Following this morning’s announcement the Robert T. Wallace Shield nominees for the Female Rookie of the Year Award, the University of Victoria Vikes are pleased to announce the Male Rookie of the Year finalists, presented by Dairyland.

This year’s male finalists include basketball sharpshooter Diego Maffia, cross country and track runner Sajjan Sarai and standout rower William Simpson.


Finalist: Diego Maffia, Basketball – Victoria, B.C. (Humanities)

Diego Maffia stepped on campus as one of the most anticipated recruits in years. He garnered much attention at the high school level for his ability to orchestrate the offence while producing eye-popping numbers. Those skills translated smoothly at the U SPORTS level.

As the Vikes sixth man, Maffia was second on the team with 12.5 points-per-game average and shot 35.2 per cent from three-point range. He also averaged 1.7 assists. Those stats earned him the recognition of being named to the Canada West All-Rookie Team.


Finalist: William Simpson, Rowing – Toronto, Ont. (Business)

It’s not easy for a freshman to enter the Vikes rowing program and earn a spot on the varsity open 8+ crew, but that’s exactly what William Simpson managed to do this season.

Simpson impressed before arriving on campus. He was a member of the Canadian national quad crew at the Junior World Championships in Tokyo, Japan. He also won the U19 during the National Rowing Championships and placed eighth in the time trial and 10th overall racing against senior national team members.

Rowing Canada honoured him with the 2019 Jack Guest Award as the top junior male athlete and the 2020 Future Athlete Bursary, an award given to potential future Olympians.

With the Vikes, he raced in the single during the Canadian University Rowing Championships and narrowly missed a birth in the ‘A’ Final by 0.02 seconds.


Finalist: Sajjan Sarai, Cross Country and Track – Surrey, B.C. (Social Sciences)

Sajjan Sarai is a promising up and coming middle distance runner in the Vikes program and in the Canada West.

The Mainland runner excelled this season in the 600-metre distance. Not only is he the conference’s top rookie in the his field, but he ranked fourth in the Canada West and was the only freshman ranked in the top 14 in all of U SPORTS.

He enjoyed the experience of racing on the biggest stage in the country, as he appeared in the U SPORTS final heat for the 600m and placed sixth with a time of 1:20.91.

Sarai has shown his ability to lead amongst the rookies and has contributed beyond expectations to help with recruits and prospective student-athletes. He will be a force on the national stage in the years to come.

2019-20 Vikes Award Nominees

Chancellor’s Award – Presented by bubly Sparkling Water
James O’Neill, Men’s Rugby
Puck Louwes – Women’s Soccer
McKenna Simpson – Women’s Rowing

Robert T. Wallace Shield – Presented by Hot House Pizza
Female Rookie of the Year Award

Aida Lissel-DeCorby, Women’s Rowing
Lauren Crisp, Women’s Swimming
Nikki Virk, Women’s Soccer