Regina’s Picton, Ottawa’s Wendel nominated for Hec Crighton Trophy

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Quarterbacks Noah Picton from the University of Regina and Derek Wendel from the University of Ottawa are the first two nominees for the prestigious Hec Crighton Trophy, which later this month will be presented for the 50th time to the most outstanding player in U Sports football.

The Canada West and OUA conferences unveiled their season award winners on Thursday, while the AUS and RSEQ recipients are set to be announced on Friday.

In his third season as the team’s starting QB, Picton was one of the main reasons behind Regina’s stunning turnaround as the Rams topped the Canada West standings for the first time in program history with a 6-2 record, one year after going 0-8 in league play. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound business administration student set a new single-season U Sports standard for passing yards (3,186), led the country in touchdown passes (25) and completion percentage (69.3 – tied with StFX’s Tivon Cook), and also established a Canada West mark with 224 completions. The Regina native, who could become the first Hec Crighton winner in school history, is the fourth Rams standout to be nominated for the award and the first since quarterback Teale Orban in 2007.

The other Canada West award winners for the 2016 campaign are Regina defensive tackle Nicholas Dheilly (rookie of the year) and first-year Rams sideline boss Steve Bryce (coach of the year), as well as three members of the Manitoba Bisons, including linebacker DJ Lalama (defensive MVP), guard Geoff Gray (outstanding down lineman) and defensive back Cam Teschuk (Russ Jackson Award nominee).

In his fifth and final campaign with the Gee-Gees, Wendel led Ottawa to a 6-2 mark in conference play, the team’s best record since 2010. The 6-foot-1, 212-pound philosophy student set single-season U Sports records for passing completions (232) and attempts (347), topped the OUA and placed second in the nation in both passing yards (2,936) and TD passes (22), and finished first in Ontario with a team-record 66.9 completion percentage. The native of Belleville, Ont., who ranks eighth on the U Sports career list in TD tosses (67) and 11th in passing yards (8,863), is the 15th Hec Crighton finalist from uOttawa and the first since quarterback Brad Sinopoli, who claimed the trophy in 2010.

Wendel was accompanied in the OUA’s winners circle by Wilfrid Laurier linebacker Nakas Onyeka (defensive MVP) and Laurier bench boss Michael Faulds (coach of the year), Western offensive tackle Sean Jamieson (outstanding down lineman), as well as kicker Adam Preocanin (rookie of the year) and defensive end Mark Mackie (Russ Jackson Award nominee), both from McMaster.

The U Sports individual awards will be presented on Nov. 24 in Hamilton, leading up to the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. at Tim Hortons Field (Sportsnet & TVA Sports).

NOTES: The U Sports football conference finals are set for this Saturday, including the Yates Cup at 1 p.m. EST at TD Stadium in London, Ont. (Wilfrid Laurier at Western on CHCH TV & OUA.TV), the Loney Bowl at 2 p.m. AST at Oland Stadium in Antigonish, N.S. (Mount Allison at St. Francis Xavier on Bell Aliant Fibe TV1 & AUStv.ca), the Dunsmore Cup at 2 p.m. EST at CEPSUM Stadium in Montreal (Laval at Montreal on TVA Sports) and the Hardy Cup at 1 p.m. MST at McMahon Stadium in Calgary (UBC at Calgary on Shaw TV / Access & CanadaWest.TV)… The CIS semifinals follow on Saturday, Nov. 19, including the Uteck Bowl at 12:30 p.m. EST (OUA at RSEQ) and the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Mitchell Bowl at 4 p.m. EST (AUS at Canada West) on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

2016 U SPORTS FOOTBALL AWARD NOMINEES:

HEC CRIGHTON TROPHY (most outstanding player):
AUS: To be announced on Nov. 11
RSEQ: To be announced on Nov. 11
OUA: Derek Wendel, quarterback, Ottawa (Belleville, Ont. / Philosophy)
CWUAA: Noah Picton, quarterback, Regina (Regina, Sask. / Business Administration)

PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY (defensive player of the year)
AUS: To be announced on Nov. 11
RSEQ: To be announced on Nov. 11
OUA: Nakas Onyeka, linebacker, Wilfrid Laurier (Brampton, Ont. / Communications)
CWUAA: DJ Lalama, linebacker, Manitoba (Winnipeg, Man. / Graduate Studies)

J.P. METRAS TROPHY (outstanding down lineman)
AUS: To be announced on Nov. 11
RSEQ: To be announced on Nov. 11
OUA: Sean Jamieson, offensive tackle, Western (Winnipeg, Man. / Kinesiology)
CWUAA: Geoff Gray, guard, Manitoba (Winnipeg, Man. / Engineering)

PETER GORMAN TROPHY (rookie of the year)
AUS: To be announced on Nov. 11
RSEQ: To be announced on Nov. 11
OUA: Adam Preocanin, kicker, McMaster (Burlington, Ont. / Humanities)
CWUAA: Nicholas Dheilly, defensive tackle, Regina (Regina, Sask. / Arts)

RUSS JACKSON AWARD (football, academics & citizenship)
AUS: To be announced on Nov. 11
RSEQ: To be announced on Nov. 11
OUA: Mark Mackie, defensive end, McMaster (London, Ont. / Kinesiology)
CWUAA: Cam Teschuk, defensive back, Manitoba (Winnipeg, Man. / Business)

FRANK TINDALL TROPHY (coach of the year)
AUS: To be announced on Nov. 11
RSEQ: To be announced on Nov. 11
OUA: Michael Faulds, Wilfrid Laurier
CWUAA: Steve Bryce, Regina

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