Varsity Letters' Top 10 memories from the 2017-18 B.C. high school sports season. (Web image)
Feature High School

TSUMURA: My Top 10 memories from the 2017-18 B.C. high school sports season

LANGLEY — It’s that time again, time to put the old notebook on hold for the course of the summer.

Before we do, however, let’s take some time for reflection on the season past.

Today I offer, from hundreds to choose from, my Top 10 most impactful memories. In the end, it’s not the actual ranking that matters most. It’s more the big-picture message they represent when taken as a whole.

In sum, I hope they represent a feeling that in some way reflects your own experience.



All B.C. boys high school volleyball Player of the Year Brodie Hofer did every time he set foot on the court for the Langley Christian Lightning was win. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Vancouver Sports Pictures)


Few if any student-athletes in B.C.’s Class of 2018 carried as potent a combination of skill and winning karma as Langley Christian’s Brodie Hofer.

He missed virtually the entire regular season nursing a pair of broken toes suffered while chasing the family dog at home, yet upon his post-season return, led the Lightning to a repeat title at the B.C. senior boys AA championships. In the fall, the next chapter of his career begins with the national title-contending Trinity Western Spartans.

Here’s the piece I wrote when he was named B.C.’s senior boys volleyball Player of the Year

A soccer game between his two former schools reinforces, for the author, the magic of B.C high school sports. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of


Not every piece I write each season deals with the biggest games.

Sometimes, it’s fun to reflect on what high school sports really means.

To that end, I found it especially profound to watch a boys high school soccer game involving the two high schools I attended from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s.

My hope was that everyone reading this, could in some way, relate it to their own high school sports experience

Taryn O’Neill (right) of George Elliott, and New Westminster’s Grace Fetherstonhaugh set a new standard in girls middle distance running this past season. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of


It was the season in which B.C. senior girls high school track and field championship meet records fell in three traditional middle-distance events.

At the same June meet in which Villanova-bound Taryn O’Neill of Lake Country’s George Elliott Secondary set new standards in the 1,500m and 3,000m races, New Westminster’s Oregon State-bound Grace Fetherstonhaugh broke her own record in the 1,500m steeplechase.

Their excellence was breathtaking. And we may be waiting a long, long time before we see such dominance again.

Here’s what I wrote about Taryn’s incredible weekend at the BC high school meet, an article which also touches on Grace

Here’s a piece I wrote on Grace when I caught up with her at the SFU Emilie Mondor meet

South Delta quarterback Michael Calvert passed for 654 yards and seven touchdowns this past season during an 85-70 loss at Squalicum. (Photo courtesy Gord Goble/Delta Optimist)


Michael Calvert’s senior season at South Delta Secondary carried a wow factor that was unmistakable.

The Sun Devils’ quarterback set a new B.C. high school football single-game passing record of 654 yards, to go along with seven touchdowns.

Later, he committed his collegiate future to the UBC Thunderbirds, then he laced up his rugby cleats and played a huge role in leading the Sun Devils to the B.C. Triple A senior boys varsity rugby championship.

Here’s a piece I wrote on Calvert following his record-setting passing performance

Miguel Tomley of the Tamanawis Wildcats finished his career as perhaps the single greatest scorer in B.C. high school history. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of


Miguel Tomley of Surrey’s Tamanawis Wildcats has not left my radar since his ninth grade season.

After a trying Grade 11 season in which he basically did not play high school games due to eligibility issues pertaining to an ill-timed return home from an eastern prep school, Tomley re-wrote the record books at the B.C. Quad A basketball championships in March.

He will return to the prep school world this coming season en route to what most expect will be a transition to one of the top programs in NCAA Div. 1 men’s basketball in 2019-20.

Here’s how I wrapped up Tomley’s accomplishments this past season in a March 14, 2018 Varsity Letters’ retrospective

New Westminster Hyacks’ Severio Asaba made a career-ending catch plucked straight from the pages of Hollywood lore last December. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of


Every season must be taken on its own merits, and there are plenty of reasons to get excited about the upcoming 2018 B.C. high school football campaign.

Yet if you’re expecting a finish with as much drama as we saw last December at B.C. Place Stadium, you’re likely to be disappointed.

Subway Bowl 2017, won by the New Westminster Hyacks over the Terry Fox Ravens, was truly a game for the ages.

Here’s two different reads from the pages of Varsity Letters:

The improbable game-winning drive

Severio Asaba’s first catch is his greatest

West Vancouver’s Megan Roxby endured like few before her over a high school career filled with ups and downs. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of


Megan Roxby’s running career has had more than it’s share of hurdles.

When I re-visited with the West Vancouver Highlanders’ SFU-bound senior this spring, I found out that she had run her race at the Canadian national cross-country championships back in the fall with a broken right leg.
This is a story of a courageous athlete battling through multiple adversities.

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Dylan Kinley met dyslexia head on, and over the course of his high school career at Lord Tweedsmuir, became a team leader and an inspiration to others. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of


When Lord Tweedsmuir basketball star Dylan Kinley opened up to me about his battles with dyslexia, he did so without a hint of self-pity.

In a story centred around celebrating life from the half-full perspective, Kinley’s contagious attitude of empathy and self-empowerment made him a leader of the rarest variety.

Here’s what I wrote about Kinley, who in the fall continues his basketball career at the next level with the CCAA finalist Douglas College Royals

Holy Cross Crusaders’ guard Jamal Osei-Anim paid his tribute to Raphael Alcoreza of the Panorama Ridge Thunder last December at TBI 2018. (Varsity Letters photo by Howard Tsumura)


Thank you, players, coaches, administrators, volunteers and fans of B.C. high school basketball for showing your best and strongest side in the face of extreme adversity.

Over a span of just 43 days from late October to early December, our tight-knit community lost both a pioneer of our game in 78-year-old former North Delta Huskies head coach Stan Stewardson, and a beloved young player with the brightest of futures in Panorama Ridge’s Raphael Alcoreza.

Before we go any further, we extend continued thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of all those concerned, and to all of those who lost loved ones. We hope you will always see their brightest light as you continue to work through your grief.

Throughout this past season, Stewardson’s story continued to resonate with Huskies’ players, who not only took his example onto the floor during a magical run to the B.C. senior boys AAA Final Four, but introduced memorial patches as a part of their game-day kit as a constant reminder of his influence and ideals.

The subtle placement of Stan Stewardson’s S.S. initials, pictured here on the warm-up jersey of Vikram Hayer at TBI 2018, was just one way in which the North Delta Huskies paid tribute to their most influential founding father. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of

Personally, I will always remember being at my own tournament, the Tsumura Basketball Invitational, on the day after the passing of Alcoreza, who had collapsed and was rushed to a hospital during a late November game.

Alcoreza lost his fight on Dec. 7 and the next day, the outpouring from the entire B.C. basketball community was so heartfelt.

Here’s what I wrote upon learning of Stewardson’s passing in an Oct. 26, 2017 article

Click here to read what I wrote after hearing the news of Alcoreza’s passing in a Dec. 8 article

Bradley Braich of the Yale Lions made an impact with his fellow student-athletes, in B.C. and across Canada which was significant beyond description. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of


I can only say this: In 35 years of writing, I have never been given the opportunity to tell a more important story than that of Yale Secondary basketball star Bradley Braich.

While still in the midst of his battle, he trusted me to tell his story of the struggles he was having with mental illness because he wanted as many others as possible to know they were not alone.

It’s not overstating things to say he started a revolution in B.C. high schools and beyond, a movement whose importance simply cannot be overstated.

Click here to read story I wrote on Feb. 18.

If you’re reading this story or viewing these photos on any other website other than one belonging to a university athletic department, it has been taken without appropriate permission. In these challenging times, true journalism will survive only through your dedicated support and loyalty. and all of its exclusive content has been created to serve B.C.’s high school and university sports community with hard work, integrity and respect. Feel free to drop us a line any time at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *