The Concordian: You obviously had a great season, but you were also nursing some injuries. Tell us about that.
Kaylah Barrett: It started out with my back and it just floated around throughout the season. I couldn’t really do anything because we were playing. I just had therapy sessions and kind of went along with it and hoped after the season I could rest. Then my fingers were getting jammed, and it was just a consistent thing, but it was nothing that stopped me from playing. I had therapy for most of the year and continued to play. It’s just a mental thing for me. Pain is just something you got to suck up. It’s all in your head. You just play through the game and after you can worry about bumps and bruises, and crying and whatever else that happens.
You missed the last game of the regular season. Was that because of your injuries?
KB: Pretty much. There was no point in going into the playoffs injured. We already knew the deciding rankings for what was going on. It was okay to sit out for that one game.
How much did you take away from the team’s eight losses this season?
KB: We’ve had a lot of big ones. A couple of upsets. Us and McGill are rivals. The two wins and two losses against them were really rough for us. Also, they had the deciding game for the finals so it was hard. We just have to learn from our experiences and next year hopefully we get new recruits and build a stronger chemistry on the team and we’ll be able to go, hopefully, 16-0.
Does it hurt more when you lose to McGill?
KB: It does. Especially in their gym. They have such a big fan base. When they’re here, they feel it. We got our two wins [at home]. When we go to McGill, it’s always overwhelming for us.
Last year, you were the RSEQ Rookie of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year. This year, you’re the MVP. Do you feel like you’ve done it all?
KB: No. I still feel like I can go on. Last year, if you looked at my stats, I really didn’t shoot at all. Every year is an improvement for me. I hope to keep building.
You’re one of the first Stingers in a long time to get these awards, let alone in a row. How does that feel?
KB: It’s really overwhelming for me. It just kind of hit me, like oh my gosh, I have a record of something-something I can keep for myself.
You just came back from Saskatchewan. You scored 34 points against Regina. What was it like playing such a big game on the road?
KB: Those 34 points were not easy. It was really hard for us in the first quarter, but we tried our best. They’re the No. 1 ranked in the country, so we were obviously the underdogs. And it was tough on the road after all the travelling. It was kind of awkward. I had a couple of people yelling out my stats from Quebec. They were trying to throw me off, but it didn’t really work. The fan base was just like, “Who is that girl? She plays for Quebec. Playing the No. 1 team and she’s scoring like that.” They’re just kind of shocked that I did so well during that game.
You’re like an unknown there.
KB: Yeah, exactly.
A lot of students struggle to multitask. You take your team to provincial finals. How do you balance your time with the Stingers with your academics?
KB: In pre-season, it’s a lot harder than the regular season for us, because we travel much more often. Our coaches are very supportive; they’re very concerned with our schoolwork and they try to be involved as much as possible. They know our schedules, they know our deadlines.
Still, if you’re on the road, you have to make time to get your schoolwork done. How do you do that?
KB: It’s really hard, but once you see everybody around you doing their studies, it’s motivation, like “Oh my God, I feel guilty; I need to start studying.” When we were travelling to Saskatchewan, in the airports—we had a lot of layovers. As soon as we sat down and someone pulled their books out, we were like “alright, let’s go.” Everybody pulled their books out. It’s a team thing. Everyone comes together and helps each other.
What are your plans for the summer?
KB: I plan on going home for a month just to see my family and my friends for a bit. In June, I plan on coming back and working hard with some of my teammates. Our therapist will give us workouts to do over the summer. Our coaches will be here to help us out. Pretty much develop our game as a team, more chemistry, bring in the new recruits, so hopefully next year we can have a better season.
So then it’s safe to say you’re definitely coming back and remaining a Stinger next year?
KB: [laughs] Yes!
What are your expectations for the next season?
KB: I can only hope to exceed for next season. You’ve seen the talent that we have on our team. I feel like we can definitely go No. 1 in Quebec and possibly—no, definitely, make it to nationals. We’re definitely going to be a big threat next year.
We spoke about all of your awards. What are your personal goals? Where do you go from here?
KB: I kind of want to follow in my brother’s footsteps. He plays over in Europe. I hope that when I’m done, I can go and play overseas, if it’s possible. I got to make the right connections and whatnot. Hopefully I can have a good four years of university so I can do that.