Vancouver Island University’s athletes were cheered again after a record-breaking, banner year in college sports.
The VIU athletic department held its annual awards banquet on Monday at the Coast Bastion Hotel, and got a chance to re-live some of the 2018-19 season that saw five Mariners teams make it to nationals and two win gold.
“I don’t think any other CCAA school in the country has achieved the level of team sport success we have this year at the national stage,” said Stephanie White, VIU athletic director, in a press release. “Many [college sports programs] have never gone to nationals, let alone win a medal. For us to do so well at nationals is incredibly significant.”
She suggested the university takes special pride when student-athletes excel with their academics, as well.
“We love to win. We want to win as a program. But that’s not what we primarily focus on,” she said. “We focus on helping our student-athletes be successful whether in the classroom, in life or in sport. That’s what our program is about.”
The two teams that made it to the top of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association – the gold-medal-winning men’s basketball and women’s volleyball squads – also got top individual honours at Monday’s banquet, with basketball guard Harry Fayle and volleyball setter Chantal Cumming chosen VIU Athlete of the Year.
Freshman Athlete of the Year winners were soccer player Cara Dunlop and volleyball player Ty Dvorack.
Student-Athlete of the Year recipients were basketball players Madeline Hart and Nick Xylinas. VIU International Education Student-Athlete Award recipients were volleyball player Karoline Tormena and basketball player Cameron Gay.
President’s Awards went to soccer players Lexi Fawcett and Griffin Douglas; basketball players Kiara Johnston and Emmanuel Degal; volleyball players Isaac Bevis and Amanda Dobbyn; golfer Alex Foston; and badminton player Joivin Joy.
Unsung Hero honours went to volleyball players Kayla Passmore and Dvorack; basketball players Juliet King and Degal; soccer players Taylor Arbour and Nicole Foglietta, golfer Mitch Turko; and badminton player Nathan Duifhuis.
Golden Boot awards honouring top soccer goal scorers went to Chloe Gummer and Arbour.
As always, the VIU athletic awards also gave a second round of applause to previously announced CCAA and PacWest award winners.
CCAA All-Canadians for 2018-19 included: Amber Lease, basketball; Fayle; Tormena; Gummer; and Wyatt Brook, golf. CCAA Academic All-Canadians were soccer players Shea Battie, Drew Murray, Melanie Osborne and Cara Dunlop; volleyball players Cumming, Danielle Groenendijk and Doug Groenendijk; and basketball players Shayce Johnston and Avery Snider.
PacWest Player of the Year, an award that goes across all sports, was a VIU sweep with Tormena and Fayle winning. Other PacWest Player of the Year honours went to Tormena, Fayle, Gummer and Brook.
PacWest all-stars included golfers Brook and Foston; soccer players Maddy Dawson, Murray, Natsu Yayama and Gummer, volleyball players Braydon Brouwer, Doug Groenendijk, Tormena, Cumming and Taylor Wickson; and basketball players Tyus Barfoot, Fayle, Jerod Dorby, Lease, Snider and Shayce Johnston.
Also, Tormena was a member of the PacWest All-Rookie Team; Dunlop was Rookie of the Year and Barfoot was Defensive Player of the Year.
Finally, PacWest Academic Excellence honours went to soccer players Gummer, Fawcett, Harroop Malli, Megan Dial and Cassidy Chamberlin; basketball players Victoria Brown, Emily Clarke, Hart, Kiara Johnston, Shayce Johnston, Danielle Vanbergen, Snider and Xylinas; and volleyball players Tova Rae, Passmore, Maddie McDonald, Dobbyn, Danielle Groenendijk, Bevis, Jeff Webb and Doug Groenendijk.
VIU PacWest Coach of the Year recipients in 2018-19 were Kevin Lindo from women’s soccer and Tony Bryce from women’s basketball.