Duke, Yeboah share top honours as President’s Cup winners

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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

April 4, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes presented their major awards and honoured three new inductees into the UVic Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday night, at the Victoria Conference Center.


Top honours for the evening went to seniors Sean Duke, of men’s rugby, and Debbie Yeboah, of women’s basketball, who were co-winners of the 2012-13 prestigious President’s Cup, awarded annually, to an outstanding student-athlete in their fourth or fifth year that best combines scholastic achievement and athletic ability. Rower Will O’Connell and golfer Megan Woodland were given the nod as the male and female Athlete of the Year, respectively. This is Woodland’s second-consecutive recognition as Female Athlete of the Year for the Vikes.

Hall of Fame inductees included Silverado Socrates, Nicci Wright and Dr. Derek Ellis. Socrates, formerly Brenda Shackleton, raced cross-country and track for the Vikes from 1985-88 and led the Vikes to three consecutive CIS and Canada West cross-country titles. Socrates was honoured as UVic’s Rookie and Athlete of the Year, and was also named CIS cross-country Athlete of the Year and earned CIS All-Canadian honours for three-straight seasons. Women’s soccer goalkeeper Wright competed for the Vikes in 1992-96 and after a strong varsity career, went on to earn 37 caps for Canada, recorded 11 shutouts, the third most in Canadian soccer history, and played professionally both overseas and in the United Soccer Association. Dr. Ellis was inducted in the builder category, due to his dedication in pioneering the Vikes cross-country and track program in 1964. Ellis went on to coach until 1973 and also played a big role in hosting the 1973 cross-country championship at UVic, as well as starting the very first 24-Hour Relay event, now an annual event at Centennial Stadium.


The President’s Cup is given annually to the outstanding student-athlete in fourth or fifth year who best combines scholastic achievement and athletic ability.

Sean Duke, Men’s Rugby (Vancouver, B.C.)

Sean Duke has been a dominant player in Canadian University rugby for the past four years. Boasting an impressive 8.5 GPA, as he works towards his masters in education, Duke has been instrumental in both the success achieved by the Vikes, as well as the Canadian men’s sevens team. Throughout his time as a Vike, the senior has helped the Vikes to a BC Premier title, a National Sevens Championship and numerous other key victories. In a 2012 premier league match, Duke scored six tries in one game, a feat yet to be accomplished by any other player in the league. This year, Duke became the first Canadian to make it to the top of the world’s leading try scorers list for the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) Sevens Circuit. For four seasons Duke has made a dedicated effort to be a strong presence for the Vikes program amidst his heavy international training and competition schedule. Additionally, the Vancouver native has maintained a remarkable scholastic record while providing leadership for the younger players in the Vikes rugby program.

Debbie Yeboah, Women’s Basketball (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Senior Debbie Yeboah capped her five-year career with her best season yet, leading the Vikes women’s basketball team to their first post-season appearance since 2008. Yeboah led the team in scoring with an average of 18.2 points per game and was a consistent rebounder as she averaged 5.9 per game. Yeboah was named a Canada West First Team All-Star, and was second in the conference in scoring. Yeboah powered the Vikes all season, particularly in their home-win against UBC, and through the quarter-final series against Regina. In addition to her incredible athletic performances over the past five years, Yeboah has been an active member of the Varsity Council and is a regular volunteer at events such as Raise a Reader, on-campus book drives and a variety of Vikes camps and events. Yeboah has managed to successfully balance her athletic and volunteer commitments with her time in the classroom, boasting a 7.5 GPA this year as she works toward her humanities degree. As captain of the Vikes, Yeboah will graduate with 1,469 career points and 436 career rebounds.

Also nominated was Jonathan Chandler, a member of the men’s rowing team.


The Athlete of the Year awards are presented to one male and one female athlete, based upon outstanding achievements in university competition over the past 12 months.


Will O’Connell, Men’s Rowing (Victoria, B.C.)

O’Connell has been a leader both on and off the water since joining the Vikes rowing program in 2008. In his first year, O’Connell was a member of the Canadian University Rowing Championship banner-winning team and since then, has medalled at every CURC event. This year, the men’s rowing team won their second-straight Western CURC banner and finished second at the CURC’s. O’Connell raced to a silver medal in the heavy weight doubles category with Connor McGuigan, and picked up a bronze in the open eights. Off the water, O’Connell has been a dedicated and vocal team captain, never missing a practice and leading the team’s dynamic warm up activities.

The other finalists for male athlete of the year were Terrell Evans, basketball, Carson Kallis, golf, and Thomas Riva, cross-country and track.


Megan Woodland, Women’s Golf (Victoria, B.C.)

For the second-straight year, Megan Woodland picks up Female Athlete of the Year honours after she went on to earn several individual titles throughout the 2012-13 season. Woodland was crowned both the AII Conference individual champion, as well as the NAIA individual national champion, facing several of the top competitors across North America. Woodland was also named a First Team All-American and All-Canadian. At the 2012 Canadian University Championship, Woodland tied for first, forcing a three-hole playoff, where she finished second and qualified for the World University Championship. Woodland was the top Canadian finisher and posted the best finish ever by a Canadian female golfer with a 16th place finish. In October, the Victoria native helped the Vikes win their second-straight Vikes Shootout title and her second-straight individual title, and she finished in the top five in every single one of the 2012-13 events.

The other finalists for female athlete of the year were track athlete Rachel Francois and basketball player Debbie Yeboah.


The Chancellor’s Award is presented to a student-athlete, who is an outstanding contributor to his or her team, both in and out of the competition venue. They provide leadership and vision exemplifying the goals of the team.

Kendra Pomfret, Women’s Track (, B.C.)

Pomfret boasts an incredibly successful season, winning a CIS bronze in both the 1000-m and 4×400-m relay as well as a gold in the 4×800-m relay in addition to being a part of the Canada West Cross-Country Championship team. On top of her CIS First-Team All-Canadian status and the many medals she has accumulated over the past four seasons, Pomfret has been a superb ambassador for Vikes Athletics. A dedicated team captain, Pomfret spoke this year on behalf of all UVic varsity athletes at the UVic Senate Meeting in March and has been an active member of the Varsity Council. Pomfret’s leadership also extends off the track as she volunteers with Recreation Integration Victoria, working with a young woman with cerebral palsy, as well as with Mercy Ships, where she works to raise money for an organization that dispatches doctor ships to sail around Africa to do free surgeries for people in need.

The other finalists for the Chancellor’s award were fifth-year women’s soccer goalkeeper Stephanie Parker and women’s basketball player Jessica Renfrew.


The Robert T. Wallace Shield recognizes the outstanding female and male student-athlete in his or her first year of competition in intercollegiate sports.


Jenna Bugiardini, Women’s Basketball

Bugiardini was the only new addition to the Vikes women’s basketball team’s starting line up from last season. The rookie started 21 of 24 games for the Vikes in 2012-13 and was a constant leader on the team with her daily dedication and work ethic in the gym and at practice. Bugiardini averaged 5.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game and played an average of 24 minutes per game. The five-foot-eleven forward was consistent all year and had a season-high 20 points in the Vikes’ win over Mount Royal. Bugiardini finished the season with 138 points, 27 assists and 18 steals and was named the Canada West’s Rookie of the Year and named to the CIS All-Rookie Team.

The other finalists for female rookie of the year were women’s soccer’s Sarah Douglas and from field hockey, Annie Walters-Shumka.


Nathan Yanagiya, Men’s Rugby (North Vancouver, B.C.)

Yanagiya earned a starting spot on Doug Tate’s varsity men’s rugby team in his first year of play, a feat not met by many. Not only did he crack the varsity roster but he excelled on it, bringing a level of aggression and competitiveness that elite rugby teams need and that its players feed off of. At only 18, Yanagiya helped the Vikes win the Las Vegas Sevens tournament and the Canadian National University Sevens tournament. Yanagiya has made the Canada Under-20 team for the upcoming World Championships and has been invited to a national team sevens camp.

The other finalists for male rookie of the year were CIS Rookie of the Year, swimmer Eric Hedlin and men’s rower Alex Walker.


The Provost Award is presented to a returning student-athlete with the highest academic acreage in the previous year. This award was presented earlier this year at the Vikes Honour Roll luncheon, when the Vikes celebrated the 63 Academic All-Canadian award recipients.

Olivia de Goede, Women’s Soccer (, B.C.)

A fourth year student majoring in biology, Vikes women’s soccer player de Goede earned a GPA of 8.90 in the 2011-12 school year. To top it all off, she was a member of the team that won bronze at the UVic-hosted 2012 CIS women’s soccer championship.


The Times Colonist Publisher’s Award for Community Contributors is awarded to those individuals within the community who have made an outstanding volunteer contribution to a varsity program.

Ingrid Ruys, Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country and Track

Initially, Ruys moved to Victoria in 2007 and joined the cross-country and track program as a manager and coach until 2009. Ruys played an integral role in the hosting of the 2007 CIS cross-country championships at Beacon Hill Park and was a dedicated sprint coach and manager. After moving back to Edmonton, Ruys remained on board with the program as a traveling team manager. Ruys flew into Victoria each weekend to either drive a van or organize the bus trips and for many of the away competitions, Ruys flew to that city on her own expense and helped to set up the hotels and vans before the team arrived. Ruys plays an important role in helping the Vikes to sell tables for the Championship Breakfast in addition to having her own company purchase an entire table every year. Ruys is also the secretary for the Canada West and CIS Cross-Country and Track Coaches Association and has served as a coach and manager on many national teams including the team that went to the 2008 Olympic Games.


Recipients are varsity student-athletes who have competed as a member of a national team or played professionally over the past year.

Cross-Country and Track: Ryan Cassidy, Rachel Francois, Allison Hooper, Ellen Pennock, Thomas Riva

Field Hockey: Brenden Bissett, Graeme Carswell, Sam Jones, James Kirkpatrick, Tyler Klenk, Kathleen Leahy, Connor Martin, Matthew Sarmento

Golf: Alyssa Herkel, Megan Woodland, Brynn Tomie

Rowing: Alyssa Weninger

Rugby: Lukas Balkovec, Sean Duke, Fergus Hall, Sawyer Herron, Nathan Hirayama, Patrick Kay, Phil Mack, James Pitblado, Nathan Yanagiya

Soccer: Jaclyn Sawicki

Swim: Will Brothers, Eric Hedlin, Stephanie Horner, Alec Page, Richard Weinberger


Recognizes the unsung hero on each squad, peer selected for leadership, dedication, community involvement and positive attitude.

Basketball: Pierce Anderson, Debbie Yeboah

Field Hockey: Gavin Titley, Kayleen Van der Ree

Golf: Brynn Tomie

Rowing: Andrew Butler, Bronwyn Lawrie

Rugby: Remi Anctil, Melissa Robinson

X-Country/Track: Kyle Irvine, Kendra Pomfret

Soccer: Bobby Eng, Jackie Harrison

Swimming: MJ Sorba, Allison Wood