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Major award finalists for 2016-17 Vikes varsity season announced

Vikes Communications

The University of Victoria Vikes had a busy and successful season in 2016-17. From hosting two women's national championships to winning a first-ever national championship in women's rugby sevens, Vikes student-athletes and staff will have a lot to celebrate at the upcoming Celebration of Champions and UVic Sports Hall of Fame banquet on April 5 at the Victoria Conference Centre.

The most prestigious award at the event, the President's Cup, which honours a senior athlete best combining scholastic achievement and athletic ability, includes two nominees for 2016-17. Fifth years Cole Peterson, of men's cross-country and track, and Annie Walters-Shumka, of women's field hockey, are this year's nominees. Peterson's accolades include being a five-time Canada West All-Star, 2017 U SPORTS gold medalist in the 1500-m and 4x800-m relay, as well as majoring in Engineering. Walters-Shumka has been a stalwart defender and captain for her team that has won four CIS medals, two bronze and two silver, a Canada West Championship while maintaining an 8.46 GPA.

This year's Athlete of the Year nominees are an outstanding group of individuals. The men's nominees include swimmer Eric Hedlin, cross-country and track runner Cole Peterson and golfer Lawren Rowe. Hedlin was the U SPORTS champion this year in the 400-m and 1500-m, the latter of which he broke a 1992 U SPORTS record in. Peterson closed his fifth and final season with two U SPORTS gold medals, a first team All-Canadian nod and was named Canada West Track Athlete of the Year. After placing second at Canadian nationals last Spring, Rowe was the top Vike for the 2016-17 season, winning four individual titles, while maintaining the lowest average score in NAIA men's golf.

On the women's side, the nominees are cross-country and track runner Rachel Francois, women's field hockey forward Amanda Kurianowicz, and women's rugby captain Julia Folk. This year Francois won three Canada West medals including gold in the 600-m, while she ends her illustrious career with 20 CIS and Canada West medals, 11 of which are gold. Kurianowicz has been the driving offensive force for the Vikes field hockey team for five seasons and this year she was named a U SPORTS All-Canadian, Canada West All-Star and was the Vikes leading scorer in both indoor and outdoor hockey. U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian Folk guided the Vikes rugby team to a Canada West silver medal in 15s to qualify for their second-straight U SPORTS championship, while in the Spring season she led the Vikes to the program's first-ever National University 7s title.

The Robert T. Wallace Shield recognizes the most outstanding first-year student-athlete. The men's nominees include men's rugby loose head prop Spencer Cooper, cross-country and track runner Chet Goerzen and men's basketball's Scott Kellum. The women's side is highlighted by rookies Alyssa Mousseau, from cross-country and track, and field hockey midfielder Emily Wong.

The Chancellor's Award honours leadership and contribution to their team and this year the nominees include women's soccer midfielder Sarah Douglas, women's basketball point guard Jenna Krug and women's field hockey defender Annie Walters-Shumka.

This year's Provost Award for the top returning student-athlete with the highest academic average in the 2015-16 season is also celebrated at the Annual Vikes Honour Roll Luncheon. This year the award is shared between women's soccer's Emily Lieuwen and women's field hockey's Lindsay Cole, who were two of 83 students to receive the honour for the 2015-16 academic year.

The Times Colonist Publisher's Award for Community Contributions is presented to individual(s) in the community who have made an outstanding voluntary contribution to a varsity program. This award will be presented at the Celebration of Champions event with representatives by the Times Colonist.

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 women's basketball's Carol Turney-Loos, men's basketball's Spencer Mackay and women's cross-country and track's Ulla Hansen. 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 (includes tax). Visit www.govikesgo.com/coc to purchase or for more information.

2016-17 ATHLETIC AWARD FINALISTS: Nominees listed below are in alphabetical order.

President's Cup Nominees
Cole Peterson, Men's Cross-Country and Track
Annie Walters-Shumka, Women's Field Hockey

Athlete of the Year – Female Nominees
Rachel Francois, Cross-country and Track
Julia Folk, Rugby
Amanda Kurianowicz, Field Hockey

Athlete of the Year – Male Nominees
Eric Hedlin, Swimming
Cole Peterson, Cross-country and Track
Lawren Rowe, Golf

Robert T. Wallace Shield Rookie of the Year – Female Nominees
Alyssa Mousseau, Cross-country and Track
Emily Wong, Field Hockey

Robert T. Wallace Shield Rookie of the Year – Male Nominees 
Spencer Cooper, Rugby
Chet Goerzen, Cross-country and Track
Scott Kellum, Basketball

Chancellor's Award 
Sarah Douglas, Women's Soccer
Jenna Krug, Women's Basketball
Annie Walters-Shumka, Women's Field Hockey

Provost Award for Excellence 
2015-16 Co-Winner: Emily Lieuwen, Women's Soccer
2015-16 Co-Winner: Lindsay Cole, Women's Field Hockey

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