The University of Victoria Vikes wrapped up a successful 2015-16 varsity season tonight, Mar. 30, at the Celebration of Champions event that highlights the annual athletics award winners and the UVic Sports Hall of Fame class of 2016.
Top honours of the night went to fourth-year field hockey player Kathleen Leahy, who was awarded the President’s Cup. Canada West Outstanding Player of the Year Emma Greig, from women’s soccer, was named Female Athlete of the Year while CIS Player of the Year Cam Hundal, from men’s soccer, received the Male Athlete of the Year honours.
Among those recognized Wednesday evening were UVic Sports Hall of Fame inductees Lauren Woolstencroft, Stephanie Dixon, and the 1981-82 women’s rowing team. Woolstencroft won 10 Paralympic medals as an alpine skier and was the first Paralympian to win five gold medals in the same games in 2010. Dixon represented Canada at three Paralympics, amassing 19 medals including seven gold, 10 silver and two bronze. She is the only Paralympian to win the same event in world record time at three consecutive games. The 1981-82 women’s rowing teams were two of the most successful groups of rowers in the program’s history. Eleven key student-athletes spanned this time frame that saw the Vikes win the Championship Eights titles at the 1981 and 1982 Royal Canadian Henley regatta along with the first two Canadian University Rowing Championships.
The President’s Cup is given annually to the outstanding student-athlete in fourth or fifth year who best combines scholastic achievement and athletic ability.
Kathleen Leahy, Women’s Field Hockey
An exceptional student-athlete and an excellent role model for her teammates, Kathleen Leahy was named both Canada West and CIS Outstanding Contributor of the Year in 2015 after helping lead the Vikes to their second Canada West banner in the past four years and a silver at the CIS Field Hockey Championship in Victoria, B.C. The fourth-year co-captain of the Vikes was also voted a Canada West All-Star, a CIS All-Canadian, and a Tournament 11 All-Star at the CIS Championship, where she scored three of the Vikes’ four goals in the opening game to lead the team to a 4-1 victory over Toronto. When she isn’t on the field with the Vikes, Leahy can usually be found volunteering as a field hockey coach in local leagues. She has been a key contributor to UVic’s Rising Stars field hockey program, spending numerous hours on the turf teaching the next generation of players.
The other finalists for the President’s Cup were Olivier Collin from men’s cross country and Jacob Koudys from men’s rowing.
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
The Athlete of the Year awards are presented to a male and female athlete, based upon outstanding achievements in university competition over the past 12 months.
Female – Emma Greig, Women’s Soccer
Emma Greig closed out her five-year career with the Vikes in impressive fashion this year after being recognized as a Canada West First Team All-Star and CIS All-Canadian in 2014-15. The go-to player for the team, Greig scored three goals and added five assists in conference play and was pivotal in the Vikes’ quarter-final win over Fraser Valley that booked them a ticket to the conference championship. For her efforts, the speedy striker was named Canada West Outstanding Player of the Year and a CIS First Team All-Canadian. Often times the Vikes’ lone striker on the field, she demonstrated her importance to the program during the team’s trip to Florida in early February, scoring five of UVic’s six goals through three games.
The other finalists for Female Athlete of the Year were Jess Neilson, captain of the women’s rugby team and Canada West MVP, and Kathleen Leahy, who helped lead the women’s field hockey team to their second Canada West title in four years and was named a CIS All-Canadian.
Male – Cam Hundal, Men’s Soccer
Cam Hundal had a historic fifth and final season with Vikes, culminating in his recognition as CIS Player of the Year. A Canada West All-Star every year, Hundal burst onto the scene in 2011 by winning Canada West Rookie of the Year and CIS Championship MVP as the Vikes claimed the national title on home turf. This season the education major, who started every game for UVic, was second in Canada West in points with 13 and third in goals with 8 – both team highs – as he led the Vikes to second place in the Pacific division standings. A two-time Canada West male athlete of the week, he added six points in three playoff contests to help the Vikes reach the conference final and secure a berth in the national championship.
The other finalists for Male Athlete of the Year were swimmer Jon McKay, who won gold in the 1500 metre freestyle at the CIS Championships to earn the title of First Team All-Canadian, and men’s cross country athlete Olivier Collin, who was a CIS First Team All-Canadian and was named the Canada West Athlete of the Year.
The Chancellor’s Award is presented to a student-athlete, who is an outstanding contributor to his or her team, both in and out of the competition venue. They provide leadership and vision exemplifying the goals of the team.
Alexandra Clancy, Men’s Rowing
Alexandra Clancy truly exemplifies the values of both the rowing team and Vikes athletics in general. A coxswain for the men’s rowing program, she helped lead the men’s coxed eight to a second place finish at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta and was instrumental in the winning of a pair of gold medals at the Western Canadian University Rowing Championships. Some of her best work has come outside of competition. Clancy has served as team manager for the last three years, coordinating all award and recognition events for the rowing program. Outside of her duties with the Vikes, the quiet and humble fifth year also volunteers annually at MacDonald House and works with the Ministry of Fisheries as an observer and data technician.
The other finalists for the Chancellor’s Award were Ryan Cassidy from men’s cross country and Jenna Bugiardini from women’s basketball.
Robert T. Wall Shield Award
The Robert T. Wallace Shield recognizes the outstanding female and male student-athletes in his or her first year of competition in intercollegiate sports.
Female Rookie of the Year – Gabrielle Senft, Women’s Rugby
A top recruit for the 2015-16 season and a member of Canada’s Under-20 team, Gabrielle Senft was excellent in her first season as a Vike, helping lead the women’s rugby team to the first Canada West title in program history. The first-year Fine Arts major from Regina scored three tries in conference play and added a pair of tries in the Canada West championship. For her efforts, she was named both CIS and Canada West rookie of the year, as the Vikes completed a clean sweep of the Canada West major awards to go with their championship banner. Despite being a rookie, Senft took it upon herself to lead by example and demonstrated an excellent attitude that helped to lift the spirits of those around her. She brings a competitive edge to every training session and her performances for the Vikes have been strong and consistent.
The other finalists for Female Rookie of the Year were women’s soccer player Kiara Kilbey, who tied for fifth overall in conference scoring, as well as women’s rower McKenna Simpson, who was a member of the silver-medalist lightweight four and bronze eight at the Canadian University Rowing Championships.
Male Rookie of the Year – Patrick Keane, Men’s Rowing
Patrick Keane is a first-year rower who has performed like a veteran this season. A mature, hard working athlete, he is humble and holds himself accountable. As a result of his extra effort and great attitude, the Victoria native improved on a daily basis this year and it showed in his results. He was part of three first place finishes at the Western Canadian University Rowing Championship and added a gold medal in the men’s double at nationals. Keane was the Canadian Champion in the under-23 lightweight men’s category at the Monster Erg in January. He also took home a third place finish in the under-23 men’s single event at the national rowing championship and was Rowing Canada’s Junior Male of the Year.
The other finalist for Male Rookie of the Year was field hockey player Harbir Sidhu, who led the team in points and is a member of the Canadian junior national team.
Provost Award for Excellence
The Provost Award is presented to a returning student-athlete with the highest academic average in the previous year. This year’s recipient was presented the award in November at the Vikes Honour Roll luncheon, when the Vikes celebrated our 66 Academic All