie Martens from women’s golf, and Sofia Donnecke from women’s cross country and track shared the award for the top overall grade point average (GPA) with their impressive 9.0s.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Kettyls about the historic three-way split of the award. “It’s one thing to stand up there alone, but to stand up with two other powerful female athletes I think it says a lot to UVic and our community here. Having three women take on that award is pretty cool.”

All student athletes named to the Vikes Honour Roll earned at least a 6.6 GPA, or an 80 per cent average, in the previous academic year while competing on their respective teams. This year, a record 132 Vikes received the Honour Roll distinction and the $500 that goes with it. The Provost Award winners each receive an additional $500 financial award for their top marks.

This year’s Provost winners are made up of two Vikes team captains and a Harvard University heavyweight rower alumna. Their secret to earning top academic marks while dominating in their varsity sports? Time management.  

“I’ve found that being so busy with school and golf and having a job, you don’t really have a lot of excess time to focus on other things or kind of procrastinate,” said Martens, a fifth year economics major and business minor. “There’s just not enough hours in a day to mess around.” 

No stranger to juggling the demands of both her studies and her sport, this is Martens’s second consecutive year winning the Provost Award. She says she’s thankful for her teammates, her coaches, and the Vikes admin staff for supporting her over the years. This will be her final season on the golf team as she graduates in the spring and plans on getting her CPA designation to be an accountant. 

“This year having three women getting to accept the award, all in different sports and different programs, I think it just kind of goes to show that you can do sports and you can do school and you can kind of excel in all aspects,” said the golf team captain. “You don’t just have to pick one. If you put your mind to it, you can succeed.”

For Kettyls, this is her fifth season on the Vikes soccer team and, consequently, her fifth time being named to the Honour Roll. This was her first season as captain and she finished tied with teammate Emma Skalik for the leading goal scorer. Kettyls biggest motivation, she says, is her desire to improve. 

“I’m just a bit of a perfectionist and I just really want to do well, it doesn’t really come from anything externally,” said the nursing student in an interview with the Martlet. “It’s more of an internal drive to be the best version of myself. I know that sounds a bit cheesy but I just want to do well and so I make sure that I do.”

Though the soccer season is over, the team is training six days a week and looking ahead to next September. Kettyls says her busy lifestyle means that soccer and nursing school take priority over everything else. She chalks up her excellent grades to her ability to always put those two things first. 

“You always feel like you don’t have enough time, but you just have to make time,” said Kettyls. “Whether that means waking up at 5 a.m. before classes start to study early or staying up late, I just make time in the day to just prioritize school and soccer.”

The other Provost winner, Donnecke is competing on her second varsity team of her academic career. Before coming to UVic to complete her PhD in chemistry, Donnecke studied and rowed at Harvard University. 

“My first couple years as a student athlete were definitely challenging, learning how to juggle your time on training with the team,” said the rower-turned-runner, adding that time management has helped her succeed.

Running became a passion for Donnecke when she decided to stop pursuing rowing at the national level at the end of 2019. She ran throughout the lockdown and eventually walked onto the Vikes cross country and track team, saying her previous training as a heavyweight rower gave her body power.

“I feel like I’m almost cheating the system by getting a second go at being on an awesome team,” said the graduate student. “I’m incredibly lucky to have that chance.”

All three Provost Award winners will be commended again for their hard work in April at the Celebration of Champions banquet.