Kamloops, BC—A basketball player who led his team to the National Championship and a volleyball player whose hard work resulted in her being named the best player in Canada were honored as the top athletes of the year by the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.
The WolfPack athletics department held their annual awards banquet on Thursday night (Mar 26) at the Campus Activity Centre.
Josh Wolfram (5th year, forward, Kamloops, BC) and Iuliia Pakhomenko (4th year, outside hitter, Donetsk, Ukraine) were chosen as TRU Sports Task Force Male and Female Athletes of the Year.
Wolfram led the WolfPack to a silver medal in the Canada West final four after the team captured their first ever Explorer Division regular season title. That silver medal was good enough for a berth to the CIS Basketball Nationals-a first for a TRU team.
Wolfram was also named a Canada West first team all-star and second in league scoring (19 points per game along with fifth in rebounds per game (9.6). “He has made a lot of sacrifices,” said head coach Scott Clark. “He has worked hard in the weight room and on the floor, he has represented his country this past summer (University Games). I am happy things have turned out so well for Josh. He is a hard worker and great team player. He took our program to new heights”
Pakhomenko led the Canada West and CIS in kills, points, and kills per set. She was named a Canada West and CIS first-team all-star and was also chosen as the CIS Player of the year.
“She had a tremendous season for our team,” explained WolfPack womens volleyball head coach Chad Grimm. “She was recognized by the league and the country for her achievements.”
Grimm says Pakhomenko matured a lot this year “She had some super good games. She had a couple of 30 plus games for points. What stands out for me is the games that she didn’t play well. The way she was able to be tough at the end of the month. Once we were down and she went back to serve and scored six straight points to end the set against Trinity. Offensively, she didn’t have a strong match but when it was on the line, she scored key points. Her belief in herself, no matter how it’s going is great for our group. It shows that she has the ability to focus when the match is on the line.”
Other nominees for the male athlete of the year award were volleyball’s Brad Gunter (5th year, outside hitter, Courtenay, BC) and Ryan Glanville of men’s soccer (3rd year, forward, Williams Lake, BC). Other female nominees were Kassie Colonna of women’s basketball (4th year, forward, Invermere, BC) and Nicole MacDougall of cheerleading.
The Dr. Roger H. Barnsley Scholar Athlete of the Year award went to basketball player Taiysa Worsfold . (5th year, guard, Kamloops, BC) and swimmer Jagdeesh Uppal (2nd year, Kamloops, BC).
Worsfold is a four time Academic All Canadian and is expected to become one again this year. She had a GPA of 4.33 in the fall of this year and a cumulative GPA of 4.18
“Tay has been an ambassador for not only women’s basketball at Thompson Rivers University but also a role model for all student athletes,” explained coach Scott Reeves. “ Tay is just as committed in the classroom as she is on the court and that is evidenced by this award.”
She beat out other nominees: teammate Michelle Bos (2nd year, guard, Surrey, BC), volleyball player Katie Woo (4th year, setter, Surrey, BC), Katie Sparrow (5th year, forward, Kamloops, BC) of soccer and Rachel Lobay (1st year,Kelowna, BC) of Cross Country running.
Uppal was recognized with the Canada West/Community Athlete Volunteer Award for his work at Royal Inland Hospital. He had 100 per cent improved his best times this year and made the consolation final of the 200 breaststroke. His academic performance was 4.02 GPA in third year Chemical Biology.
His competition for this award were soccer’s Glanville, Cole Keddie (2nd year, libero, Edmonton, AB) of men’s volleyball and baseball’s Tony Tabor (5th year, infield/outfield, White Rock, BC).
Says Swim coach Brad Dalke: “Jagdeesh has had a very successful year both in and out of the pool.
In addition to maintaining a training program with the TRU WolfPack Swim Team of 21.5 hours per week, achieving consolation finals at the CWUAA Championships and posting 100% Best Times this year in his swimming. In addition to Jagdeesh’s success, he has been an incredible role model for the Swimmers with the Kamloops Classic Swim Team Swimmers.”
The Cliff Neufeld Leadership Athletes of the year were cross country’s Alesha Miller (4th year, Vernon, BC) and volleyball player Graham Stoliker (5th year, setter, Surrey, BC).
Miller was a captain of the cross country team and was involved heavily in community service. She competed at the CIS nationals and maintained a grade point average of 3.53 through the fall semester while enrolled in the demanding Respiratory Therapy program.
She was up against volleyball player Brianne Rauch (4th year, outside hitter, Kimberley, BC) and Worsfold.
“It has been amazing the leadership she has shown with the team,” stated WolfPack cross country coach Carmin Mazzotta. “She has been out at every session. Even when she was injured she came out to time others and help out. The community engagement stuff-she has been there for all of it. She has just been a real leader on the trail, in races, workouts and anything around the university that she is asked to do, she is really deserving.”
Stoliker was a team captain for the volleyball program. He was involved in the PACE education program and took a head coaching role with the Kamloops Volleyball Association after being an assistant coach the past two years. Stoliker also visited elementary schools. He has a 3.25 GPA in science.
“It is great that Grham has received this award,” said WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly. “ On behalf of Men’s Volleyball, we want to wish Graham all the best in the future.”
Also considered were Reese Pribilsky (5th year, guard, Victoria, BC) of men’s basketball and Uppal.
Athletics and Recreation Director Ken Olynyk recognized Pribilsky and Woo with his “Directors Award”. Both have been involved heavily in community events, been solid performers on their team (Pribilsky led the Canada West in assists while Woo was among the Canada West’s top setters).
“I am fond of all the Pribilsky’s,” Clark laughed when asked what it means for Reese to be recognized. “For Reese to follow in Kevin’s (older brother, former player and now TRU assistant coach) footsteps has been tremendous. Coming here allowed Reese to ‘reinvent’ himself as a student, basketball player and leader because he was in a position where the environment called for him to do those things. That is what we hope for when he came here. I think that is what he had hoped for as well. He had leadership skills all along. For some reason, he deferred that to others. Here he took charge on and off the floor and in the community. I heaped all types of responsibility on him and he handled it remarkably well. He made my job a lot easier. I am happy for the guy that things have worked out well for him here.”
“She is a huge loss to our program,” stated Grimm about Woo. “Just a great person on and off the court. She is always working hard on or off the court. Anytime I needed something, Katie was there. She brought such a great perspective to the program. She was quite mature. She saw things from other people’s perspective as well. That ability has been great for our team. She always comes with a smile on her face. She brings laughter and is able to laugh at herself as well. That bubbly, happy personality is great. She brings that joy every day. It will be a big hole for us. Whatever she does its 100 per cent. She is going to have nothing but success as she graduates and moves into the real world.”
Volodymyr Iegorov (4th year, forward, Donetsk, Ukraine) of men’s basketball was named the TRU “Newcomer of the Year” becoming the first male athlete to win the award. Iegorov was a third team Canada West all-star and among the top scorers in the league. Sam Taylor Parks (1st year, middle, Kelowna, BC) of men’s volleyball and Taylor Carmichael (1st year, Merritt, BC) of swimming were also nominated.
“I can’t take credit from bringing Vlad here,” said Clark. “He came here after Iuliia contacted me. He is a good player and we put him in a good position to have a great season. He did that. I am sure happy he is on our team.”
The WolfPack “Community Recognition” award went to long-time fan Glenn Burrell.
The fifth year/graduating athletes address was given by Colonna and Pribilsky. They were recognized along with departing athletes Worfold, Jenna Quinton and Sarah Malate of women’s basketball, Wolfram and Gerard Gore of men’s basketball. Woo, Rauch, Krista Hogewoning and Alyssa Wolf of women’s volleyball. Men’s volleyball players Gunter, Stoliker and Brandon Hewwing. Swimmer: Greg Peterson, Meaghan Blakely of cheerleading, Tabor, Frank Fisico, Will Miller and Evan Douglas of baseball. Jaydene Radu, Danielle Fauteux, Emily Oliver, Brianna Powrie and Taylor Shantz of women’s soccer. Oriol Torres, Braeden Burrows, Kyle Fertile, Corey Wallis and Travis Froehlich of men’s soccer were the others.