Varsity teams honoured at 82nd Colour Awards

Claire Sumner, Spencer Abraham, Kainoa Lloyd recognized for illustrious careers

Spencer Abraham (middle) and Kainoa Lloyd (right).
Spencer Abraham (middle) and Kainoa Lloyd (right).

On Mar. 28, Queen’s varsity athletes gathered at the ARC for the 82nd Colour Awards to celebrate what proved to be a banner 2017-18 for Queen’s Athletics. The night honoured the year’s most memorable performances, graduating athletes and those behind the scenes that give Queen’s athletes the services necessary to perform.

PHE ’55 Alumnae Award for Top Female Graduating Athlete: Claire Sumner — Cross Country

In her five years at Queen’s, Sumner has found unparalleled success as a member of the women’s cross country team. This season she finished second at the U Sports Championships and played a key role in bringing the women’s team their first OUA Championship since 2003.

“It’s been an unbelievable experience. I don’t think I could’ve been at university if I wasn’t a student athlete,” Sumner said after the ceremony.

Recalling her past five years, Sumner reflected most positively on the past year. The team’s OUA gold not only ended a draught for the Gaels, but also ended Guelph’s 13-year streak atop the OUA. Sumner holds this win close to her heart.

“Everyone was incredible this year. It was probably the favourite of my years at Queen’s just because we’ve come so far as a team … it was special,” Sumner, who in 2016-17 won gold at both the OUA and U Sports Championships, said.

Sumner’s university cross country career will officially come to an end after her race at the 2018 World University Cross Country Championships in Switzerland on Apr. 7. With her Queen’s career her rearview mirror, Sumner is reminiscing on her time at the University.

“I would have never had expected [that happening] in my first two years,” Sumner said about her recent successes. “I’ll never forget crossing the line and those feelings.”

Jenkins Trophy for Top Male Graduating Athlete: Spencer Abraham and Kainoa Lloyd — Men’s Hockey, Men’s Rugby

For the first time since 1992-93, there were two recipients of the Jenkins trophy.

Since arriving at Queen’s in 2014, men’s hockey captain Spencer Abraham has seen a constant rise in his production. Alongside his own personal success — which saw him record a career-high 30 points this season — Abraham has been instrumental in the team’s rise to become one of the OUA’s best teams. This year, the team had a program record 19-wins during the regular season. 

“Brett Gibson really believed me and he gave me every opportunity to succeed. That’s just what happens when you have a surrounding group that believes in your abilities,” Abraham said.

“When you look back on it, with all the great guys in the room, for them to choose me to lead their team and wear the ‘[captaincy]’ for them,” he added, “they’re my best friends. Being named team captain is the greatest honour an athlete can receive.”

For Lloyd, his time on campus has seen him win numerous accolades. Over the course of his five years, he has four OUA Championships to his name, including this year’s undefeated run to the title.

“It’s an awesome way to end [my career],” Lloyd said about sharing the award with Abraham. “I’mjust ecstatic.”

This year, Lloyd was named an OUA All-Star as well as the OUA Championship Man of the Match. 

Alfie Pierce Award for Top Female Rookie: Sophie de Goede — Rugby and Basketball

Sophie de Goede’s first year at Queen’s was unconventional. The first year de Goede spent her fall term with the rugby team and winter season with the basketball team, acting as the only dual-sport varsity athlete at Queen’s. De Goede was named women’s rugby OUA Rookie of the Year and U Sports Rookie of the Year. 

Despite the intensity of playing two sports, de Goede said she was able to balance her first year at Queen’s with relative ease.

“I have so much free time now,” de Goede joked of the season’s end. “It couldn’t have been managed better and the teams on both sides were so accommodating.”

With three to four more years left for one of Queen’s most promising and talented athletes, de Goede said the bonds she made this year with her teammates will continue to make her athletic experience exciting.

“The wins are a big deal to me, but I think the best part of this year and what I assume to be the best part of the next years will be the team.”

Alfie Pierce Award for Top Male Rookie: Zane Grossinger — Men’s Volleyball

Amongst a roster which boasted six rookies, Zane Grossinger stood out in an unexpected breakout season for the men’s volleyball team. 

Grossinger finished this season third in the OUA in assists per set (9.72) and fifth in digs (129). After landing in the starting lineup early in the season, Grossinger played a critical role in the Gaels run to the OUA finals.

“It’s been a super overwhelming year and I’m so proud of what this team has accomplished,” Grossinger said. “I wouldn’t be receiving any individual accolades if it wasn’t for them and my amazing coaches.”

Jim Tait Trophy for Top Performing Varsity Team: Men’s Rugby

There wasn’t much the men’s rugby team couldn’t do this year. After going undefeated in the regular season, the Gaels cruised to OUA gold in November — their fifth league championship in six years.

With a healthy roster throughout the season, the Gaels dismantled Guelph in the OUA finals 62-17. In one of the most dominant OUA seasons of all time, the Gaels’ slimmest margin of victory was eight points.

“We were so dominant,” Lloyd said about his team’s season. “The fact that our program is so dominant … the dedication the coaches have to the team helped us all be the best players we can be.”

With such a high standard set for next year’s team, Lloyd is a firm believer the Gaels can continue to bring success to Queen’s.

“Having strong leadership growing through the program has made me want to do the same thing and give back to the guys who work so hard,” Lloyd said.

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