'Amazing' athletes win achievement awards
Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards winners got one more round of applause for their fantastic seasons.
A packed ballroom at the Coast Bastion Inn feted the finalists and winners in 14 categories on Saturday night.
“Everyone that’s nominated in this process is a winner,” said Marilyn Sullivan, the event’s chairwoman. “The judges pick winners and it’s a task that I wouldn’t want to have to do. There’s some amazing people here.”
Vancouver Island University’s men’s soccer team was a triple winner. The Mariners team, which captured the Canadian Colleges’ Athletic Association championship last fall, was selected Team of the Year and Sports Story of the Year and coach Bill Merriman won High-Performance Coach of the Year.
Marie Davidson, longtime president of the Nanaimo BMX Association, was post-humously awarded the first-ever Michael Rhode Memorial Award for energy and dedication.
Adaptive rower Tony Theriault, part of Canada’s world championship team, won one Team Athlete of the Year award and the female winner was Aileen Holder, who represented VIU both on the soccer pitch and on the volleyball court last season.
International-calibre cyclists won both Individual Athlete of the Year awards, as downhill mountain biker Steve Smith and cyclocross racer Wendy Simms were honoured.
National champion rock climber Elan Jonas-McRae and provincial-champion swimmer Jane Mortlock were chosen for the Junior Athlete of the Year awards and B.C. Seniors Games multiple medallist Heidi Bromley won Masters Athlete of the Year.
The Nanaimo Rowing Club pair of Evan Earp-Jones and Daniel Cameron were recognized as Junior Team of the Year, Barsby Bulldogs football coach Rob Stevenson was selected Grassroots Coach of the Year and softball executive Mike Benker was named Sport Administrator of the Year.