(WINDSOR, ON) – Lancer standouts Kelsey Balkwill and John Moate walked away with tonight’s top two prizes as they were awarded the Banner and Olympic Shields as the University of Windsor Athletes of the Year. The duo were multiple winners as part of the Evening of Excellence, highlighting the accomplishments of the Windsor Lancers, held at the St Clair Centre of the Arts.
It was an incredible year for Moate as he established himself as one of the premier men’s volleyball players in the country. The Oakville native was named an OUA first-team all-star after finishing the year atop the league in blocks per set, averaging 1.26 per set.
Moate appeared in all 17 matches for the Blue and Gold and ended the season with 135 total kills, a .429 hitting percentage, 87 total blocks, and 206 total points. His outstanding play helped his Lancer squad reach the OUA Final Four where they captured an OUA Bronze Medal and reach nationals for the first time in school history.
The third year middle blocker was also named a U SPORTS all-Canadian, becoming just the second men’s volleyball player in school history to earn that honour.
It was an incredible year for Balkwill as she joined the Lancer program this year and quickly became one of the country’s top athletes in the process. As an HK Master’s student, Balkwill was a key member of the women’s track and field team and both provincials and nationals.
At the OUA championships, Balkwill captured gold in both the women’s 300m and 600m, and a pair of silvers in the 4×200 metre and 4×400 metre relays. She was named the OUA Track MVP and led the Lancer women to a provincial silver medal.
At nationals, Balkwill was named the U SPORTS championship’s most outstanding performer after contributing 38 points towards the team’s 79 overall points to help them capture a U SPORTS bronze medal. In addition to anchoring the women’s 4×400 metre relay team to a new school record, she also captured gold in the 300m and 600m and a silver in the 4×200 metre relay.
The DeMarco Awards, presented annually to the top female and male students who best combine academic achievement with athletic prowess, went to Mike Rocca from men’s basketball, and to Sarah Mitton from the women’s track and field team.
The University of Windsor Gino Fracas Coach of the Year Award was presented to James Gravelle from the men’s volleyball team.
It was a historic season on the court for Coach Gravelle and his men’s volleyball team as he helped guide the Lancers to the OUA Bronze Medal at the Final Four and the team’s first trip to nationals in program history. Coach Gravelle’s squad had a tremendous season as they finished 22-10 overall on the year against U SPORTS competition and secured one of the top four seeds in the OUA west division.
The Captain’s Trophy, awarded to a men’s and women’s captain who demonstrated outstanding leadership both on and off the field while also making a significant contribution to the overall success of their team, went to Blake Blondeel from men’s hockey and Emily Prevost from women’s basketball.
The female rookie of the year award went to Paige Phills from women’s volleyball while Jonathan Reinhart from men’s hockey won the male rookie of the year. Both recipients had outstanding rookie campaigns.
The Super Sophomore awards were presented to women’s track and field standout Kelly Hodgins and Pierce Johnson from men’s volleyball.
“A” Awards, marking major contributions to Lancer Athletics, went to Lancer volunteer photographer Gerry Marentette and OUA TV host and YourTV community broadcaster Brett Hedges.