By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – On Saturday, Apr. 11 the University of Victoria Vikes rowing program had the opportunity to honour several of their outstanding athletes at the program’s annual year-end banquet. Head coaches Rick Crawley and Aalbert Van Schothorst presented the top awards of the evening, which went to Outstanding Rowers of the Year Deborah Snell, on the women’s side, and Alex Walker, on the men’s. Amanda Pomphrey and Sam Horn were awarded the prestigious Tony Zazada award for overall athletic performance, team spirit and citizenship.
Snell was recently a finalist for UVic’s Female Athlete of the Year award, while this year she won gold at the Henley in the Under 23 lightweight double, while also earning silver in the single. At the Western Canadian University Championship Snell won gold in the double, while at the national championship she earned silver medals in the double and four. The first-year Vike and Victoria native was in the bow seat for the varsity eight win at the Annual Brown Cup this Spring and was named Rowing Canada’s Female Sculler of the Year.
Walker, a finalist for UVic’s Male Athlete of the Year Award, is a three-time defending CURC gold medalist in the lightweight double and helped the Vikes eight capture gold and bring home the esteemed Book of Honour. In 2012, Walker was Freshman of the Year and over the last two years he has represented Canada on the world stage in the U23 LM 2x (2013) and had an incredibly rare step up for a Under 23 athlete, representing Canada in the senior LM 2x (2014).
Pomphrey, one of three team captains this year, helped the Vikes win gold in the lightweight four at WCURC’s and earned silver with the same crew at nationals. Horn was team captain for the Vikes men since the spring of 2014 and his quiet leadership style helped guide the Vikes men to gold at the Royal Canadian Henley and the CURC. Horn has also helped create an environment which rejuvenated the Vikes charge towards winning the Brown Cup Varsity and Reserve races. Both Pomphrey and Horn were honoured with the Tony Zazada Award for their respective contributions.
Alex Bovell and Noah Robinson Dunning were awarded Most Improved Athlete for the Vikes women and men, respectively. Last year Bovell was a novice and this year was a 4 seat in the varsity boat in the Spring and zeroed twice in seat racing. Dunning trained the single and pair for most of the summer, improving both in fitness and technique, and eventually leading to his selection towards the Brown Cup reserve crew. Dunning helped the reserve crew earn a commanding win over UBC at the Elk Lake Spring Regatta as well as helping the Vikes put out a gusty row against the UBC reserves at the Brown Cup.
Rookie of the Year honours went to Kirsten McKay and Andy Muth. McKay rowed the 3 seat in the varsity boat in the fall and 5 seat in the reserve boat in the spring, while Muth earned a seat in the LM 4+ amongst a veteran group that went on to win bronze at CURC’s.
Larissa McKinlay and Baily Kuhlman were honoured as Novices of the Year. McKinlay was the top performing novice on the water and was the top novice at the Monster Erg this year. Kuhlman was the program’s newest coxswain but his natural intuition and leadership skills afforded him opportunities to cox the varsity and reserve boats and has proven an asset to the current and future program.
Jacob Koudys and Madeline Spangehl were honoured as the top academic Vikes rowers this year. Koudys boasted an 8.5 GPA in the classroom while his athletic career also included a U23 World Championship gold medal, a CURC gold in the men’s eight and a CURC bronze. Koudys coxed the most memorable race in Brown Cup history which came down to a 0.03 second margin between first and second and he becomes the first recipient of the Thomas Wirral Cup on the men’s side. For the women, Spangehl boast over an 8.0 GPA in the classroom and rowed the 7 seat in the varsity eight that won bronze at CURC nationals. Spangehl also earned a CURC silver in the pair.
2014-15 Vikes Rowing Awards
Tony Zazada Award (Athlete performance, Team Spirit, Citizenship)
Amanda Pomphrey & Sam Horn
Outstanding Athlete (Top Performing Athlete)
Deborah Snell & Alex Walker (Lorne Loomer Award)
Most Improved Athlete (Relative to previous season)
Alex Bovell & Noah Robinson Dunning
Rookie of the Year
Kirsten McKay & Andy Muth (Joe Gray Award)
Novice of the Year
Larissa McKinlay & Baily Kuhlman
Thomas Wirril Cup (Top academic athlete)
Madeline Spangehl & Jacob Koudys