News Bulletin’s Athlete of the Year

Nanaimo's Alyssa Mousseau won championships in both track and cross-country running.

Alyssa Mousseau is the Nanaimo News Bulletin's Athlete of the Year after winning championships in both track and cross-country running.

She ran her laps around the track, finished first, and kept on running. Alyssa Mousseau is the News Bulletin’s Athlete of the Year.

Mousseau, a Grade 12 student at Wellington Secondary School, has been a local track standout for years, but 2015 was a breakthrough year for a few reasons.

She won high school championships both in track and field in the spring and then in cross-country in the fall, and in between, she made Team B.C. and Team Canada.

The 800-metre specialist entered her first season as a high school senior athlete in the spring, already a two-time champ at the junior level. She completed the three-peat by winning her event in a personal-best time of two minutes, 9.04 seconds.

In July, she travelled to race at the World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia, where she placed sixth in her heat.

“I’m so honoured to be able to have had the opportunity to run for my country,” Mousseau said.

Worlds were a learning experience, as the competitiveness was ramped up.

“If you aren’t expecting that, then you’re going to get a little beat up,” she said. “But I felt like I did a good job of being able to handle the different running tactics.”

A few weeks later she was fourth at the Legion Youth Track and Field Championships in Sainte-Thérèse, Que.

In the fall, she moved off the track and ran cross-country to log kilometres, “so that when you get back to the track you aren’t working on the endurance side, you can just work on the speed and that’s a big factor for me, personally.”

She proceeded to place fourth at club cross-country provincials and make Team B.C. in that discipline, too. In high-school cross-country, she paced Wellington to a B.C. championship, the only provincial title won by any Nanaimo high school senior sports team in 2015.

“It was really fun to be able to share that and to be able to finish my high school cross-country with a win,” she said.

Mousseau will start 2016 with a couple of indoor track meets in the States. The straight-A student is also hoping to secure a post-secondary scholarship this winter, and then, come track and field season, she’ll be looking to make Team B.C. and Team Canada once again.

Her achievements in 2015 give her confidence, she said, but she won’t get cocky.

“You’ve got to make sure that you can stay humble and still work for what you want…” Mousseau said. “You’ve just got to work hard every practice, go out there, give it 110 per cent, keep the mentality of making the team and continually working hard to get there.”

Sports stars shine brightly

A lot of Nanaimoites could be named athlete of the year every year, and then there are always up and comers who join that mix. Here are some Nanaimo athletes who had outstanding seasons in 2015:

Pole vaulter Jason Clare had his best season yet, winning gold at Legion Youth National Track and Field Championships and going on to represent Canada at worlds.

Erin Burrett won her first-ever attempt at the marathon distance this year at the high-profile Victoria Marathon. She also won the Kelowna Wine Country Half-Marathon and was second at the B.C championships in both the 10-kilometre and half-marathon distances.

Vancouver Island University’s sports teams had some standout performers. Forwards Justin King and Jason Fortin led the men’s basketball team to a provincial championship and a runner-up finish at nationals. Tylar Turnbull captained the M’s women’s volleyball team to a provincial title and Jenna Carver of the women’s basketball team piled up points and rebounds as her team’s memorable season came to an end on home court at nationals.

The Nanaimo Clippers had quite a year, going all the way to the cup finals in the spring. The team’s MVP – and a finalist for league MVP – was goaltender Guillaume Decelles, who finished first in the B.C. Hockey League in wins with 34. Sheldon Rempal led the 2014-15 Clippers in goal scoring, but it was this past fall that he really caught fire and rose to the top of the league in goals and points.

The V.I. Raiders finished as runners-up in their league, too, and their strong season was attributable largely to a stout defence led by team MVP defensive lineman Quinton Bowles and a pair of All-Canadians from Nanaimo, linebacker Dexter Shea and rookie defensive back Cole Virtanen.

Also in team sports, Jon Diplock of the senior B Nanaimo Timbermen had a season to remember. Not only did he captain the lacrosse team to its first provincial title since 2003, but he had four goals and two assists in the championship-clinching 7-4 win and scored 73 points in 14 regular-season games.

Some others who were considered for athlete of the year include Nanaimo Pirates baseball sluggers Cole Warken and Zach Diewert, double-provincial-champion swimmer Riley Prout-Holm, volleyball MVP Jeff Webb, equestrian national champ Kassidy Keith, double-provincial-champion lawn bowler Hirendra Bhartu and Pan Am gold-medallist rower Martin Barakso.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

UPDATE: Suspect and Mountie bitten by police dog during arrest south of Nanaimo

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a stolen pickup truck in Cassidy on Thursday evening

City to re-name community policing office and keep it open

Council votes 6-2 for city to maintain a presence at Victoria Crescent office

Nanaimo RCMP seek help finding missing Nanaimo boy

Chaas Mearns, 13, was reported missing Jan. 30

Construction set to begin on Nanaimo airport terminal expansion

First phase of construction project to begin in March or April

Duncan family says care home switched mom’s cat with robot cat

Staff alleged to have said they were taking cat for bath, then replaced her with robotic stuffed toy

VIDEO: Buccaneers double up Generals to win Game 2

Nanaimo now leads the best-of-seven series against Oceanside two games to none

Beefs & Bouquets, Feb. 22

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

More snow forecast to fall Friday on Vancouver Island

Environment Canada calling for 2-10 centimetres on the east coast of the Island and areas inland

VIDEO: Buccaneers double up Generals to win Game 2

Nanaimo now leads the best-of-seven series against Oceanside two games to none

Indigenous elders share history with Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District students

‘Our kids learning their history through elders is nothing that we can find in our textbooks’

UPDATE: One driver taken to hospital after three-vehicle collision in Harewood

Accident happened at Howard Avenue and Seventh Street at about 9:30 a.m.

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Most Read