The University of British Columbia

2019 UBC Okanagan Heat Athletic Awards Finalists announced

2019 UBC Okanagan Heat Athletic Awards Finalists announced

KELOWNA, B.C. – For the 11th time in program history as the Heat, UBCO will honour its student-athletes and their accomplishments at the 28th Annual Athletic Awards Celebration on Tuesday, March 26 at the Coast Capri Hotel. 

Men's Finalists | Women's Finalists |

To celebrate and wrap up the season the annual banquet will once again highlight the achievements of the UBCO student athletes while honouring the very best with individual awards in just over a week.

The three major athletic awards at this year's banquet are the Rookie of the Year, Graduating Player of the Year, and Outstanding Athlete of the Year.

An external Athletics Awards Selection Committee (AASC) will decide the award recipients.

In the vein of the Academy Awards, from each nomination pool the AASC will narrow the field to as many as five finalists, with no minimum requirement, and of which more than one may come from the same team.

The finalists, announced today, introduced again as a group at the banquet, with the deserving winner finally revealed at the banquet on Tuesday.

The focus for the awards next week will be on athletic achievement. The Academic All-Canadians and National Scholar Awards were handed out during the fall semester to those that earned that status at the annual All-Canadian Breakfast.

Below are brief descriptions of the criteria of each of the awards as well as brief highlight points for each of the finalists.

Descriptions of the awards:

UBC Okanagan Heat Awards

Rookie of the Year

The Rookie of the Year is awarded based on superior athletic achievement for a player in his or her first year of post-secondary competition with weighted preference given to those with conference or national recognition. Each team may nominate their maximum roster of rookie students. Rookie candidates must also demonstrate good academic standing.

Graduating Player of the Year

This award will be given to a student who has competed for the Heat for a minimum of three years, and is in his or her fourth or fifth year of athletics eligibility, and graduating. The winner will have demonstrated superior athletic achievements, leadership on and off the competitive surface and academic good-standing over the course of their career.

Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year

The Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year is awarded to a student athlete who is an exceptional team player and/or team MVP. He or she will have superior athletic achievements, particularly those recognized by a respective athletics association (Canada West/U SPORTS, Pacwest/CCAA, etc.). National recognition will be weighted more heavily than conference recognition. Leadership on and off the competitive surface and academic good-standing are also criteria. Coaches can nominate more than one student athlete for the award.

Finalists – Men's Sports

Male Rookie of the Year

Tyler Dhillon (soccer)

  • The center midfielder made an impact all season for the Heat as he featured in 13 conference matches, including nine starts.
  • One of the most athletic players on the team, Dhillon used great pace along with technical ability to blow past defenders throughout his rookie campaign.

Hafith Moallin (basketball)

  • The shifty point guard led all Canada West freshman in terms of scoring at 12 points a game but the most significant contribution the Mississauga, Ontario product made was in the win column.
  • With Moallin in the lineup the Heat were nearly .500 compared to going 0-4 without him.
  • With 69 assists, Moallin was second across U SPORTS and first in the conference for total assists for rookies. At his rate of 4.3 helpers a game he was 10th in Canada West amongst all players, not just rookies.

Cam Vanderveen (volleyball)

  • He finished with 63 kills total in just 32 sets played, also managed 12 blocks, and 32 digs.
  • In four of the seven matches in which Vanderveen got the starting nod, he went for at least double-digits in kills. 
  • Had one of the best matches by a rookie in program history, racking up 19 kills in just three sets against the No. 1 ranked Brandon Bobcats on his home floor.

Turner Woodroff (cross-country)

  • The first-year from Kelowna featured in every race this past season with his time counting for every event as well.
  • He finished fifth at the Canada West Championship among rookies and 45th overall which earned him an invite to the U SPORTS National Championship where he finished 125th in a stacked field.

Male Graduating Player of the Year

Aldrich Berrios (basketball)

  • Berrios became the programs all-time leading scorer during the opening weekend of play against Trinity Western and has a long list of accomplishments on the court.
  • He has made the second most three-point shots in Canada West history with 256 and finished his career with 1483 points to his name.
  • A true ironman, Berrios played a total of 3533 minutes in the Canada West with the Heat, the third most in conference history.
  • The sharp-shooter also hit arguably the greatest shot in program history way back in 2015-16, when he hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to top Mount Royal in the Furnace.

Brennan Goski (volleyball)

  • After transferring in from Regina for his final season of eligibility, Goski racked up 144 kills in his senior campaign in 17 starts.
  • With the Cougars he was a potent outside hitter and had over 500 put-aways in his time there including 241 in 2017-18.
  • Goski provided leadership and guidance all season long on an extremely young men's volleyball team.

Shaun Pilcher (soccer)

  • He started in 57 Canada West matches as a defender in his five years with the team, racking up three goals and an assist in his time with the Heat. 
  • A three-time team Captain, the defender has shown great versatility over the years stepping into multiple different positions.
  • Pilcher was a part of the UBCO back-line that set a new conference record in terms of consecutive minutes without conceding a goal in 685 minutes back in 2017.

Steve Tostenson (rugby)

  • The Kelowna product has played multiple positions in his time with the Heat and has helped them to multiple victories in his career and multiple Hindson Cup wins.
  • Highly regarded by his teammates and coaches as an outstanding leader both on and off the field during his time with the program.

Male Athlete of the Year

Aldrich Berrios (basketball)

  • Finished second on the team in terms of scoring at just under 15 points a contest and average 38.5 minutes a contest this season which is the most in Canada West history.
  • Had the first ever triple-double in program history on Dec.1st against UFV on his home floor as he went for 15 points, 11 assists, and 10 boards.
  • His season-high came against Mount Royal on the road on Nov. 17th when he had 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting from the field.

Max Heppell (volleyball)

  • The outside hitter from Langley was the go-to option for the Heat all season long and his numbers reflected that.
  • He led the team in total kills (203), kills per set (2.86) while also sitting third in digs (105).
  • Got off to a scorching-hot start to the season as he recorded double-digit kills in five of the first six matches of the season. This included a career-high 21 kill performance against Winnipeg on Nov. 2nd.

Triston Matthews (basketball)

  • Led his team in scoring at 17.2 points a game and started in all 20 conference games for the second consecutive season.
  • Was named the Canada West second stat of the Week in early November following back-to-back 20+ point performances against the Brandon Bobcats in the Furnace.
  • He had 28 points in a game on two separate occasions, first against Lethbridge in early November, and then in mid-January against the Regina Cougars.

Mike Mitchell (cross-country)

  • The engineering student captured the individual title at the Heat's home race while he also finished top-20 at all the regular season competitions.
  • After finishing 33rd at the Canada West Championship he was invited to race in the U SPORTS National Championship for the first time.
  • The team captain for the past two seasons, Mitchell plays a vital role in practice helping his younger teammates improve.

Luke Warkentin (soccer)

  • A marksman all season long, Warkentin led the team with five goals in Canada West play while also being named game MVP on three separate occasions.
  • The striker started in 15 of the 16 Canada West matches and led the team in shots on goal with 13.
  • On the young Heat soccer team this past season, Warkentin always demanded more from his teammates and was a great example for the younger players.

Finalists – Women's Sports

Female Rookie of the Year

Jessica Ambrosio (soccer)

  • The striker was the only rookie on the Heat to start all 14 Canada West matches and her two goals were tied-most of any UBCO player this season.
  • She was twice named game MVP throughout her rookie campaign and immediately fit into the fabric of the team.
  • Ambrosio was highly-regarded by both her coaches and teammates as a hard worker both on and off the field.

Samantha Copeland (golf)

  • Was named a CCAA All-Canadian and PacWest Player of the Year in her rookie season for the Heat, picking up two victories and two second-place finishes in four conference tournaments.
  • Helped her team to a Team Bronze Medal at the National Championship where she also finished eighth individually.
  • Named Conference Player of the Week on two occasions, following wins at the Langara and UBCO Invitationals.

Sydney Grills (volleyball)

  • Set a school-record in terms of kills in a season by a rookie with 226 which was also the second most in all of U SPORTS.
  • Was named to the Canada West All-Rookie Team following her outstanding freshman campaign.
  • Had 22 kills in the final weekend of the season against interior-rivals TRU, tied-most by a Heat individual in any match this season.

Jade Bussard (volleyball)

  • Honoured as a member of the All-Rookie team in the conference as the Red Deer, Alberta product finished the year with 138 kills and 174 digs on the season.
  • Her career-high was 13 kills in a match on four different occasions, while she also had 17 digs in two separate matches.

Female Graduating Player of the Year

Vanessa Botteselle (basketball)

  • Finished her Heat career with 693 points in Canada West play, the sixth most in program history.
  • She also sits top-five in UBCO's history with 192 assists in conference play and has played in 96 of a possible 100 games in her five years with the program.
  • Set a new career-high this season against UBC when she dropped 29 points in War Memorial Gym, the third highest total in a game in the school's program history.

Veronika Fagan (cross-country)

  • A two-time UBC Okanagan Outstanding Athlete of the Year, Fagan has a long list of accolades in her time with the Heat.
  • Fagan has both an individual and a team CCAA National Championship to her name, the only Heat athlete in school history to accomplish this feat.
  • This past season she was also named a Canada West All-Star, in her first year competing in that conference.
  • The two-time team captain has been a model student-athlete throughout her time with the Heat, picking up a CCAA National Scholar award in the past.

Sophia Furlan (volleyball)

  • The libero from Calgary was a member of four different Canada West Final Four teams and has racked up over 90 conference wins, including a National Bronze Medal in 2015-16.
  • Furlan racked up 520 digs in a Heat uniform, including a career-high 226 in 2017-18.
  • She has been a finalist for the Provost Award for Excellence in her time at UBCO and is also on her way to a fifth Academic All-Canadian award.

Aidan Lea (volleyball)

  • The middle from Kelowna has had a standout career in a Heat uniform as she has twice been a finalist for Female Athlete of the Year and was a Second Team All-Canadian last season.
  • She owns a .304 career hitting percentage with the Heat which is top-15 in the Canada West record book and the best mark in program history.
  • Her best moment in a UBCO uniform was when Lea rose to the occasion back in 2017 when she racked up 19 kills and 10 blocks performance in a do-or-die quarterfinal series against the Calgary Dinos.
Female Athlete of the Year

Maya Bandy (soccer)

  • The versatile midfielder started in all 14 Canada West matches for the Heat and was named game MVP on four separate occasions throughout the season.
  • A leader both on and off the pitch, Bandy led by example all season long and the coaching staff couldn't praise her character and sportsmanship enough.

Samantha Copeland (golf)

  • Was named a CCAA All-Canadian and PacWest Player of the Year in her rookie season for the Heat, picking up two victories and two second-place finishes in four conference tournaments.
  • Helped her team to a Team Bronze Medal at the National Championship as she also finished eighth individually.
  • Named Conference Player of the Week on two occasions, following wins at the Langara and UBCO Invitationals.

Veronika Fagan (cross-country)

  • The Kelowna product had another exceptional season for the Heat as she was named a Canada West All-Star in the program's first season in the league.
  • She would finish in sixth at the Canada West Championship and that time was good enough at the nationals for an 18th place finish against Olympic quality runners.
  • The nursing student finished in the top six in all but one race during her senior season.

Jordan Korol (basketball)

  • Became the first player in women's program history to average a double-double for an entire season as she finished the year averaging 13 points and 10.2 rebounds a contest. 
  • Honoured as the Sylvia Sweeney Award recipient by the Canada West for her outstanding athletic achievement along with academic success and community service. This is the first time any Heat athlete has won a major Canada West award.
  • Was named the Canada West Women's Third Star of the Week in the middle of November following back-to-back monster games against Mount Royal.

Ann Richards (volleyball)

  • Richards led the UBCO attack this season with 239 kills along with 2.85 kills per set and 40 service aces.
  • The outside hitter also was a force defending throughout her senior season, finishing with 157 digs and 28 total blocks to her credit.
  • Her best performance came in her home province of Saskatchewan, thanks to 22 kills against the Huskies in late November in a five-set loss.