Hunter Zawada: Recollections from a McGill Redman
Hunter Zawada is a Vimy lacrosse alumnus who spent his grade 12 graduation year at the Hill Academy in Ontario. Hunter committed to play at McGill University in 2017, and is currently studying Pharmacology. Hunter just finished up his second season with CUFLA in November, losing by a hair to Western University in semi-finals. Vimy lacrosse was excited to have the opportunity to catch up with Hunter, and talk about his experiences as a sophomore playing collegiate lacrosse in Canada:
It’s your second year at McGill playing lacrosse and studying Pharmacology, how have you found the balance between academics and athletics? How does your school/team ensure you’ll be successful in both?
I have found the balance between academics and lacrosse to be difficult at certain times during the season, but it definitely teaches you to organize your time effectively. Everyone learns differently and it’s all about finding what works best for you and then sticking to it. The coaches here at McGill do an amazing job at making the team aware that academics come before lacrosse. Our coaches always ensure that everyone on the team is reaching their academic goals by providing us with resources, such as: tutors, organized study hall, academic counselling sessions etc.
How has your experience at Vimy/The Hill prepared you for CUFLA?
I feel that my experience at Vimy helped me improve tremendously. I accredit this improvement to the amount of exposure I had to the game of lacrosse, along with amazing coaching. Attending Vimy definitely provided to me that if I worked hard I could develop with all of the skills I needed to take the next step, which was to attend The Hill for my grade 12 year. Both of these opportunities were able to prepare me extremely well for the intensity I faced in the college lacrosse environment, as well as university in general.
Do you like playing in CUFLA? Why do you think this is a unique league to play in as compared to the NCAA?
I really like the structure of the CUFLA as it provides such a great experience for a player who wants to play college lacrosse, but isn’t interested in the year-round commitment that comes with playing in the NCAA. Since our season only lasts about 2 months in the fall, It’s nice to be able to really focus on your academics and experience university life without those year-round commitments. In my opinion, it is the perfect balance.
What are you looking forward to in your next two years at McGill, and on the team?
In my next two years at McGill I’m really looking forward to creating great memories with friends, continuing to expand my knowledge in the health sciences in preparation for a career in medicine, and hopefully winning a Baggataway Cup!
If you could give one piece of advice to a young lacrosse player interested in playing post-secondary lacrosse, what would you tell them?
One piece of advice that I would give to any young athlete interested in playing college lacrosse would be to always stay on top of your academics and to never feel satisfied. Always push yourself to get better both in the classroom, and on the lacrosse field.
Vimy lacrosse looks forward to following Hunter through his coming seasons of his college lacrosse career, and we are proud of what he has accomplished this far.