Success was the key word describing the annual Night of the Mounties – the time when excellence is recognized and awards are presented – and this took place last Thursday evening when upwards of 200 athletes let their voices be heard loud and clear as they cheered on teammates and friends who waltzed to the front to accept their rewards.
Athletic director Pierre Arsenault said this success only came about from strong support, which begins at the top, as he thanked president Robert Campbell for his ongoing encouragement and help.
He said Mountie pride – spelled out with the words Passion, Relentlessness, Intelligence, Discipline and Education – is growing stronger by the day as performances are improving at all levels.
Campbell congratulated the athletic contingent, noting that the school can boast of 48 Academic All Canadians, 23 All-Stars and three coaches-of-the year. On top of this, two of the AUS teams went to the finals, with the football team bringing home all the marbles. And he pointed out that no fewer that 88 percent of the athletes are in good standing academically.
Arsenault pointed out that four years ago he had predicted this when he described the then generation of students as “phenomenal” and he emphasized that Mountie PRIDE is just becoming more obvious as it grows from success.
“We are starting to understand what it is to win,” he continued, “as things change for the better and a new culture is being born.”
In essence, scoreboard success during the past seven months has been ground breaking with at least three regional championships and many other teams making the playoffs and showing improvement.
Naturally, the magical comeback of the football team to win the Atlantic Conference championship after losing four of their first five games was a Horatio Alger type story and this appeared to set the tone for the others.
Several athletes were named All-Canadian and one coach was among the finalists for CIS coach-of-the-year. All-in-all the season results provided the impetus for a joyful and back-slapping evening as university administrators joined the better conditioned students for the wrap-up to a record breaking record.
Can the program continue to improve and bring even more scoreboard success?
Arsenault believes that it can and he feels the strong coaching staff, more confident athletes from winning backgrounds and the support of alumni across the country including the university administration is the answer. Certainly giant strides have been made in four short years and expectations have been raised to the level never before experienced.
Anything less would be a major disappointment but it will require a great deal of support if they hope to take the next step and create a dynasty in any of the major sports. That appears to have already been accomplished in badminton with as many as eight consecutive titles and cross country with a steady stream of victories.
Certainly the competing schools have no intention to roll over and play dead. The upset in football came with some breaks as they were forced to take the final five victories each as a playoff and there is nothing guaranteed. However, one website has reported that the Mounties rank eighth in the nation on recruiting for the 2014 campaign, which is a necessary first step in a repeat.
Awards were made during the special night for most valuable player and rookie of the year in each sport but the two most waited for were the male and female athlete of the year.
There was little doubt that Jordan Botel, the powerful running back with the football Mounties, would be the winner. An AUS all-star, second team All-Canadian, the most outstanding player in the AUS as well as being invited to the CFL Combine, Botel racked up 758 tough yards between the tackles, scored a leading six touchdowns and never fumbled in nearly 200 carries. The Prince George native is leaving a huge void as he has used his eligibility but may wind up in the CFL.
Equally as dominant was Emily van Diepen on the women’s side.
A dual sport athlete she excelled in both but received major recognition as a member of the hockey team that came within an inch of brining home its first championship.
Emily led her team during the regular season and was third overall in the league for points as a defensive player.
She has been team and overall rookie of the year, a Canada games athlete, an AUS and championship all-star.
Jonathan Hammer and Robin Bessemer were chosen as winners of the outstanding senior athlete winners.
Early in the evening Gillian Tetlow, another prominent on-campus athlete, received the Joey’s Drover Leadership award.
On the retirement of Drover Anna Mann, operator of Joey’s famous restaurant, committed $35,000 to be awarded over 35 years in honour of Drover.
With the countdown to the end of classes and the advent of final exams, the sport schedule has come to an end for another year. But the professional staff at the athletic centre is still in “hurry-up” mode as they proceed to reload for another season.
Mount Allison Athletes of the Year
Hockey and soccer Mountie Emily Van Diepen was named the female athlete of the year for the second consecutive year and football Mountie Jordan Botel was named the male athlete of the year.
The female athlete of the year award is presented to a student who best displays outstanding athletic ability in her sport. Also taken into consideration is attitude towards fellow teammates, dedication to the program, and a display of sportsmanship qualities in competition.
An AUS soccer and hockey all-star, Van Diepen, from Morell, PEI, has had an impressive career at Mount Allison. She is a third year student, a dual-sport athlete who has excelled in both sports and who has helped put her teams in the spotlight, while also succeeding academically. She has led her team in +/- points and led the team in regular season and was third overall in the league for points as a defensive player. She has been a team and overall rookie of the year, a Canada games athlete, an AUS and championship All-Star, and came very close to being a conference champion in 2014.
The male athlete of the year award is presented to a student who best displays outstanding athletic ability in his sport. Also taken into consideration is attitude towards fellow teammates, dedication to the program, and a display of sportsmanship qualities in competition.
Botel, from Prince George, BC is an AUS All-Star, AUS Most Outstanding Player, and received a CFL Combine Invitation. This season he had 758 yards rushing, which placed him first in the AUS and sixth in the CIS. He was first in the AUS with six touchdowns and zero fumbles and this is the second consecutive year that he led the country in most carries. He has helped advance his team from fourth to first in conference standings, then went on to be a leader in the winning of the AUS football championship and a very respectable finish in the national semi-final against Laval.
Outstanding senior scholar athletes
Winning the outstanding senior scholar athlete awards this year were soccer Mountie Robin Bessemer and badminton Mountie Bryan Downey.
This award goes to a graduating senior student in a recognized undergraduate degree program who has been a varsity athlete at Mount Allison for a minimum of two years. He/she must have shown extraordinary accomplishments both academically and athletically.
Robin Bessemer, from Calgary, AB, is a Bell Scholar, an Academic All-Canadian, a longevity award winner, and varsity soccer player with a 4.2 GPA.
Bryan Downey, from Stephenville, NL, has been a Canada Games badminton player for the province of Newfoundland, a team and overall rookie of the year, and a three year academic All-Canadian with a 4.15 GPA.
Outstanding senior athletes
Selected as the outstanding senior male athlete was soccer Mountie Jonas Hammar.
The men’s outstanding senior award is the Gus MacFarlane Trophy, which is given to a senior athlete who best exemplifies what a Mount Allison athlete should be.
Jonas Hammar, from Moncton, NB came to Mount Allison after a very successful high school career in athletics where he was a multi-sport athlete, a league and regional champion, an athlete of the year, and a merit award winner. Throughout his years at Mount Allison he worked his way into a starting position with the varsity soccer team and was a solid player in his position as goalkeeper with the Mounties.
Selected as the outstanding senior female athlete was volleyball Mountie Caitlin Macdonald, receiving the Joy Taylor Memorial Award.
Caitlin MacDonald, from Sussex, NB, is a volleyball co-captain and over her years at Mount Allison she has been involved with the athletic affairs committee, Mounties in Motion, and tutored children in middle school. She has volunteered at the local hospital, tutored other Mount Allison athletes, worked as an intramural official, and also found time to take part with other Mountie athletes to promote anti-bullying. With all of these extracurricular activities she has maintained a strong presence on her team, achieving second in passing and defensive digs.
Overall university rookies of the year
Overall university rookie of the year honours went to swimming Mountie Allison Loewen and football Mountie Devante Sampson.
Rookie of the Year honours are awarded to students who contribute the most to their teams in their first year of university competition.
Allison Loewen, from Westmount, QC, was a stand-out member with the swimming Mounties and, in her first season, won six medals at the AUS Swim Championships, was an AUS All-Star, and was a national qualifier. In addition, she has raised the bar by setting four Mount Allison swim records this year.
Devante Sampson, from Mississauga, ON, started in seven football games this season and had 37.5 tackles, which ranked him 12th in the AUS and 48th in the CIS. He also had two forced fumbles and two pass break –ups.
Joey’s Drover Leadership Award
The Joey’s Drover Leadership Award was presented to badminton Mountie Gillian Tetlow of Port Williams, NS. The award honours a returning athlete who shows a combination of leadership, commitment to team, academics, and athletic ability, and who represents all of the positive attributes of the Mountie family.
Gigi Hicks and Gilmour Sportsmanship Awards
The women’s sportsmanship award, named in honour of the late Virginia Anne (Gigi) Hicks (’81), was presented to hockey Mountie Courtney King.
Fourth-year hockey Mountie Courtney King, from St. John’s, NL, has been an impact player since her first year. At the end of this season she was selected as a second team AUS All-Star and awarded the most sportsmanlike player in the conference. She led the team in points, was a ‘go to’ player on the ice, and assistant captain.
The men’s sportsmanship award was presented to basketball Mountie Jordan Bedard.
This award was donated by the Paikin family in the name of Harvey Gilmour. It is awarded to an individual who puts his heart and soul into practices and games, while positively contributing to his team in every way.
Jordan Bedard, from Moncton, NB, is a team captain who is always a positive influence on and off the court. His coach speaks of him as an extremely hard-working player who displays the characteristics needed for the team to be successful. As a player he started all 21 games this season, averaging 21 minutes per game, eight points and three rebounds per game.
Bubsy Grant Award
Winning the prestigious Bubsy Grant Award was retired sports information director Sue Seaborn.
(See AWARDS on page 11)