Courtney Dickson, Roving Editor Ω
The entire WolfPack athletics department, minus the golf team, was in fine-form for the annual WolfPack awards banquet March 28.
MCs Colin Carson and Spencer Reed of the men’s volleyball team set a light-hearted tone for the awards early in the evening, poking fun at their female counterparts. They said more than 50 girls tried out for the women’s soccer team this year.
“They would have had a better chance of making the women’s volleyball team,” Carson and Reed said.
TRU president Alan Shaver addressed the athletes and coaches, expressing his excitement regarding the beginning of the baseball season and his appreciation for the athletes at TRU.
Carson and Reed presented some “fun” awards, including the Taco Del Mar award. Athletes “check-in” when they visit the restaurant and the hosts wanted to honour those who checked in the most; the entire men’s basketball team checked-in at Taco Del Mar more than 3,400 times in the past year.
Graduating athletes (and coaches) were recognized and represented by comedic duo, Jen Ju of women’s basketball and Aaron Lystang of the baseball team. Though they had a lot of fun with it, they gave a heartfelt speech, thanking their fellow athletes and coaches.
“Throughout the years, Jen and I have learned that nobody can succeed on their own,” Lystang said.
“Many of you have even disposed yourselves of the confining label, coach, and taken up other roles such as parental, or counselling, or like Scott Reeves‘ role for me, a father to confide in, a counsellor to seek advice, a lifeguard to save you from drowning in adversity, as well as the victim role, constantly suffering the butt-end of my bad jokes,” Ju said.
John Antulov, co-head coach of the men’s soccer team, delivered the speech from the coaches after hobbling on stage on crutches. He told the WolfPack how much he valued his own time as a student athlete and how TRU’s young athletes should be glad they’re in the position they are.
“This is unique opportunity that you guys have, to excel in school and sport and nurture these life lessons along the way,” Antulov said.
The more serious set of awards began with a relatively new award, the Tyler Lowey award. Lowey was the first person to be presented with this award last year after he lost his eye to a fastball in October 2011.
The Tyler Lowey award is meant for an athlete who suffered some kind of adversity and was able to overcome it. Lowey presented the award to two athletes this year, both of which were incredibly deserving of it.
“This is an award that no one really wants to win,” Lowey said.
Kevin Cramer of the baseball team hit his head on the bottom of the river in August 2011 and was temporarily paralyzed from the neck-down. Lowey was one of the men who pulled him out of the water when he floated to the top, not moving.
Lowey said Cramer was one of the many reasons he was able to come back from his own incident last year. The two athletes supported each other throughout their ordeals.
“There would be no Tyler Lowey award without Kevin,” Lowey said.
The second winner of the award was Sebastian Gardner of the men’s soccer team. Gardner was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the fall of 2011. Doctors told him there was a 95 per cent chance he would overcome the cancer and he did.
He joined the team again this past fall and had a great season. But during a routine check-up over the winter, doctors discovered the cancer had returned.
“He’s the toughest person in this room,” Lowey said.
Though the Tyler Lowey award is more intense than some others, Lowey was sure to keep the room laughing.
“I know a little about comebacks. Christmas break, I rolled my ankle coming home from the pub,” he said.
Though an error was made on the PowerPoint and the award was mistakenly awarded to women’s basketball star Jen Ju, Abbey McAuley of the women’s soccer team was the true winner of the Cliff Neufeld Leadership female athlete of the year award and for the second time. McAuley won for the first time in 2011.
MC Spencer Reed appeared shocked when he heard he‘d won the Cliff Neufeld Leadership male athlete of the year award. This award is given to athletes who excel in their sport and who contribute to the betterment of their community.
The TRU Sports Task Force athlete of the year award is based solely on an athlete’s performance on the field, ice or court. Women’s basketball’s Diane Scheutze, CIS all-Canadian and national leader in total rebounds, took home the female athlete of the year award, not surprisingly. Kevin Pribilsky of the men’s basketball team, who is graduating this spring, took home the TRU Sports Task Force male athlete of the year award.
According to Larry Read, sports information officer, the Doctor Roger H. Barnsley Scholar athlete of the year award is the most prestigious of the three major award categories. Athletes that perform exceptionally both in the classroom and in athletics are presented with this award. Presented by TRU president Alan Shaver, winners for this award were Rolena deBruyn of the cross-country team (who was unable to attend; coach Jack Miller accepted the award on her behalf) and men’s soccer’s Justin Smeaton. Both winners have grade point averages higher than 4.0.