Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
Name: Janean Sergeant
School: Queen’s University
Position: Manager, High Performance Sport Operations
Hometown: Kingston, Ont.
- How did you get to your current position, and what do you enjoy most about our job?
I worked my way through all areas in the athletic department at Queen’s before the opportunity was created to step into the Interuniversity role. I love being in competitive sport and working closely with varsity athletes and talented coaches!
- Who has had the most influence on your career?
When I was a varsity athlete for Queen’s, I had a female coach, Annabelle Twiddy who I met earlier in life as a competitor. I had a tremendous amount of respect for her in the way she treated her players, opponents, the outcome of any competition and in particular the way she managed the game. She was a trailblazer in women’s hockey and a great mentor to women in sport. To this day she is a very close friend and a Queen’s alumna.
- What is your greatest sporting moment or achievement?
I was selected to be part of the 2011 Summer Universiade Mission Staff, as Canada’s Sport Technical Manager in Shenzhen, China
It was an experience of a lifetime to be part of such an exciting international event. From the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, to such a wide range of sporting events, the cultural experience including shopping, and the opportunity to support each team within the games, will always be a very memorable time for me.
- How would you define a Queen’s University student-athlete?
Our athletes are impressive! They are so driven to excel in both academics and athletics. I am constantly amazed with their talent when they arrive as rookies but even more so how well they develop during their time as student-athletes, until the time they graduate.
- What does success look like for the Queen’s University athletics program?
Success is measured by our graduation rates, competitive improvement through athlete development, and of course with banners and medals. We take pride in developing the student-athlete as a whole so they “Lead the Way” within the Queen’s and Kingston community.
- What’s the biggest challenge you face in today’s sports world?
In high performance sport, I think we are seeing more challenges as a direct result of the increasing pressures on our student-athletes. Contributing factors include demanding schedules, training, competitions, concussions/injuries and academic stress all colliding in peak times. As a result, more and more health and wellness issues are surfacing.
- Where would you like to see Canadian university sport in the next three to five years?
I am so impressed with the calibre of sport, however I think university sport needs to revisit how to guide student-athlete development in order to alleviate the extreme pressures they face. Also we need continue to focus on the visibility of what U SPORTS offers athletes, convincing them to stay in Canada because we care about their total development as a whole, within each of our conferences and nationally.
- If you could sit down for dinner with one person in the sports industry (athlete, coach or manager), who would it be? Why? What would you talk about?
Mike Babcock. He spoke at one our earlier national meetings and was very impressive! Also if he is prepared to tackle turning the Leafs around, then he is the kind of fighter you want in your corner.
Having former ties with McGill, Babcock has demonstrated his passion for sport and expressed his approach to being successful in a coaching role dealing with athletes. I would welcome his thoughts on how we can prepare athletes for national-level sport, and also to be successful in life, as he made several analogies in his presentation to us. He is a key motivational person who can relate to university sport!
- What would you say to a sports fan who’s never watched a U SPORTS game/tournament/competition?
Get on the bandwagon, you are missing some of the best sporting events that are often right in you own neighbourhood! Also, look at the role models that are available to your local minor sport leagues. Get connected!
- What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from work?
For me in the past, best time away from work has been spending time with family at the cottage, as it allows for a full decompression. However, moving forward I am going to enter retirement to allow me to spend as much time as possible with a new little grandson! Recruiting can never start too early!