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Home > News > Algoma University Celebrates Student-Athletes at Annual Athletic Banquet

Algoma University Celebrates Student-Athletes at Annual Athletic Banquet

(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – March 29, 2023): Algoma University and the Algoma University Thunderbird Varsity Athletics Department recognized the hard work, dedication, skill, and academic achievements of their student-athletes during the 2022-23 Varsity Athletics Banquet held at the Grand Gardens. 

This year, the University presented two outstanding Thunderbirds with the Athlete of the Year Award. The first athlete to be highlighted was Faith Holmes of the Women’s Soccer program. As the first women’s soccer player to receive this award, she totalled 1,170 minutes of playing time. Faith’s coaches highlight that she “made numerous tackles per game, which denied opponents of obvious goal-scoring opportunities”. As a leader, she has helped transform the nature of the program itself, depicting what it means to be a high-performance athlete – putting in the extra hours, maintaining her academic integrity, and being a role model for new players on the team. Holmes is also a dual athlete, participating in Cross Country Running this season as well. 

The next athlete to be highlighted was Kyle Price of the Men’s Wrestling Team. Beginning in January, Price went 3-0 to bring home the gold medal at 100kg from the Brock Open, as well as bringing home gold from the Western Open. Kyle’s undefeated season positioned him to do well at the OUA Championships at McMaster where he ultimately ended off the competition winning gold. He then rounded off his season with a bronze medal at the USports championships. Kyle Price represented Algoma University on both a Provincial and Federal level, and the Algoma University community is eager to see his future accomplishments!

The Algoma University Student’s Union (AUSU) introduced a new award at this year’s banquet to highlight a student-athlete who demonstrates a leadership role within their sport, but who is also a shining example of character and leadership in their daily life. The “AUSU Exemplary Student Athlete Award, Celebrating the Example of Timotheus van Weerden” will now be awarded annually in honour of Tim Van Weerden, who was this year’s Men’s Soccer Captain and AUSU President. 

Algoma University recognized the 2007/08 Men’s Basketball team as this year’s inductees into the Thunderbird Wall of Fame. The team finished fourth in the OCAA west region with a record of 11 and 7, making them the first team to qualify for the OCAA Men’s Basketball playoffs. The team’s playoff run included: defeating the Loyalist College Lancers in the playoff qualifying game, the Centennial College Colts in the quarterfinals, and the St. Lawrence Vikings in the semi-final game. In the OCAA Men’s Basketball final, the team lost to top-ranked Sheridan claiming the silver medal – the first for Algoma U. Vyron Phillips was a West Region First Team All-Star and Robbie Green was a West Region Second Team All-Star.The team consisted of the following players and coaches: Peter Chapman, Robbie Green, Andy Haidar, Patrick Murray, Andrew Turgeon, Ryan Vetrie, Igor Vukovic, Zach Wright, James Tusingwire, Garnet Cory (Manager), Winston Ivey (Assistant Coach) and Thomas Cory (Head Coach).  

“Tonight was a great evening as we were able to celebrate the many accomplishments of our student-athletes, coaches, and support personnel,” shared Dave Trudelle, Director of Student Life and Ancillary Services. “We congratulate all of our award winners and thank everyone who participated in or supported the Thunderbird Varsity Athletics program this year. We’re looking forward to seeing what our Thunderbirds do next year!”

The following awards were handed out:

U SPORTS Academic All Canadian Awards for the 2021-2022 year

Allison Read – WBB

Bethany Balaktsis – WBB

Devin Miron – MBB

Mercedes Mazzuca – WBB

Peter De La Paz – MBB

Qeila Mbonihankuye – WBB

Roman Niro – MBB

Amber Dunbar – WSOCC

Eloise Mark Wallace – WSOCC

Ethan Mendes De Franca – MSOCC

Faith Holmes – WSOCC

Jenna Crombie – WSOCC

Katie Nippard – WSOCC

Leigha Nippard – WSOCC

Maria DeMelo – WSOCC

Megan Chandler – WSOCC

Taylor Barker – MSOCC

Tim Van Weerden – MSOCC

Carina Cognigni – XC

Emily Duchesne – WWRES

Breanna Hamilton – WCURL

Hunter Schumacher – MCURL

OUA All-Academic Award 2021/2022

Roman Niro: Men’s Basketball

Riya Donnelly: Women’s Basketball

Tim Van Weerden: Men’s Soccer

Leigha Nippard: Women’s Soccer

Gabriel Martynuck: Men’s Wrestling

Mel Morrish: Women’s Wrestling

Jordan Bryant: Men’s Nordic Skiing

Brianna Marshall: Women’s Nordic Skiing

Jordan Bryant: Men’s Cross Country Running

Faith Holmes: Women’s Cross Country Running

Hunter Schumacher: Mens’ Curling

Breanna Hamilton: Women’s Curling

Dr. Lukenda Thunderbird Service Award

Qeila Mbonihankuye

AUSU Exemplary Student-Athlete Award, Celebrating the Example of Timotheus van Weerden 

Tim Van Weerden

Women’s Basketball

Coach’s Award – Kaila Fong

Most Improved – Mercedes Mazzuca

Best Defensive Player – Kaila Fong

Rookie of the Year – Brooke Gruhn

MVP – Bethany Belaktsis

Men’s Basketball

Coach’s Award – Steven Kabongo

Most Improved – Shawn Cher-Enfant

Best Defensive Player – Devin Miron

Rookie of the Year – Johan Germain

MVP – Devin Miron

Cross-Country Running

Coach’s Award – Faith Holmes & Jordan Bryant

Rookies of the Year – Avery Cooper & Mark Jobst

Most Improved – Bilal Khoja

MVP – Avery Cooper

Women’s Curling

Coach’s Award – Nicole Costello

Rookie of the Year – Abbey Engel

MVP – Breanna Hamilton

Men’s Curling

Rookie of the Year – Josh Bonduc

MVP – Hunter Schumacher

Nordic Skiing 

Coach’s Award – Nick Korsunski 

Rookies of the Year – Jordan Bryant & Brianna Marshall

MVP –  Mark Jobst

Women’s Soccer

Coach’s Award – Eloise Mark Wallace

Captain’s Award – Megan Chandler

Best Defensive Player – Faith Holmes

Rookie of the Year – Makayla Townes

MVP – Faith Holmes

Men’s Soccer

Coach’s Award – Tim Van Weerden

Captain’s Award – Thierry Nsega

Best Defensive Player – Ethan Mendes De Franca

Rookie of the Year – Josh Bonduc

MVP – Hiroki Wada

Women’s Wrestling

Coach’s Award – Emily Duchesne

Most Improved – Mel Morrish

Rookie of the Year – Kira Buck

MOW – Lilah Fraser

Men’s Wrestling 

Coach’s Award – Harish Cassie

Rookie of the Year – Gabe Martynuck

MOW – Kyle Price

Thunderbird Award (to graduating student-athletes)

Faith Holmes – Women’s Soccer and Cross Country Running

Jenna Crombie – Women’s Soccer

Megan Chandler – Women’s Soccer

Katie Nippard – Women’s Soccer

Leigha Nippard – Women’s Soccer

Maria DeMelo – Women’s Soccer

Sabrina Adey – Women’s Soccer

Samuel Akingbehin – Men’s Soccer

Lofo-John Kitoko – Men’s Soccer

Dean Amir Kahn – Men’s Soccer

Harish Cassie – Men’s Wrestling

Emily Duchesne – Women’s Wrestling

Peter De La Paz – Men’s Basketball

Olajuwon Oyegoke – Men’s Basketball

Devin Miron – Men’s Basketball

Karly Fracalanza – Women’s Basketball

Hunter Schumacher – Men’s Curling

Breanna Hamilton – Women’s Curling

Taylor Elliott – Women’s Curling

Nicole Costello – Women’s Curling

Nicolas Korsunski – Nordic Ski

Carina Cognigni – Nordic Ski and Cross Country Running

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