Humber a home away from home for athletes

hawks-mel-szilagyl-redeemer-basketball Hawks point guard Mel Szilagyl (left) in a game against Redeemer this season. She is originally from Montreal. Photo by Kheon Clarke

Kheon Clarke
Sports Reporter

Humber College goes the extra mile to make out of province athletes feel at home.

Humber Athletics has a number of student athletes that are either from another province or other countries.

Jim Bialek, manager of athletics and sports information at Humber, said the college tries to provide out of province athletes with a family atmosphere.

“The athletes usually build up relationships with the classmates, teammates and other athletes within the Hawk family,” Bialek said.

Bialek said Humber tries to put the athlete in a situation where he or she has an opportunity to connect with the local students.

“We try and fully involve them in a social environment and that can simply be going to the Varsity Academic Center to study with other athletes, it could be working out in the High Performance Center or even in the therapy area,” Bialek said

Bialek said the most important thing is to try and not leave them on their own and preventing  them from developing home-sickness.

Hawks’ Women’s basketball team point guard Mel Szilagyl said the culture at Humber is all around comfortable.

“I don’t feel that it’s anything Humber does specifically, its just everyone feels at home here.”

Szilagyl was born in Montreal, Quebec, and lived there for most of her life. She attended CEGEP at Dawson College, which is a junior college. She then attended and played basketball at Concordia University, also located in Montreal, for three years.

“I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in psychology. I took a year off and after that I came to Humber to do my post grad,” Szilagyl said.

Szilagyl said her coaches at Concordia were not nearly as supportive as the coaching staff at Humber College.

“I feel like they focus more on the development aspect of basketball more here than they do at Concordia,” she said.

Szilagyl said growing up in Montreal she was taught to hate Toronto. She lives in Etobicoke rather than downtown, but still had to adjust to the size of her current home.

“I like it, but it’s a lot bigger and it takes a lot longer to get places,” Szilagyl said. “My sister lives here anyway so it’s not too bad of a transition.”

Hawks’ power forward Brenda Carachure said it is different transitioning from university basketball in Mexico to playing college ball in Canada.

“It’s harder for me because here you have to provide for your own tuition and manage a part time job on the side,” Carachure said.

Carachure is from Acapulco, a coastal city in the Mexican state of Guerrero. After coming to Canada she attended and played basket at George Brown College

“I don’t have any family up here. I have to work if I want to play basketball,” Carachure said. “I have to go the extra mile.”

Carachure said she’s gotten a lot of help from both the coaching and athletic staff at Humber.

“Its been a great experience because they really do care about you as a person, student and as an athlete,” Carachure said. “It’s a good support system here.”