Fiona Lester didn’t expect anything more after her year of glamour.
With her second Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) championship and being the recipient of Laurier’s Luke Fusco Academic Athletic Achievement Award this year, the last thing Lester believed would happen: to be named to the 2012 Capitol One Academic All-America College Division first team.
“It was really exciting and surprising, actually,” said Lester, who will start her fourth-year as a biology and math major in the fall. “I didn’t actually know I had been nominated until [Laurier communications coordinator] Jamie [Howieson] called me and told me I was on the team.”
Lester is one of only two Canadian student athletes to be named to the All-American team. She joins the University of Calgary Dinos’ Hayley Wickenheiser as the two women’s ice hockey members.
Lester, a defenceman for Laurier’s hockey team, scored four goals and added nine assists in the regular season of 2011-12, which landed her fifth in the OUA among defencemen.
During the playoffs, Lester’s leadership skills became pivotal, as she added a goal and five assists, including the series-clinching goal against the Windsor Lancers.
“I want to carry it forward to next season for sure. Just trying to step it up one more level every season is always a good idea,” she said.
Alongside her dynamic presence on the ice is her impressive transcript in the classroom. Lester finished her third year with a cumulative GPA of 11.69, or 3.90 on the American scale.
She will be completing her undergraduate thesis next year while taking over as captain of the Golden Hawks.
“I think that actually balancing the two, hockey and academics, is helpful because it makes you manage your time well and it’s almost easier when you know that you only have a certain amount of time to get stuff done,” Lester explained about her method to excel. “You just buckle down and you do it.”
Lester is only the second Laurier athlete to ever be named to an All-American team, joining football player Dillon Heap who was recognized in 2010.
“Dillon Heap was a great athlete and it’s really exciting to be put into the same group as him,” she said.
“I think it being so rare makes it even more exciting, and just to be in that small elite group of people.”
The two-time women’s hockey OUA champion, two-time Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Academic All-Canadian winner, and two-time Laurier athlete of the week hopes to finish off her four-year tenure at Laurier with another successful season.
“I definitely hope to build on everything that I accomplished this year and for myself what I’ve accomplished this year,” Lester said. “Going into fourth year I think I have a lot of leadership roles on my shoulders so I want to step up into that role and bring the team together and hopefully have another really successful year.”