Sports

Mann, Evans repeat with UBC

Co-captains and Cowichan stalwarts Miranda Mann and Caitlin Evans enjoy their fourth national field hockey title in five years at UBC. - submitted
Co-captains and Cowichan stalwarts Miranda Mann and Caitlin Evans enjoy their fourth national field hockey title in five years at UBC.
— image credit: submitted

It’s been an emotional time for Miranda Mann since her dad Les died on Sept. 28.

Field hockey has been her salvation, helping her through the tough times. And with the support of her UBC teammates, the Duncan athlete is rejoicing in her fourth Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship in five years.

Longtime Duncan teammate Caitlin Evans has been with Mann every step of the way and is also retiring from university field hockey with four titles under her belt.

The UBC Thunderbirds captured national superiority again in Victoria last weekend with a 4-1 victory over the UVic Vikes.

Mann and Evans have played field hockey together basically since Grade 2.

“I was lucky enough to get to room with her in Victoria,’’ said Mann. “She’s definitely been a big part of what got me through.

“She played absolutely amazing as well. She played fantastic and so important for our team.’’

Mann was obviously thinking of her dad constantly throughout the tournament.

“My dad’s been a huge inspiration to me my whole career,’’ she said. “I think our whole team did it a bit for him, too. Everyone was so supportive.

“I had a whole team to pull me through it. Coming out with the result, it meant so much to me.’’

Les was a fixture at Miranda’s games from the very beginning of her field hockey career. He also documented many of the games through his photography and many were submitted and used in the News Leader Pictorial over the years.

The irony of playing the nationals at the same UVic field where Les unexpectedly collapsed a mere one month and a week previously wasn’t lost on Miranda.

Having to go back there was really tough, Miranda conceded. “I couldn’t have done it without the people I’ve been surrounded with,’’ she said.

On top of everything else, finding out she won the Gail Wilson Award for outstanding contributor made it a banner week for Mann. She’s only the second UBC player to ever receive the honour.

“That was a real honour,’’ said Mann. “I know Gail, she’s a professor at my school. She’s absolutely phenomenal. She’s done so much for sport.’’

Mann was the ideal choice for her contributions on and off the field.

“Miranda is an exceptional human being who is kind, considerate and someone who always puts the needs of teammates first,’’ noted UBC coach Hash Kanjee. “Miranda has a bright personality, a very positive attitude and her leadership skills which all go towards providing the glue that holds our team together.’’

Mann and Evans were both named to the all-Canadian team. Mann is a kinesiology student who works with autistic children in Vancouver, giving families a break from the rigors life has presented to them.

Defender Mann was her usual prolific self in the national final, as UBC built a 2-0 lead at the half and went ahead 3-0 before Victoria scored its lone goal in the 61st minute.

UBC replied with its fourth goal only two minutes later to complete the scoring.

Waterloo and Guelph were the other teams in the tournament.

Mann was happy to end her career at UBC on a winning note.

She said there are plans for donations to be made in her dad’s memory at CIBC in support of Cowichan field hockey. Details are to be announced.

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