The Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame (GVSHoF) and University of Victoria Vikes Athletics and Recreation are pleased to announce the winners of two awards established to help local student-athletes: Mareya Valeva and Jack DesBrisay.
Mareya Valeva, from Women’s Swimming, is the first recipient of the Sybil Verch Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame Award.
The St. Michael’s University School grad is a first year Science major, who has always been passionate towards excelling in her contributions towards academic and athletic life, and aspires to pursue a career in medicine.
Mareya doesn’t believe in sitting still. As a student-athlete who had straight A’s throughout high school and has reached national level swimming while also taking pre-professional classical ballet and contemporary dance, martial arts, gymnastics, piano, and violin, she says “the mere thought of settling in a comfort zone would deprive me of my identity as an individual who strives to find comfort outside of the comfort zone.”
“She’s a good student academically, and also a keen student in the pool”, says Peter Vizsolyi, head coach of the Vikes Swimming program. “She’s open to take advice and improvement. She wants to adapt and is already making technical and work intensity changes that will really help her excel in the long term.”
Jack DesBrisay, from Men’s Rowing, is the eleventh winner of the Bate Family Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame Award.
When Jack first started, he wasn’t the strongest rower. He was surrounded by kids who had been rowing for years, but didn’t let that discourage him; it drove him to improve. In the tenth grade, Jack was appointed Captain of his school’s team, a position normally awarded to a grade twelve student. In the fall of 2019, he represented BC at the Canada Cup regatta and the National Rowing Championship. The Glenlyon Norfolk School grad holds a long list of impressive race results from 2019-2020.
“The Bate Family Scholarship helps to keep local athletes local. Jack DesBrisay is a shining example of the impact this scholarship can have,” says Aalbert Van Schothorst, head coach of the Vikes Men’s Rowing program. “He is a local who has represented the Victoria City Rowing Club and Glenlyon Norfolk School. Despite the impact that COVID has had on training and competition, Jack is both thriving and adding to the competitive depth of the program. He is a credit to the local coaches and rowing clubs and we look forward to the impact he can have on the Canadian University rowing landscape.”
Keeping it local is what these two awards are all about. “The Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame (GVSHoF) has been working with the Vikes to encourage elite student-athletes to stay in Victoria and compete at the varsity level, while earning a degree”, says Doug Jennings, President of GVSHoF. “Starting in 2010-11, we first announced the Bate Family Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame Award to support this important effort. Now in partnership with local businesswoman Sybil Verch, we have established our second financial award to assist women in undergraduate studies, while playing for the UVic Vikes. Our Board is very supportive of this community effort. Congrats to both of this year’s award winners, and we look forward to continuing our award dialogue with interested community members.”
“We appreciate the role the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame has played in establishing both the Bate Family and Sybil Verch scholarships,” says Clint Hamilton, Senior Director of Vikes Athletics & Recreation. “As the GVSHoF works to honour local sporting leaders, these awards help UVic in attracting and supporting future leaders. Our Vikes program is very appreciative of the work of the GVSHoF, along with the Bate family and Sybil Verch in making these awards possible.”
Sybil Verch Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame Award:
Awarded to an undergraduate woman student entering UVic from a secondary school in the Greater Victoria region who competes on a Vikes Varsity team. This is the award’s inaugural year.
Bate Family Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame Award:
Awarded to an undergraduate student entering the University of Victoria directly from a secondary school in the Greater Victoria region who competes on a Vikes Varsity team.
Eligible students are required to submit an application by the specified date to the Senior Director of Athletics & Recreation. Award recipients must meet all U SPORTS and/or NAIA eligibility requirements and are selected on the basis of work ethic, commitment and performance criteria.
Bate Family Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame Award – past recipients:
2019-20: Janet Dawson, Field Hockey, Mount Douglas Secondary
2018-19: Lockie Kratz, Rugby, Oak Bay Secondary
2017-18: Shaye Tudor, Rugby, Claremont Secondary
2016-17: Brayden Tate, Rugby, Oak Bay High
2015-16: Harbir Sidhu, Field Hockey, Mount Douglas Secondary
2014-15: Michael Baart, Soccer, St. Michaels University School
2013-14: Stephanie Polomark, Rowing, Belmont Senior Secondary
2012-13: Sarah Douglas, Soccer, Glenlyon Norfolk School
2011-12: Patrick Psotka, Track, Oak Bay High
2010-11: Julia Schmidt: Swimming, Lambrick Park Secondary