EDMONTON – Fifth-year veteran DaLeaka Menin has been named the 2017 Canada West Rugby Most Valuable Player, as the prop earned the conference’s top individual award for the second consecutive season.
Menin was named the conference’s top player following the CW championship game Sunday afternoon in Calgary, where the Dinos earned back-to-back conference banners thanks to a 26-21 win over the Victoria Vikes.
Coming off a summer in which she made the Candian roster for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, Menin delivered again for the Dinos this season, leading the defending CW champions to a perfect 4-0 regular season.
Individually, Menin now sets her sights on the U SPORTS Player of the Year award, which she claimed in 2016. Should she win the honour, she would become the first CW player to win the award outright in consecutive seasons.
Also earning major awards were Alberta Panda Courtney Holtkamp as Rookie of the Year, Victoria’s Angela Thompson as the Student-Athlete Community Service Award winner, and Simon Chi as Coach of the Year.
In addition to the major awards, the conference also announced the CW all-star team, as five Vikes, four Dinos, and two players from each of the Lethbridge Pronghorns, UBC Thunderbirds, and Alberta were honoured.
The attention now shifts to the national championship tournament, which is slated for November 2-5 at the University of Lethbridge.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Regular season stats: 4 GP / 35 points / 7 tries
For the second consecutive season, Calgary Dinos prop DaLeaka Menin is the Canada West Rugby MVP. The Vulcan, Alta. native has had quite the year, as she posted an outstanding CW regular season after competing for Canada at the highest level.
The fifth-year veteran cracked the Canadian roster for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland where the Canucks finished fifth before going on to guide Calgary to another undefeated CW regular season.
The Arts student has been a major driving for the Dinos ascent of the CW rugby ranks after leading the program to its first CW title in 2016. Individually, Menin will now look to become the back-to-back U SPORTS Player of the Year, after winning the award last season.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Stats: 4 GP / 15 points / 3 tries
Alberta Panda Courtney Holtkamp is the 2017 Canada West Rookie of the Year after continuing her meteoric rugby rise, leading the Pandas in scoring this season with 15 points on three tries.
A native of Rimbey, Alta., Holtkamp has always played beyond her years, as the Rimbey Senior High School product was playing at the high school senior rugby in Grade 8. Holtkamp went on to play for the Red Deer Titans Elite U18 team in 2016 and has also competed for the Canadian Women’s U18 program.
She is one of the country’s top young players and is expected to anchor the Pandas for years to come as they look to return to conference prominence.
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE
Angela Thompson’s passion for service, academics, and sport has made her a shining example of what it means to be a student-athlete.
The fourth-year Education student has been involved in numerous volunteer organizations during her time with the Victoria Vikes, including Best Buddies, which creates opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to connect through one-to-one friendships with other community members.
Thompson’s work with Best Buddies motivated the Regina, Sask, native to pursue a career path aimed at working with people who live with disabilities and work towards building communities that are accessible to everyone. This work has continued with the Canucks Autism Network, where Thompson worked as a support worker to assist, program and encourage children living with autism to participate and feel comfortable within physically active environments.
Along with her contributions to the broader community, Thompson has also been active on the University of Victoria campus as part of the Varsity Council – a group of student leaders playing varsity sports for the Vikes. Academically, Thompson sported a GPA of 6.69 (nine-point scale) last season, and was named a 2016-17 U SPORTS Academic All Canadian.
In addition to all this work, Thompson has also given back to the game of rugby as a coach, leading the Oak Bay High School girls rugby team to a city and provincial championship.
COACH OF THE YEAR
For the second consecutive season, Calgary’s Simon Chi is the Canada West Rugby Coach of the Year.
Chi previously earned the award in 2011 in just his second year at the helm of the Dinos, as well as last season when Calgary claimed the program’s first conference banner with a 29-14 win over Victoria in the CW gold medal game.
Compiling a Canada West regular season record of 22-9-1, Chi has built the Calgary program into one of the top in the nation and will be looking to claim his first national title Nov. 2-5 at the U SPORTS championship in Lethbridge.
2017 CANADA WEST RUGBY ALL-STARS
Position / Name / University / Eligibility / Hometown / Program
Prop / DaLeaka Menin / Calgary Dinos / 5 / Vulcan, Alta. / Arts
Prop / Tiffany Picketts / Victoria Vikes 5 / Abbotsford, B.C. / Education
Hooker / Julia Folk / Victoria Vikes / 4 / Regina, Sask. / Science
Lock / Kasselle Menin / Calgary Dinos / 3 / Vulcan, Alta. / Arts
Lock / Keegan Brantner / Lethbridge Pronghorns 2 / Taber, Alta. / Arts
Back row / Ferris Sandboe / Alberta Pandas / 5 / La Glace, Alta. / Phys. Ed & Rec.
Back row / Temitope Ogunjimi / Calgary Dinos / 5 / Calgary, Alta. / Arts
Back row / Chanelle Edwards-Challenger / Victoria Vikes / Humanities
Scrum half / Alayna Scramstad / UBC Thunderbirds / 1 / Lashburn, Sask. / Dentistry
Fly half / Jess Neilson / Victoria Vikes / 4 / North Vancouver, B.C. / Social Sciences
Centre / Brittany Orr / Lethbridge Pronghorns / 5 / Lethbridge, Alta. / Health Sciences
Centre / Mackenzie Carson / UBC Thunderbirds / 2 / Abbotsford, B.C. / Arts
Back three / Ali Wicklum / Alberta Pandas / 2 / Calgary, Alta. / Business
Back three / Elysa Sandron / Calgary Dinos / 4 / Winnipeg, Man. / Science
Back three / Kara Galbraith / Victoria Vikes / 4 / Ladysmith, B.C. / Social Sciences