Havergal to Harvard for volleyball star

BRIAN BAKER/TOWN CRIER HARVARD BOUND: Havergal College’s Senior Athlete of the Year, Heather Sigurdson.
HARVARD BOUND: Havergal College’s Senior Athlete of the Year, Heather Sigurdson.

Havergal’s senior athlete of the year is a bit of a black sheep when it comes to her family.

Heather Sigurdson’s three sisters and their parents, Steve and Leslie Sigurdson, all went to Kingston for their post-secondary education. She’s going to Cambridge, Mass.

“My entire family has gone to Queen’s at some point, whether it was for undergrad or afterwards, so honestly it was just an assumption that the same thing would happen to me at some point,” the Grade 12 student laughed in a recent interview. “I ended up getting very lucky to get this opportunity to play volleyball and to be going where I’m going.”

In August, she’ll be off to join Harvard University’s Division 1 volleyball team. Unfortunately the school is not known for giving athletic or academic scholarships, so Sigurdson will be supporting herself down in the Bay State.

All Queen’s joking aside, it was her parents who encouraged all four Sigurdson girls to pursue sports, leading Heather on her path to a provincial gold medal in Ontario Volleyball Association’s 18U final.

“I think it was my mom’s idea for me to try out for the Leaside [Lightning] volleyball club team in the first place,” Sigurdson said.

The toughest part about playing volleyball for both the Lightning and the Havergal Gators’ team — one that went 10-1 in CISAA Division 1 play — was balancing her schedule, she says.

“It definitely got tricky in the winter when the seasons were overlapping, from November to March,” she said.

She considers herself “really lucky” to be coached by former Olympian John Child, who runs the Havergal program and the Lightning.

“He was really helpful and understanding if there were conflicts,” she said.

This summer will be devoted to training for Harvard Crimson, which means she has given up beach volleyball.

“I decided to prepare myself for school in the coming fall,” she said. “I was going take the summer off from beach and get my body physically ready.”

What courses she’ll be taking is up in the air.

Sigurdson says she doesn’t have to declare a major until the end of her sophomore year.

“I’m thinking biology,” she said. “That’s kind of what I’m most interested in.”

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