Nanaimo Sports Achievement Awards

February 15th, 2015

Athletes, coaches recognized at awards Tenth annual Nanaimo Sports Achievement Awards were held Friday evening at Coast Bastion Inn

by Nanaimo Daily News

The John Barsby Bulldogs AA provincial football champions and Vancouver Island University Mariners athletics program were two groups who had multiple winners Friday night at the 10th annual Nanaimo Sports Achievement Awards banquet. The banquet, held at the Coast Bastion Inn, awarded members of the Nanaimo sports community with athletes, coaches and builders nominated by the public and selected by local media and awards committee members. The Team of the year winner for 2015 was the VIU women’s soccer team, coached by Anup Kang, that won a provincial championship. Kang, who has guided the women’s soccer program out of obscurity in his time at VIU, was also recognized for his efforts by being awarded as the High Performance Coach of the Year. Matt Haddad, the captain of the VIU golf team, was named Male Individual Athlete of the Year after winning the PacWest regular season golf championship, competing at nationals and being named an All-Canadian. Junior Team of the Year honours went to the Bulldogs, who won their second straight provincial championship in high school football this year. One of their top players, safety and runningback Cole Virtanen, was named Junior Male Team Athlete of the Year after leading his team to the championship and also being named as the province’s top defensive player. His coach, Rob Stevenson, however, was runner up for an award he won last year, as Dover Bay cross-country coach Bob Saunders was named as the Grassroots Coach of the Year after leading his team to a record-setting provincial championship. The Junior Female Team Athlete of the Year award went to Kelsey Hutt of the Ladysmith 49ers volleyball team, which won silver at provincials this year. Hutt, along with teammate Shelby Dorman-Banks made it onto the first all-star team at the championships. Their team was also runner-up to the Sports Story of the Year award, which went to the B.C. Summer Games that were hosted by Nanaimo in the summer. The Male Team Athlete of the Year award was given to Vancouver Island Raiders wide receiver Marshall Cook, who set team records in his final year playing football in Nanaimo, while also being named the B.C. Football Conference’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year on offence and being named an All-Canadian by the Canadian Junior Football League. The Female Team Athlete of the Year was awarded to Kesa Van Osch for her provincial women’s curling championship and trip to the prestigious Scotties Tournament of Hearts in 2014. Carey Mark, a cyclist, was named as Nanaimo’s Female Individual Athlete of the Year. Under 23 rowing world champions Martin Barakso, of Nanaimo, and Tim Schrijver, of Victoria, were named as Nanaimo’s Partners of the Year. Taking Junior Female Individual Athlete of the Year honours was Faye Tuck, one of the most successful wrestlers in the sport’s history in B.C. Now a senior in high school, Tuck is currently fielding university scholarship offers. The Junior Male Athlete of the Year was swimmer Reid Della-Rosa, who was a member of the Island team at the 2014 B.C. Summer Games. Also in swimming, Terry Ryan was named as Nanaimo’s Official of the Year. Local cyclist Derek Steele was name as the Masters Athlete of the Year, while the Sports Administrator of the Year Award went to Shawn Swanson, a player, coach and administrator with the Nanaimo Senior B Timbermen lacrosse team. Brande Terris, the vice-president of the Nanaimo District Lacrosse Association, was named as the Hero in You award winner as one of two major award winners of the evening for her work in minor lacrosse. The other major award winner was Sylvia Taylor, the founder and executive Director of B.C. Special Olympics’ Nanaimo branch, who won the Michael Rhode Memorial Award for dedication to local sports. The “Rhodesie” award is named after former Daily News sports editor Michael Rhode, who died in 2010. More information about the awards, and lists of past winners, can be found online at www.