Six major awards were given out at the annual St. Thomas University athletics banquet, including an Atlantic University Sport league-wide award, on March 27.
Fifth-year women’s hockey player Abby Clarke was given the AUS James Bayer Scholarship Award for demonstrating excellence in academics, athletics, leadership, sportsmanship and citizenship. Every year, the 11 schools in the AUS nominate a player who best exemplifies these traits.
Clarke is the first Tommie to receive the award since it was established in 1985. She said she knew she was nominated, but forgot about it until the banquet.
“I knew that there was a possibility that I was going to be nominated but that was a couple months ago so I kind of forgot about it,” said Clarke.
“I said, ‘Wow, that’s just kind of an honour to be considered.'”
The goalie had a great season, making 576 saves overall and was in the top two standings during the regular season in all of the major goal tending statistics.
She helped the team make it to the AUS playoffs where they won the championship banner.
Clarke said the awards make ending her time as a Tommie easier.
“It’s almost like the cherry on top. It’s not about that stuff but it’s nice to be recognized,” said Clarke.
“At the end of the day the AUS banner is the one that means the most to me.”
Clarke was also awarded the Tommies top athlete of the year along with third-year men’s soccer player Kyle Yearwood. They were also named the most valuable players of their respective teams.
Yearwood was honoured to receive the top athlete award.
“I couldn’t have done it without the boys or the coaching staff. It’s nice when people recognize your efforts,” said Yearwood.
Yearwood played an important role in helping get the men’s soccer team to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs this season, scoring five goals, three of which were game-winning goals.
Yearwood said this award has set a standard for next year and will encourage him to continue to improve and play well.
“I’ve got to keep improving and keep working towards our next goals which is definitely to win that [Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association] banner,” said Yearwood.
“This will also allow me to motivate the boys even more and allow all of us to work toward an achievable goal because I know any of us could have won that award.”
Fourth-year women’s rugby player Abbie LeBlanc and fourth-year men’s volleyball player Ryan Dickson were recognized for their community involvement and representing the Tommies student-athlete ideal.
LeBlanc was awarded the Cathy Wadden Commitment Award. Leblanc is on the STU moot court team and is also doing a triple honours in Great Books, human rights and political science.
LeBlanc said she was surprised and honoured to receive the award.
“I had no idea. I only clued that it might be me they were talking about when they mentioned the [The Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition],” said LeBlanc in a Facebook message.
The women’s volleyball team was awarded the Leroy Washburn Community Service Award for their volunteer work at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival and the Fredericton North Rotary Club wings and suds fundraiser.
Some of the players also volunteered during one of the cross country meets hosted by STU and the University of New Brunswick, youth volleyball training sessions, a polio fundraiser put on by local elementary schools and other events hosted in Fredericton. Six of the players also volunteered to coach some of the local high school teams.
Dickson was awarded the John Frederick Walls Memorial Award and named the MVP for the men’s volleyball team.
He is the founding president of the STU Community Outreach Club, a peer mentor, an assistant coach of the UNB baseball team, a member of the 2019 Venture of Canada Fellowship Cohort and maintains a GPA over 4.0.
Dickson said even though he is graduating, he’s hoping to stay involved with the university and the Tommies.
“STU’s been such a huge part of my life for the past four years.”