T-Birds 5-on-5: Gutsy girl-power

The student-athletes at UBC never cease to amaze with their ability to balance both work and play. This special girl-power edition of the T-Birds 5-on-5 aims to recognize the women — that inspire those of us currently eating chips on the couch — as well as the teammates they train beside every day. Amidst all of the training, they somehow find time to deal with finals, silly newspaper questionnaires and the Vancouver weather.


Alessandra Gentile (AG): volleyball

Alison Pouw (AP): cross country

Mackenzie Lee (ML): rugby

Mikayla Ogrodniczuk (MO): hockey

Sarah Korpach (SK): track and field


1) What makes you feel confident?

AG: Standing proudly with my T-Bird jersey, on the end-line with my team, staring down the opponent before a game starts — that’s when I feel confident.

AP: Running makes me feel free which makes me feel confident! Individual success as well as team success in a sport can also contribute to feeling confident. 

ML: Nailing all the parts of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a good night’s sleep, men's deodorant and freshly shaved legs!

MO: Bacon and eggs.

SK: I find my confidence through knowing that I put the work in and that I deserve to be there. When I run my first race come track season in March, I remind myself that we’ve been training six days a week since September. Feeling prepared gives me the confidence to run to the best of my ability.

2) If you were initiated into the Spice Girls, which “spice” would you be?

AG: I just took a test online to find out which Spice Girl I am. I got Baby Spice three times. What are the chances?

AP: Being that I am always considered the baby among my friends and teammates due to my “petite” frame, and that I always try to have a smile on my face to boost my mood and the mood of those around me, I would have to say that I most closely resemble Baby Spice!

ML: Probably “Grandma Spice” because I'm kind of a 21-year-old grandma and “mom” in my friend groups.

MO: If I were initiated into the Spice Girls, I would for sure be a Hot Chilli Pepper ;)

SK: Sporty spice, of course.

3) Which of your teammates inspire you?

AG: Katie Crawford. One night at Bims [The Bimini Public House] after a few drinks, I shouted at the top of my lungs at her, “I WILL ALWAYS LOOK UP TO YOU!” Funny how honest people get after a few drinks.

AP: Nicola Symonds inspires me to be a better athlete and a better person. She is so kind and caring, and marches to her own [drum]. She is able to focus on what's best for her in each workout and tailor each training session to how she is feeling that given day. Not to mention she is beautiful, positive and a super great listener when I rant to her on occasion.

ML: Mackenzie Carson is a first year on the team who got thrown into a huge leadership position right away and has handled it amazingly! She's such a hard worker and I'm next to her on the field, so it’s such a comforting feeling knowing she's there. That's why Carson inspires me.

MO: Former teammate Danielle Dube. She is the true definition of a super woman!

SK: Katherine Tourigny. This girl has been there for me from my first day at UBC to now, and I’ve always looked up to her since she’s basically “Superwoman.” She’s incredibly accomplished in not only her athletic achievements, but also in her personal and academic pursuits. Despite the number of setbacks she’s faced, you rarely hear her complain. She’s driven, collected and well-rounded — someone who I aspire to be like one day.

4) What’s your #GirlPower anthem before you hit the ice/field/court/track?

AG: “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé. Actually, anything Beyoncé — she is a strong feminista!

AP: One hundred per cent Justin Bieber. His best pump up song? Now that's the real question. But I would have to say if I were to choose just one, I would go with the classic “One Time”... It gets me every time!

ML: “Wreak Havoc” by Skylar Grey or “Gasoline” by Halsey. They are usually the last things I’ll listen to before a game.

MO: The song I always listen to before I hit the ice would have to be “Remember the Name” by Eminem.

SK: “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede.

5) If you could draft someone from history on to your team, who would your first-round pick go to?

AG: Giba [Gilberto Amauri de Godoy Filho] hands down. He is the best. I want him on my team.

AP: You know Claire, the hardworking and crazy housewife on Modern Family? I would definitely recruit her to be on the cross country team. Julie Bowen — not only a great actress and generous individual — is also an avid runner, which is why I would recruit her to the team. 

ML: Beyoncé because she can do anything really or Ronda Rousey. I think Rousey would probably destroy in a rugby game.

MO: Nellie McClung of the “famous five” — she stood up for women, justice and equality.

SK: Melissa Bishop. She’s my track and field idol, not to mention she’s Canada’s fastest 800m runner and the Canadian record-holder for that event.