Tag: cmu blazers (Page 1 of 2)

Blazers, Brothers, and Championship Banners: An Interview with CMU Blazer Ryan Jensen

As many of you know, both the men’s and women’s Blazer soccer teams took home the 2018 Manitoba Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) championship trophy. Go Blazers go!

CMU’s Ryan Jensen  is here to take us onto the soccer pitch and give a first-hand account of the men’s team’s incredible season and the feelings that came along with it. Take it away, Ryan!

Ryan JensenMy name is Ryan Jensen, I am a fourth year Redekop School of Business student at CMU. I’ve been a part of the soccer team since my first year in 2015. I play as an attacking midfielder while wearing number 10.

What was the season like prior to being in the final four?

This year we were extremely lucky to have such a deep, skillful, intelligent squad which played such a key role in our ability to win the league for the first time since 2005. We absolutely killed it this season, to say the least. Although we did not win every time we stepped on the field, we sure gave it our all until the final whistle.

We were fortunate enough to travel Calgary during the opening weeks of the season to play exhibition games against Ambrose college and SAIT College, where we comfortably defeated Ambrose by a score of 3-1, which became one of the first times our team actually began to click. The following day we played the 4th ranked team in college soccer, SAIT college, and fought hard enough to earn ourselves a 2-2 tie.

What was it about your team this year that allowed you to find so much success?

I can honestly say of my four years involved with the soccer team at CMU, that this is by far the most skilled and enjoyable team to not only play with, but to watch. Each and every one of our first year players impacted the team in such a large way. 

It is tough to put it into words that would justify how I feel about these boys, but there is just something about the way we are around each other. Not only are they my teammates, but I strongly feel like these boys are family. And that’s something we have always strived for at CMU.

Tell me about the moment you knew your team had won the championship. How did you feel?

Ryan Jenson with teammates and MCAC trophyWe were the underdogs. Everyone wrote us off, and yet everyone supported us. If I remember correctly it was about the 73rd minute where our midfield battled in the middle of the park to win possession. The ball ended up with our right back, Kieran. Kieran looked up and spotted my run darting across Brandon’s back line, and it was right after Kieran launched a long ball from that infamous right foot of his that I knew it was ours to win. We didn’t have the most chances, but we had that one. I controlled the ball with my chest and with my first touch took a shot across my body and into the bottom left corner.

 

When was the last season that the Blazers won the MCAC Soccer Championship?

CMU BLazers Soccer Team with MCAC tropheyThe last time CMU won the outdoor championship was 2005, which is such an important accomplishment for our boys to win it for the school this year. Being able to represent the school and their athletics program is a feeling that will never fade once you’ve become a champion.

What role has soccer played in your CMU experience?

I have always thanked CMU for being such a close, interrelated community driven school. In my first year I was terrified when it came to the idea of university. But playing on the sports team before starting school is a massive advantage because you already know a fairly large group of people.

You’re in your 4th year, which means graduation is coming up soon! How will soccer remain a part of your life after leaving CMU?

I’ve always told myself that I will play soccer for my whole life regardless of my current life situation, simply for the love of the game.

Do you have any advice for future Blazers?

CMU Blazers mens and womens soccer teams with their MCAC trophiesIf I could share any piece of advice for any new athletes, I would begin by simply telling them to enjoy their time here. You are only eligible for 5 years under MCAC rules, which may seem like a long time, but it is not. Enjoy yourself, because before you know it you will be in your 5th year and graduating and you will look back and wonder where all the time went.

Thanks for bringing us into that final match, Ryan! Congratulations to both the Men’s and Women’s soccer teams for bringing home the trophies.

 

Back to the Future: A family tradition of CMU

Back to the Future: A family tradition of CMU - Anika Loeppky playing volleyball with her highschool team.

Canadian Mennonite Bridal College? That was how CMBC, one of CMU’s predecessor colleges, was commonly referred to when both my parents were students there back in the 90’s. As the joke implies, students seemed more focused on finding a life-long partner than getting a degree! Imagine that… 

CMU has changed substantially in the past 30 years, and one program that has changed a lot is Athletics. Just like my folks, I will be playing on the CMU volleyball team, however there are a few key differences. 

While my Dad was a “Butterchurner,” I will be a Blazer. Currently, CMU has one unifying name, the Blazers, which represents all the sports teams. But when my Dad played volleyball, their team could choose their name, and somehow the “Butterchurners” won the vote. Secondly, I will be playing in the beautiful Loewen Athletics Centre, while the “Butterchurners” played out of the Shaftesbury High School Gym.  

The level of play has also greatly improved. When my Mom played, they held open tryouts in September, and essentially took everyone who showed up. (She also claims that she may have been serving underhand.)  

The CMU "Butterchurners" circa 1980.

My dad is the cool guy sporting a mullet (#15). Pay close attention to the “Butterchurner” logo on the right!

Like my parents did, I know I’ll be playing alongside a wonderful group of people, and many memories will be made throughout the season. I can’t wait to take my volleyball skills to the next level as part of the Blazers Athletics Program.

I’m also looking forward to being a part of the strong faith community and building life-long friendships.  Growing up in Selkirk, MB, I never had the opportunity to explore my faith in a school setting, so I’m excited to be immersed in a new environment that encourages me to grow in my faith. 

Based on my experiences so far, the community at CMU is inviting, caring, and most of all, accepting of everyone! Moving into residence will be a big transition for me, but it’s comforting to know that I’ll be welcomed with open arms.

Anika Loeppky sits on a bench with white rocky mountain peaks in the background.Both my parents are still in touch with people they met in dorm, and those friendships have taken our family on travels to places like BC, England, and Germany.  

Back in the day, there weren’t nearly as many courses to choose from compared to today. When I first received my registration guide in the mail, I was overwhelmed by all the courses that CMU offers. I wanted to enroll in more than my schedule could hold, which is a good problem to have! The course selection has diversified, and the academic opportunity has expanded.  

I can’t wait to finally graduate high school on June 28th! To me, that diploma will represent the beginning of a new adventure full of life-long learning, athletic endeavours, and lasting friendships. Go Butterchurners… oops I mean Blazers! What better place to embark on this adventure than at CMU? 

AnnikaLoeppky


Annika Loeppky is entering her first year at CMU this fall. She hails from Selkirk, Manitoba.

Balancing Basketball and a Bachelor’s Degree

University started with basketball. I showed up as an 18-year-old focused on spending all my time in the gym and the rest on the minimal amount of homework I planned to do. I suppose it was a mixture of finally being on my own, feeling indestructible in my athletic abilities, and the overall drive of a dream coming true, that fed my focus. Schoolwork was what I had to do to play ball. I was required to maintain a 2.0 GPA and that’s all I hoped for.

Matt Warkentin - Balancing Basketball and a Bachelors Degree

And for a little while, it was fantastic! But as with any good thing, eventually it had to come to an end. Reality kicked in when I got my first semester midterms back. I had just barely cleared the GPA requirement. I wasn’t going to be able to keep this level of effort up if I wanted to succeed in academics too. But did I even want success in my academics? Or was I just here for basketball?

This is a scary question given that the cost of living, tuition, and having a good time all costs around $6,500 a semester. So, was I going to be willing to pay that much money just to play ball? Or would my focus have to change? The answer was simple. Yes, I wanted to play ball that much.

Thank God for the support of my friends and family. Without it, my view of school and ball would never have changed.

Matt Warkentin - Balancing Basketball and a Bachelors Degree

I was able to finish my first year in the clear, and entered my second year with a new attitude. My focus hadn’t changed; basketball still came first. But now schoolwork was a very close second, and I was determined to succeed in both.

During my second year, I began to learn how to balance school with ball. And as I entered my third, I considered myself a pro. My mind-set was this: homework will get done and will always get done, without question. Basketball – as long as I work hard at it – will continue to give me an escape from the busyness of academic madness.

As I found my stride, I found I was worrying less on the whole. On top of completing my schoolwork by the deadlines and showing up to all my practices for ball, there was even time for life! I hit up the city, met new friends, and succeeded in living the classic university life.

Thank goodness CMU was forgiving when it came to the learning process of succeeding in education after high school.

Matt Warkentin is a fourth year English major at CMU.

5 Keys to Making It Through the Winter Semester

So the Christmas Holidays have come and gone, and now you’re wondering how you’re going to make it through the winter semester. Reading Week is still over a month away, and your study-motivation meter is waning after grinding out the fall semester. So how are you supposed to stay driven and focused and find success, yet still have some fun in the second semester? Well, here are a few CMU-style tips that might help you get through:

1) Make the Most Out of CMU’s Outdoors

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Yes, Winnipeg winters can be cold. But that makes for opportunities that only come in cold climates, so find something you like to do outside. CMU has ice to skate on, trails for cross country skiing, or even just trails to walk on in the forest. Not to mention there are plenty of fields of snow to play in. So find some out-door activities that you like to do, because being cooped up inside all winter is going to drive you crazy.

2) Go to CMU Events

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CMU has no shortage of events to attend. That includes everything from potlucks for apartment students, to music recitals, to CMU Blazers games. Or maybe it doesn’t even have to be a formal event, and you end up just hanging out in a Poettcker Hall lounge instead. Whatever it is, find some people to spend time with, because no matter where you go, you’ll find people worth spending time with at CMU.

3) Make Your Classwork Enjoyable…Or at Least Bearable

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Let’s be honest…classes aren’t always a student’s favourite place to be. But there are lots of ways to make classes more enjoyable. Many classes see profs assign papers and projects that are open for you to decide on the topic. Take advantage of these, and turn those assignments into something you’ll at least somewhat enjoy. I realize not all classes have those types of projects, so in that case, get to know some of your classmates if you don’t already, and study together. As noted above, most things are more enjoyable with someone by your side.

4) Take Advantage of the Coziness of Winter

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When else do you get to wear your favourite cozy sweater every day to class and not get razzed for it? Not to mention snuggling up with a book isn’t quite the same in summer, so here’s your chance to snuggle up with lots of books…and hopefully some textbooks. Grab a favourite blanket and your hot beverage of choice and you’re all set. Seriously, it might help you warm up to those readings.

5) Explore the City

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CMU is a great place to spend lots of time, but there is plenty more to explore around the city during a Winnipeg winter. Head down to the Assiniboine Park to skate on the duck pond or to The Forks to skate on the river, or check out the ice castles at The Forks instead. There’s also Festival du Voyageur in February if you want to get a French-Canadian experience. And that’s just a short list. All the stereotypes are true…Winnipeg knows how to have a good time no matter what the weather is like!

On the Court and in the Classroom: A Challenging Transition

Growing up in Morris, Manitoba just south of Winnipeg, I was involved in sport starting in elementary school. I participated in many school sports, but invested most of my time in basketball, playing competitively from grade five until grade eleven.

Jess Edel - On the Court and in the Classroom: A Challenging Transition

In grade ten, I began playing club volleyball, and continued into my graduating year. It was then I decided volleyball was the sport I wanted to pursue further at the University level.

Transitioning from high school into university has been a challenge on and off the court. On the court, the level of volleyball is an adjustment. We practice 3 times a week along with fitness once a week.

Having practices so often and league games every weekend takes time away from studies. This makes juggling homework and volleyball difficult. Though being a student athlete has its challenges, it’s helping me develop good time management skills.

Jess Edel - On the Court and in the Classroom: A Challenging Transition

Another benefit of being involved in team sports is the sense of community that develops. Your team starts to act as a second family. They always have your back, and if you ever have a problem, they’re willing to listen and give feedback.

Being on a sports team has made the transition from high school to university much easier, creating opportunities for new friendships.

When I first came to CMU, I was skeptical of what university life was like. Being part of a new environment where you don’t know anyone, while trying to get to know the campus can be extremely intimidating.

However, being part of a sports team at CMU has given me a way to get to know other students through my teammates. All of the sports teams are relatively close too, so I’ve been able to connect with students on the other teams as well.

In high school, I relied on the Bible verse Philippians 4:13 to encourage me whenever I felt like giving up.

Jess Edel - On the Court and in the Classroom: A Challenging Transition

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength,” reminded me at many low moments that I can do all things, especially through the power of Jesus Christ. This scripture has continued to encourage me in life at CMU, both on the court and in the books.

The classes are larger, the professors are tougher, and the assignments are longer. This adjustment is hard for everyone coming out of high school, and can be even more challenging coming from a small, AA school in Morris, with 400 students attending from K-12.

It can seem intimidating and has its challenges, but I believe that with determination, hard work, and a strong faith, anyone can do it. If it weren’t for my amazing teammates, coaches, and peers, adapting to university life at CMU would be far more challenging.

Jessica Edel is a first year student, and member of the CMU women’s volleyball team from Morris, Manitoba.

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