Title Image

2017 Award


Year 20 –  Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at Bingemans, Kitchener

 

2017 ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Jamal Murray - Basketball


Biography

Home Town:  Kitchener, Ontario

Teams:  NBA Denver Nuggets & Team Canada

2017 Highlight: NBA draft- Denver Nuggets

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Performance

2017: NBA DENVER NUGGETS

2016-2017 Regular Season

Games Played: 82   Games Started: 9

Average Minutes per Game :  21.5

Field Goals Made/Attempted: 295/730 (40.4%)

3-Pt Field Goals Made/Attempted: 115/344 (33.4%)

Free Throws Made/Attempted: 106/120 (88.3%)

Rebounds: 214  (41 offensive  & 173 defensive)

Assists: 170  Blocks: 24  Points: 811

Personal Fouls: 124   Turnovers: 113 

2017-2018 Regular Season

Games Played: 64  Games Started: 63

Average Minutes per Game: 30.4

Field Goals Made/Attempted: 372/805 (46.2%)

3-Pt Field Goals Made/Attempted: 123/321 (38.3%)

Free Throws Made/ Attempted: 160/175 (91.4%)

Rebounds: 227  (66 offensive & 161 defensive)

Assists: 197    Blocks: 18    Points: 1027

Personal Fouls: 126   Turnovers: 135 

This article on Jamal Murray was written by Christopher Dempsey  on is from last season's final game.

In Oklahoma City, on April 12, on Russell Westbrook’s night to celebrate his triple-double record, it was Murray who was putting on a clinic. He read pick-and-roll situations like they were children’s books. He split defenders, he turned the corner on screens and found the soft spot in the defense for a short jumper or floater. He got to the spots he wanted. He did not allow the defense to dictate his shots to him. It was a prelude to what the Nuggets are seeing now.

Murray has never been in more control of his game than he is now. He’s never seen the court and navigated his way around it with more precision than now. Murray has been on a scoring binge in the last two games, averaging 34.0 points on 66.7 percent shooting from the field overall, and 64.3 percent from the 3-point line.

“For a 20-year old who is still learning and improving and getting better, to see what he’s done the last two games is encouraging and exciting,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “You ask yourself, what’s this kid’s ceiling? Who knows? I know if he continues to work, continues to accept coaching, he’s just going to be a special player for us.” There is a reason for all of it.

All of the pieces of the pie are coming together. Markedly-improved ball handling, which allows him to get anywhere on the court, escape traps, get away from sticky defense and get into a wide array of shots. An improved shot selection, which has featured attempts coming in the flow of the offense – very rarely breaking from the system to hunt a shot down. An enhanced understanding of pick-and-roll offense, how to use the screens, when to split the defense, when to hit the roll man, and how to use his body to create space in the midrange to get off an uncontested jump shot or floater. Health, which allows him to explode to the rim for dunks and fight through contact for finishes at the rim in a way he couldn’t last season.

And an ever-evolving understanding of his teammates – when and where to get them the ball, cutting to the rim when he gives it up, and creating the pace Mal-one is looking for out of the offense.

“The point guard thing was I had to figure out how to score when I’m hot, and how to distribute and make sure everybody is happy. Because I can be happy scoring the ball. But when everybody isn’t touching the ball, and we’re not making the defense move, it’s kind of pointless. So, I’ve got to find a way to keep everybody in the loop.” He’s doing just that.

“I have control,” Murray said. “I mean, when a guy is hot, he’s hot. That was me for the last couple of games. But I’ve just got to make sure I’m not forcing shots. I’ve got to make sure I’m getting the ball to Joker, Wilson (Chandler’s) got to get his shots, not to mention Will (Barton) is going to be handling the ball a lot. So, it’s kind of adjusting to who has the ball and what our offense is going through.”

A little over halfway through his first full season as a full-time point guard, Murray is settling in. His shooting percentages this season overall? Significantly higher in these four actions...

* As the pick-and-roll ball handler: 44.7 percent this season. Last season: 41.2 percent. 

* In spot-up shooting: 45.5 percent this season. Last season: 32.2 percent.

* In transition: 45.6 percent this season. Last season: 42.7 percent.

Off screens: 51.4 percent this season. Last season: 38.2 percent.

“He’s doing a little bit of everything right now,” Malone said. “Playing at a very high level. I love the pace with which he’s playing with because we have to get back to that.”

And then there are the intangibles. Flexing when he made a big layup, plus one, late in Monday night’s win over Portland. Dribbling around Lonzo Ball in a Nuggets win over the Lakers earlier in the season after he’d been challenged not to allow the rookie to put up another triple-double against him. And the count-less “Blue Arrow” celebrations after making 3-pointers.

Murray has six 30-point games this season, the most of any Nuggets player and most in the NBA among players who are under 21.

“He’s a competitor,” guard Gary Harris told Nuggets.com. “He competes all the time. He’s a fun-loving dude off the court, but once he’s between those lines he’s a competitor and he goes out there and gives it his all.”

Murray’s competitiveness was evident from the minute he first walked in the gym, Harris said. Confidence has never been in short supply.

“Confidence is always there,” Murray said. “If I miss one I’m shooting the next one. I have confidence in this team and the way we play and coach. I think we’re a great team, we’ve just got to stay consistent.”

Murray’s growth at point guard also allows him to be more versatile. Murray has always had the ability to play off the ball, and in fact has had assists on 16 of his 24 made field goals in his last two games. Nuggets big men, Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee, have the most assists on Murray’s makes with five apiece.

“It’s different playing Team Canada point guard, playing high school point guard, and then playing two-guard at Kentucky and then coming here playing two-guard, then (point) guard,” Murray said. “It’s kind of like, I’m just a guard. I play the one right now and I can just as easily go out there, no questions and slide to the two-guard.” Malone is comforted by the fact Murray isn’t satisfied.

“He has a great self-belief from many years of hard work,” Malone said. “He knows that he has to put work in. He’s played well of late, but it’s not like it’s been easy for him. There have been some real struggles for Jamal Murray, and I think it’s great. Only by going through those struggles do you get to the next level.”

“I always knew. I always had a love for it and continue to grow and learn every day. I always wanted to get better, I always wanted to be the best, and I knew from a young age, so I kept putting in the hard work and kept training around the outside courts outside my house and it paid off.”   Jamal Murray (on Basketball focus and passion)


 

 

OTHER NOMINEES:

Dan Benvenuti -- Ultimate

Biography

Home Town:  Kitchener, Ontario

Team: Team Canada & Union, Kitchener

2017 Highlight:

Silver Medal - World Championship Beach Ultimate

2017 INDOOR

O4UC – Ontario 4on4 Ultimate Championship, Gold Medal

C4UC – Canadian 4on4 Ultimate Championship,  Bronze Medal

C4UC – Canadian 4on4 Ultimate Championship Spirit Award

2017 OUTDOOR

OUC – Ontario Ultimate Championship,  Gold Medal

CUC – Canadian Ultimate Championship, 5th Place

(highest points on the team)

CUC – Canadian Ultimate Championship Spirit Award

WCBU – World Championship Beach Ultimate,  Silver Medal

Captain of Team Canada & the tournament's Highest Point Getter

Dan Benvenuti, a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Bachelor of Mathematics, Combinatorics and Optimization, Master’s Degree, Management Science and Master of Science, Mathematics from Simon Fraser University, commenced his competitive Ultimate career while studying at the University of Waterloo.

Dan has had an exceptional 2017 competitive year as one of the leading Ultimate players competing successfully at local, provincial, national and international levels.

Attendance at any national tournament, such as C4UC or CUC, Canadian 4 on 4 Ultimate Championship and Canadian Ultimate Championship respectively, requires qualifications at a regional event. In 2017, CUC featured the top 20 teams from across the country and Dan played extremely well, finishing with the highest points (goals plus assists) on his team and 12th overall among all players nationally.

Dan Benvenuti was awarded the Spirit Captain (Sportsman role model) and his team was awarded the Spirit Award at the CUC and WCBU, World Championship Beach Ultimate in France. Dan was selected as Team Captain of the Mixed Master’s Team, due to his leadership skills and international experience. During this tournament, Team Canada played 11 round-robin games and 2 playoff games on the hot sand in France. Dan was the divisional leading scorer across all teams and countries in attendance which resulted in a Silver Medal performance.


  

Alec Elliot - Swimming

Biography

Home Town:  Kitchener, Ontario

Team: Team Canada & Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks

2017 Highlight: 

3 Gold Medals at the World Para Games

Performance

2017 ONTARIO UNIVERSITY

WLU Golden Hawk Invitational: 1st 50m Backstroke, 1st 50m Butterfly

U of Guelph Varsity Club Invitational: 3rd 50m Butterfly, 3rd 100m Medley

WLU Athlete of the Week: February 2017

OUA Swim Championship: 1st 200m Butterfly, 12th 100m Backstroke

Speedo Can-Am Para-Swimming Championship

1st 100m Freestyle, 1st 100m Backstroke, 1st 100m Butterfly

Canadian Para Swimming Championship 

1st 50m Freestyle, 1st 100m Freestyle, 1st 100m Backstroke

Para-Swimming Canadian Open Championships 

1st 100m Butterfly, 3rd 100m Backstroke

Swimming Ontario Award

Male Para Swimmer of the Year (2017)

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Berlin World Para Swimming World Series

9th 100m Butterfly, 11th 100m Freestyle, 21st 100m Backstroke

Alec Elliot has established himself as one of the top Canadian para-swimmers.

He enjoyed another banner year in 2017, following his successful 2016 Olympic year in Rio de Janeiro where he swam personal best times while making the finals in several events. These results earned Alec the Male Para Swimmer of the Year for Ontario.

In 2017 Alec competed as a member of the WLU Golden Hawks swimming team, competing against able athletes from the OUA. His impressive results at the OUA Swimming Championship included a 1st place finish in the 200m Butterfly B Final, 12th in the 100m Backstroke, 13th in the 200m Freestyle and 15th in the 100m Butterfly. Elliot concluded the meet by helping Laurier’s 4x200 freestyle relay team to a 6th place finish. In total, he helped earn 46 of Laurier’s 146 points, to largely contribute to Laurier’s 10th place finish. This earned Elliot the Male Athlete of the Week Honours.

At the 2017 Can Am Para-swimming Championships, Elliot won three gold medals in the 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly. He continued to compete at an international level, representing Canada at the Berlin World Series Para Events, competing in 100m Backstroke, 200m Individual Medley, 100m Butterfly, 100m Freestyle, 50m Back-stroke, 50m Freestyle and 50m Breaststroke.

Not only did Alec spend his time in the pool but he also supported the Waterloo Region bid to host the 2021 Canada Games WeRally2021 Campaign.

‘Competing in his first Paralympic Games in Rio, Alec Elliot impressed anyone who watched the swimming competition. In qualifying for his first Paralympic Games, Alec rose to the occasion in the most prestigious of all swim meets by setting two personal best times (in the 100 Breast and 50 Free), made three finals races out of his six events he was entered in and Alec narrowly missed a medal in the 100 Fly where he finished 4th Alec has been swimming for the Region of Waterloo Swim Club since he was a child and he became a Golden Hawk in 2015.

Alec was born with a rare condition called syndactyly, which limits the use of his hands and feet. Syndactyly affects only one in about 2,500 people; it is even rarer in both hands and both feet. Elliot is classified as a para swimmer, but his speed and times made him a highly recruited athlete this year due to his speed and natural feel for the water.

 When asked if he ever felt he was at a disadvantage, Elliot simply shook his head. He sees his Paralympic status as a way of achieving something that may have not otherwise been possible.

 “It ended up being an advantage that I did get classed in. I probably wouldn’t have this opportunity without it, I’d have to work a lot harder to make the able-bodied team,” he said.

 It’s Elliot’s mentality that makes him stand out and has allowed him to achieve his status as arguably one of the top five para-swimmers in the world, right now.

 “I have worked with para athletes for 25 years and the ones that are concerned about them being para athletes are not usually the ones who will be very successful”.

 “The ones that will be successful are the ones that look at the way society wants you to look at them and say ‘look what I can do’… [Alec] has the right headspace for that.”

 “It’s that mental toughness … the eye of the tiger that says, ‘I’m winning today, I’m beating everybody today,’” Witolla said.

 “It’s really exciting because I have a chance to represent Canada and I have a chance to represent the region and this club. It is going to be really cool to see what I can do, how fast I can swim, if I can pick up a medal, pick up a finals[appearance] and have fun with it, too,” Elliot added.

  

 “The feeling when you get on the blocks and you get to race, and you have a good race, is one of the greatest things. You feel so invigorated after… All your hard work actually worked out for something.”               Alec Elliot 


 

Chris Ernst - Cycling

Biography

Home Town:  Kitchener, Ontario

Teams:   Kallisto FCV Peloton Contracting & Team Canada

2017 Highlight:

Named to Cycle Canada’s “Next Gen” or Team Race Clean Team

2017 Performance

TRACK CYCLING

Junior National Championship:  1st Team Pursuit, 1st Madison

Junior National Championship:   Silver Points, Silver Scratch, Silver Elimination

Team Canada: Junior Track World Cycling Championship

Set Canadian Record Team Pursuit in Montichiari, Italy

Canadian Elite Track National Championship: 4th Omnium, 2nd Tempo, 3rd Scratch

ROAD RACING

Ontario Cup –   Overall Champion

Good Friday Road Race - 1st, Calabogie Road Race - 2nd, Ontario Road Provincials KW Classic - 3rd, Criterium Series - 2nd Overall, Ossington Criterium -  1st,  Racetiming.ca Criterium - 1st, Criterium Provincials, Fieldstone - 2nd, 

TT Series - 2nd Overall, Grey County - 1st, Fergus TT - 2nd, Dundalk TT - 1st, Team Canada: Pro ½ War on the Shore - 2nd, Team Canada: Pro ½ at Tour di Via Italia - 10th, Road Nationals in the TT - 3rd

"A distance of 17,891.6 kilometres, over 554 hours, 6 minutes, with a total elevation gain of 93,328 metres during 365 total rides," describes Chris Ernst’s cycling experience to date.

Chris Ernst, a native of Kitchener, Ontario is currently finishing his 5th year at Forest Heights Collegiate Institute, and is a rising star on the Canadian cycling scene. Chris competes in two cycling disciplines – Track and Road Racing.

2017 was a very busy year for the cyclist who competed for the Kallisto PCV P/B Peloton Contracting Team, Canadian Junior Development Team and named to both the Cycle Canada’s “Next Gen” Men’s Track Endurance Squad and  Team Race Clean Team. The Team Race Clean Team is an Olympic development team geared towards preparing endurance athletes for the future Olympic Games.

In the sport of Track Cycling, Chris earned two Junior National titles in the Team Pursuit and three Junior National Silver Medals – Points, Scratch and Eliminations which secured him a spot representing Canada at the Junior Track World Cycling Championship in Italy. His World performance resulted in a 10th place finish setting a new Canadian record, besting the previous time by nearly 4 seconds.

Canada’s “Next Gen” Track Endurance Program, based in Milton, Ontario,  is a partnership between Canadian Sport Institute, Ontario Cycling Association, Own the Podium and private donations with a mission to building a strong track endurance program enhancing competitive achievements internationally on the track and, ultimately, on the road.

This member of the Waterloo Cycling Club, Kallisto FCV P/B Peloton Contracting Team and Team Canada has his sights on bettering his exceptional 2017 year. He will spend most of his winter and early spring in Spain, Belgium and at the Velodrome in Milton, Ontario training for the upcoming international Track and Road seasons.

‘Ernst is a fan of both styles of racing. “It really depends on the time of the year. Partway through the winter, I want to get my road bike out and partway through the summer, I want to get back on the track.”’                    THE RECORD (Mark Bryson)


Tim Grant - Adventure Racing

Biography

Home Town:  Waterloo, Ontario

2017 Highlight:

Gold Medalist with Team Canada at the North American Challenge

 

2017 Performance

Adventure Races

Ellicottville Adventure  (New York, USA) - 1st

Wilderness Traverse (24-hour race in Parry sound) - 5th

Orienteering Races

Snowshoe Raid (Blue Mountain, Ont.) - 1st

Stars War (Mansfield, Ont.) - 2nd

Ultra-Races

Northface Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Race (Washington, DC) - 33rd

Sulphur Springs 50 Kilometre Race (Hamilton) - 17th

Pinhoti 100 mile Race (Sylacauga, Alabama) - 17th

Tim Grant is an exceptional endurance athlete, competing in Orienteering, Adventure and Ultra Races.

An orienteering race is 100% done on foot. You have a map, a compass and a time limit to successfully visit as many controls in the woods as you can in that time limit. Te control you are trying to find is marked on the map and has a different point total based on how hard or how far away it is. The winning team has the most points at the end of the time – no GPS is allowed!

In 2017, Tim Grant completed two Orienteering races which resulted in a 1st and 2nd place finish, Snowshoe Raid (Blue Mountain) and Stars WAR (Mansfield).

During the spring and summer months, Tim continued his endurance racing by participating in Adventure Races which consisted of more than one sport:  paddling, mountain biking and travelling on foot.

You use a map and compass to move through the course, but now there is a route with predetermined checkpoints. You are expected to navigate with the map and compass through the whole race and nothing is marked in the woods except when you get to the checkpoint. These races not only require athletic ability, strength and perseverance, but also strategic intelligence to determine what route you use to get from one checkpoint to another - do you run on the trail around the lake or swim across the lake?

Tim Grant’s team successfully competed in the Ellicottville, New York and 24 Hour Wilderness Traverse Adventure Races, finishing 1st and 5th.

Ultra-Racing was also a part of Tim Grant’s high achieving 2017 athletic endeavours.  These trail races are no different than a marathon except that they are longer! Northface Endurance Challenge, a 50 Miler in Washington, DC; Sulphur Springs, 50 kilometer race in Hamilton, Ontario and Pinhoti, Alabama 100 Miler were Tim Grant’s 2017 Ultra Racing events in which he placed  33rd, 17th and 17th respectively.

 

Orienteering, Adventure and Ultra Racing are as much a testament to the human spirit as they are athletic events. The drive to keep going once you have reached the point of exhaustion and to set aside your personal discomforts for the sake of the team, is what keeps Tim Grant, athlete and racer, coming back.

  


 

Brandon Horn - Softball

Biography

Home Town:  Waterloo, Ontario

Teams: Team Canada & Can Am Twins

2017 Highlight:

World Softball Championship - Bronze Medal

2017 Performance

Can Am Twins: Canadian Championship League

Batting Average:  .405    On Base: 52.2%

Team Canada: ISF World Softball Championship

Batting Average:  .308      On Base: 43.82%

Runs scored : 6, RBIs: 4

For Brandon Horn, Fast Pitch Softball is in his blood! When he and his sib-lings began playing at an early age, he had the support of his parents who encouraged and cheered for him wherever his minor ball team went. Spurred on by competitive teammates, and coached by some of the finest mentors that the Waterloo Minor Softball Association had to offer, Brandon developed his craft year after year.

Brandon played with the Waterloo Minor Fastball Association from 1994 to 2002 where he helped Waterloo win its first ever OASA “A” Gold Medal in 1995, followed by another gold in 1997. Brandon also won four NWRMSL gold medals during his time in Waterloo Region.

He then went on to play midget ball (17-19 years) with the Scarborough Wolverines, who won Provincial and Canadian gold. “An excellent ball player, Brandon was more-importantly a dedicated, respectful, humble, hard-worker who was a pleasure to coach and watch!” (Bruce Young, WMFA Executive member)

At the age of 27, Brandon Horn was part of the Canadian Men’s National Team competing at the 2012 Pan American Championships where Canada won the Gold Medal. At the 2013 International Softball Federation (ISF) Men’s World Softball Championship, Horn led the team with a .467 batting average as Canada finished fifth.

Domestically, Horn was named Most Valuable Player of the qualifying round at the 2008 Junior Men’s Canadian Championship. He later earned All-Star second baseman honours at the 2013 Senior Men’s Canadian Championship as a member of the Scarborough Force who won Silver. At the 2015 Pan Am Games, Canada won a gold medal and Brandon Horn was instrumental and key to their success.

In the 2017 Men’s Softball Championship, played in Whitehorse, Canada was one of 16 countries that included New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Argentina. Canada’s win-loss record for the tournament was 8-2 and in the semi-final game against New Zealand, Canada suffered a heart-breaking defeat. The two teams have had epic battles every time they have faced each other, and this one was no different in rainy conditions. In the top of the third inning, Canada jumped to a 9-2 lead scoring 7 runs before the game was stopped for a rain delay. When play resumed, New Zealand scored eight runs of their own to erase the deficit and held on for a narrow 12-11 win.

Fastball is a competitive, international sport that will return to the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 and will showcase many of the world’s top national team athletes.

Brandon Horn is instrumental to the success of Softball in Canada and one of Canada’s greatest softball players.

 


Boris Katchouk - Hockey

Biography

Home Town: Waterloo, Ontario

Teams: Team Canada & Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

2017 Highlight: Gold Medal - IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship

Performance in 2017

TEAM CANADA

IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship Gold Medal

Games Played: 9    Goals: 4    Assists: 4 

National Junior Team Sport Chek, Plymouth, MI

CIBC Canada/Russia Series, Toronto,Team Captain

National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development

OHL SAULT STE. MARIE SOO GREYHOUNDS

Team Captain 2016-2017

Recipient of Red Star Three Star Award Voted “Best Penalty Killer”

Regular Season

Games Played: 66     Goals: 35     Assists: 29 -

Playoffs

Games Played: 11      Goals: 6     Assists: 5

NHL

Tampa Bay Lightning                      3 year contract

At only eight years old, Boris Katchouk made an immediate impression on his lacrosse coach Steve MacGregor. It was the summer of 2006 and MacGregor had driven his KW Braves tyke team to Owen Sound for the opening game of the rep season. Katchouk, now a key player on Canada's world junior hockey team, was playing at the rep level for the first time. Most tyke lacrosse games are low-scoring affairs, but Katchouk had 7 goals to lead Kitchener-Waterloo past Owen Sound 11-10. More than a decade later, MacGregor still can't believe the feat.

“He was an amazing athlete. A terrific athlete,” MacGregor said from Kitchener, Ont. “If I can recall correctly, he scored 102 goals that year. He was just one of those kinds of athletes that was very, very special. You knew right from then.”

Katchouk was a dual sport athlete at the time, splitting his time be-tween lacrosse and hockey. A few years later, he had to choose a sport to focus on and hockey won out.

He went on to reach the Ontario Hockey League level and has 86 goals and 76 assists in 171 games with the Sault Ste. Marie Grey-hounds. Katchouk, from Waterloo, Ont., was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

He also had four points (2-2) at the world junior hockey championship in Buffalo, N.Y., and was one of the anchors for the Canadian offence in the preliminary round.

Although he hasn't played competitive lacrosse in years, Katchouk insists that it has been an important influence on his hockey career. “It's all the hard work that lacrosse has brought into my game, always having a nose for finding those small areas,” said Katchouk. “It's a creative game and I think I've brought that into hockey too. Some of the hockey sense I've got is from lacrosse, making some of those plays you don't usually see.”

MacGregor has been watching the world junior tournament and sees the lacrosse influence in Katchouk's game too. The 55-year-old coach pointed to a goal Katchouk scored against the United States on a mid-air deflection of a Jake Bean point shot. That kind of hand-eye coordination is invaluable in hockey but an absolute necessity in lacrosse.

Katchouk's determination to drive to the net and score were skills he developed in his lacrosse days. MacGregor remembers one game when Katchouk carried the ball through a team's entire defence and scored on a behind-the-back shot before the referee called it back on a crease violation.

 

“Same shift, the ball goes all the way back to our end, he picks it up, he runs through the whole team again, throws another backhand into the top corner,” said MacGregor, chuckling at the memory. “Just as you would write it in a textbook on how to throw a backhand." John Chidley-Hill,  The Canadian Press

 

“And you've got to remember, he was only eight years old.” Katchouk's other major athletic influence is his mother Elena Toumanova, who competed in speedskating for the Soviet Union at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. She raised Boris and his two brothers alone after his father died when he was one. To this day she keeps him focused on and off the ice.

    

“My mom always motivates me and tries to give me some tips. It's cool because she was fast, she could sprint for long distances and for a long time. Her cardio was just excellent, so I've tried to embrace that.”

 


Alyssa Lagonia - Soccer

Biography

Home Town:  Kitchener, Ontario

Teams:  FC Neunkirch (Switzerland) & Apollon Ladies FC (Cyprus)

2017 Highlight: Winning the Swiss Cup and the Swiss League Championship

2017 Performance

FC Neunkirch

Swiss Women’s Cup (Schweizer Cup)

Won Schweizer Cup in a penalty shootout over powerhouse FC Zurich

 Team Captain and midfielder

Won Swiss League Championship over NLA Schweizer Meisterschaft

3rd in League scoring with 8 goals in 10 games

Apollon Ladies FC (Cyprus): Champions League

3 wins in preliminary round against teams from Bulgaria, Austria and Moldova

Alyssa: 2 goals, 5 assists

Apollon FC Cyprus Super Cup

Won the Super Cup in penalty shots (Alyssa scored)

Alyssa Lagonia captained her Team to the 2017 Swiss League Championship earning a berth in the Championship League, competing for the European Women’s Championship. As leader, midfielder and captain of FC Neunkirch, a Swiss women’s football club, Alyssa was instrumental in creating history for her club side.

While the football club was founded in 1963, a women’s side only started to compete in the professional league system in 2006. The team has achieved considerable success: 4th place in the 2013-2014 season, 3rd place in 2014-2015, and 2nd place in 2015-2016. The march continued as the team garnered their first-ever League Championship in 2016-2017, due in no small part to Alyssa’s skill and leadership.

FC Neunkirch went on to win the Swiss Cup (Schweizer Cup) – the first time in club history it won both the Cup and the League Championships.

FC Neunkirch qualified for Champions League, but due to team financial constraints could not participate.

Adding an international championship to her list of accomplishments in soccer, which include an OUA win playing for Laurier in 2010 and national recognition as the best female university player in Canada a year later, gives a lot of credit to her father, who she calls “the best coach she ever had” because he always made the game fun!

Alyssa moved to Cyprus where she joined the #1 Team (Apollon Ladies FC) and realized her dream to play in the Champions League. In the preliminary round, Apollon won games against teams from Bulgaria, Austria and Moldova.

Alyssa scored two goals and had 5 assists. They went onto play Swedish powerhouse Linköping FC, losing 1-0 at home in Cyprus and 3-0 away in Sweden. Once eliminated from the Champions League, Apollon FC played in the Cyprus Super Cup and won on penalty shots – Alyssa scoring on hers.

When asked about her future in the game, Alyssa says that she will keep going as long as she remains happy and healthy!

“Well educated, known by many for her classy personality, enthusiasm and desire to help others in many ways, Lagonia could very well end up sticking with the sport she adores – but in the capacity of an ambassador to promote the women’s game. “I have lived my dream and know it’s an interesting time in my life - and I’m on the verge of retiring because you can only play for so long,” said Lagonia. “But there still is this burning pas-sion to be involved in the sport and, seeing the way the game is played around the world, I want to be a change-maker and help better promote the women’s game.”

Lagonia, who has coached and not ruled out opening her own business down the road, is interested in the FIFA Sport Management Master’s Pro-gram – a unique opportunity offered by the International Centre for Sport Studies, in partnership with three European universities, to develop managers who can cope with the increasingly complex world of sport.”  David Grossman, WLU 


Paige Nosal - Ringette

Biography

Home Town:  Waterloo, Ontario

Teams:  Team Canada & Cambridge Turbos

2017 Highlight: Silver Medal, World Ringette Championship

2017 Performance

TEAM CANADA

World Championship, Mississauga -  Silver Medal

CAMBRIDGE TURBOS

National Ringette Championship  -  Gold Medal

Paige Nosal's Stats

Regular Season: 18 goals & 38 assists

Playoffs: 8 goals & 7 assists

Final Game: 2 goals &  3 assists

Paige Nosal is a World Silver Medalist and a Canadian Gold Medalist!

A graduate of the University of Waterloo Bachelor of Science in Honours Kinesiology and currently completing a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, Paige still finds time to compete at the highest level in her sport – Ringette.

The World Championship was held in Mississauga, Ontario and Paige Nosal was a member of the Canadian Silver Medalist Team. Canada lost to a very difficult Finnish Team who have dominated at the World Championships for the past three Championships.

Paige Nosal, as captain of the Cambridge Turbos, led her team to a league first-place finish followed by a Canadian National Championship title. Her outstanding Championship performance, of 4 goals and 4 assists during the playoffs, was instrumental in the team's Gold Medal Title and Paige’s efforts were recognized as she was named the First-Line All-Star.

Her coach says it best regarding Paige:  Stats do not reflect the value Paige has to the Turbos. Paige is a versatile player that plays both center and defense for many of our

key games. Paige has also agreed to play defense for the Turbos at Na-tionals which provides our team with an amazing player that can defend as well as any player in the league but also possess the offensive talent to jump in the play and help put points on the board. There are not many players in the league with the well-rounded skills like Paige. Paige is also part of the team’s leadership group and has been a positive player with the team every game (Paige) is always willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.” Sean Taylor

Paige is a five time National Gold Medalist, Canada Winter Games Gold Medalist, World Junior Gold Medalist and National Final MVP. Her contri-butions to the sport of Ringette run deep and she, along with her sisters Sam and Sydney, have been part of the ringette world for decades.

Together they have created a business called Peak Ringette Academy whose philosophy rests on the foundation of development. Not only seeking to help each participant individually, but moving in the direction of developing the sport of ringette. It is their hope that the generations to follow will cause the sport to continue growing, both in Canada and around the world.

This is Paige Nosal’s first Athlete of the Year Nomination, however her involvement with The Athlete of the Year Program commenced early with her St. Clements Ringette Team being selected as the Award of Excellence recipient in 2012.


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Jaimie Phelan -- Track & Field

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Biography

Home Town:  Waterloo, Ontario

Teams: University of Michigan & Team Canada

2017 Highlight: 1500m NCAA Champion

2017 Performance

NCAA Division 1 National Outdoor Track and Field Championships

1st – 1500m (4:13.78) 

Ran career best 4:11.92 in 1500m semi-final 

NCAA East Preliminaries

6th – 1500m – career best 4:12.55

BIG TEN Track and Field Championships

1st – 1500m (4:21.17) and 3rd – 800m – career best 2:05.78

NCAA Indoor Championships: All America Squad

5th – Distance Medley Relay (11:04.74) - 800m leg

BIG TEN Indoor Championships

1st – Distance Medley Relay (11:14.20) - 1200m leg

4th – 600m (1:29.44)

All-America First Team

Five-time USTFCCCA All-America first team

6K BIG TEN Championships

19th – (21:41.1) – Wolverines placed 1st

BIG TEN: Sportsmanship Honoree 2016, 2017

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Jaimie Phelan was at the very back of the pack of 12 runners when she entered the final lap in the NCAA Championships 1,500-meter final in Eugene, Oregon. A quarter-mile later she had passed them all, including three former national champions, to win the race and become the University of Michigan's very first NCAA outdoor champion at 1,500 meters. The former cross-country and track athlete from St. Mary's High School used a decisive surge on the backstretch with 300 meters left to narrowly beat Nikki Hiltz of Arkansas by .02 of a second — finishing in 4:13.78.

"I knew I was giving it everything that I could, so I tried to just keep focused on myself and get to the line as fast as I could," she said, after the race. "Once I got out, I saw a clear path and I decided to go with it."

After passing 11 other runners, she gave it all she had on the final straightaway as a crowd of nearly 13,000 roared at Hayward Field. A photo finish confirmed it — the Kitchener native had won it, by the skin of her teeth.

"I saw the other girl in the corner of my eye, and I knew it was either her or me. When I looked up, that's when I knew I'd won, but I still didn't really believe it," said Phelan, who also used to run for the Laurel Creek Track and Field Club.

This stunning come-from-behind victory, along with her 2016-2017 achievements in Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field earned Jaimie a First Team All American Honours and University of Michigan Women Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

A leader and team captain for both the University of Michigan Cross Country and Track and Field Teams, Phelan led her team as the first University of Michigan and Big 10 Conference woman to ever win a national 1,500 meter championship.

Her Indoor Track and Field 2017 season included being on the BIG TEN Champion on the Distance Medley Relay Team and the BIG TEN 4 x 400m Team for which Jaimie was Awarded an All-American Honours.

Her Outdoor Track and Field 2017 season included a BIG TEN Conference 1500-metre Gold Medal and a Bronze Medal in the 800-metre at the Penn State University Championship.

Her NCAA Division 1 National Championship in Eugene, Oregon resulted in a career best in the 1500-metresemifinals of 4:11.92 -- the fastest time run by a University of Michigan Wolverine at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and second fastest regular-season time in school history.

A community leader, Jaimie has dedicated countless hours as a member of the Athletes Connected Advisory and Depression Centre Student Advisory Board. Her contributions have been honoured and recognized “off the track” by the University of Michigan Student Disability Council.

Her 2017 performance has been characterized as Jaimie Phelan’s Prenominal Phifteen!

Nothing compares to seeing the block M (Michigan logo) out front and knowing this girl personally – her attitude and approach and character – makes this moment so incredibly special.”  Nicole Sifuentes (a two-time Olympian for Canada and former Michigan Wolverine)

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