athlete signing his commitment papers
Gee-Gees athletes share what you need to know before committing to a university program. Illustration: Hailey Otten/Fulcrum
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Bowie, Peter, and Flemming share tips on how to earn a spot on a university roster

Playing sports at the university level is an accomplishment in itself — even more so when you get to be a part of a great program and a successful team. Scoring goals, winning games, and playing for championships is far more intense once you hit university. 

But you can’t get there without hard work. 

It doesn’t come easy, and high school student-athletes need to earn their spots. The opportunity to play with and against some of the best athletes in the country is something university athletes are proud of and high school players strive to achieve. 

For athletes in high school right now, University of Ottawa Gee-Gees have some advice to share to help elevate your game and make your way onto a university roster. 

Aurora Bowie knows a thing or two about championships. 

In 2019, the Stouffville native joined the decorated U of O women’s rugby team and helped them earn their sixth consecutive RSEQ championship and fifth consecutive medal at the national championship tournament. 

Bowie graduated from Bill Brothers Secondary School in Markham before making her way to the Gee-Gees. She also played club rugby with the Toronto Reds 7s Academy and Markham Irish Rugby. 

“It is super important to get in contact with coaches early, ideally [at] the start of your grade 12 year, and plan a visit to explore the campus and learn about the sports program and academics,” Bowie said in an interview.

“As much as talent is important, I’ve learned that coaches also really pay attention to the little things like your effort off the ball, your communication, and helping out everywhere you can.” 

The effort does not stop once you make the team, though. 

“It’s really important to recognize the huge commitment university sports are, it can be tough to balance practices, games, travelling, and school work, but if you really want it, the student-athlete life is worth it,” Bowie said. 

James Peter has been a part of the Gee-Gees football team since 2017. His long list of accolades during his high school years definitely helped earn him a spot on the roster, but Peter has never dismissed the importance of education. 

“The best advice I’d give student-athletes trying to play university ball is to ensure that they’re academically excellent!” Peter said in an interview. “It’s the first thing university scouts ask when recruiting.”

Of course, keeping up physically is also important. 

“Hitting the weights and field even on days you aren’t feeling up to it is mandatory, which builds resilience toward challenges you will face,” Peter explained. 

That said, working hard in all the aspects of being student-athletes not only leads to success, but allows you to have fun and truly enjoy your sport. 

“The concept of being excellent in the classroom, in the gym, and life, transitions onto the field. Once game time approaches, play fast, play hard, play physically and overall, have fun.”

The Gee-Gees men’s rugby program has grown thanks to the talented, hard-working, and dedicated athletes. 

James Flemming is known for more than just on field talent. A mix of talent and leadership is what has helped Flemming shine during his time as a Gee-Gee. 

Throughout his U of O career, Flemming has earned both athletic and academic acknowledgements. 

To high school student athletes, Flemming stressed the importance of going out and making things happen rather than waiting. 

“Dedicate yourself to your craft now, don’t wait,” said Flemming. “Take care of your body and your books. Get your film out there to university coaches and make sure your social media is clean.” 

“Look for ways to improve your leadership and focus on being a good teammate.”