VICTORIA – As part of the third of four days of announcements for University of Victoria Vikes major award finalists three exceptional student-athletes and team captains make up the finalists for the 2017-18 Chancellor’s Award. This award is presented annually to a student who is an outstanding contributor to the team. He/she provides leadership and vision exemplifying the goals of the team.
Finalist: Adam Donaldson, Men’s Rowing – Victoria, B.C. (Humanities)
Long-time captain of the Vikes men’s rowing team Adam Donaldson exemplifies all the qualities of an outstanding student-athlete. The 2017 Tony Zasada Award recipient has been instrumental in developing initiatives throughout the men’s rowing program. A humanities major, Donaldson has developed leadership roles and mentored assistant captains in areas of recruitment, alumni engagement as well as equipment fundraising. He has been vital in the hosting of many major regattas and events throughout his five years in the program while also establishing the Vikes Men’s Champions Fund Video and webpage while developing the Captains BBQ into a freshman parent and athlete welcome to Victoria.
On the water the native of Victoria has also racked up the accolades. Donaldson is a two-time Brown Cup champion, a four-time medallist, two of those gold, at the Canadian University Rowing Championships and four-time medallist at the Canadian Henley Regatta where we also a member of a Canadian men’s eight that won gold for the first time in 15 years.
An outstanding ambassador for the Vikes in the community, Donaldson has generously given his time to a number of important initiatives. A volunteer coach with the Greater Victoria Youth Rowing Society for two years, Donaldson has also coordinated his team to volunteer at the both the MacDonald House and the Cridge Centre for Family. Donaldson facilitated the Vikes in supporting the Freedom 55 Make a Wish Fundraiser as well as finding time to volunteer weekly at Our Place.
Finalist: Kristy Gallagher, Women’s Basketball – Sidney, B.C. (Humanities)
One of just two fourth-years on a team that featured ten rookies, Kristy Gallagher was thrust into a leadership role for the Vikes women’s basketball team this year and responded with aplomb. The Humanities major started all 23 of the Vikes games this season, finishing seventh in conference scoring (17.8 ppg) while leading the team in both assists (2.9 apg) and field goal percentage (44.3%).
Perhaps more important than her contributions on the court were the ways in which the native of Sidney B.C. made an impact off of it. Gallagher brought together an extremely young team that was pegged to finish eighth in the Canada West preseason poll and willed them to a 13-game winning streak and a playoff run that concluded at the conference quarter-finals.
Her work off the court to bring her teammates together coupled with her extreme passion and dedication on it, led the Vikes to their best regular season record in over a decade. The Canada West Second Team All-Star also volunteers her time with the Jr. Vikes and ‘She Got Game’ community programs. Gallagher is a perfect role model in the community and is an inspiration to many young local athletes who hope to play for the Vikes one day.
Finalist: James Pitblado, Men’s Rugby – Vancouver, B.C. (Education)
Captain of the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team for the past four years, James Pitblado is the glue that holds the team together. Winner of four Canadian University National 7s Championships and both a finalist and semifinalist in the B.C. Premier Rugby League in his time with the Vikes, Pitblado has suited up in the blue and gold of UVic more than 90 times in the past five years.
An All-Star at the Canadian University Championships this season, where he helped the Vikes to a silver medal, Pitblado holds a captain’s training session each week to make sure the Vikes players that are regularly away with various national team commitments are up to speed on technical and tactical changes prior to each game.
In the community, Pitblado volunteers his time to help coach at both various clinics as well as with middle and secondary school programs. The leader for all of the Vikes community projects throughout his university tenure, Pitblado is both the voice and face of the Vikes men’s rugby team in the greater community. Extremely talented on the pitch, Pitblado has been on three international tours with the Vikes and has also spent time with the National U20 team as well as with the National 7s program.