Notre Dame High School’s Samantha Gagnon is this month’s Alberta Sport Development Centre- Central Female Athlete of the Month.
The 18-year-old is a competitive volleyball player, who enjoys every aspect of the sport.
“That’s been the sole sport that I’ve done since about Grade 10,” she said.
Gagnon currently plays school volleyball and has played the past two seasons with the Senior Volleyball Team at Notre Dame High School. She has also played the past five seasons with the Queens Volleyball Club, who she’s been with since she was 12-years-old.
When she’s not playing competitively, she’s playing beach volleyball in the summer.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s a year round thing. I never get tired of it.”
Volleyball also happens to be a sport that runs in her family.
“Both my parents played at very high levels respectively and I was at an age where volleyball players started to get into it and they said, ‘Hey do you want to try it?,’ and I did.”
Her parents both played university and professional volleyball, her father having represented Canada in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in volleyball.
Gagnon said when she first played volleyball she didn’t enjoy it as she wasn’t very good at it, but with perseverance and taking part in it with friends, she ended up really liking it.
“Over the course of a few years your skills develop and you get a little better, and eventually I decided that this was something I actively wanted to pursue, and so I’ve put a lot of work into it and it’s something I get to continue past high school, which is super exciting,” said Gagnon.
She said her favourite part of the sport is the competitive nature of it.
“I absolutely love my team. They’re an amazing group of girls, and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
One of the best highlights for her looking back was her club receiving a bronze medal at provincials last year.
“We’re chasing a gold medal at provincials this year,” she said.
Another moment was when in her Grade 10 club year, when her team received a gold medal at Tier 2 in Division 1 at Nationals, placing 9th overall.
“That was incredibly exciting. That was the first success we had as a team so far along our journey. The gold medal is a big one, so it’s pretty exciting.”
Nationals this year take place in May.
This past summer proved an exciting one for Gagnon as she was a member of Team Alberta (17U age group) that competed at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in Florida.
And there will be lots of exciting times still to come as Gagnon will head to Kelowna to attend the University of British Columbia, where she will play as a member of the UBC-Heat Women’s Volleyball Team. She will also be majoring in business.