Klassen and Zacharias selected for top awards at Awards Night
Briercrest volleyball players Taylor Klassen and Samantha Zacharias received the top awards of Briercrest Male and Female Athletes of the Year at the Briercrest Athletics Awards Night Tuesday, March 29.
Briercrest Male Athlete of the Year was third-year outside hitter Taylor Klassen. Klassen lead the team with 294 kills and 219 digs, while ranking second with 37 service aces. The Linden, AB also had 14 assists and 18 blocks. His 294 kills ranked him first in the ACAC South and his 37 aces were fourth highest in the division. The BA Business Administration student’s 219 digs also ranked him second in the ACAC South. At the end of the year he was named to the ACAC South All-Conference Team.
Samantha Zacharias was the star of the night as she was also recognized with several other awards including ACAC Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year, and CCAA Women’s Volleyball All-Canadian. She was also selected ACAC South All-Conference Team.
Zacharias is a third-year BA Business Administration student-athlete from Waldheim, SK. The outside hitter’s performance was a huge part in leading Briercrest to their best season since joining the ACAC (19-5 in league play, first place in the ACAC South, 4th ranking in CCAA, and ACAC champions). She led the ACAC with 74 service aces and 389 points. She also ranked second in the ACAC and third in the CCAA with 305 kills. She helped lead the team to an all-time best fourth place finish at the CCAA National championship.
Other nominees for the Athlete of the Year Awards were Amy Wanvig (women’s basketball), Ben Kornelsen (men’s basketball) and Josh Dufresne (men’s hockey).
The Junior Varsity Female Athlete of the Year this year was awarded to Alexis Ferguson. This is awarded to student-athlete that demonstrates the Briercrest way through their character, athletic ability, team success, community standards, and league awards in non-ACAC sports. Ferguson led the team in their second year of competition (in the Western Collegiate Softball Association) this season, where the team was tied for second place in the WCSA playoffs before the tournament was cancelled due to rain.
Four student-athletes were recognized for their five years of service at Briercrest. Hockey recognized Brennan Gasmo (BA Business Administration) and Josh Dufresne (BA Biblical Studies), men’s volleyball recognized Carter Reimer (Master of Divinity) and women’s volleyball recognized Mikayla Reinhardt (BA Humanities).
Gasmo, Dufresne and Reinhardt were joined by Taylor Epp (BA Business Administration) in being recognized as graduating student-athletes.
“Fifth year awards symbolize the student athlete’s commitment to Briercrest, commitment to finishing a degree and a commitment to making sacrifices to be part of our program,” Athletic Director Nigel Mullan said.
“We want to honour these graduating athletes because we feel that commitment is what allows our teams to develop the culture. Without fourth and fifth year players on our teams it is hard to develop that culture that we’re after.”
Other awards presented at the March 29 banquet included:
Community Involvement Award: Sarah Richards (Maple Ridge, BC) was awarded the Community Involvement Award for her service during the 2015-16 season. She helped organize and put on church for seniors who weren’t able to go to church throughout the year. The BA Business Administration student also lived in the high school dorm this year and helped with the audio/visual team for Awaken.
Other nominees for this award were: Sheridan Mergal (women’s basketball), and Mark Langford (men’s hockey).
Female Rookie of the year: Ashley Zacharias is a BA Business Administration student-athlete from Waldheim, Saskatchewan. The setter’s performance was a huge part in leading Briercrest to their best regular season since joining the ACAC (19-5 in league play, first place in the ACAC South and 4th ranking in CCAA). She led the ACAC with 819 assists this season. This is an ACAC record, besting the past record by almost 80! She also ranked 17th in the ACAC South with 21 service aces. This helped Briercrest to an ACAC leading 1024 kills and 255 service aces. She then continued her strong play in the playoffs by quarterbacking the team to an ACAC gold and a program best fourth place finish at the CCAA National champiosnhip
The other nominee for this award was Victoria Voth (women’s basketball).
Male rookie of the year: Ethan DaSilva (Calgary, AB) was a leader on the Briercrest men’s basketball this year as he ran the offense from the point guard position. He led the ACAC South in assists with 152, and led Briercrest in minutes played, rebounds with 7.7 rebounds per game, and 34 steals and shooting 37.9 percent from three-point range. He was also second on the team with 12.6 points per game, and 36 three-point shots made. He also had 5 double-doubles and two triple-doubles on the season, one of which included a stat line of 18 points, 16 rebounds, and 12 assists.
Other nominees for this award were Josiah Friesen (men’s hockey) and Dalon Hordyk (men’s volleyball).
Female athlete of the year: Sam Zacharias
Male athlete of the year: Taylor Klassen
Most Improved Players: volleyball – Harry Rosewarn and Janae Rapley; basketball – Ben Kornelsen and Victoria Voth; hockey – Chad Davidson; softball - Bryann Sieb.
Most Valuable Players: volleyball – Taylor Klassen and Sam Zacharias; basketball – Ethan DaSilva and Amy Wanvig; hockey – Josh Dufresne; softball - Ali Kowalenko.
Minor Official Award: Riley Gratrix and Darryl Osborn
ACAC All-Academic team (based on 2014-15 marks): Josh Dufresne, Ben Feere, Christian Mueller, Dirk de Waal, Theo Block, Josh Klassen, Nathan Archer, Lauren Jnazen, Brooke Olmstead, Rylee Wiebe, Matthew Pauls, and Jason Wendel.
CCAA National Scholar Award winners (based on 2014-15 marks): Theo Block, Josh Klassen, Nathan Archer, Lauren Jnazen, Brooke Olmstead, Rylee Wiebe, Matthew Pauls, and Jason Wendel.
WCSA Academic Athletic Award (based on 2014-15 marks): Mikayla Benner and Sarah Richards
ACAC All-Conference: South – Taylor Klassen – volleyball, Mikayla Reinhardt – volleyball, Kathleen Bruce – volleyball, Sam Zacharias – volleyball
WCSA Women’s Softball All-Star: First Team – Jessica Bailey
ACAC Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year: Sam Zacharias
ACAC Women’s Volleyball Rookie of the Year: Ashley Zacharias
CCAA Academic All-Canadian: Taylor Klassen
CCAA All-Canadian Team: Sam Zacharias
Graduating player awards: Brennan Gasmo, Josh Dufresne, Taylor Epp and Mikayla Reinhardt.
Fifth year player awards: Brennan Gasmo, Josh Dufresne, Carter Reimer and Mikayla Reinhardt.
For photos of the Awards Banquet like Briercrest Athletics on Facebook.