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VIU honours its athletes of the year after seasons in which every team excelled

Basketball standouts earn top honours at Mariners’ awards banquet
VIU Athlete of the Year award winners for 2022-23 are basketball players Tori Odom and Harriette Mackenzie. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

B.C.’s best college sports school, year after year, honoured its best of the best this week.

Vancouver Island University held its annual athletics award banquet on Thursday, April 6, at the Nanaimo campus.

The VIU Mariners added to their trophy case in a major way in 2022-23, with all six of the university’s teams qualifying to compete at their respective national championships. The women’s basketball team captured the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championship after also winning a Pacific Western Athletic Association championship, the women’s soccer team won national bronze and provincial gold and the men’s soccer team also won a provincial title. Other highlights of the season included the women’s volleyball team hosting nationals and the men’s basketball team going undefeated in PacWest regular-season play.

Danielle Hyde, VIU’s athletic director, told the student-athletes at the awards banquet that their dedication to their sports and their academics is inspiring.

“Look around the room at the leadership that we have in the room – the support staff, your coaches, your teammates. What a dream team, seriously,” Hyde said. “I say it all the time, but we have got something really special here. You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with and I am so proud to surround myself with all of you.”

This year’s Athletes of the Year were both basketball players, with Harriette Mackenzie and Tori Odom honoured.

Mackenzie was the MVP of nationals and was PacWest Player of the Year both for basketball and across all sports. She was a CCAA All-Canadian and a first-team PacWest all-star. Odom was PacWest Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team PacWest all-star.

VIU’s Rookie of the Year honours went to soccer player Jade Dillabough and volleyball player Lucas Torres.

The Mariners Academic Excellence Awards both went to volleyball players – Emerson Cooke, who had a perfect A-plus average over the past three semesters – and Jane Lytvynenko.

Unsung Hero Awards, chosen by coaches, went to soccer players Shea Battie and Jonathan McKenzie, basketball players Kayla Gregory and Noah Lehto, and volleyball players Megan Duffy and Cooke.

This year’s Golden Boot winners as top goal scorers on the soccer teams were Battie and Dillabough for the women and Vasilis Bagiopoulos for the men.

READ ALSO: VIU Mariners women win national basketball championship

As always, the VIU athletics awards night also included acknowledgement of previously announced CCAA and PacWest awards.

CCAA Players of the Year in 2022-23 included volleyball player Lytvynenko and soccer player Cara Dunlop; CCAA All-Canadians included soccer players Battie, Bagiopoulos and Dunlop, volleyball player Lytvynenko and basketball players Odom and Mackenzie; and VIU also boasted a CCAA Coach of the Year, Matt Kuzminski of the men’s basketball team.

In the PacWest, Players of the Year included Mackenzie for basketball and across all sports, Odom for basketball, Lytvynenko for volleyball and Dunlop for soccer.

PacWest Rookie of the Year winners were Mya Creed for soccer and Torres for volleyball.

PacWest Coach of the Year winners were Bobbie Taylor for soccer, Shane Hyde for volleyball and Kuzminski for basketball.

Mariners athletes chosen as PacWest all-stars in 2022-23 included soccer players Dunlop, Battie, Olivia Mazurenko, Kanae Yamamoto, Bagiopoulos, Matthew Coburn, Michael Heppelle and McKenzie; volleyball players Lytvynenko, Linnea Brickwood, Cassidy Kitchen, Mika Yamada, Daniel Mascarenhas and Torres; and basketball players Mackenzie, Ranika Guyton, C.J. Buckley, Odom, Richard Henderson and Akoi Yuot.

PacWest All-Rookie Team honourees included volleyball players Ella Sladden and Torres and basketball player Kiayra Hohlweg.

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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