RUGBY: T-Birds capture first conference banner

RUGBY: T-Birds capture first conference banner

UBC's Seumanutafa named 2019 Player of the Year

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – The UBC Thunderbirds can finally call themselves Canada West women's rugby champions.

UBC downed the Calgary Dinos 26-12 Sunday in the gold medal game at the conference championship in Lethbridge, as the T-Birds blocked a four-peat for the Dinos. The victory marked the first Canada West title in program history for the Thunderbirds.

Following the game, T-Bird Shoshanah Seumanutafa was named 2019 Canada West Player of the Year, capping off a memorable day for UBC at the University of Lethbridge's Community Stadium. Seumanutafa made a pair of converts for the T-Birds, as the conference's leading scorer from the regular season did her part to lift UBC to the historic win.

Both the Dinos and Thunderbirds will continue their seasons in two weeks when they'll travel to U SPORTS nationals in Ottawa.

Earlier in the day the Victoria Vikes earned a 51-14 win over the host Lethbridge Pronghorns in the bronze medal game.


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PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Shoshanah Seumanutafa

  • UBC Thunderbirds
  • Centre
  • 3rd-year
  • Vancouver, B.C.
  • Arts

Seumanutafa was a dominant offensive force in 2019 for the UBC Thunderbirds. The third-year centre led the Canada West in tries (7), converts (11), and points (57) during the regular season.

The Surrey, B.C. product kicked all of UBC’s 11 converts, with her 57 points 18 more than the next closest player on the league’s scoring list.

Her efforts paced the Thunderbirds’ conference-leading offence, which posted a total of 192 points in five contests.

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ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Julia Omokhuale

  • Calgary Dinos
  • Back Row
  • Calgary, Alta.
  • Science

Rookie back row Julia Omokhuale not only cracked the starting roster for the powerhouse Calgary Dinos, she made an immediate impact.

Omokhuale, who was recently been named to Canada’s U18 squad which will travel to the US in December, finished second on the team with 15 points.

Along with her point total,  Omokhuale also led the Dinos in defence with the second most tackle attempts, finishing the season with an astounding 96 per cent tackle completion rate.

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  • Victoria Vikes
  • Lock
  • 4th-year
  • Ottawa, Ont.
  • Engineering

Victoria's Zoe Goodwin-Sutton is the Student-Athlete Community Service award winner after spending extensive time volunteering, while also earning an 89 per cent average in software engineering.

Goodwin-Sutton was head coach of the Mount Douglas Secondary girls rugby team this season, leading three practices per week from April to June. She also volunteered as a counsellor at Operation Trackshoes, which is a three-day track meet for people with developmental disabilities.

On campus, Goodwin-Sutton organized the Vikes Blood Drive, where more than 20 student-athletes donated blood last spring, and has also coordinated several other community outreach initiatives for Vikes student-athletes.

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  • UBC Thunderbirds
  • 2nd season

After spending three years as an assistant with the program, Murten took over the head coaching role at UBC in 2018 after serving in the position in an interim capacity in 2016. Now in just his second season as the full-time head coach, he has guided UBC to its first women's rugby title. 

Murten is looking to become just the third Canada West coach to win the national award, and the first since Calgary's Simon Chi last took home the honour for CW in 2016. 

Other UBC coaches to earn the league's Coach of the Year recognition include current assistant Maria Gallo (2013) and Steve Tong (2004 and '06).


  • Props
    • Savannah Collison / Lethbridge / 4 / Calgary, AB / Arts
    • Cassidy Jones / Calgary / 5 / Calgary, AB / Education
  • Hooker
    •   Gillian Boag / UBC / 5 / Calgary, AB / Unclassified
  • Locks
    • Kasselle Menin / Calgary / 5 / Vulcan, AB / Medicine
    • Courtney Holtkamp / Alberta / 3 / Rimbey, AB / Kin., Sport & Rec.
  • Back row
    • Alyson MacDougall / Calgary / 3 / Calgary, AB / Education
    • Renee Gonzales / Victoria / 3 / Victoria, BC / Humanities
    • Emma Feldinger / UBC / 2 / Alexis Creek, BC / Kinesiology
  • Scrum half
    • Berlyn Seselja / Calgary / 3 / Surrey, BC / Kinesiology
  • Fly half
    • Breanna Aikens / UBC / 4 / Briercrest, SK / Science
  • Centres
    • Shoshanah Seumanutafa / UBC / 3 / Vancouver, BC / Arts
    • Maddy Aberg / Victoria / 5 / Calgary, AB / Social Sciences
  • Back three
    • Hailey Driscoll / Lethbridge / 5 / Lethbridge, AB / Arts & Science
    • Paige Farries / Victoria / 4 / Red Deer, AB / Science
    • Savannah Dubien / Alberta / 4 / Edmonton, AB / ALES



About Canada West

Since 1972, Canada West (CW) has been a leader in Canadian university sport, working to provide our student-athletes the opportunities to excel in sport, the classroom, and their communities. CW and our 17 members from across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba collectively carry on a legacy of competitive excellence, as our champions proudly go on to represent the conference at U SPORTS national championships.

Canada West – training leaders, building champions.