A handful of Fraser Valley athletes were celebrated not for the challenges they conquered in competition, but for those they faced in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite a lack of Canada West action, the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades department of athletics and recreation still recognized 11 student-athletes for their contributions in an unusual time.
In a typical year, awards like male and female athlete of the year and rookie of the year would take centre stage. But after a year defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, with conference and national schedules cancelled and varying limitations on training, those awards will stay on the shelf.
Awards given out for 2020-21 included: the Cascades Leadership Award, Community Athlete of the Year, the Jen Simpson Memorial Leadership Award, and the Cascade Crew Award.
Cascades women’s volleyball libero Stephanie Demeules was given the community athlete of the year award. She served the UFV community in a pair of formal roles: as a senior community assistant in the Baker House on-campus residence, and as president of the Cascades’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
Outside of UFV, she volunteered twice a week at Chilliwack Central Elementary, giving extra assistance to students who were struggling with schoolwork. She also served as a volunteer beach volleyball coach, and led a UFV women’s volleyball Instagram campaign where the team shared healthy recipes, volleyball drills, and at-home activities to encourage the community during periods of COVID-19 isolation.
Langley’s Jessica Phan took home the Jen Simpson Award, which recognizes leadership in three areas: on an athletic team, in the community, and in academics and involvement on campus.
The Cascades leadership awards were given to: Armstrong’s Emery Bardock (women’s golf), W.J. Mouat grad Jordyn Sekhon (men’s basketball), Aldergrove’s Cheye Gustafson (women’s rugby), Surrey’s Ryan Donald (men’s soccer), Mission’s Victoria Jacobse (women’s basketball), Langley’s Caleb Kastelein (men’s volleyball), Abbotsford’s Tripat Sandhu (women’s soccer), Maple Ridge’s Travis Klein (baseball), Mission’s Kara Williams (women’s volleyball), Agassiz’s Jacob Lucki (men’s golf) and Costa Rica’s Alexis Worrell (women’s basketball).
The Cascades Crew Award, recognizing excellence in student game-day staff, was given to U.K. native and Robert Bateman Secondary School grad Adam Hutchison.