Menin is arguably one of the top front row players in the country. Her unique skill set allows her to play many different styles of rugby. While she prefers to lead by example, DaLeaka is one of the integral drivers of the Dinos culture of hard work and commitment both on and off the field.
The Vulcan, Alta. native scored a try in the Dinos’ final three regular season games, as well as one in the Canada West finals and is also a key factor on defence for the Dinos. Her combination of athleticism as well as her understanding of the game puts her in a class all by herself. She has the strength and power to be a dominant scrummager, as well as the skills and intuition to be a legitimate attacking threat as a ball carrier and playmaker.
This is her first time being named U Sports MVP in her four-year U Sports career, and the first time for an athlete from the Dinos women’s rugby program.
“Our setpiece is a cornerstone of our success this season and DaLeaka is a big reason we are so dominant,” said Dinos head coach Simon Chi. “This season she has raised the bar in Canada West rugby by bringing international quality performances to every game she has played. Her humble demeanor and puritan work ethic lead her to always seek improvement and these attributes will serve her well in life beyond her time as a student athlete.”
Mackenzie Carson burst on to the U Sports rugby scene in a big way this season. The Abbotsford, B.C., native and UBC flyhalf scored a try in her very first game with the UBC Thunderbirds. She quickly became a point person in the Thunderbirds attack and would go on to score three tries in the 2016 season. Carson was a star for the Yale Lions during her high school career in Abbotsford and was name to Canada’s U-20 team this summer that travelled to England. She also captained the BC team that won the National 7’s Championship and the Las Vegas International 7’s championship earlier this year.
A fourth-year kinesiology student from Dartmouth, N.S., Kelsey Brumm is a centre with the Axewomen rugby team.
“Kelsey is simply an amazing young woman,” said Axewomen head coach Matt Durant. “What Kelsey manages to accomplish in the realm of her volunteer work is astounding.”
“What compounds these incredible accomplishments is that she is also a star in the classroom (an academic all-Canadian), holding one of the highest academic averages on our team. And, she has managed to maintain this level of involvement in volunteer work while simultaneously recovering from a season-ending knee injury last season as well as the subsequent surgical repair and rehabilitation. It is an amazing example she sets for her teammates and all U Sports student-athletes.”
“Simon has done a great job leading our women’s rugby team for seven of the eight years of the program’s history,” said Calgary athletic director Christine Stapleton. “This is terrific recognition for Simon and the entire staff that work with the women’s rugby program to cultivate excellence on and off the field. We congratulate him on this well-deserved honour.”
Rookie of the year: MacKenzie Carson, UBC
Student-Athlete Community Service award: Kelsey Brumm, Acadia
Jim Atkinson Award (coach of the year): Simon Chi, Calgary
P DaLeaka Menin Calgary 4 Vulcan, Alta. Arts
P Joanna Alphonso StFx 3 Ajax, Ont. Arts
H Emily Tuttosi Calgary 4 Souris, Man. Kinesiology
L Devon Stober Guelph 5 Mississauga, Ont. Animal Biology
L Sara Haring Alberta 5 Sturgeon County, Alta. Education
F Temitope Ogunjimi Calgary 4 Calgary, Alta. Arts
F Fabiola Forteza Laval 3 Montreal, Que. Kinesiology
No.8 Sara Svoboda McMaster 2 Belleville, Ont. Kinesiology
SH Amanda Smith Alberta 5 Sherwood Park, Alta. Education
FH Anaïs Holly Montreal 4 Montreal, Que. Kinesiology
IC Alexandra Tessier Concordia 4 Ste. Clothilde Math and Stats
de Horton, Que.
OC Frederique Rajotte Concordia 4 Markham, Ont. Communications
W Elysa Sandron Calgary 3 Winnipeg, Man. Science
W Nikki Case Western 3 Toronto, Ont. Sciences
FB Alexandra King Guelph 5 Ottawa, Ont. Zoology
P Simone Savary Ottawa 5 Brampton, Ont. Health Sciences
P Colleen Irowa McMaster 4 Innisfil, Ont. Geography & Sociology
H Tobi Owotomo York 2 Mississauga, Ont. Biology/Kinesiology & Health Science
L McKinley Hunt Queen’s 2 King City, Ont. Concurrent Education
L Harley Tucker Acadia 1 Black Diamond, Alta. Kinesiology
F Gillian Boag UBC 4 Calgary, Alta. Applied Science
F Julia Folk Victoria 3 Regina, Sask. Science
No.8 Katie Svoboda McMaster 3 Belleville, Ont. Kinesiology
SH Justine Pelletier Laval 1 Ottawa, Ont. Kinesiology
FH Julia Schell Guelph 2 Uxbridge, Ont. Psychology
IC Nadia Popov Queen’s 2 Newmarket, Ont. Life Sciences
OC Paige Farries Western 3 Red Deer, Alta. Sciences
W Petra Woods York 3 Brampton, Ont. Accounting
W Breanna Allison StFX 4 Cole Harbour, N.S. Arts
FB Annie Kennedy Acadia 1 Kingston, Ont. Kinesiology