Gaels’ stars recognized

Queen’s athletes honoured at the 73rd annual Colour Awards on Tuesday night

Jimmy Allin and Kristine Matusiak picked up the Jenkins Trophy and the PHE ’55 trophy, respectively, Tuesday night at the 73rd annual Colour Awards. See pages 27 and 29 for a collection of photos from the event.
Jimmy Allin and Kristine Matusiak picked up the Jenkins Trophy and the PHE ’55 trophy, respectively, Tuesday night at the 73rd annual Colour Awards. See pages 27 and 29 for a collection of photos from the event.
Credit: 
supplied photo by Jonathan M. Taillefer

Some of the top Gaels’ athletes were recognized at the 73rd annual Colour Awards, Tuesday night at the Ambassador Conference Resort. In addition to the eight major awards presented to athletes and the 139 Graduating “Q” Awards handed out to athletes and student trainers who have represented Queen’s for at least three years, Robin Goody was recognized as the top student-trainer and Journal sports editor Andrew Bucholtz was recognized for his contribution to and promotion of Queen’s Athletics.

Jenkins Trophy for top graduating male athlete – Jimmy Allin, football

Allin was integral to the football team’s perfect 8-0 season this year. He earned a first-team All-Canadian spot as a kick returner and a second-team All-Canadian selection as a cornerback. Allin was selected for the OUA All-Star team each year during his four seasons as a Gael, and set the school record for career pass break-ups and the longest special team’s return.

“It’s just a tremendous honour to even be nominated for an award like this,” Allin said.

Graduating with an honours degree in life sciences, Allin said he plans to pursue a career in medicine one day, but not before trying to crack the CFL.

“I’m still just waiting to see what happens in the draft,” he said. “If I get a shot I’ll go with that for as long as I can. … If I get a chance [at the CFL], I can’t see myself saying ‘no’ to that.”

Allin said he’ll look back on his time as a Queen’s athlete with fondness.

“It’s been an awesome four years.” PHE ’55 Trophy for top graduating female athlete – Kristine Matusiak, women’s rowing

Matusiak ends her four-year Queen’s career with a fistful of national and provincial medals, three OUA championship banners in the lightweight eight and lightweight fours and one national banner in the lightweight four. She is also a two-time OUA All-Star.

Matusiak said she had no expectations to win the award coming in to the evening.

“I was shocked to even be nominated, but it’s really exciting,” she said. “I love to be able to represent the rowing team and I have to say, I can’t take all the credit. I’ve always been in crew boats, so everything that I’ve achieved has been with the help of great teammates.”

For the future, Matusiak said she’s going to take a year to relax after graduating with a degree from the faculty of physical education, but plans a long future in graduate education.

“Next year I decided to take the year off,” she said. “I’m going to New Zealand, hopefully to do some rowing for fun. I’d like to come back to Queen’s to do my masters, then probably medical school.”

Jack Jarvis Trophy for outstanding male athlete (individual sport) – Nick Pratt, men’s rowing

Pratt played a key role in the men’s rowing team’s OUA championship banner success this year, winning a gold medal in the lightweight eight and a silver medal in the lightweight four. He also picked up silvers in the lightweight four and lightweight single at the Canadian University Rowing Championship.

Pratt said winning the award as a member of the rowing team had a special significance given his graduation this year.

“It’s a nice way to finish it off, with the recognition. The rowing team was a pretty big part of my life at Queen’s and it’s a pretty nice way to finish it off.”

For the short-term future, Pratt said he plans to remain involved with rowing on a national level.

“This summer I’m going to be heading out west to do stuff with the national team, which I’ve been involved with for the past few years, so I’ll just sort of see where that goes.”

Marion Ross Trophy for outstanding female athlete (individual sport) – Leslie Sexton, women’s cross-country and track and field

Fourth-year long-distance runner Sexton overcame injury this year to win a provincial silver medal in the 3,000-metre race. She was an All-Canadian athlete and represented Canada at the FISU World University Cross Country Championship last year.

Sexton said she didn’t expect to bring home any hardware from the Colour Awards.

“It was a bit of a surprise to be honest,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of disappointment this season but it’s really surprising and really great to end on a positive note.”

Sexton, who will be returning in the fall for a fifth year in preparation for teacher’s college, said her time as a runner helped shaped her years at Queen’s.

“I’ve met some people who are definitely my best friends right now,” she said. “The experiences we’ve had together I wouldn’t trade for anything. I think we really bonded over the hard training and the endless bus rides. There were a few mishaps here and there but I loved every minute of it.”

Jim Tait Award for outstanding male athlete (team sport) – Thaine Carter, football

Graduating linebacker Carter continued swimming in the sea of awards he’s picked up this year, being named this year’s most outstanding male athlete in a team sport. He was also the first Queen’s athlete to win the President’s Trophy as the country’s top defensive player and was named an All-Canadian.

Carter said it’s special to be recognized by Queen’s for his achievements on the field.

“It’s a pretty special way to end off a great year,” he said. “I’ve been recognized nationally which is great. I got defensive player of the year for Queen’s with the President’s Trophy and now this. It’s the icing on the cake.”

Carter, an economics major, says he plans to work on his master’s degree in finance before pursuing a career in commerce. But, like Allin, he wants to see how far he can go with football.

“I’m in the CFL draft this year which is going to be huge for me. I’d love to be a prominent player in the CFL and see where my career takes me.”

Award of Merit for outstanding female athlete (team sport) – Katie McKenna, women’s soccer

McKenna played a vital role in women’s soccer’s success this season, backstopping the team to a 8-4-2 regular season record and posting a 0.69 goals-against average with seven shutouts. She was also named an OUA second-team All-Star.

“[The last four years] have been life-changing for me in terms of the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had,” she said.

McKenna said the Award of Merit was a perfect way to cap off five very enjoyable years with the Gaels.

“It’s such an honour to receive this award, especially in light of the other nominees and their successes,” she said. “Anytime you get an award it’s a great thing, but nothing can compare to the four years I’ve had here. When I look back, I’ll remember those moments the most.

Alfie Pierce Trophy: top rookie (male) – Scott Kyle, men’s rugby

Even though he was only in his first year, Kyle was an integral part of this year’s rugby team that finished its regular season unbeaten and won a silver medal in the provincial championship. He was the highest-scoring rookie in Ontario with two tries and was selected as the OUA East’s Rookie of the Year.

Kyle said his award was a reflection on the whole rugby team.

“Just to be recognized in my first year of athletics at Queen’s is just a big honour,” he said. “It’s great that rugby’s getting recognized. … We all put a lot of hard work in this year and I think it’s the team’s reflection on how well I did.”

Kyle said he’s hopeful his future will include an appearance on the national stage and a gold for Gaels rugby.

“In the next few years, for rugby, hopefully the Canadian Under-20 team next year,” he said. “And then hopefully Queen’s will win a gold medal.”

Alfie Pierce Trophy: top rookie (female) – Brienna Shaw, women’s soccer

Shaw’s first year as a Gael was a successful one, establishing her as a key part of the women’s soccer team that reached the OUA semi-final. She took over as a starting defender early in the season and was a rock in a Queen’s defence that allowed only nine goals all year. She was selected as the OUA East Rookie of the Year and as a OUA East First Team All-Star.

“It was a big year,” she said. “I had a lot of fun and I’m really excited for next year to see what we can do.”

—With files from Andrew Bucholtz

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