Mitchell’s Nicole Hildebrand has had a summer to remember. The recent SRSS graduate captured gold at the 2022 Canada Summer Games and committed to the University of Ottawa to play volleyball. 

As a player out of high school, with others having university-level experience, she didn’t expect to make the cut for Team Manitoba. However, when she did, she took it as an opportunity to learn from her teammates. 

Beyond winning gold and learning lessons, Hildebrand, 18, cherishes the memories she made.  

“There were a lot of memories on and off the court. We trained together every day during the summer. We had multiple training sessions a day. And so, we really got to know each other really fast. And we became best friends. We would hang out even after training or go get ice cream and stuff like that.” 

At the end of August, Hildebrand made the move to the nation’s capital and describes the opportunity as a “big jump.” The past week has been filled with practices, workouts and opportunities to bond with her teammates.  

“I love the team here. The team is just so tight and they all just love each other,”  

She’s learned many lessons throughout her journey. However, one she will always be reminded of is to “do your hardest.” 

“If you work your hardest and train the longest, you're in the gym last, you're going to see results,” Hildebrand said. “I wasn't the highest jumper, I wasn't the tallest or strongest, but I worked for it, right?” 

Hildebrand and the Gee-Gees kick off their season in October at the Université du Québec à Montréal.