Ace Sindico, Staff Writer
Athlete: Jason Guimaraes
Favourite movie: Mad Max: Fury Road
Jason is a third-year player on the seniors men’s volleyball team. With his exceptional athleticism and serene sense of confidence, he is able to lead by example on and off the court. His team often looks to him for his leadership and his ability to make the big plays down the stretch. He is able to keep his team level-headed and motivated even with the undefeated record (8-0) that they currently hold. This year Jason holds the title of Sports Representative in the Student Union, and is an excellent ambassador for MAC. Wishing him and his team the best of luck as they approach playoffs. Great work!
When did you first start playing volleyball and what made you fall in love with the sport?
I started playing volleyball back in grade 4 when I was in elementary school in Toronto. And I fell in love with it in grade 8, when I played club for the first time. I joined a club team with some of my teammates from junior high. We were inexperienced, but we managed to do well, often finishing in the top 10. At that point I realized that we could compete and hold our own.
You guys are undefeated in league play this year; what do you think has led to your teams success so far?
None of us expected to go 8-0, beating our record from last year (7-1). I believe the main factor that has led us to success would be our team’s defense. We always step up our defense and play to our opponent’s level. That makes us play up to a higher level when facing a good team, but we also match the level of a lower team, which is the team’s biggest weakness.
What drives you to compete at a high level, day in and day out?
The only thing that drives me is my will to win, the thought of graduating as a champion and bring a championship to Mac. We said that if we play at the level we know we can play, then we should be competing against every team, and possibly winning the entire league. I also have to give credit to my teammates who push me every day to get better. Four of us on seniors (Jason, Keenan, Nate and Brandon) have been playing together for 3+years. We also won a championship together back in grade 9, and we’ll strive to repeat that during our final year of high school.
Favourite moment from the season so far?
My favourite moment this season would be a tie; first, beating Charles Spencer, the number 9 ranked team in the province during the Strathcona volleyball tournament. After losing the first set, we managed to overcome a 6-point deficit and win the second set. During the 3rd and final set, we came out firing and won 15-9. The second would be winning the King’s College tournament, simply because it was the first tournament I’ve won since coming to Mac.
Thoughts about the pep rally that took place this past week?
It’s exciting to see the amount of people who showed up. Mac hasn’t always been known for really supporting the athletic teams. To see over 200 people in the gym gives me hope for the future, and what our playoff games might look like.
Favourite memory that resides in your mind about volleyball?
Two memories come to mind. The first one would be winning the Edmonton Catholic junior high volleyball league in grade 9. We had an undefeated season in league, and won all three major tournaments (O’Leary, St. Joseph & Mac). The second moment would be winning a national gold medal, in division two in 2013 with my club team, Nait Nooks.
When it’s all said and done, what will you take away from volleyball?
I’ll take the memories, and more importantly, good friends that I hope never to lose. Since Brandon, Keenan, Nate and I have been playing together since grade 8, we’ve built a strong bond, and I hope that we keep it long after volleyball. I also hope to take away another banner, but we’ll have to earn it.