Vancouver Island University’s athletics department must have had a tougher time than ever in choosing its annual award winners.
The 2014-15 season was filled with championships and noteworthy performances. VIU captured the Pacific Western Athletic Association’s Aggregate Award for the seventh straight year, and VIU Mariners teams made it to seven out of eight Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championship tournaments.
The Athlete of the Year awards this year went to Tylar Turnbull of the women’s volleyball team and Jeff Travis of the men’s soccer team. Turnbull captained her team to a PacWest title, while Travis captained his side to a silver-medal finish at nationals.
Winning Freshman Athlete of the Year were soccer players Maddy Dawson and Victor Blasco, and winning the VIU International Education Student-Athlete Award were basketball players Sienna Pollard and Justin King.
Volleyball player Megan Groenendijk and basketball grad Harrison Stupich won the Mariner Academic Excellence Award. The golf team was recognized for having the best grades as a whole.
The President’s Award went to soccer players Shelby Walker and Keegan Lang, v-ball players Chantal Cummings and Rylan Brouwer, b-ball players Jamie MacFarlane and Bryson Cox, badminton athlete Thomas Spencer and golfer Paige Schappert.
The awards banquet was held April 13 at the Coast Bastion Hotel and aside from the athletics department awards, those in attendance got a chance to applaud the previously announced PacWest and CCAA honours.
Turnbull, Pollard, Blasco and King were all CCAA All-Canadians this year, as were badminton player Graydon Robb and soccer player Bronte Fitzsimmons. Academic All-Canadians included Stupich, Travis, b-ball player Jenna Carver, badminton athlete Melissa Liew and v-ball player Zach Grigg.
Blasco, King, Robb and golfer Matt Haddad were PacWest Player of the Year in their respective sports and Blasco and King shared the PacWest Athlete of the Year award across all sports.
Badminton coach Janice Walker, soccer coach Bill Merriman and basketball coach Matt Kuzminski all won PacWest Coach of the Year awards and Kuzminski was also CCAA Coach of the Year.
One other round of cheers at the awards banquet went to the Mariners who are graduating after five years with the program. Those grads include Carver, Stupich, Haddad, golfer Mike Hrabowych and soccer players Shelby Walker, Sharin Kang and Jess Weninger.