Three Thunderbirds earn Sport BC awards nominations


VANCOUVER – For the second straight year, UBC Thunderbirds have claimed two of the three nominations for University Athlete of the Year at the Sport BC Athlete of the Year Awards.
Both men’s swimmer Coleman Allen and women’s volleyball player Lisa Barclay are nominated for the prestigious prize, which will be handed out as part of the 49th Annual Awards Ceremony and Gala dinner on Thursday, March 12 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
As well, UBC cross country and track and field head coach Marek Jedrzejek is one of three nominees in the Male Coach of the Year category.
Allen and Barclay were both honoured as the best athletes in their respective sports during the 2013-14 season by Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).
Barclay won just about every major individual award in CIS women’s volleyball in 2013-14. The Brandon, Man., native was the Canada West female athlete of the year and the league’s representative for the Female BLG Award (Jim Thompson Trophy), which is given out to the top athlete in CIS across all sports.
The outside hitter claimed the Mary Lyons Award as the national player of the year after she led the country in kills (4.26) and points (4.99) per set in league play, her-point-per-game average being the highest in the Canada West conference in seven years. Thanks to her stellar play, the 6-foot-2 standout earned first-team all-star status in both Canada West and CIS for the second straight season as well as the Most Valuable Player award in the Canada West league. 
Barclay also continued her international career by playing for the national senior team in the summer, including an appearance at the FIVB Women’s World Championship in Italy.

On Sunday, Barclay finished second in the voting for Manitoba’s Female Athlete of the Year at 59th annual Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Athletes of the Year Banquet in Winnipeg.
Allen was named the Male Swimmer of the Year by both the CIS and the Canada West. His national honour came after he finished with five gold and two silver medals in seven races at the CIS meet in Toronto. The Arts student also set two meet records as UBC claimed second place overall.
He was victorious in the 100m butterfly (51.44), 200 freestyle (1:45.13) and all three relay events, and was second in the 200 fly (1:55.28) and 100 free (48.75). Allen set championship records in the 100 fly and the 4×200 free relay, where the T-Birds also broke the Canadian short-course club mark with a time of 7:09.50.

At the league meet in Victoria, Allen won six gold medals to earning the conference’s Male Swimmer of the Year honour for the second straight season.
At last year’s Sport BC awards, UBC volleyball player Shanice Marcelle was crowned the University Athlete of the Year, which was the 19th time a Thunderbird has won this honour. Former swimmer and current assistant coach Brian Johns is the only three-time winner (2002, 2006 and 2007) in the award’s history.
Jedrzejek guided the UBC women’s country team to its second consecutive NAIA national title in November of 2013 and was recognized with NAIA Coach of the Year honours.
The Thunderbirds dominated the national meet in Lawrence, Kan., winning by 41 points and placing six of seven runners inside the top 30, which was the cut off for All-America honours.
In track and field, Jedrzejek saw the T-Bird women’s team finish third at the NAIA national meet, just seven points behind the winners, while the men were fifth. Maria Bernard, Jackie Regan, Devan Wiebe, Justin Kent and the women’s 4×800-metre relay team all won NAIA gold.
Bernard became the fifth-fastest Canadian woman ever in the 3000m steeplechase.

Last year, the coaching award was split into two categories, one for a male coach and one for a female. T-Birds women’s hockey bench boss Graham Thomas was the inaugural Sport BC Male Coach of the Year.
Before Thomas, coaches previously recognized by Sport BC include Doug Reimer (2010 women’s volleyball), Tom Johnson (1999 swimming), Dick Mosher (1994 soccer), Bruce Enns (1987 men’s basketball) and Frank Smith (1986 football).
Rounding out the UBC contingent is a future T-Bird. Women’s swimming recruit Emily Overholt, who will be joining the Thunderbirds in the fall of 2015, is up for Female Junior Athlete of the Year.