To view the awards video, click here.
Games, competitions and even entire seasons were shut down due to COVID-19, but many teams and athletes found ways to play and win.
The Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards were announced Tuesday, May 18, in a small virtual ceremony.
The awards recognized achievement during 2020 and most of the winners came from sports that happened in January, February and March of that year before the brunt of the pandemic reached B.C.
Vancouver Island University’s women’s volleyball team, national champion in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association, was a double winner at the sport achievement awards as star Karoline Tormena was chosen Female Athlete of the Year and Shane Hyde was picked as Coach of the Year.
Tormena was MVP at nationals and had the match-winning kill in the gold-medal final, while Hyde led the M’s to a perfect 29-0 season capped off with a third-straight national championship.
Team of the Year, however, went to the Nanaimo Riptides, which qualified three swimmers – Tayden de Pol, Camryn Stannard and Jakob Brager – for Olympic trials, placed second at Vancouver Island regionals and persevered through the pandemic by swimming at Westwood Lake when pools were closed.
Junior Team of the Year was the Barsby Bulldogs senior boys basketball team. The North Island champions and runners-up at Islands were the only Nanaimo senior b-ball team to qualify for provincials, taking part in the AAA tourney.
The Nanaimo Clippers had a sport achievement winner this year, as graduating goalie Jordan Naylor won Male Athlete of the Year. Naylor led the B.C. Hockey League in shutouts and was tied for first in wins in the 2019-20 season, backstopping the team to the Island Division title that regular season and then the Island Cup exhibition tournament in the fall.
The Junior Male Athlete of the Year was another hockey player, Brayden Boehm, who led Nanaimo’s North Island Silvertips in scoring in 2019-20 and went on to make the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers as a 16-year-old rookie.
Junior Female Athlete of the Year was karate practitioner Azia Deal, who won four medals at the B.C. Winter Games and made Team B.C. for a second-straight year.
Sports Story of the Year was the announcement of the Nanaimo NightOwls, an expansion West Coast League baseball team for the city, set to debut at Serauxmen Stadium in 2022.
The final award of the evening was the Hero In You Award, presented posthumously to Kyle Noble who never missed senior B Nanaimo Timbermen games, inspired the players and will forever be remembered as the team’s No. 1 fan.
Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards chairwoman Marilyn Sullivan congratulated this year’s winners and noted that this year’s ceremony looked a little different.
“We know that a lot of sports, both individual and team, could not happen in the past year, but we acknowledge the athletes for their perseverance during this pandemic,” she said.
Any proceeds from the Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards go to the Athlete Assistance Program helping high-performance athletes reach their goals. For information, visit www.nanaimosportachievementawards.com.