By Ali Baggott, Vikes Communications

[ONLINE STORY]

As part of the second of five days of announcements for University of Victoria Vikes major award finalists three exceptional Vikes men round out the Athlete of the Year finalists announced today, Mar. 26. Leader and men’s rugby standout Gradyn Bowd, national rowing medalist Luc Brodeur and U SPORTS 1500-m gold medal swimmer Eric Hedlin round out the finalists for top Male athlete this season.

Finalist: Gradyn Bowd, Men’s Rugby – Red Deer, Alta. (Education)

Gradyn Bowd has been a dominant player for the Vikes men’s rugby team for the past four seasons. With an unparalleled work ethic, the outside half has led the Vikes both on and off the field. In 2016, Bowd helped the Vikes win a Canadian University 7s national championship, while he has been a fixture in keeping the Vikes in the Top 6 of the BC Rugby Premier League thanks to his leadership and point-scoring ability.

In the men’s premier league, the fourth year has been a constant threat. On Jan. 26 Bowd totaled four tries and nine converts for 38 points scored, a feat not done by a Vike in over 30 years. Heading in to the final games of the season Bowd totaled 190 of the Vikes’ 430 points. A captain of the team, Bowd has made several sacrifices over the past few seasons, putting off national program calls to concentrate on the Vikes and his education degree. A talented goal-kicker, Bowd’s free play scoring ability has come with hard work of his own.

Finalist: Luc Brodeur, Men’s Rowing – St. Catharines, Ont. (Science)

Fifth-year Vikes rower Luc Brodeur has capped off his career with several podium finishes. At the Western Canadian University Rowing Championships Brodeur won gold in the men’s single and helped the Vikes eight win silver. At the national championship the Vikes men’s eight also won silver, while Brodeur also game home with a bronze in the men’s single. Brodeur was part of the men’s eight that won gold at this year’s Head of the Gorge regatta and has already been named to the varsity crew set to race in the Mar. 30 Brown Cup duel against UBC.

Brodeur boasts a gutsy 5:57 erg score for 2000-m to hold the third-best time in UVic history, while earlier in the year at the National Rowing Championships Brodeur was second overall in a time trial beating the now retired but three-time Olympic medalist Mahe Drysdale from New Zealand.

Finalist: Eric Hedlin, Men’s Swimming – San Diego, Calif. (Engineering)

Fourth-year Vikes swimmer Eric Hedlin closed out his season as a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian and gold medalist after the open water specialist topped the podium in the 1500-m freestyle for the second time in his UVic career. Hedlin also set a U SPORTS national record for his race time of 15:34.16. Less than a week before competing in the U SPORTS championship Hedlin returned from an international open water competition with travel and fatigue that was a likely factor in his performance. Despite his open water commitments, Hedlin returned to the pool to compete for the Vikes and his three points from his gold-medal win helped secure UVic the points they needed to finish fifth overall at the national championship.

At the conference level, Hedlin was named a Canada West First Team All-star after winning gold in both the 1500-m freestyle and 400-m freestyle, while he also helped the Vikes’ 4×200-m freestyle relay team earn bronze. Internationally, Hedlin had a break out swim at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships earning a silver medal in the open water event, while he also posted Canada’s best result on the men’s side of the competition. Hedlin was Varsity council Athlete of the Month in February and Swimming Canada and Swim BC’s Open Water Swimmer of the Year in 2018.

Award finalists are announced in a staggered fashion beginning with Rookies of the Year on Mar. 25, and followed daily with Athletes of the Year finalists on Mar. 26-27, Chancellor’s Award finalists on Mar. 28 and the President’s Cup on finalists Mar. 29. All award winners will be announced at the banquet on Apr. 5. For a description of each award and list of past recipients click here.

The Provost Award, already announced in November at the Vikes Honour Roll Luncheon, along with the Publisher’s Community Award winners will not have finalists announced and will be given out at the Celebration of Champions banquet. For more information on this year’s UVic Sports Hall of Fame inductees please click here.

2018-19 Vikes Varsity Award Finalists
Finalists are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Robert T. Wallace Shield
Rookie of the Year – Female
Anne-Sophie Hannes, Field Hockey
Caitlin Mann, Cross Country and Track
Danae McCulloch, Rowing

Robert T. Wallace Shield
Rookie of the Year – Male
Nicholas Carson, Rugby
Aaron Tesfagiorgis, Basketball
Matteo Ventura, Soccer

Athlete of the Year – Male
Gradyn Bowd, Rugby
Luc Brodeur, Rowing
Eric Hedlin, Swimming