Ashley Briker, a graduate of Mt. Boucherie Secondary School, has been selected as the first-ever recipient of the Capri Insurance Athletics Entrance Scholarship at UBC Okanagan.
Briker will receive a $2,500 scholarship renewable for four years, funded by an endowment that Capri Insurance established in January to help top scholars who are also top athletes attend UBC Okanagan.
"Capri Insurance has been involved in the community for 35 years. We see UBC Okanagan as a tremendous boon to the community and we wanted to support it," says Capri Insurance Partner Tim Miller. "We felt strongly this was a meaningful way to do that. Athletics is a marquee area for the university, and we hope this encourages other students to come here."
"We're very happy the first student-athlete selected for this scholarship is a local athlete," says Christopher Rigg, Partner with Capri Insurance. "Ashley is a great choice."
At 5'2", Briker is not tall by women's basketball standards, but Women's Basketball Head Coach Heather Semeniuk says the point guard from West Kelowna has the skills and leadership qualities to have a big impact on the UBC Okanagan Heat this year.
"As she got to Grade 9 and 10, you could see her basketball skills were becoming more and more superior," says Semeniuk. "She is the best ball-handler that I have ever seen as a coach. She plays a heads-up game and her vision of the court is excellent. Ashley is a wonderful team player and I'm excited about having the opportunity to coach her.
Coach Semeniuk says she welcomed the ability to offer Briker the Capri Insurance Athletics Scholarship.
"I can't thank Capri Insurance enough," says Semeniuk. "I'm thrilled that they've come on board with UBC Okanagan and our athletics department. I hope other people jump on board and recognize that this is a wonderful way to invest in young people, in the future, and in sports."
Capri Insurance has a strong history of supporting local youth activities, notes Rob Johnson, UBC Okanagan's Director of Athletics and Recreation. "We are very fortunate to have Capri Insurance add UBC Athletics to that list. They have been involved in our annual Scholarship Breakfast from its inception in 2005, and have now taken supporting student athlete achievement to a new level."
This award is the first of its kind at UBC Okanagan, says Johnson.
"It provides the varsity coaches with an excellent recruiting tool, enabling them to go after the best and brightest student athletes in the local area, the province and the country," Johnson says. "Not only is this kind of support exactly what we need to strengthen our bid for membership in Canada West, but perhaps more importantly it provides incredible financial security to parents and student-athletes whose academic and athletic achievements merit this level of post-secondary financial support.
"This is clearly our flagship award and Ashley is a wonderful choice as the inaugural recipient."
UBC Okanagan will host the 2010 Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) Women's Basketball Championship -- Canada's premier event for women's collegiate basketball -- from March 17 to 20, 2010. This tournament brings together the champions from each of the CCAA's five conferences in addition to the host school and two wildcard teams.
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