Canadian Mennonite University

Blazers Hand Out Hardware at the 2023 Green & Gold Banquet

The 2022-23 Zueike Teammate Award winners The 2022-23 Zueike Teammate Award winners

Blazers Athletics celebrated the 2022/23 season at their annual Green & Gold Banquet held in the Great Hall at Canadian Mennonite University this past Tuesday, handing out awards for academics, athletic excellence, and good works, while sharing stories of the season's successes on and off the field of play.

This year the Blazers took home one MCAC Championship, that being the women's basketball team's fifth consecutive provincial title, and the team went on to a finals appearance at the NIAC Championships a week later. All eight Blazer teams, including women's and men's futsal made final four appearances at MCAC Championships, with both the men's volleyball and basketball teams making finals as well. The Blazers men's volleyball team peaked at the eighth spot in the CCAA National Volleyball Rankings in mid-February; the highest ranking an MCAC team has achieved in the conference's history thus far over its two years of full participation in the CCAA.

With so many team and individual successes to be recognized it was certainly a fun event looking back on the year that was!

The evening's awards began with the scholar awards, which this year included a spotlight on the top academic performers on each team. This year, 37 athletes attained honour roll status through the fall term putting them in good standing towards earning CCAA National Scholar status which his calculated over the entire academic year. This past fall CMU announced 29 National Scholars taken from the women's and men's volleyball and soccer teams over the 2021/22 season. The top academic performers on each team were given the Scholar Athlete Medal, with this year's top academic student-athlete after one semester going as a two-way tie between men's soccer's Matthew Pahl and Men's Volleyball's Markus Martens.

Scholar Athlete Medal winners:
Men's Soccer - Matthew Pahl
Men's Volleyball - Markus Martens
Men's Basketball - Derek Neufeld
Women's Soccer - Tai Linklater
Women's Volleyball - Lauren Ens
Women's Basketball - Anna Pyne

Another new addition to this year's lineup of awards were the Teammate Awards presented by Zueike. This new accolade sought to recognize one athlete from each of our six programs that went above-and-beyond to be a good teammate, whether that meant taking on a new role or simply being a positive influence on team dynamics. This year's winners received a reversible bucket hat from Zueike, and were as follows:

Zueike Teammate Award winners:
Men's Volleyball - David Nelson
Women's Volleyball - Brooklyn De Jong
Men's Basketball - Braeden Fernandez
Women's Basketball - Reyna Reyes
Men's Soccer - Enriko Tore Cabrera
Women's Soccer - Rena Neufeld

Every year Blazers head coaches select their own team's Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and a third award of their choosing, with a women's and men's futsal Player of the Year award also being added this year. The awards were granted as follows:

Men's Soccer & Futsal Award winners:
Most Valuable Player (soccer) - Matheus Dos Anjos Aquino
Most Valuable Player (futsal) - Zach Bartel
Rookie of the Year - Noah Schindel
Impact Player Award - Stan Pankiewicz

Women's Soccer & Futsal Award winners:
Most Valuable Player (soccer) - Ayesha Umar
Most Valuable Player (futsal) - Tiegan Kroeker
Rookie of the Year - Emily Whittaker
Top Defensive Player - Kalyssa Wasylik

Men's Volleyball Award winners:
Most Valuable Player - Cam Gayleard
Rookie of the Year - Albert Francisco
Leadership Award - Josh Werbiski

Women's Volleyball Award winners:
Most Valuable Player - Rachel Bartel
Rookie of the Year - Layla Reichert
Most Improved Player - Annika Kornelsen

Men's Basketball Award winners:
Most Valuable Player - Ezra Leano
Rookie of the Year - Daniel Cameron
Green Heart Award - Binh Nguyen

Women's Basketball Award winners:
Most Valuable Player - Anna Pyne
Rookie of the Year - Zia Dacara
Most Improved Player - Oluwanifemi Gbadamosi

The final awards of the night were the major awards to recognize the overall male and female athletes and rookies of the year, as well as the Trailblazer Award for community service. As always, there were tough decisions for the Blazers' Athletics Department to make in selecting the recipients, with the winners chosen as follows:

Blazers Major Award winners:
Female Rookie of the Year - Zia Dacara (women's basketball)
Male Rookies of the Year - Noah Schindel (men's soccer) & Daniel Cameron (men's basketball)
Female Athlete of the Year - Tiegan Kroeker (women's soccer)
Male Athlete of the Year - Tim Juvonen (men's volleyball)
Trailblazer Award - Lauren Ens (women's volleyball)

With the season all officially wrapped up and students now into their exams Blazers Athletics would like to congratulate each and every Blazer student-athlete on a fantastic year, and recognize the sacrifices that must be made to play intercollegiate sport. We certainly hope to continue to build on the successes of this past year and commit ourselves to continued improvements heading into the 2023/24 seasons!

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