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Athletics honours its own

The NAIT Ooks Athletics 2014-2015 campaign finally came to a close this past week with the 2015 Athletics Awards banquet. A plethora of awards were handed out celebrating the success of NAIT’s student athletes this year. The top honours of male and female Athlete of the Year went to hockey stars John Dunbar and Sherri Bowles. Bowles was also given the Athletic Director’s Award for Excellence while John Dunbar came away with awards for top scorer, team MVP and ACAC Player of the Year.

A fifth-year Ook graduate, Bowles finishes her career third in all time ACAC points with 101 regular season points, and 112 total points. Sherri has been a team representative on the student-athlete council since it began and this year she participated in the NAIT LEAD program to enhance her leadership skills.

John Dunbar, who hails from Calgary and is enrolled in NAIT’s Business Administration program, won the ACAC scoring title, tallying 28 goals and 37 assists for 65 points in 32 games.

“John has been a tremendous addition to the NAIT men’s hockey program in every aspect as well as an exemplary ambassador for NAIT Athletics and Recreation,” said coach Serge Lajoie.

“His play on the ice speaks for itself, leading all scorers in the ACAC … His contagious work ethic has been instrumental in creating a successful environment for the hockey team this season. Being recognized as ACAC Player of the Year is well deserved.”

The evening began with a brief dinner before players, coaches and staff filed into the Shaw Theatre for presentations and highlight videos showcasing spectacular moments from the past two semesters. The opening presentation was for Student Athletic Therapist of the Year, which went to men’s volleyball’s Ryan Havin. Afterwards, each team came to the front of the theatre following their team’s video to accept team specific awards. Several NAIT officials were present for the ceremony, including VP of Student Services Karen Bennet, Director of Government Relations Thomas Djurfors and Dean of Health Sciences Ellen Hughes, who will retire this year. NAIT’s Director of Athletics, Linda Henderson, was also on hand.

The highest recognized individual team award for every NAIT squad is the Silver Torch Award. This is presented to the athlete deemed to have contributed the most to his or her team’s success. This year’s winners were: Sarah McMaster (x-country), Luke Steeden (golf), Karynn Flory (curling), Sam Kim (badminton), Harris Kevac (men’s soccer), Kayla Michaels (women’s soccer), Alvin Parker (men’s basketball), Torey Hill (women’s basketball), Scott Fellnermayr (men’s hockey) and Breanna Frasca (women’s hockey).

A number of ACAC and CCAA honours from the season were recognized as well. Michaels, Donny Moss (men’s basketball) and Nick Roque (badminton) joined Dunbar as ACAC players of the year, with Michaels also earning that honour from the CCAA. Roque, Hill, Moss, Cailynn Newman (women’s soccer) and Bruno Zebie joined Michaels as CCAA All-Canadians. Hill, Roque, Jason Rausch (badminton) and Brendan Akins, Alex Wolfe and Richelle Baer (curling) were CCAA Academic All-Canadians. If hockey was a CCAA sport then Kenny Cameron, Tyler Yaworski, Bowles and Frasca would’ve joined the academic all-Canadian’s list. Some Ooks (including Cameron and women’s volleyball’s Alex Blanchette) earned a 4.0 GPA.

All in all, it was an excellent night celebrating NAIT Athletics.

Connor O’Donovan

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