KELOWNA, B.C. – The ninth annual Athletics Awards Banquet took place at the Coast Capri Hotel Tuesday night and four distinguished female athletes were the recipients of this year's headline awards in the streamlined ceremony format that was debuted at last year's banquet.
For a complete list of this year's nominees and detailed descriptions for each award, see the banquet preview . For a list of all award winners and those otherwise recognized at the banquet, see the recap of the big night .
Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year – Veronika Fagan (Cross Country)
Veronika helped lead her Heat team to another CCAA National Championship in November, finishing fourth as an individual. She has been named a CCAA All-Canadian as well as the BC Athletics Junior Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Year for 2016.
Student Athlete of the Year – Siobhan Fitzpatrick (Volleyball)
Siobhan, currently in her fourth year of her sciences program but only in her third year of eligibility, has been named an academic All-Canadian for each of the past two seasons. On the court she led the Heat women this year with 256 kills, as well as 30 service aces.
Graduating Player of the Year – Megan Festival (Volleyball)
Megan, set to graduate in June with her Bachelor of Management degree, has twice been named a U Sports Academic All-Canadian. She is well regarded as one of the most competitive women to suit up for the Heat, and in all her five years with program never missed the postseason.
Individually, Festival has played more sets (407) and matches (114) than any other player in a Heat uniform. Through those many matches she amassed 1018 digs and 888 kills, putting her in the top 20 all time in Canada West. She finishes her career just four kills shy of Alex Basso's record 892 kills, and just 30 digs shy of Jackie Toews' record 1048. Megan now owns the record for most total points by a Heat woman, with 1113.5. Her 163 aces from the service line put her second-highest ever in Canada West, and first in the Heat's history.
Rookie of the Year – Sara McCreary (Volleyball)
Sara's first season with the Heat saw her finish second on the team in both assists, with 344, and assists per set, averaging 4.53. She also proved that she can be counted on in clutch situations, as she helped push her side to the Final Four in the decisive third match of the quarterfinal series against the Calgary Dinos. In that win-or-go-home situation McCreary had 55 assists, the second-most ever by a Heat setter, and the most in a four-set match.
Rugby Award – Lauren Klassen
Lauren Klassen is the first Heat women's rugby player to receive the Inspirational Rugby Athlete of the Year award. This is the first year the award has been given out, and it recognizes Lauren's commitment, leadership, and superior performance on the pitch and in the classroom. Klassen is a 5'7" forward in the fourth year of her Bachelor of Arts degree at UBC Okanagan.