The Department of Athletics and Recreation handed out their year-end hardware at the 56th annual Athletics Banquet on Saturday evening at the St. George Banquet Hall. A pair of KW locals took home top honours as Naomi Lance (Kitchener, Ont.) from the track team and Colin Behenna (Waterloo, Ont.) from hockey were named the 2016 Athletes of the Year.
Lance was awarded the Marsden Trophy as female athlete of the year after a memorable season on the track.
Lance capped off her five year career in style winning both an OUA silver and CIS silver medal in the 300m race. At the CIS Championship, Lance ran the finals in a personal best time of 39.17 and was just .07 seconds back of the gold medal and was named a CIS second-team all-Canadian.
Lance also broke the all-time UW records in the 200m and 400m races at the SPIRE Team Challenge beating out a previous Marsden Trophy Winner and Olympian, Heather Moyse. Lance currently has five Waterloo track records to her name.
Behenna collected the Totzke Trophy as Waterloo’s male athlete of the year after his best statistical year with the men’s hockey team.
Behenna finished third in the country in scoring with 44 points in 27 games played and was named the OUA West MVP, OUA west first-team all-star and CIS second-team all-Canadian. Behenna led the OUA west division in points, goals, power play goals, short-handed goals, and game-winning goals.
Behenna moved up to third all-time in men’s hockey scoring with 150 points in just 109 regular season games. He was also a member of the CIS all-star team that faced off against Team Canada’s World Junior Hopefuls.
Other hardware handed out included the annual Warrior Shield of Excellence award recognizing outstanding accomplishments by a graduating student-athlete in their sport, academics and community service.
Lance and Behenna were both double-award winners receiving the shields while three other standout student-athletes received the prestigious award.
Men’s golfer Gajan Sivabalasingham (Stouffville, Ont.) collected a shield after a tremendous five year career with the black and gold. Sivabalasingham capped it off with his second straight Len Shore Trophy as the men’s individual champion at the OUA Championship. Sivabalasingham fired a two day total of -1 to claim top spot. He has also been a four-time OUA all-star and has won the OUA team championship three times as a member of the Warriors. Sivabalasingham will represent Canada at the 2016 FISU (World University) Games.
Men’s squash player Cameron Seth (Fergus, Ont.) was another recipient of a shield after a career full of accomplishments’. Seth won his third straight OUA individual title at the 2016 Squash Championship, going undefeated in the tournament. He has been a three-time OUA MVP while leading his team to a team bronze and silver medal the last two seasons at the OUA Championship. Seth was also golden at this year’s Canadian University Squash Championship and competed for team Canada at the 2014 World University Squash Championships in India where he finished fifth. He is currently ranked 341st in the world.
The final Shield of Excellence was handed out to Erich Woolley (New Dundee, Ont.) of the men’s volleyball team. In his final year with the Warriors, Woolley was named an OUA first-team all-star, the first time in his career thanks to his 196 digs. Woolley has also been named the top libero in the country winning the CIS libero of the year award in 2014 after leading the nation in digs with 227. He is also a two-time OUA libero of the year (2013, 2014) and was a member of the OUA all-rookie team in 2012. Woolley posted 959 career digs in 87 career games, good for 11 digs per game.
The Imprint Coach of the Year award was collected by head coach of the swimming team, Jeff Slater.
In his ninth year, Slater led the Warriors to five medals at the OUA Championships while one of his swimmers, Jonathan Ramkissoon broke a five year record in the 100m breast stroke. At the Championship, Slater was named the OUA Coach of the year amongst 12 other coaches in attendance. Slater has seen the likes of Graeme Kemp, sister Bronwyn, Jonathan Ramkissoon, Josie Andres and many other Warriors compete at the National Championships and has played key roles in their development.
Slater began his coaching career with the University of Waterloo men’s water polo team and men’s and women’s swim teams back in 1989-90. He has been an integral part of Waterloo’s swim success that continues to break records in the pool on a yearly basis.
The Federation of Students Rookies of the Year went to Alyson Colpitts (Fredericton, NB) of the women’s volleyball team and Jesse Gibbon (Hamilton, Ont.) of the football team.
Colpitts had a remarkable season with the black and gold leading the team in kills with 150 which ranked her seventh in the province. Colpitts also led the team in kills per set with 2.88 and service aces with 16 in her 52 sets of action. For her incredible rookie campaign, the OUA honoured Colpitts naming her to the all-rookie team and she was also a second-team all-star.
Gibbon was a beast for the Warriors offensive-line and was honoured by the OUA being named to the all-rookie team. Gibbon has also been recognized nationally a couple different times. First he represented Canada at the International Bowl played at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, a series of games between USA and Canada that features top student-athletes in football’s greatest annual international competition. Second, Gibbon was just recently named to the Canadian National Junior Invitation Roster.
The J.O. Hemphill and Director’s awards were won by Brett Mackie (Whitby, Ont.) and Emily Needles (Thorndale, Ont.). The awards are presented annually in recognition of students who provide an outstanding administrative contribution to interuniversity athletics.
Brett Mackie, who finished his fourth year with the men’s hockey team has dedicated countless hours volunteering in several programs within the athletic department. Mackie has been a succeed clean mentor, a team leader with our Think Pink fundraising campaign, a President’s Golf volunteer, has made many presentations as part of our Team-Up program, and has been a member of the IU Council (including an executive) for the past several seasons.
In addition to his great work with the department, he has been equally dedicated to the men’s hockey program. For the past two seasons, he has won the Warrior Coaches Award – presented annually to the player who demonstrates the most commitment and dedication to the Warrior Hockey Program as chosen by the coaches.
Needles is inspirational leader and mentor for our department, the women’s volleyball team, Renison College and our community. Needles is driven to make a difference in everything she puts her mind to. Her involvement and commitment to help others here at the University of Waterloo has not gone unnoticed.
Needles has been a Team-Up speaker, she was our first-year orientation coordinator this past fall, she helped out with Warrior Events crew and volunteered with Black and Gold Day.
As a member of the Women’s Volleyball team, she has gone above and beyond, to help her current teammates, future Warriors, and to promote volleyball throughout our community.
The Warrior Campus Service Award presented to a member of the University of Waterloo campus community who has made a meaningful contribution to the advancement of the Department of Athletics and Recreation. Mary Ann Vaughan who enters who 20th year as an economics professor next year was one of two winners. Vaughan is one of Waterloo’s biggest fans, especially when it comes to men’s hockey and has provided endless support whether it be financially or emotional support for the athletes.
Clive Porter was the other recipient of the award thanks to his 20 years of service to the men’s squash team. Porter has been an integral part of the development of the squash program at Waterloo and has always had a way of connecting with the student-athletes and bringing out the best in each individual.
The final award was the Brian Farrance award presented to a student therapist who has demonstrated excellence, commitment and dedication throughout his/her service to varsity athletics. The winner of was presented to Mikayla MacDonald who was the therapist for football and men’s volleyball.
Thank you to all who attended the banquet and to our dedicated student-athletes for wearing the Warrior shield with pride all season long!