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The University of Victoria Vikes varsity programs are wrapping up the majority of their seasons as the annual Celebration of Champions and UVic Sports Hall of Fame event draws closer. The Apr. 4 evening dedicated to celebrating current and past Vikes athletes, coaches and staff will culminate the 2017-18 season and major award winners for the President’s Cup, Athletes of the Year, Rookies of the Year, Provost Award, Chancellor’s Award and Publisher’s Award will be announced along with the induction of the 2018 UVic Sports Hall of Fame Class.

The Female Rookies of the Year nominees for 2017-18 include soccer defender and Canada West All-Rookie team Brea Christie, basketball Canada West All-rookie team Ashlyn Day and Canada West women’s field hockey Rookie of the Year Anna Mollenhauer.

Nominee: ­­Brea Christie, Women’s Soccer – Victoria, B.C. (Social Sciences)

With the Vikes season riding on her shoulders, Brea Christie stepped up to the penalty spot at the U SPORTS National consolation semifinal and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net, sending her team into exultation and on to the National consolation finals… not bad for a rookie.

In her first year of university play the right back from Victoria not only started all 20 regular season and playoff games, but was also an integral component of one of the stingiest defenses in the conference history. Christie and the Vikes defence allowed just six goals against in their 14 game regular season schedule while also compiling 10 shutouts, tied for the most in Canada West history. Christie and the Vikes finished fifth at nationals, went 9-1-4 in the conference regular season to tie for first in the Pacific Division and second overall, and finished second in the Canada West Final Four.

Not just a defender, the Social Sciences major was always a threat moving forward, whipping in crosses to register nine shots on goal and two assists. At the conclusion of the season Christie was selected to the Canada West All-Rookie team.

Nominee: Ashlyn Day, Women’s Basketball – Kelowna, B.C. (Business)

In her first year with the Vikes women’s basketball team Ashlyn Day was a standout performer on a young squad.  The rookie from Kelowna, B.C. earned a spot on the Canada West All-Rookie team thanks to averaging 24.4 minutes per game and scoring 9.3 points per game. The Business major was a key contributor on the defensive side of the floor, recording three or more steals in nine games during the regular season and leading the team with 1.6 steals per game.

A quiet leader on the team, Day bookended her rookie campaign with two of her most impressive performances of the season. In just her second weekend of Canada West action, Day led the Vikes to a weekend sweep over the Brandon Bobcats with a team-high 45 points. In the Canada West quarter-finals, Day stepped up to the plate and a great showing in the first playoff action of her university career, playing 26 and 31 minutes while scoring a team-high 19 points. The team had a dream 13-0 run in their regular season that ended in a Canada West quarter-final loss to Calgary but the spirited Vikes boast a strong future with no graduating players.  At the conclusion of the season, Day was named a member of the Canada West All-Rookie team.

Nominee: Anna Mollenhauer, Women’s Field Hockey – Victoria, B.C. (Education)

The 2017 Canada West Women’s Field Hockey Rookie of the Year, Anna Mollenhauer had an outstanding first season with a young Vikes contingent.  The education major started every game of the season for the Vikes and was the team’s leading scorer with four goals on the year, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that Mollenhauer is a defender. Mollenhauer was integral on set pieces, playing a key role in both offensive and defensive penalty corners. Her skill set is far-and-beyond that of a typical first year player launching over-head aerial skills, back-hand shots and passes or eliminating opponents without any hesitation.

A recipient of the inaugural Carmen Kirkness Award which is given to the women’s field hockey player that best exemplifies courage, heart, hard work, humility and loyalty, Mollenhauer was also named the Canada West Second Star of the Week for her three goals in a weekend sweep of the Calgary Dinos.

In the indoor season, Mollenhauer was also a key contributor on the Vikes team that won the UVic Indoor Tournament and finished second at the BC Senior Indoor Championship. In February, she was selected to a junior national development side that went on a training tour in San Diego, Calif.

The Male Rookies of the Year nominees for 2017-18 include rugby stand out Jackson Matthews, Canada West cross country Rookie of the Year Brandon Vail and field hockey defender and starter Jonathan Walters-Shumka.

Nominee: Jackson Matthews, Men’s Rugby – Beaconsfield, Que. (Business)

Playing with a maturity well beyond his years, rookie Jackson Matthews has been a mainstay on the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team since the moment he arrived on campus. Originally from Beaconsfield, QC, Matthews not only earned his way onto the varsity team but is also the team’s number one choice at 8-man, a highly-demanding position that is usually played by a senior athlete.

A member of the national U19 & U20 Canadian teams, Matthews was a standout player on the Vikes team that won silver at the Canadian University National Championships, being named MVP of the game that saw the Vikes defeat UPEI by a score of 95-0. Dealing with the rigours of an eight month season, Matthews has played a key role in a turnaround that has seen the Vikes win four of their last five games.

Nominee: Brandon Vail, Men’s Cross Country – Edmonton, Alta. (Engineering)

Brandon Vail accomplished just about everything he possibly could during an extremely successful first year with the University of Victoria Vikes men’s cross country team.

An Engineering major, Vail was the top Vikes finisher at the 2017 U SPORTS Cross Country National Championships on home soil at Beacon Hill Park. Crossing the line in a time of 32:01.79, Vail finished 21st overall in the nation while his fifth-place finish among Canada West runners, earned him a nod as a Canada West First Team All-Star.

Along with the conference all-star spot, Vail who is originally from Edmonton, AB, was also the Canada West Rookie of the Year and posted the second-best time of any rookie in the nation. Outside of his amazing run at nationals, Vail was the 2017 B.C. Junior Cross Country Champion, the top Vikes finisher at the provincial championships, and also qualified for the Canadian Junior Men’s Team to race at the Pan American Cup in El, Salvador.

Nominee: Jonathan Walters-Shumka, Men’s Field Hockey – Victoria, B.C. (Science)

Starting all 16 games that the University of Victoria Vikes men’s field hockey team have played in the Vancouver Men’s Field Hockey League in 2017-18, Jonathan Walters-Shumka has been one of the top players on the team in just his first year at the university level.

A Science major, Walters-Shumka has been forced to adapt to not only a new level of play, but also a new position. The native of Victoria, B.C. has transitioned into the team’s central defender this season, rising to the challenge of shutting down both current and former Canadian National team players in the highly-competitive league. Certain to be a fixture on the Vikes for years to come, Walters-Shumka has yet to miss a practice this season as he displays leadership qualities well-beyond his young age.