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Thunder Athletics Celebrates Season of Success at Annual Awards Banquet

Posted on: Apr 8, 2015

Last night, the Concordia Thunder Athletics community celebrated this past year's achievements and outstanding performances at the 2014-15 Thunder Athletics Awards Banquet.  The banquet was held in the Robert Tegler Student Centre and was attended by over 170 Thunder Athletes, Coaches and Concordia Dignitaries.

Men's Soccer

Kicking off the evening, the Men's Soccer team and Associate Coach Ian Skitch took to the stage where first year dual-athlete Will Pittman was named the Rookie of the Year. Now in his 4th season, veteran Justin Pucci was named Most Dedicated athlete with 4th year grad Garnet Coria taking this year's Outstanding Scholastic Athlete award. The 'quiet warrior' – Elvis Ceman – earned Most Valuable Player honours. Garnet Coria and 5th year dual-athlete Cody Hogberg received recognition as Graduates.

Women's Soccer

On the Women's Soccer side, Brynn deVries started things out as the Most Improved athlete. Next up, Jill Sander was feted as the Most Dedicated Athlete with rookie Maggie Boras taking the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete honours as well as being named as the Most Valuable Player. Eleni Stamatakis was acknowledged for her ACAC Rookie of the Year selection as were Kaitlyn Diduck and Laura Morrison for being selected as ACAC All-Conference athletes. Diduck and Morrison were also recognized as CCAA Academic All-Canadians.

Women's Basketball

The Women's Basketball team kicked off their portion of the evening naming Jessica Freitag as their Rookie of the year. Next up, 3rd year veteran Alyssa Bridgeman was selected as the Most Improved Athlete.  In the first of a plethora of awards she would earn, the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete award went to team Captain Karolina Wieczorek.  For the second year in a row, the 4th year standout was also named as the Most Valuable Player. Wieczorek, along with Alyssa Bridgeman  were recognized as ACAC All-Conference selectees while Wieczorek was also honoured as a CCAA Academic All-Canadian AND as the team's lone Graduate. 

Men's Basketball

Next up, it was the tall men's turn at the podium where Coach Reagan Wood opened their awards parade by naming 2nd year Brett Jakubec as the Most Improved player. The Most Dedicated Athlete award went to 5th year ironman Rob Haack who would also go on to earn the team's Outstanding Scholastic Award. Ryan Coleman was named as the team's Most Valuable Player and Coleman, along with 1st year standout Artez Scharer, were recognized as ACAC All-Conference athletes. Finally, the team's two Graduates were recognized with Mitch Buffie and Rob Haack taking home the plaques.  

Cross Country Running and Indoor Track

With Indoor Track in its second year of official status as an ACAC sport, the XCR/IT team boasted another large number of winners on this night. Shelby Edgar kicked off the winners circle, picking up the award for Most Improved Athlete (Female) for the 2nd year in a row, while Ben Thomas earned the same award – also for the 2nd year in a row – on the Male side. Former soccer player Kristina Dong was revealed as the Most Dedicated Athlete (Female) while team Co-Captain Kevin Chambers was named as her male counterpart. Chambers also earned kudos as the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete. Earning a ACAC Bronze Medal this season helped propel Marriya Jenkins to the Most Valuable Athlete (Female) post while Concordia newcomer Kirk Sundt received the same award on the men's side. Marriya Jenkins was right back up to the podium and received acknowledgement and awards for being named (for the fourth consecutive year) as an ACAC All-Conference athlete AND as a CCAA Academic All-Canadian. First year athlete Michael Quick and the aforementioned Kirk Sundt were also feted as ACAC All-Conference selectees while Kristina Dong was celebrated as the team's lone Graduate.


After a two year hiatus, Badminton returned as an 'official' ACAC sport in 2014-15 and the Thunder Badminton team took full advantage of the status upgrade with an impressive slate of award winning performances. Coach Kevin MacAlpine kicked off their portion of the evening by naming two veteran players as the co-winners of the Most Dedicated Athlete(s) award; Coady Duncan and Andre LeBlanc.  The Outstanding Scholastic Athlete award also had dual-winners with Willow Frissell and Erin O'Neill taking home certificates. In the first of many awards on the night, three-sport athlete Rachael Smillie was named the team's Most Valuable Athlete for the 2nd consecutive year. Smillie was also recognized for being named as the ACAC Player of the Year for Badminton. The team also boasted no less than four ACAC All-Conference athletes; Coady Duncan, Andre LeBlanc, Lindsay Ross and Rachael Smillie. Erin O'Neill became this season's fifth athlete to receive the CCAA Academic All-Canadian award. Rounding out her awards on the evening, Rachael Smillie was acknowledged as the lone CCAA All-Canadian recipient from Concordia this season. Finally, a full slate of five Graduates were honoured with Angela Cheng, Coady Duncan, Willow Frissell, Andre LeBlanc and Erin O'Neill receiving recognition.


Boasting a full Men's team this season, Thunder Golf named two-sport athlete Beau Ferbey as the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete while another dual-athlete – Brendan Algeo – was named as the team's Most Valuable Player. Third year veteran Christian Frialde was recognized as a Graduate. 


Led to the stage by retiring Coach Rick Mann, the Thunder Curling team selected a pair of 1st year athletes to receive the first two awards presented. Adrienne Maschmeyer took home the hardware for Rookie of the Year and Regan Homeniuk took the trophy for Most Dedicated.   For the third consecutive year, the Outstanding Scholastic Award went to Willow Frissell who – for the second year in a row – was also honoured as this season's Most Valuable Athlete.


Boasting the largest team on the dais as per usual, the Men's Hockey team 'dropped the puck' on their portion of the evening by naming Brandon Halls as their Rookie of the Year. Next up, team Captain Brett Richards was named the team's Most Dedicated Athlete. Goaltender Joel Wilson took the certificate as the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete while the team's starting Goalie, Rhys Hadfield was given Most Valuable Player honours. Rounding out the evening, Hadfield, along with teammates Mick Walsh and Mike Wilson were recognized as Graduates.

Women's Volleyball

Thunder Women's Volleyball began their presentation with the Most Improved Athlete award going to 2nd year Sara Rubuliak. Third year veteran, Dayna Starke took home the hardware as the Most Dedicated Athlete while rookie Julia Heupel earned the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete Award.  Team Captain Sarah Karasiuk was honoured as the team's Most Valuable Player.

Men's Volleyball

On the Men's Volleyball side, short and sweet was the order of the day with Chad Klassen being first up as the Rookie of the Year. Connor Reeves was named the Most Dedicated while Owen Woycenko collected the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete Award for the second year in a row. Also for the second year in a row, team Captain Alex Ingstrup was named as the Most Valuable Player.

Minor Official

In her fourth year as a Thunder Official, Jensen Evtushevski was once again feted as this season's Minor Official of the Year. Jensen has filled multiple roles over the course of her service to Thunder Athletics and filled roles as the ScoreClock Operator for Basketball and the DakStats Operator for Thunder Volleyball.

Tom Austin Sportsmanship Award

This year's recipient of the Tom Austin Sportsmanship Award was 4th year dual-athlete (Badminton and Curling) Willow Frissell.

Coach Recognition

After a mass exodus of coaches in 2013-14, this season saw just one Coach elect to move on to other things. Fifth year Curling Coach and all around great guy Rick Mann was acknowledged and celebrated by a presentation from his team Captain Willow Frissell.

Coaches of the Year

It is a rarity when a Coach is selected as an ACAC Coach of the Year in their respective sport and so it is an even more unusual circumstance when not only one but TWO Thunder Coaches were chosen as COY's in 2014-15. In this instance, one of the two went on to be named the CCAA Coach of the Year as well.  Franco Imbrogno was named as the ACAC Women's Soccer North Division Coach of the Year and Matt Norminton was the COY in Cross Country Running.  Norminton also received the nod as the CCAA National Cross Country Running Coach of the Year.  Both coaches were recognized for their remarkable achievements by Thunder Athletic Director Joel Mrak.

Special Awards

This year, the Concordia Thunder Athletic Department was selected to be a recipient of the ACAC's Ron Lavery Fair Play Award.  This honour was of special significance as it is the first time in 10 years that the award has been presented by the ACAC.

The recipients of this year's Edmonton Grads Scholarship Award for Basketball were Women's Basketball player Shyanne Walton and Men's player Rob Haack.

Finally, Thunder Athletics celebrated two athletes who completed all 5 years of their eligibility in collegiate sport and in the case of both men, all 5 years were completed at Concordia.  Plaques of appreciation were given to Men's Basketball's Rob Haack and Men's Soccer and Cross Country Running's Cody Hogberg.

Female Athlete of the Year

This year's nominees for the Thunder Athletics Female Athlete of the Year were: Thunder Cross Country Running/Indoor Track's Marriya Jenkins, Thunder Badminton's Rachael Smillie and Thunder Basketball's Karolina Wieczorek. The Thunder Athletics Female Athlete of the Year is RACHAEL SMILLIE!

Male Athlete of the Year

This year's nominees for the Thunder Athletics Male Athlete of the Year were: Thunder Basketball's Ryan Coleman, Thunder Hockey's Rhys Hadfield and Thunder Cross Country Running/Indoor Track's Kirk Sundt.  The Thunder Athletics Male Athlete of the Year is RYAN COLEMAN!

CONGRATULATIONS to all of our honourees and to ALL of our Thunder Athletes on another fantastic year!!


Rachael Smillie


Ryan Coleman