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Algoma University Celebrates Student-Athletes at Annual Athletics Banquet

Thunderbirds excited to be back in person

(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – March 30, 2022): After two years of virtual celebrations, 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 2021-22 Varsity Athletics Banquet held in person at the Grand Gardens. 

On the women’s side, Emily Duchesne earned the prestigious title of Women’s Athlete of the Year. From Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Emily continues to show commitment to her sport and was a key reason for her success. She exemplifies what it is to be a student-athlete by maintaining an exceptional academic average while training and competing at an elite level. This athlete has demonstrated outstanding athletic achievement and brought recognition to the team and University. She was ranked 4th at USports for the majority of the year and has medalled at every competition she has competed at this year, including a gold medal at the Brock Open. While in season, Emily was featured many times as “Thunderbird of the Week” or “Thunderbird of the Month”.

On the men’s side, Maxime Bellony was named Male Athlete of the Year. From Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec, Max has demonstrated exceptional athletic achievement by being the team’s most valuable player. This was his best performance as a member of the Thunderbirds Men’s basketball team. His achievements this year included leading the team in minutes played, points, rebounds and assists. From an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) perspective, Max was 7th in field goals made, 9th in points, 10th in rebounds and 10th in minutes played. Just like Emily, Max was recognized as “Thunderbird of the Week” for his achievements on the court.

For this year’s induction into the Wall of Fame, Algoma recognized Natasha Doroodian, an outstanding student-athlete who competed on the wrestling team from 2013 to 2018. During her illustrious career as a Thunderbird, Natasha won both an OUA Silver Medal as well as a CIS (USports now) Silver Medal in 2014-15 and a second OUA Silver Medal in 2017-18. It should be noted that her U Sports Silver Medal is the first national medal won by an Algoma Thunderbird Student-Athlete. Along with these medals, she was also named an OUA & USports Wrestling Second Team All-Star (2014-15).  She also has won the H.P. Broughton Award for the Sports Person of the Year in Sault Ste. Marie in 2014-15. To top it all off, Natasha was named the Algoma Thunderbird Female Student-Athlete of the Year for 2013-14 and 2014-15. 

“Tonight was a great evening as we were able to safely gather together in person 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 also handed out:

U SPORTS Academic All Canadian Awards for the 2020-2021 year

Abed Nassar – Men’s Soccer

Taylor Barker – Men’s Soccer

Rafael Valentini – Men’s Soccer

Tim Van Weerden – Men’s Soccer

Sabrina Adey – Women’s Soccer

Megan Chandler – Women’s Soccer

Jenna Crombie – Women’s Soccer

Maria De Melo – Women’s Soccer

Faith Holmes – Women’s Soccer

Katie Nippard – Women’s Soccer

Leigha Nippard – Women’s Soccer

Raija Particelli – Women’s Soccer

Emily Scarpino – Women’s Soccer

Vince Falardeau – Men’s Basketball

Devin Miron – Men’s Basketball

Roman Niro – Men’s Basketball

Bethany Balaktsis – Women’s Basketball

Gracie Batongbakal – Women’s Basketball

Keyra Gallo – Women’s Basketball

Darryn Lindquist – Women’s Basketball

Thais Matte – Women’s Basketball

Qeila Mbonihankuye – Women’s Basketball

Ayaka Nakashima – Women’s Basketball

Allison Read – Women’s Basketball

Mercedes Ryan – Women’s Basketball

Avery Litke – Cross Country Running

Emily Duchesne – Women’s Wrestling

Paige Simon – Women’s Wrestling

Nicole Costello – Women’s Curling

Breanna Hamilton – Women’s Curling

OUA All-Academic Award 2021/2022

Men’s Basketball: Peter De La Paz.

Women’s Basketball: Ayaka Nakashima

Men’s Soccer: Taylor Barker

Women’s Soccer: Leigha Nippard

Men’s Wrestling: Japhet John

Women’s Wrestling: Emily Duchesne

Men’s Nordic Skiing: Ethan Keeler-Cox

Women’s Nordic Skiing: Carina Cognigni

Cross Country Running: Avery Litke

Men’s Curling: Ethan Bowman

Women’s Curling: Emma McLean

Dr. Lukenda Thunderbird Service Award

Faith Holmes – Women’s Soccer

Women’s Basketball

Coach’s Award – Allison Read

Most Improved – Gracie Batongbakal

Best Defensive Player – Ayaka Nakashima

Rookie of the Year – Bethany Balaktsis

MVP – Megan Looney

Men’s Basketball

Coach’s Award – Peter De La Paz

Most Improved – Travis Thomas

Best Defensive Player – Jaylen White

Rookie of the Year – Roman Niro

MVP – Maxime Bellony

Cross-Country Running

Coach’s Award – Carina Cognigni

Rookie of the Year – Katrina Simon

MVP – Avery Litke

Women’s Curling

Coach’s Award – Emma McLean

Captain’s Award – Breanna Hamilton

MVP – Nicole Costello

Men’s Curling

Coach’s Award – Kevin Morin

Captain’s Award – Ethan Bowman

MVP – Hunter Schumacher

Men’s & Female’s Nordic Skiing 

Coach’s Award – Nick Korsunski & Rebekah Gwynn

Rookie of the Year – Etahn Keeler-Cox & Carina Cognigni

MVP: Evan Williams & Rebekah Gwynn

Women’s Soccer

Coach’s Award – Faith Holmes

Captain’s Award: Aysia Solomon

Best Defensive Player: Jenna Crombie

Rookie of the Year – Eloise Mark Wallace

MVP – Linsay Horton

Men’s Soccer

Coach’s Award – Yves Tambwe

Captain’s Award: Emmanuel Aigbukor

Best Defensive Player: Alexander Burt

Rookie of the Year – Darius Bailey

MVP – Rafael Valentini

Women’s Wrestling

Coach’s Award – Mel Morrish

Captain’s Award – Andrea Ryall

Rookie of the Year – Larissa Weston

MVP – Emily Duchesne

Men’s Wrestling 

Coach’s Award – Japhet John

Thunderbird Award (to graduating student-athletes)

Men’s Soccer 2018-2022  – Emmanuel Aigbukor

Men’s Soccer 2019-2022  – Benhur Isac

Men’s Soccer 2017-2022  – Yves Tambwe

Men’s Soccer 2017-2022  – Rafael Valentini

Women’s Soccer 2018-2022  – Linsay Horton

Women’s Soccer & Basketball 2019-2022  – Mercedes Ryan

Women’s Soccer 2021/2022  – Laura Rosso

Women’s Soccer 2018-2022  – Mia Giuliano

Women’s Soccer 2021/2022  – Emily Scarpino

Men’s Basketball 2019-2022  – Maxime Bellony

Men’s Basketball 2019-2022  – Vincent Falrdeau

Men’s Basketball 2018-2022  – Travis Thomas

Women’s Basketball 2018-2022  – Thais Matte

Women’s Basketball 2021/2022  –  Megan Looney

Women’s Basketball 2019-2022  –  Ayaka Nakashima

Women’s Basketball 2018-2022  – Keyra Gallo

Women’s Basketball 2017-2022  – Darryn Lindquist

Men’s Nordic Skiing 2021/2022  –  Evan Williams

Women’s Nordic Skiing  2018-2022  – Rebekah Gwynn

Women’s Curling  2021/2022  –  Emma McLean

Women’s Cross Country Running 2018-2022  –  Avery Litke

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