The College of the Rockies Avalanche Athletics program hosted its annual awards banquet Friday, April 17, at the Heritage Inn in Cranbrook, honouring the best and brightest from the 2014-15 PACWEST season.
“It’s been a great year for our student athletes, in particular, our women’s team,” said Cori Andrichuk, manager of campus life and athletics at College of the Rockies, as she addressed those in attendance Friday night. “The student athletes could not have done it without the help of the coaches, the parents, the volunteers, the sponsors, the College of the Rockies, our team of gym staff…It’s been spectacular.”
Alexa Koshman and Kelsey Thompson brought home the biggest hardware hauls on the women’s side of the festivities, with each claiming four awards, including a share of the Lady Avs Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Koshman and Thompson finished the season atop the PACWEST ranks with 308 digs each.
Thompson also took home honours as team MVP, Offensive Player of the Year as well as a PACWEST First All Star Team nod.
The 2014-15 season marked the second consecutive year Thompson, a native of Vernon, B.C., was named both team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year.
“As a coach, you’re always looking for someone to step up, someone to lead, someone to do the little things,” said Lady Avs coach Andrew Zurrin Friday. “But when it comes down to crunch time, you’re looking at your setter and you’re going, ‘Give her the ball.’”
Zurrin was, of course, speaking about Thompson — his MVP and go-to left-side hitter — who helped fuel the Lady Avs offense.
Thompson led the entire PACWEST in kills through the season, crushing 286 through 84 sets, guiding the women’s program to the PACWEST Provincial Volleyball Championships for the first time in program history.
Koshman filled her mantle with honours as team Rookie of the Year and Avalanche Player of the Year in addition to earning a PACWEST All Rookie Team nod.
“We had nine rookies this year…and at times we had four, if not five, on the court at all times,” Zurrin said. “To choose a [top] rookie, very tough, because we had so many that did so many things that contributed.”
For the men, Brett Carter, Ben Smith and Curtis Stockton each claimed two awards.
Smith was recognized for his performance both in the classroom, on the court and in the community as the Avalanche Player of the Year, backed by a PACWEST Academic Excellence Award.
Stockton earned his second consecutive team MVP title, while also being named to the PACWEST First All Star Team.
The third-year and native of Melbourne, Australia, led the PACWEST with 377 kills through 90 sets in the 2014-15 season.
Carter was named team Rookie of the Year, while also earning the Sun City Coachlines First Year Student Athlete Award.
“I’d like to thank the guys for a wonderful season,” Avalanche coach Steve Kamps said as he addresses the banquet Friday night. “I know it was frustrating for all of us not to make it, but sometimes with failure there are things to learn, lessons to learn. I hope we all can look back on the season as a positive experience.
“One of my goals or philosophies is to turn these guys into men and to give them skills they can take from the volleyball court into everyday life. Even though we may not have been as successful as we wanted on the volleyball court, I know these gentlemen are going to move on and do some amazing things in the future.”
The men missed the PACWEST Provincial Volleyball Championships, finishing 5-19 through the 2014-15 campaign.
*See below slideshow for full list of award winners
Created with flickr slideshow.
2015 COTR Avalanche Awards Recipients
*Listed in order of presentation
PACWEST Academic Excellence AwardsSpencer Dakin Kuiper, Nolin Hoodicoff, Allison Pepper, Ben Smith
PACWEST Performance AwardsCurtis Stockton – First Team All StarKelsey Thompson – First Team All StarAlexa Koshman – All Rookie Team
College of the Rockies Academic ExcellenceSpencer Dakin Kuiper (Arts), Taylor Forster (Business Admin.), Kara Froese (Applied Science), Nolin Hoodicoff (Business Admin.), Mackenzie Morey (Business Admin.), Allison Pepper (Business Admin.), Jayden Roch (Kinesiology), Alyssa Rundberg (Undergrad Studies), Ben Smith (Engineering)
Lady Avalanche AwardsAlexa Koshman – Rookie of the Year; Kara Froese – Most Improved Player; Alexa Koshman – Avalanche Player of the Year; Kelsey Thompson – MVP; Madison Hudy – Most Inspirational Player; Caity Rook – Most Versatile Player; Kendra Hainsworth – Heart & Soul Player; Alyssa Rundberg – Most Dedicated Player; Kelsey Thompson – Offensive Player of the Year; Alexa Koshman & Kelsey Thompson – Defensive Players of the Year; Allison Pepper – Mother of the Year
Men’s Avalanche AwardsSpencer Janzen – Most Improved Player; Brett Carter – Rookie of the Year; Curtis Stockton – MVP; Ben Smith – Avalanche Player of the Year; Brett Carter – Sun City Coachlines First Year Student Athlete Award