Men’s golfer Jaron Brown and women’s cross country and middle distance runner Lizzy Laurie were named the recipients of the 2019-20 President’s Award as the Wilfrid Laurier Department of Athletics and Recreation wrapped up their virtual Athletic Banquet, presented by RBC, on Friday afternoon.
The President’s Award, presented annually to the most outstanding athletic performance from a male and female athlete over the past year, was one of 11 major awards handed out over the course of the past week as the department announced their awards over social media following the cancellation of the annual banquet due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.
“Winning this award is a true honour and a defining moment in my university experience here at Laurier,” said Brown who became the second men’s golfer to earn the President’s Award. “I would like to thank my coaches and teammates for always pushing me to improve and being the most incredible bunch of people to compete with. Winning our first OUA Championship together is a memory I will always cherish. Thank you to everyone involved in the athletic department for all their support and all that you do for our athletes. I'm overwhelmed and honoured to receive this award and I will always be proud to be a Laurier Golden Hawk."
“I'm extremely honoured to receive this award,” said Laurie, the first cross country and middle distance athlete to take home the President’s Award. “This has been an unforgettable way to end my final season representing Laurier. I went into every race with a determined mind set and I was always ready to leave everything on the course/track. I'm extremely proud of my performances this season and have been grateful to lead my team as a Captain the last two years.”
Brown, a native of Thornhill, Ont., had a season to remember for the Golden Hawks men’s golf program. After medaling in three of the four invitational events he participated in during the lead-up to the OUA Championship, including a silver and two bronze medals, the fourth-year communication studies major capped off the season in style. Brown fired a two-day total of one-over par 145 to win the Len Shore Trophy as the OUA Individual Champion, becoming the third Laurier golfer to ever accomplish the feat. His performance would also secure the Golden Hawks their first-ever OUA team title as they won the banner by five shots over the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
Meanwhile, Laurie, a native of Kitchener, Ont., had a season for the history books for Laurier’s cross country and indoor middle distance programs. The fourth-year communication studies major started off her season in style in cross country, becoming the third Laurier runner to be named an OUA All-Star when she was named to the second team after finishing ninth at the OUA Championships. She followed that up with a 12th place finish at the U SPORTS Championships, in the process becoming the first Golden Hawk to be named a U SPORTS All-Canadian, placing on the second team. In the winter semester with Indoor Middle Distance, she starred in the 3000m, finishing fourth in the distance at the OUA Championships before winning silver at the U SPORTS Championships. That performance at nationals marked the program’s first-ever medal for Laurier at the U SPORTS Championships and earned her a U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian recognition.
The Glenn Carroll Team of the Year Award, presented by RBC, was awarded to men’s curling after they won the OUA and U SPORTS Championships this season. Icing one of the best lineups in program history, the Hawks posted an 8-2-1 record during the invitational season before ramping up their performance at the provincial and national championships. At the OUA Championships in Guelph, Laurier went 9-1 to capture their fourth OUA gold medal in the last six years. They followed that up with an unblemished record at the U SPORTS/Curling Canada Championships in Portage La Prairie, going 9-0 en route to their second national championship in five years.
The Rich Newbrough Rookie of the Year Award, handed out annually for the most outstanding athletic performance from a male and female rookie, was awarded to women’s basketball’s Kate Moran of Waterloo, Ont., and men’s hockey’s Matt Williams of Upper Tantallon, N.S.
Moran, the first women’s basketball player to earn the award in 11 years, made an immediate impact for the Golden Hawks in her first season with the program. Overcoming serious injuries which ended her high school career early, the business major appeared in all 22 games for the purple and gold, including starting 14 of her team’s final 15 regular season contests. Her impact was felt all over the court as she averaged 7.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists per contest. However, her most impressive statistic came in the blocks category as she averaged 2.4 per contest to finish the season as the U SPORTS leader in the category with a total of 53 on the year.
As for Williams, he comes the third men’s hockey player to win the award in the last eight seasons after starring for the Golden Hawks all season. The arts major grabbed the starters job early in the season and would go on to start 18 of the team’s 28 games in his rookie campaign. Finishing first in the OUA among rookie netminders for minutes played, save percentage and goals against average, Williams would post an 8-9-2 record for Laurier with a 2.62 goals against average and a 0.922 save percentage, the fourth-best mark by a Golden Hawks netminder in the last 20 years.
The Luke Fusco Academic Athletic Achievement Award, which honours the male and female athlete who best combines academic and athletic achievement, was awarded to Jeremy Pullara of Vaughan, Ont., from men’s hockey and Jasmine Raines of Kitchener, Ont., from women’s swimming.
Pullara, a third-year kinesiology major, has a cumulative GPA of 10.37 after posting an 11.2 GPA in the Fall semester. The forward also had a strong season on the ice for the Golden Hawks, as he scored five goals and added 12 assists for 17 points, the latter two which were two career-highs for a single season. Pullara would go on to add two assists in three playoff games for the purple and gold.
Meanwhile, Raines, a fourth-year health science major, earned the fourth major award of her decorated career at Laurier by earning this year’s Luke Fusco AAA Award. A two-time President’s Award recipient, Raines posted an 11.75 GPA in the Fall semester to raise her cumulative average to 10.09. She did all that while also excelling in the pool for the Golden Hawks, winning two medals at the OUA Championships, silver in the 200m Breaststroke and bronze in the 100m Breaststroke, while also finishing fourth in the 200m Breaststroke at the U SPORTS Championships. Her success in the pool also earned her the OUA Award of Distinction in her final season, awarded to an athlete who earns medals in individual events at the OUA Championships in three or more seasons.
The Fred Nichols Community Service Leadership Award, recognizing the male and female student-athlete or student-leader who gives back to the community through volunteer commitments and/or fundraising efforts, was handed out to cheerleading’s Erin Bailey of Holland Landing, Ont., and men’s baseball outfielder Kai Harris of Toronto.
Bailey, a third-year psychology major and team captain for cheerleading, is a member of the Golden Hawk Council executive team who helped launch two new initiatives this year, including Trick or Eat and a soup kitchen visit. She also volunteers her time extensively in the literacy lab with KW Habilitation, as a clinical volunteer with the Children’s Treatment Network and McLennan Speech and Language Services, while also serving as a volunteer tutor with Frontier College and the Somali Canadian Association of Waterloo.
As for Harris, a third-year political science major, he also serves as an executive member of the Golden Hawk Council who has been heavily involved with the club’s activities. He is active with the Running and Reading program while also helping to organize hospital visits and assisting with the department’s School Day Games. Outside of Laurier, he volunteers at the Oasis Dufferin Community Centre where he’s involved in a number of initiatives that give back to the local community.
Laurier Athletics and Recreation also recognized seven individuals for their contributions to the department and varsity teams.
The Marty Wamsley Student Trainer of the Year Award was awarded to Melissa Pare from the women’s lacrosse team.
The Earl C. Shelley Unsung Hero Award, awarded to someone within the Laurier community who unselfishly gives time and effort to supporting the success of the athletics program, was handed out to Jennifer Casey, Laurier’s Assistant Vice President, Enrolment Services and Registrar.
The Tuffy Knight Award, which recognizes a person not affiliated with the university, for their untiring efforts over an extended period of time, was given to Colleen Araya, the department’s travel agent with Merit Travel.
The Chuck Classen Volunteer Coach of the Year award was presented to women’s basketball assistant coach Cal Keil.
The Dean E. Brandon Award, awarded to the female contributing most to Athletics, went to Lily McGuire, who has served in multiple roles during her time working in the department, including as the Youth Programs Coordinator for the past two years.
The Bill Haggstrom Trophy, awarded to the male contributing most to Athletics, was given to Matt Strapp who has worked in a variety of capacities over three years with the department, including serving the last two years as Communications Assistant.
Also honoured over the course of the week were each team’s Most Valuable Players and Rookie’s of the Year.
Most Valuable Players
Baseball – Christian Hauck
Men’s Basketball - Kemel Archer
Women’s Basketball - Brianna Iannazzo
Cheerleading - Emma Heaps
Men’s Cross Country - Dan Hilbers
Women’s Cross Country - Lizzy Laurie
Men’s Curling - John Willsey
Women’s Curling - Emma McKenzie
Football - Levondre Gordon
Men’s Golf - Jaron Brown
Women’s Golf - Stephanie Elsey
Men’s Hockey - Anthony Conti
Women’s Hockey - Cohen Myers
Men’s Indoor Middle Distance - Vahaab Ladha
Women’s Indoor Middle Distance - Sydney Pattison
Women’s Lacrosse - Rose Williams
Men’s Rugby - Matt Fish
Women’s Rugby - Shannon Bellamy
Men’s Soccer - Lucas Cabral
Women’s Soccer - Ellie Reid
Men’s Swimming - Mitchell Gour
Women’s Swimming - Jasmine Raines
Rookie’s of the Year
Baseball - George Cuthbert
Men’s Basketball - Vladimir Lukomski
Women’s Basketball - Kate Moran
Cheerleading - Briar Boothby
Men’s Cross Country - Eric Hill
Women’s Cross Country - Olivia Cadieux
Men’s Curling - Sean McCloskey
Women’s Curling - Brooklyn Fahl
Football - Tanner Nelmes
Men’s Golf - Jacob Knegt
Men’s Hockey - Matt Williams
Women’s Hockey - Chloe Davidson
Men’s Indoor Middle Distance - Eric Hill
Women’s Indoor Middle Distance - Olivia Cadieux
Women’s Lacrosse - Jamie Carr
Men’s Rugby - Dylan Di Girolamo
Women’s Rugby - Meghan Little
Men’s Soccer - Adam Murphy
Women’s Soccer - Selena Tansella
Women’s Swimming - Laura Scolaro