Nanaimo’s outstanding athletes and championship teams received another rousing cheer this weekend at the Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards.
The 18th annual awards banquet was held Friday, Feb. 24, at the Coast Bastion Hotel, and honoured athletes and teams for their exploits in 2022.
This year’s team of the year was Vancouver Island University’s women’s basketball team, which got another chance to host nationals after a previous pandemic cancellation and made it all the way to overtime of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association final.
Junior team of the year was the Nanaimo Timbermen U16 squad, which went undefeated at provincial championships to win gold.
Male team athlete of the year was Nanaimo NightOwls baseball slugger Tim Holyk, while female athlete of the year was VIU Mariners volleyball player Jane Lytvynenko, the Ukrainian outside hitter who led her team to a national championship just weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Male individual athlete of the year was hammer thrower and Commonwealth Games medallist Ethan Katzberg, while female individual athlete of the year was record-setting race walker Olivia Lundman.
Junior male team athlete of the year was Barsby Bulldogs all-star linebacker Colton Finstad, and junior female team athlete of the year was Nanaimo Christian School volleyball MVP Olivia Phillips.
Junior male individual athlete of the year went to NDSS track and field decathlete and sprinter Nate Paris, and junior female individual athlete of the year went to another NDSS standout, cross-country captain Brea Gillette.
Off-road triathlete and cyclocross champion Normon Thibault won masters athlete of the year and provincial champion five-pin bowlers Corey Cooper and Grady Work were chosen partners of the year.
High-performance coach of the year went to Nanaimo Timbermen senior A coach Tewanee Joseph, grassroots coach of the year was Timbermen U16 coach Shane Terris, and sports administrator of the year was NightOwls GM Jim Swanson. Official of the year was Wayne Clouthier for basketball.
The Steve Smith Memorial Award for excellence in extreme sports went to mountain biker Darren Berrecloth. The Michael Rhode Memorial Award for longtime dedication to sport was shared by Jessie and Harry Whittam for their contributions to the Nanaimo Curling Club, while softball administrator Brian Cornborough was honoured with the Hero In You Award.
The final award of the evening was the sports story of the year, and the winner was longtime bathtubbing competitor and advocate for the sport, Jaime Garcia, who finally broke through in 2022 to win the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race.
The full list of finalists included:
Masters Athlete of the Year – Denise Bonin, track and field; Tammy Leslie, equestrian; Normon Thibault, triathlon and cyclocross.
Sports Administrator of the Year – Chris Bowman, lacrosse; Robb Hunter, hockey; Jim Swanson, baseball.
Official of the Year – Wayne Clouthier, basketball; Jacoby Krassman, lacrosse; Carson Prescesky, hockey.
Partners of the Year – Shae McKeever and Alex Joiner, rowing; Grady Work and Corey Cooper, bowling; April and Steve Seixeiro, curling.
Grassroots Coach of the Year – Troy Lovasz, football; Shane Terris, lacrosse; Mike Viers, track and field.
High Performance Coach of the Year – Glenn Clark, lacrosse; Tewanee Joseph, lacrosse; Kevin Lindo, soccer.
Junior Female Individual Athlete of the Year – Brea Gillette, running; Ocea Fawkes, cycling; Taylor McPherson, swimming.
Junior Male Individual Athlete of the Year – Nate Paris, track and field; Mitchell Gauthier, swimming; Gavin Esleyer, track and field.
Junior Female Team Athlete of the Year – Kaitlyn Carlson, volleyball; Olivia Phillips, volleyball; Rylee Wing, lacrosse.
Junior Male Team Athlete of the Year – Colton Finstad, football; Max Poirier, baseball; Jackson Tonsi, basketball.
Female Individual Athlete of the Year – Monica Bonczak, jiu-jitsu; Oriana Fraser, motocross; Olivia Lundman, race walk.
Male Individual Athlete of the Year – Ethan Katzberg, hammer throw; Cam Rasmussen, bodybuilding; David Swailes, bowling.
Female Team Athlete of the Year – Jade Dillabough, soccer; Cara Dunlop, soccer; Jane Lytvynenko, volleyball.
Male Team Athlete of the Year – Sean Donaldson, hockey; Cameron Gay, basketball; Tim Holyk, baseball.
Junior Team of the Year – NDSS Islanders junior girls’ cross-country running; Nanaimo Timbermen U16 lacrosse; Wellington Wildcats golf.
Team of the Year – Nanaimo United Div. 1 men’s soccer; Nanaimo Timbermen senior A lacrosse; VIU Mariners women’s basketball.
Sports Story of the Year – Nanaimo hockey player Matthew Wood leads BCHL in scoring; VIU women’s volleyball team wins fourth straight national championship; Veteran bathtub racer Jaime Garcia breaks through to win his first great race.
Proceeds from the event go to the Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards athlete assistance fund, which helps high-calibre athletes with costs related to travel, training and equipment.
For more information about the awards and find out how to nominate an athlete, team, coach, official, sports administrator or volunteer for 2023, visit www.nanaimosportachievementawards.com.
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