The University of Victoria Vikes are pleased to recognize the nominees for this year’s Celebration of Champions Athletic Awards banquet, hosted on Mar. 30 at the Victoria Conference Centre.
The 2015-16 season ushered in a new age for the University of Victoria Vikes with the opening of the Centre for Athletics, Recreation, and Special Abilities in May of 2015. Successes on the national stage raised the Vikes’ national championship total to 76 while overall Canada West conference titles increased to 111. The Vikes surpassed 300 individual medals at CIS championships this season and now sit at 301 while the all-time number of CIS All-Canadians increased to 411.
The night’s most prestigious award, the President’s Cup, is awarded to an outstanding fourth or fifth year student-athlete who demonstrates a high level of scholastic and athletic ability. This year includes three nominees – graduating athletes Kathleen Leahy of women’s field hockey, Olivier Collin of men’s cross-country and Jacob Koudys of men’s rowing. All three athletes have been instrumental to the success of their respective programs while also showing exceptional performance in the classroom.
This year’s Athlete of the Year nominees on the men’s and women’s sides exhibit exceptional athletic achievement over the past season. The men’s nominees include CIS men’s swimming 1500-metre gold medalist Jon McKay, CIS cross-country and track gold medalist and Canada West Athlete of the Year Olivier Collin, as well as men’s soccer CIS and Canada West Player of the Year Cam Hundal. The women’s nominees include women’s soccer Canada West Most Valuable Player and CIS All-Canadian Emma Greig, women’s field hockey CIS silver medalist and Outstanding Contributor award-winner Kathleen Leahy and women’s rugby Canada West Most Valuable Player and CIS All-Canadian Jess Neilson.
The Robert T. Wallace Shield Award is presented annually to one male and one female outstanding student-athlete in their first year of varsity competition. This year’s nominees on the women’s side include rower McKenna Simpson, who won silver and bronze at this past season’s Canadian University Rowing Championships, Canada West rugby Rookie of the Year Gabrielle Senft and first year soccer standout Kiara Kilbey. Men’s nominees include field hockey forward and Canadian Men’s Junior National Team member Harbir Sidhu as well as rower Patrick Keane, who finished first in this year’s Monster Erg and was the Canadian champion in the U-23 lightweight men’s category.
The Chancellor’s Award honours leadership and contribution from a student-athlete towards their team and this year’s nominees include men’s cross-country athlete and Canada West Student-Athlete Community Service Award-winner Ryan Cassidy, women’s basketball team captain and Varsity Council February Athlete of the Month Jenna Bugiardini and Alexandra Clancy, who has served as the men’s varsity and reserve coxswain for five years.
This year’s Provost Award for the top returning student-athlete with the highest academic average in the 2014-15 season was won for a second year in a row by women’s rugby fourth year player Shannon Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was presented the award at the Vikes Honour Roll Luncheon in November of 2015, where a record 89 students were recognized for their academic achievements. Fitzpatrick earned an 8.9 GPA in the study of Kinesiology in the Faculty of Education.
The Times Colonist Publisher’s Award for Community Contributions is presented to individual(s) who has(ve) made an outstanding voluntary contribution to a varsity program. This year, Vikes Athletics will be acknowledging Simon Pearson, a chiropractor who has gone above and beyond to support the Vikes cross-country and track programs over the past few years. A former student at the University of Victoria, Pearson was an integral part of the Vikes winning their fifth CIS cross-country banner, taking time out of his normal schedule to support the team at home in Victoria and on the road in Guelph, Ont. at the 2016 CIS Cross-Country Championships this past November.
For a list of previous Vikes athletics award winners, please click here.
This year’s Celebration of Champions event will be hosted alongside the annual UVic Sports Hall of Fame induction, which will feature the induction of two three-time Paralympians in swimmer Stephanie Dixon and alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft, as well as in the 1981-82 Vikes women’s rowing crew—one of the most decorated group of Vikes women’s rowers to ever compete.
For more on the UVic Sports Hall of Fame inductees and previous inductees, please click here.
Tickets are available to the public at a cost of $90 (plus GST). Visit www.govikesgo.com/coc to purchase or for more information.
2015-16 ATHLETIC AWARD FINALISTS: Nominees listed below are in alphabetical order.
Provost Award for Excellence
2014-15 Winner: Shannon Fitzpatrick, Women’s Rugby
Times Colonist Publisher’s Award for Community Contributions
2015-16 Winner: Simon Pearson