Women’s squash stands out

Synchro swimmer named best female

Ryan Wilson
Ryan Wilson

Members of the Gaels’ varsity clubs hung up their jerseys and donned classier suits and dresses Tuesday night for the 79th annual Club Awards banquet.

The ceremony celebrates excellence in athletics with hardware, including the Award of Merit for the top-performing club and trophies for the top graduating female and male student-athletes and the highest performing male and female rookies.

Award of Merit for top team: women’s squash

For the first time in the history of the program, women’s squash captured varsity club of the year honours

The 2014-15 team celebrated an undefeated season, winning both the highly competitive OUA championship and the Canadian Jesters League championship. At the OUAs, the team took four of six gold medals across the six flight divisions, sweeping the league’s major awards.

Queen’s Heather White was named OUA MVP for her gold medal in flight one, while Natasha Anzik won Rookie of the Year after winning gold in Flight 2. First-year coach Lisa Coates was OUA Coach of the Year.

For White — a 10-year veteran of university squash — this year was different than most.

“This championship meant the most to me out of all of the years I’ve been playing here,” she said.

White was shocked and honoured when her team was called for the Award of Merit.

“That was a total surprise and pretty exciting,” she said. “There are obviously some very strong contenders. Cycling won their championship for the fifth year in a row, so I thought they would win it.

“It means a lot to win it for women’s squash”.

Coates is already looking towards building on this success next year.

“We had two rookies who were in our top seven on the squad, which was fantastic,” she said. “I think because of that, we still have a lot of strength moving into next season.”

Marion Ross Trophy for top female athlete:

Erin Milner — synchronized swimming

The graduating senior had a career to remember, medalling three times at the Canadian University Synchronized Swimming League (CUSSL) championships and leaving Queen’s as a two-time Academic All-Star.

Milner was with the team when they won a national gold medal in 2014 and bronze medals in 2012 and 2015. She was named a CUSSL All-Canadian after this year’s championship meet.

While the Marion Ross Trophy is only given to one student-athlete, Milner said her teammates’ support was a part of her winning the award.

“Queen’s synchro is obviously a team sport,” she said. “To be supported by [my teammates] throughout the whole season, that’s what really means a lot to me.”

By winning the award, Milner hopes to increase awareness for synchronized swimming.

“To be able to bring Queen’s synchro into the light in this way — even though it is not a very well known sport — means the world to me,” she said.

Jack Jarvis Trophy for top male athlete:

Ryan Wilson — ultimate

Being a student-athlete is impressive enough, but serving both as captain and player-coach at the varsity level is something only a few people accomplish.

Ryan Wilson is one of those standout athletes. Throughout his career with the men’s ultimate team, he was a two-time Academic All-Star and was named team MVP and Rookie of the Year.

Wilson was integral in helping the Gaels take third-place at this year’s Canadian Eastern University Championships. The team went all the way to the final at nationals, where they finished one point shy of gold.

For Wilson, winning athlete of the year was all about hard work.

“I always put everything I had on the field, every single day I went to practices and went to tournaments,” he said. “It had really taken over my life in the best way possible.

“Receiving this award, it genuinely touches my heart to the largest extent. It really means a lot.”

Alfie Pierce Trophy for top female rookie: Haley Golding — cycling

Golding was a key part of the cycling team that clinched their fifth straight University Cup this year.

She finished as the women’s “A” division champion with two silver medals in races throughout the season.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Golding said of winning the award. “I didn’t fully understand — until I came here — how big it was.”

Alfie Pierce Trophy for top male rookie: Austin O’Boyle — baseball

Austin O’Boyle had a rookie season for the ages.

The OUA Rookie of the Year had a .391 batting average over 18 games, sixth-best in the province. His 13 runs batted in tied him for top amongst all Gaels.

“It was just a real privilege to be able to come here first-year and make such a contribution to the team,” O’Boyle said.

With the squad made up of many young players, O’Boyle said the sky is the limit heading forward.

“The last four years we have improved our record, and I hope we can continue that until we eventually make the playoffs.”


Awards, Gaels

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