Six teams from Humber’s varsity program vaulted into the top 15 across the nation, according to the recent rankings by the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).
The six teams include the men’s soccer team who are ranked first, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s basketball, and women’s and men’s volleyball. The lowest ranked of those teams is men’s volleyball at 15.
It was unexpected good news even to Humber’s Manager of Athletics, Jim Bialek.
“I think anybody should be surprised when you have that many teams being represented,” said Bialek.
Least anticipated among the Hawks’ squads was the men’s basketball team. Last year, they won the national championship but they aren’t even in the top rankings.
“Every one of our sports have been ranked. The surprising part here is our men’s basketball team. Every single CCAA directed sport we are in the rankings except for men’s basketball,” said Bialek. “They will find their way back in the rankings, I’m sure.”
The CCAA national championships are only a week away and it looks like the men’s soccer team is primed to win it all with a first place ranking. Some had hoped to see the ranking ahead of this.
“I thought it could have been sooner,” men’s soccer head coach Michael Aquino said. “It took a little longer than we would like…but I think everyone is happy.”
For most teams, being the top ranked team means the expectation is to win the championship or bust. But for the men’s soccer team, it’s no big deal.
“(There has) just been pressure from ourselves,” said Aquino. “The expectations are to (reach the CCAA championships) and see how far we can take it”.
Men’s soccer is not the only team that’s just business about top spot. In fact, all of Humber’s teams going into the CCAA championships this week are taking this approach.
Ray Chateau, Head Director of Athletics at Humber, says the Hawks are too confident to feel the pressure.
“Our cross country team is confident that they can medal…for our women they lost the national medal last year by a hundredth of a second so I think that’s far more motivational than rankings. I don’t think the rankings will alter the amount of pressure they put on themselves to perform,” Chateau said.
But when you’re at the top, everyone else is going to be gunning for you.
“Its nice but it’s also a burden,” said Ajay Sharma, head coach of the women’s basketball team. “Where the rankings can make things challenging for you is there’s no night off for you.
“Nobody is going to do us any favors,” said Sharma.
Many people don’t place importance on the rankings because its effect on seeding for the national championship is minimal to none.
“For me, rankings are more of a media driven thing,” Chateau said. “At the end of the year they have very little impact,”
“It’s good media exposure for our conference but there’s no bearing on (seeding) for nationals,” said James Depoe, varsity coordinator.