Algoma Thunderbirds Announces 2023/2024 Award Winners

Algoma University and the Algoma University Thunderbird Varsity Athletics Department recognized the hard work, dedication, skill, and academic achievements of their student-athletes during the 2023-24 Varsity Athletics Banquet.

This year, we presented two outstanding Thunderbirds with our Athlete of the Year Award. To begin, we highlighted Lilah Fraser of our Women’s Wrestling program. A twice named U Sports Athlete of the Week, she medaled at almost every competition she attended. Winning McMaster Open and TMU Open to start off the year, she continued through the season racking up wins and was ranked as high as 2nd in Canada. She had an exceptional performance at home for the OUA Championships, taking bronze in her category. She finished the season strong, placing 4th at the U Sports Championships.

The next athlete we highlighted was Kyle Price of our Men’s Wrestling Team. He medaled numerous times, winning the Western Open and Guelph Open, a recognized UWW event with international competition for 5 countries this year. In February at home, he won the OUA Championships for the second year in a row, leading to him being named the OUA and U Sports Athlete of the Week. He was ranked number 1 in the country for the majority of the season, and finished with a 5th place finish at the U Sports Championships in Guelph. He keeps a good average and is looking to continue his education at Teachers College, considering online options so that he can continue to be a part of the Thunderbirds next season as an assistant coach.

This year, a new award was presented at the banquet in honour of our commitment to TrueSport. We did this to celebrate our student-athletes’ display of the TrueSport Principles: Go for it, play fair, respect others, keep it fun, stay healthy, include everyone, and give back. The award winners this year were Mark Jobst, a dual athlete of our Nordic Ski and Cross Country Running Team, and Rhianna Mae Laing of our Women’s Basketball Team.

For this year’s induction into the Wall of Fame, Algoma recognized Corina Bruni. Corina competed on the Algoma Thunderbird Women’s Basketball team for the 2011/ 2012 and 2012/13 seasons while the team was part of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association. She was studying in the undergraduate Psychology program.
In the 2011/12 season, Corina had an amazing year as she accumulated these statistics: In 18 games she scored 264 points in the regular season with 84 assists and 65 steals. In the playoffs that year she scored 39 points. She was named a CCAA All Canadian and an OCAA West Region First Team All-Star for Women’s Basketball
In the 2012/13 season, she performed even better in the regular season. In 18 games she scored 281 points with 101 assists and 71 steals. In the playoffs that year she scored 18 points but was unfortunately injured in the second game and could not continue. She again was named a CCAA All Canadian and OCAA West First Team All-Star for Women’s Basketball
Corina was the Algoma U Female Student-Athlete of the Year as well as the Women’s Basketball Team MVP for both the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons. In the 2012/13 Season along with being a CCAA Academic All Canadian, she also won the “Highest Grade Achievement Award” for the Women’s Basketball team.

Jarret Miller, Manager of Athletics and Recreation, shared his pride for our student-athletes. “It was great seeing everyone come together tonight to celebrate and support all of our Athletes from the 2023/24 season. The continued support from the AU & Sault Ste. Marie community plays a huge role in growing all of our varsity programs. Congratulations to all of our award winners, your hard work and commitment does not go unnoticed and I’m glad we were able to recognize it tonight. The Athletics Banquet also recognizes all of the extra hours put in by our administration staff, while we all work on one common goal, taking Algoma U Athletics to the next level.”

The following awards were also handed out:

U SPORTS Academic All Canadian Awards for the 2022-2023 year
Soccer
Taylor Barker
Olivia Bernard
Joshua Bondoc
Megan Chandler
Amber Dunbar
Eloise Mark Wallace
Ethan Mendes De Franca
Ella Mysko
Thiery Nsega
Lucas Spirkoski
Makayla Townes
Tim Van Weerden

Basketball
Gracie Rae Batongbakal
Riya Donnelly
Kaila Fong
Brooke Gruhn
Mercedes Mazzuca
Qeila Mbonihankuye
Roman Niro
Riley Rathwell
Allison Read
Sage Steadman

Wrestling
Kira Buck
Lilah Fraser
Mel Morrish

Non-Returning/Graduated Athletes
Bethany Balaktsis
Avery Cooper
Jenna Crombie
Peter De La Paz
Maria DeMelo
Emily Duchesne
Taylor Elliott
Christopher Gaytan
Breanna Hamilton
Faith Holmes
Katie Nippard
Leigha Nippard
Anton Peter
Hunter Schumacher
Jessica Weir

OUA All-Academic Award
Riley Rathwell – Men’s Basketball
Riya Donnelly – Women’s Basketball
Taylor Barker – Men’s Soccer
Carly Coccimiglio – Women’s Soccer
Roman Niro – Men’s Wrestling
Sienna McDonald – Women’s Wrestling
Charlie Grabow – Men’s Nordic Skiing
Sean McQuilter – Men’s Cross Country Running
Ella Haas – Women’s Cross Country Running
Joshua Bondoc – Men’s Curling
Ashley Campioni – Women’s Curling

Dr. Lukenda Thunderbird Service Award
Taya Shackleton

Women’s Basketball
Most Dedicated – Alli Read
Most Improved – Brooke Gruhn
Rookie of the Year – Ashlyn Noble
MVP – Kaila Fong

Men’s Basketball
Coach’s Award – Adong Dut
Most Improved – Kur Mayuom
Best Defensive Player – Jaylen White
Rookie of the Year – Bolutife (Tife) Obasoto
MVP – Taleh Wade

Cross-Country Running
Coach’s Award – Delaney Schumacher
Rookie of the Year – Ella Haas
Most Improved – Tait Moss
MVP – Dylan Garson

Women’s Curling
Rookie of the Year – Ashley Campioni
MVP – Abbey Engel

Men’s Curling
Rookie of the Year – Brandon Stone
MVP – Aiden Adonu

Nordic Skiing
Coach’s Award – Mark Jobst
Most Improved – Jordan Bryant
Rookie of the Year & MVP – Charlie Grabow

Women’s Soccer
Coach’s Award – Megan Chandler
Most Improved – Haley MacFarlene
Best Defensive Player – Samatha Mazzuca
Rookie of the Year – Alexa Naslovar
MVP – Amber Dunbar

Men’s Soccer
Coach’s Award – Kanye Charles
Most Improved – Dhiraj Joshi
Best Defensive Player – Luke Harrop
Rookie of the Year & MVP – Jaden Timmins

Women’s Wrestling
Coach’s Award – Kira Buck
Rookie of the Year – Rebecca Vann
MOW – Lilah Fraser

Men’s Wrestling
Coach’s Award – Sullivan Valdez
Rookie of the Year – Anthony Nighbor
MOW – Kyle Price

Thunderbird Award (to graduating student-athletes)
Amber Dunbar
Noah Zeppa
Taylor Barker
Tim Van Weerden
Kyle Price
Jaylen White
Steven Kabongo
Allison Read
Gracie Rae Batongbakal
Rhianna-Mae Laing
Qeila Mbonihankuye
Abbey Engel
Jordan Bryant
Mark Jobst

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