The University of Victoria Vikes varsity programs are wrapping up the majority of their seasons as the annual Celebration of Champions and UVic Sports Hall of Fame event draws closer. Earlier today, Mar. 25, the Robert T. Wallace Shield for female rookies of the year.
The Male Rookies of the Year finalists for 2018-19 include rugby stand out Nicholas Carson, basketball Canada West All-rookie team member Aaron Tesfagiorgis and U SPORTS All-Rookie team member and men’s soccer top scorer Matteo Ventura.
Finalist: Nicholas Carson, Men’s Rugby – Victoria, B.C. (Business)
Few first years can say that they are a staple on Doug Tate’s varsity men’s starting rugby roster but Victoria’s Nicholas Carson started every game this season as number 8, one of the most technical and challenging positions. Heading in to the end of March, Carson was one of the team’s leading scorers with 12 tries as the end of the BC Premier League season draws nearer. In his grade 12 year Carson was selected to the Under 19 and Under 20 national teams but the academically gifted student-athlete chose at this time to focus on Vikes rugby and his degree in the Gustavson School of Business.
In November the Vikes hosted the Canadian University Rugby Championships where Carson helped his side earn a bronze medal. Following the tournament, Carson was named to the Tournament XV. Head coach Tate highlights Carson for his maturity, ability to lead by example, intensity in practice and his strength and athleticism on the field.
Finalist: Aaron Tesfagiorgis, Men’s Basketball – Calgary, Alta. (Humanities)
First-year Vike Tesfagiorgis impressed in his opening season with the Vikes. The Calgary native actually started training with the Vikes in 2017-18 but red shirted that season. Tesfagiorgis played in all 20 regular season games and had break out performances late in the season when the team needed it most.
On Jan. 11 the Vikes overcame what was at once a 19-point deficit in the first quarter to win 98-94 over the Fraser Valley Cascades. Hot hands from Tesfagiorgis recharged the Vikes to storm back after the rookie put up three treys and 16 points in a small window of time get the Vikes back in the game. Tesfagiorgis was recognized as a member of the Canada West All-Rookie team for his efforts in the 2018-19 season.
Finalist: Matteo Ventura, Men’s Soccer – Victoria, B.C. (Humanities)
Reynolds Secondary School graduate Matteo Ventura was the driving force behind the Vikes men’s soccer team’s offence this season. The team finished sixth in the Pacific Division with a 5-8-3 record with 10 of the team’s goals coming from first year Ventura. The set piece specialist also had logged two game-winning goals and three assists, while he started 13 of 16 regular season games. With 47 shots this season and a 3-for-3 record on penalty kicks, the three-time player of the game was named to both the Canada West and U SPORTS All-Rookie Team.
Ventura led all rookies in goals and points and is the first rookie to score 10 goals for the Vikes in over 20 years. Ventura’s offensive output kept the Vikes in the Canada West playoff picture for the entire season until a loss on the final weekend of regular season play eliminated the Vikes from contention.
Award finalists will be announced in a staggered fashion beginning with Rookies of the Year on Mar. 25, and followed daily with Athletes of the Year finalists on Mar. 26-27, Chancellor’s Award finalists on Mar. 28 and the President’s Cup on finalists Mar. 29. All award winners will be announced at the banquet on Apr. 5.
2018-19 Vikes Varsity Award Finalists
Finalists are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
Robert T. Wallace Shield Rookie of the Year – Female Anne-Sophie Hannes, Field Hockey Caitlin Mann, Cross Country and Track Danae McCulloch, Rowing
Robert T. Wallace Shield Rookie of the Year – Male Nicholas Carson, Rugby Aaron Tesfagiorgis, Basketball Matteo Ventura, Soccer