It was a basketball sweep for the outstanding athlete of the year at the annual UBC Okanagan Heat awards banquet on Tuesday night in the ballroom at the Coast Capri Hotel.
For the eleventh year as the Heat, the top performances of the past season were celebrated with a selection of awards handed out the annual year-end ceremony that was hosted deftly by two volleyball players as the night's MCs. Sophia Furlan a team captain from the women's volleyball team and setter Denham O'Reilly, from the men's squad moved the program along and kept the evening light throughout the night.
Male Outstanding Athlete of the Year [List] – Aldrich Berrios (Basketball)
Male Graduating Athlete of the Year [List] – Aldrich Berrios (Basketball)
After setting the school scoring record early in his fifth and final season, the senior guard from the men's basketball team, Aldrich Berrios, was named the Heat's Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year. Not only did Berrios grab the most outstanding athlete award, but the fifth year Burnaby product also brought home the Graduating Male Athlete of the Year award.
The top graduating player award has been handed out by the athletic department since 2015 and this is the first time the graduating and most outstanding award has been won by the same person on the men's on the women's side. The graduating award for both male and female this year was sponsored by Freedom 55, the first time for that award to have a sponsor. The Outstanding Athlete of the Year award has continually been sponsored by the Coast Capri Hotel.
Male Rookie of the Year [List] – Hafith Moallin (Basketball)
The men's basketball team completed the sweep of the three major awards handed out on Tuesday night by the UBCO athletics department as Hafith Moallin, a first year guard for the Heat and a Canada West All-Rookie team member, was named the Male Rookie of the Year. Moallin is the first basketball player to win the award since the first-ever rookie of the year for the Heat was awarded in April 2015, to none other than his teammate, captain, and two-time winner award winner tonight, Aldrich Berrios.
Female Outstanding Athlete of the Year [List] – Jordan Korol (Basketball)
After winning the school's first-ever major Canada West award for a student athlete, it came as no surprise to anybody in the room that Jordan Korol, the double-double machine for the women's basketball team, took home the Most Outstanding Female Athlete award.
Korol is the first women's basketball player to earn the highest distinction from the school since 2012-13, that year Roz Huber shared the award with golfer Jennifer Woods. Korol is the first women's basketball player to win the award outright in 12 years; Mandy Trenholm did the trick in 2006-07.
The major award Korol took home from Canada West was the conference's Sylvia Sweeney Award winner for the top Student-Athlete with a commitment to Community Service, on the court excellence, and academic success.
Female Graduating Player of the Year [List] – Veronika Fagan (Cross Country)
Veronika Fagan wrapped up her career as a Heat athlete by once again coming away with a prestigious school award. One of the most decorated athletes ever at UBCO, Fagan was named the Female Graduating Athlete of the Year. The lone Heat athlete to make a Canada West All-Star team this year, Fagan, seized the graduating athlete award for her incredible body of work at UBCO.
In her time here, on top of her most recent conference All-Star, the future graduate from the Bachelor in Science of Nursing program has also taken home four national medals, including two golds. One gold as an individual, and one with her team as a member of a national championship UBCO squad. At each of the previous two athletic banquets, Fagan was the school's outstanding female athlete of the year as she captured three major UBCO awards in her four seasons of running cross country.
Female Rookie of the Year [List] – Samantha Copeland (Golf)
Another national medalist earned the final UBCO award on the night as Samantha Copeland from the women's golf team parlayed a national bronze medal, a PACWEST player of the year, a CCAA All-Canadian and Academic All-Canadian into the female Rookie of the Year for UBCO.
Those six main awards, rookie of the year, graduating athlete of the year and outstanding athlete of the year, for male and female, closed the evening as they highlighted the best of the best this past season at UBCO.
The process for the most prestigious UBCO awards starts with the teams who nominate their best; those nominations go to an external committee who rank the group and then only the top tier become finalists. Like the Academy Awards, that elite group of finalists are announced prior to the banquet, with the deserving winner welcomed at the banquet. For a detailed description of the awards, and more information for all of the nominees, see the Preview for the banquet.
The first portion of the night was devoted to team awards, new to the banquet this year, these awards celebrated two players from each Heat team in two areas: an individual who exhibited the best in a leadership and community capacity, and a team MVP.
The 12 teams selected their best and those players and their exploits were announced, brought to the stage and then received a framed photo for their commitment and contribution to their team over the year.
In alphabetical order - by sport - the team award winners were, or check the winners out with their photos here:
- Aldrich Berrios - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Aldrich Berrios – Team MVP
- Jordan Korol - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Vanessa Botteselle – Team MVP
Men's Cross Country:
- Owen Harris - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Mike Mitchell – Team MVP
Women's Cross Country:
- Brittany Webster - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Veronika Fagan – Team MVP
- Nik Federko - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Marcus Apchin – Team MVP
- McKenna Lesiuk - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Samantha Copeland – Team MVP
- Andrew McMillan - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Steve Tostenson – Team MVP
- Jordanne Sulz - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Emma Johnson – Team MVP
- Nicholas Reitsma - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Hamish Walde – Team MVP
- Lindsey Berthelsen - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Maya Bandy – Team MVP
- Denham O'Reilly - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Max Heppell – Team MVP
- Sophia Furlan - Leadership & Community Service Team Award
- Ann Richards – Team MVP