BY NATALIA CAMARENA
The Sheridan Bruins 47th annual athletic banquet was one for the history books.
A crowd of 200 athletes, coaches, trainers, guests and administrators turned up on April 7, excited for what the evening had in store.
Jim Flack, athletic director and head coach of the men’s basketball team, started the evening off with with a warm introduction, saying how pleased he was of Sheridan’s athletic community.
Following Flack, Sheridan College President Jeff Zabudsky welcomed the crowed.
“I’m really thrilled to be here,” said Zabudsky. “It’s not often that administrators get to stay through these events, so I’m happy to say we will be here all evening.”
After a few quick speeches were given, Bruins marketing and information coordinator – Ryan Kelly presented a highlight reel of the teams’ greatest moments from the year.
As the video played each of the teams hooted and hollered as they saw clips of their teammates and coaches dominating the court, field, track, and pitch.
And while all the athletes eagerly cheered, it would be an understatement to say the women’s rugby team was the most excited.
Following the highlight reel, OCAA All-Academic awards were the first to be handed out, to student athletes who maintained a GPA of 3.5 or higher, while participating on a school team. The award was given to 48 of 150 athletes, which is nearly triple the number of student athletes who received the award last year.
“It’s amazing to see how many athletes are receiving the award this year,” said Flack.
Three athletes were also presented with CCAA All-Canadian awards. These athletes were provincial all-stars who also maintained a GPA higher than 3.5.
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Next on the list was something new for Sheridan College – varsity letters, Sheridan is first college in Ontario to award them.
The first letter was given to Wayne Allison, who was head coach of the Bruins basketball team for 13 years. In 1984-85, Allison led the Bruins to win both the OCAA and the CCAA championships.
As he walked over to accept his award, the crowd congratulated him with a warm standing ovation.
“This is really an honour,” Allison said in his acceptance speech, in which he shared some wise words. “You might be pissed at the coach, you might get a crappy call . . . but at the end of the day enjoy playing at Sheridan. It is the best time of your life.”
Allison was later presented with a photo collage of his time at Sheridan, where it was also announced that the Bruins Bash tournament he started 25 yeas ago was to be named after him as he is inducted into the hall of fame.
Coaches of the Bruins teams distributed their awards to their athletes. And though there were many, a few stood out.
The men’s volleyball MVP award was presented to both Jeremy Fantin and Josh Butler, as the two have broken records side by side during their time as Bruins. The two men also won all-academic awards.
The women’s volleyball MVP was given to Dimitra Stathakos, who for the past two years has also won the all-academic award and the all-Canadian award. Stathakos has broken records for digs, hits and points and has been named a provincial all-star twice. Later that evening she also won the Academic and Athletic Excellence award.
“I’m really proud of her accomplishments on and off the court,” said Scott Hunt, women’s volleyball head coach. “She’s an amazing athlete and student, and she’s going to make an excellent nurse one day.”
The crowd erupted for two awards in particular, the men’s basketball MVP award that was presented to Dylan Periana, who also shared the Male Athlete of the Year Award with Butler, and the Female Athlete of the Year which was awarded to women’s soccer player, Kendra Cooper. Both athletes carried their respective teams and provided excellent examples of leadership over the course of their seasons.
The Sheridan Sun also presented one of the final awards in the evening, for newsmaker of the year. This year the Sun selected Carly Donaldson, of the Bruins women’s rugby team. The Lady Bruins made history this year breaking through to the first round of the playoffs in only their fourth year as a team. Donaldson was named OCAA all-star during the season and is also one of three captains of the women’s rugby team.