MAPLE RIDGE – With the end of the school year and graduation on the horizon, North Dundas District High School took time to honour the best in sport and a few key supporters at their annual athletic banquet.
Each sport was well represented and all of the coaches beamed with pride at the individual and team growth shown by all the young athletes.
Each grade honoured an athlete of the year and the winners were chosen based on commitment, coachability, skill or performance, leadership and attitude.
The Grade 9 female winner was Delaney Johnston, who was singled out for her perseverance, coach ability and personality while there were co-winners on the male side, Ewan Wilson and Adam Barkley.
Britney Barkley, a power on the basketball court, in volleyball and soccer, was the Grade 10 female athlete of the year. The Grade 10 male athlete of the year was a four-headed monster with Liam Antille, Curtis Bell, Zac Hamilton and Owen Richardson all accepting the honour and setting up a strong senior class for next year.
Grade 11 female athlete of the year was another multi-sport athlete, Grace Cave while volleyball star Ian Koch was named the top male.
Grade 12 student Shaina Vandemheen was a top scorer in basketball, key hitter in volleyball, an outstanding centre in hockey, a hurdler and sprinter in track while also helping out with junior girls soccer. She can add athlete of the year to her many accolades.
The male winner led by example with his aggressive play on the soccer pitch, his impressive abilities on the volleyball court and leadership in basketball. He also claimed gold at SD&G in badminton with partner Katherine Steele. Jarrett Williams was a deserving winner of Grade 12 male athlete of the year.
Katherine Steele was also recognized with a special award for the student contributing the most to school sports life.
According to coach Patti Hall, Steele was tireless in her commitment to sports at NDDHS.
“Scoring, reffing, organizing, setting up and taking down equipment, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a no to any one of the coaches ever requesting help. Arriving early to games and leaving late, we could always count on her to assist either personally or gather a group of capable helpers,” she said.
At the end of the banquet, teacher and coach Scott Reaney gave a heartfelt tribute to long-time Winchester Press sports reporter Al Van Bridger before offering him a special token of appreciation from the students and staff at NDDHS.
“It doesn’t matter what your sport is. If your sport was out on a field, if your sport was on a court, if it was on the ice, chances are, Al’s been covering it. You don’t get that kind of coverage and promotion and boosting of the school and its community just anywhere in Ontario. That’s why they’ve won so many different awards and that’s why Al has won so many awards over the years for what he’s done,” said Reaney.
Van Bridger, looking well-rested and tanned, was humble in his acceptance.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for taking part in the sport, any sport. It’s great to see you still doing it. I miss coming here,” he said.
Van Bridger also took the opportunity to playfully ask coach Hall if his high jump record was still intact.
Outgoing vice-principal Mike Deighton was also recognized for his tireless efforts to support athletics at NDDHS.
Although his final day at the school is still weeks away, Deighton delivered a heartfelt and passionate speech to the young athletes.
“Continue to stay involved. Try something new even though you’re worried that you may not be successful. Go out and try out for that team, get involved with that club and have that experience because everything you do in life is going to be based on new experiences. If you don’t try something new you’re not going to grow.
When you’re done and you’ve had that experience and you say, ‘God that was awesome,’ make sure you go around and thank all the people that were involved like all these people right here… This is a really important place and it’s special because of you guys,” he said.
Team MVPs were also recognized at the banquet:
• Cross Country: Adam Barkley and Fabienne Puenter
• Golf: Adam Guertsma
• Sevens Rugby: Julia Gibson
• Midget girls volleyball: Amanda Shay and Adrianna Vanbruegel
• Junior girls volleyball: Britney Barkley
• Senior Girls volleyball: Katherine Steele and Shaina Vandemheen
• Junior boys volleyball: Owen Richardson
• Senior boys volleyball: Ian Koch and Jarrett Williams
• Junior girls basketball: Britney Barkley
• Senior girls basketball: Jessica Barkley
• Junior boys basketball: Owen Richardson
• Senior Boys basketball: Logan Lacasse
• Girls hockey: Olivia Salmon and Shaina Vandemheen
• Boys hockey: Cameron Cotnam
• Boys curling: Matthew Roach
• Mixed curling: Mia Woods and Sarah Sloan
• Girls curling: Chloe Ziegler and Taran Cooper
• Badminton: Jarrett Williams and Catherine Steel
• Archery: Bradley Larmer and Peyton Halpenny
• Junior girls soccer: Grace Chevalier
• Junior boys soccer: Mitchell Walker
• Senior boys soccer: Peter Xidias
• Track and field: Zac Hamilton and Alayna Gaudette
• Karen Moffat Award: Ashley Wasylko-Fletcher