Individual awards doled out at Colour Awards

74th-annual Colour Awards sees Hulse and Thivierge-Lortie bring home top awards, Brannagan brings home new award

Rower Charly Thivierge-Lortie (left) and long-distance runner Matt Hulse won the PHE ’55 Alumnae Award and the Jenkins Trophy, respectively, at last night’s Colour Awards at the Ambassador Conference Resort.
Rower Charly Thivierge-Lortie (left) and long-distance runner Matt Hulse won the PHE ’55 Alumnae Award and the Jenkins Trophy, respectively, at last night’s Colour Awards at the Ambassador Conference Resort.
Athletics Director Leslie Dal Cin gives a speech at the Colour Awards.
Athletics Director Leslie Dal Cin gives a speech at the Colour Awards.
Danny Brannagan won the inaugural Outstanding Performance of the Year award.
Danny Brannagan won the inaugural Outstanding Performance of the Year award.

The stars of Queen’s most successful athletics year were shining last night for the 74th-annual Colour Awards at the Ambassador Conference Resort. In addition to the major awards, 139 Graduating “Q” awards were handed out to graduating athletes who had played a minimum of three seasons with the Gaels.

Jenkins Trophy for outstanding male student-athlete: Matt Hulse, cross-country and track and field

Matt Hulse, who came to Queen’s to play soccer, was awarded as a runner last night. The award compliments his OUA and CIS medals from both track and field and cross-country competitions, as well as a pair of OUA and CIS community service awards from both sports—four community service awards in total.

Hulse said he was expecting some recognition, but not the night’s top award.

“I thought I might be in the running for the individual sport award,” he said. “It was a big surprise.”

The graduating concurrent education student in physical education and Life Sciences said it’s misleading to consider track and field an individual sport. He said he attributes the award to the coaches and players he’s been involved with.

“The athlete who gets the recognition is the one who wins, but there’s much more behind the scenes,” he said. “It’s a great way to cap off a whole four years.”

PHE ’55 Alumnae Award for top graduating female student-athlete: Charly Thivierge-Lortie, women’s rowing

Fifth-year rower Charly Thivierge-Lortie took home the prestigious PHE ’55 Alumnae award which honours the female athlete who, through outstanding achievement in athletics and academics, has contributed to the Queen’s community.

She’s had success in both the OUA and on the national level with the women’s lightweight fours and lightweight eights. Over three years with the Gaels, she has accumulated four gold and two silver medals as well as a national championship in 2007.

Thivierge-Lortie said the award’s honour isn’t lost on her.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “I’ve been part of the rowing team for five years and this award has always been the most prestigious award.”

After graduation, Thivierge-Lortie said she will take a well-deserved break in Victoria, British Columbia. Plans for the national team, however, are not in the cards. Instead, Thivergie-Lortie said she plans to indulge her other passion: food.

“The people who are on the [national] rowing team are typically much older so I’d have to invest many, many years to come,” she said. “So I haven’t really decided if that’s what I want to do yet. Also because my second passion is food and the restaurant business, and those two don’t necessarily go together.”

Jim Tait Award for outstanding male athlete (team sport): Scott Valberg, football

Scott Valberg, who registered two touchdowns to hoist the Vanier Cup in November, hoisted a different kind of trophy at the Colour Awards. The concurrent education student was recognized individually for his contribution to a Queen’s team.

Valberg said he considers the award a tribute to the team.

“A lot of the credit goes to my teammates,” he said. “It’s a nice way to end the career.”

The All-Canadian has led the country in receiving yards for the past two seasons and his career total of 2,826 yards landed him in second place on the Gaels’ all-time list. He signed a professional contract with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Jan. 21.

Valberg said the award’s an ideal way to end his Queen’s career.

“This is the cherry on top of the cake or ice cream,” he said. “You couldn’t have written a better story.”

Award of Merit for outstanding female athlete (team sport): Renée MacLellan, women’s soccer

Renee MacLellan’s commitment and leadership on the women’s soccer team has resulted in acclaim from all levels of the CIS. After being named OUA East Most Valuable Player and the CIS Player of the Year, MacLellan was honoured with the Award of Merit, crediting her achievement in a team sport.

“I just think it says a lot for our team because none of these come individually, they come as part of a team,” she said.

With post-graduation plans revolving around her involvement in the military, MacLellan said the awards shed light on the bright future of women’s soccer at Queen’s.

“It just shows our accomplishments as a team together and what we can do and what they’re going to do next year.”

Jack Jarvis Trophy for outstanding male athlete (individual sport): Ryan Meyers, men’s rowing

Ryan Meyers was honoured for his performance on the rowing team during his four years with the program. Meyers was a member of both the lightweight fours and eights teams. The biology student won several medals during his career, including both an OUA and CIS gold.

Meyers said he was satisfied with merely being considered for the award.

“[It’s] pretty surprising,” he said. “I was excited to be nominated and then I won.”

Meyers said every athlete at the Colour Awards fantasizes about being on stage to receive an award.

He said he is indebted to the rowing program’s coaching staff.

“The coaches are all volunteers and they put in insane hours. So I just want to recognize Stu Robinson and John Armitage.”

Marion Ross Trophy for outstanding female athlete (individual sport): Caylen Heckel, women’s rowing

Rower Caylen Heckel won the Marion Ross Trophy, which rewards the achievements of a female athlete in an individual sport at the Colour Awards.

Her season ended with two silver medals in the OUA and a silver and a bronze medal at the national championships.

Heckel was modest and said she credits the Gaels’ rowing program for their annual success in both the OUA and on the national level.

“The rowing program is great,” she said. “We’re consistently in the top three in the nation. The coaches we have are amazing and I think that the amount of rowers that come out of the Queen’s program and eventually row with the national team also says a lot about Queen’s rowing.”

Outstanding Performance of the Year: Danny Brannagan, football

Gaels quarterback Danny Brannagan’s season has come to its storybook ending. After a 7-1 regular season, a Vanier Cup win and signing with the Toronto Argonauts, no one would blame him for thinking it’s all a dream.

“Nothing is sinking in yet,” he said. “I’m waiting for that.

One day. “

Last night, the inaugural Outstanding Performance of the Year was awarded to Brannagan. His success with the Gaels this year was made better by his individual achievement of throwing for being the first OUA quarterback to pass for 10,000 yards in a career.

“This one is awesome,” he said. “It’s a great honour to be the first recipient of any award. It’s definitely something special that I will cherish and it’s a good way to commemorate my time here.”

Alfie Pierce Trophy: top male rookie: Payton Liske, men’s hockey

Forward Payton Liske entered his first season with the Gaels with experience as a student athlete after a stint with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Saint John Sea Dogs while attending the University of New Brunswick as a part-time student.

Gaels head coach Brett Gibson acquired Liske in hopes of adding scoring-power to his team. Liske tied fellow first-year Gael Jordan Mirwaldt for top scorer with 21 goals and 19 assists—a team best.

The OUA All-Rookie said the award was meaningful considering the first-year talent pool.

“It’s a great honour,” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of talented first year athletes.” Liske said the extended time between the naming of the nominees and announcing the winner brought some anxiety.

“That little pause between. … I kind of stiffened up a little. “

Alfie Pierce Award: top female rookie: Erin Roberts, women’s squash

Squash player Erin Roberts exceeded expectations to win the Alfie Pierce Award for extraordinary achievement by a female rookie. Leading the Gaels to a 23-1 record and an OUA Championship, Roberts was named the OUA Rookie of the Year and an OUA First-Team All-Star. She never lost a game all season.

Roberts said she believes the award was the result of a strong team, which included another OUA First Team All-Star and two OUA Second Team All-Stars.

“It was nice winning, but it was really good winning as a team as well.”

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