The sports scene at the University of Regina has wrapped up, but we here at the Carillon feel like the athletes and coaches still deserve some recognition. Therefore, what better way to recognize those involved at sports here at the U of R than handing out some awards. Read on to find out who was the best of the best this season. Following the awards is a brief recap of each team’s season.
Most valuable male athlete – Adrian Charles (football): Charles simply tore it up on the ground this season, powering the Rams’ offensive attack. Everyone knew the Rams would have a decent passing game, but Charles provided a potent running attack that the team did not enjoy last year. Charles rushed for 972 yards and nine touchdowns on 139 carries, finishing second in the CIS in yards and touchdowns. He broke the team record for yardage in a season, which was held by current Saskatchewan Roughrider Neal Hughes (953), and tied him in the touchdown department.
Most valuable female athlete – Chelsea Valois (track and field): Valois finally captured a CIS gold medal in her final year of competition. Not only did she capture a gold, but she did so in the grueling pentathlon event, which is made up of five different events. Valois, who up to this season had won a CIS silver medal and one Canada West gold medal, one silver medals and six bronze medals, had an outstanding campaign all-around. She won two silver medals (pentathlon, women's 4X200-metre relay) at the conference meet, broke a school record with the 4X200m relay team twice during the season and was the first athlete to hit the CIS standard in long jump.
Most valuable male rookie – Mark Ballon (wrestling): Ballon showed little fear of the competition in his rookie year. He won a bronze medal in the 68-kilogram division as the Cougars won a Canada West men’s title. He followed this up with an impressive eighth place finish as the CIS championships, an event in which the team placed third. He has tremendous potential for the future.
Most valuable female rookie – Trisha Elliott (wrestling): Due to injuries and inexperience, the Cougars women’s wrestling team had it share of struggles this season. However, Elliott routinely put up solid performances in her rookie campaign. The Canada West female rookie of the year picked up a gold medal in the conference meet in the 48-kg division and advanced to nationals along with three other Cougar women. She placed fourth in this division at nationals. At the team’s home event, the Cougar Open, she placed first in her division and helped Regina finish first.
Most inspirational athlete – Paul Gareau (men’s basketball): After being suspended from the Cougars men’s basketball team during the 2008-09 season, Gareau’s future was up in the air. However, instead of giving up, Gareau focused on cleaning up his grades and made his triumphant return to the team this season. While the fact that he returned is impressive enough, his numbers are even more remarkable. Gareau averaged 18.7 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game this season. He finished second in Canada West in scoring. According to Gareau, his grades have also improved greatly.
Team of the year – Cheerleading: This is a team certainly worthy of some cheers. Under new head coach Thomas Rath, the team’s collegiate group stunt team finished first at the USA nationals, helping the U of R pick up its first international title ever. The collegiate group stunt team added a national title at the university and open national cheerleading championships, as did Regina’s collegiate small co-ed team. Regina achieved all of this with 15 rookies on the squad and a rookie coaching staff.
Coach of the year – Bruce McCannel (cross-country and track and field) and Thomas Rath (cheerleading): Ties are such a cop-out, but both men are very deserving of the award. McCannel helped the men’s track team pick up its second consecutive Canada West title and second ever. They picked up an impressive third-place finish at the CIS championships. The men’s cross-country team finished third in Canada West and seventh in CIS. He did all of this with a smile on his face. Rath, who we only talked to once over the phone, seemed happy as well – and with good reason. His team picked up an international and two national titles this season.
Most memorable quote of the year – Michelle Anderson (women’s soccer): “Without a team to give it my all for and a coach to make proud, I’m just another goalie between the posts”: While she was named a first-team all-star and put up some incredible numbers this season, the Cougars women’s soccer goaltender remained humble throughout it all. Whenever asked about her accomplishments, Anderson was quick to give credit to her teammates and say that it is all about the team. Entering her final year, Anderson is confident the team can finally make the playoffs. This quote, which was beautifully worded, shows how lucky the Cougars are to have Anderson on their team.
Most interesting quote of the year – Leo McGee (men’s wrestling): “A mistake like that is really elementary – it’s like having a goalie in hockey who skates to the other end of the ice after the puck”: This quote, uttered by the men’s wrestling head coach, aimed at explaining how one of his wrestlers lost his match. While we think we get what McGee is trying to say, bringing up a hockey reference, especially regarding the goaltender, to explain wrestling was a bit confusing to say the least. Is he saying that the wrestler tried to go after the puck? Does the goalie ever skate to the other end of the ice during a game in hockey? McGee must know what he is talking about, however, as he was named the Canada West male coach of the year.
Though they were an inexperienced team all-around this season, the U of R cheerleading squad did not act like it.
At the 2010 university and open national cheerleading championships, the team’s small co-ed team and collegiate quad groups picked up national titles. At the USA nationals, Regina’s collegiate group stunt team picked up the school’s first international title ever and their small co-ed team earned the school’s highest team international placing with a third-place finish.
The U of R cheer squad has also raised a record amount of money this season, fundraising by hosting cheerleading competitions, carwashes, and steak nights.
The team hopes to expand on its success with more experience next season.
Men’s MVP: Kelly Wiebe
Women’s MVP: Lisa Benz
It was a good ending to the season for the Cougars cross-country team.
At the CIS cross-country championships, Regina’s men’s team finished third in Canada West and seventh in the CIS. The men’s team had two first-place finishes leading up to the meet. Regina did not send a women’s team, as this group is still building.
Cougars star Kelly Wiebe finished third in the overall standings, was named the conference runner of the year and earned a first-team all-star nod. Wiebe, who competed in a few national and international meets after the season, was also named a CIS first-team all-Canadian. Iain Fyfe, who finished eighth at the championships, was also named a conference first-team all-star and a CIS second-team all-Canadian.
Rookie Matt Johnson topped off his impressive rookie year by finishing 32nd and earning a conference second-team all-star nod. Other men competing for the Cougars were Dale Wig (42nd), Michael Middlemiss (94th), and Marc Beaton (102nd). Lisa Benz, the lone woman competing for the Cougars at the meet, finished 87th.
MVP: Brooklyn Lemon
Women’s curling teams at the U of R made a lot of headlines this season.
Brooklyn Lemon’s squad, also consisting of third Chelsey Peterson, second Ashley Green, lead Nicole Lang, and alternate Sarah Watamanuk, traveled to the Winter Universiade to represent Canada in curling. The team earned the honour after winning the CIS championships last season, becoming the first U of R women’s team to do so. At the world championship, Lemon’s team finished sixth.
Then, this year’s women’s team, comprised of skip Alexandra Williamson, third Kelsey Michaluk, second Stephanie Gress, lead Jade Ivan, and alternate Chantel Martin, earned a berth into the national championship, looking to help the U of R repeat. Regina’s men’s team failed to advance. At nationals, Williamson’s rink failed to advance out of the round-robin.
With all the success of the curling program at the U of R lately, it can only lead to more involvement in the future.
MVP: Adrian Charles
In a season that had so much more promise than last year, the end result was the same for the Rams: a Canada West semifinal loss.
This season, it came at the hands of the Calgary Dinos. Looking like they would host a home playoff game for much of the season, Regina ended up finishing third in the conference at 5-3, behind the Saskatchewan Huskies (6-2) and Calgary Dinos (6-2). Regina was forced to travel to Calgary for a conference semifinal and suffered a close 40-33 loss.
There were many question marks heading into the season from the Rams, like how would the Rams’ passing game fair without Jordan Sisco? Who would step up and become the featured back? How would the defence play? There turned out to be fairly positive answers to all of these questions.
Marc Mueller threw for 2,437 yards and 14 touchdowns, hooking up often with receivers Brenden Owens (596 yards, five touchdowns) and Mark McConkey (509 yards, one touchdown). Adrian Charles emerged as a dominant running back for Regina, piling up 972 yards and nine touchdowns. The defence forced many turnovers and led the CIS in defensive touchdowns with five.
Next season, expect another successful campaign from the Rams if they can get some repeat performances from their players.
MVP: Paul Gareau
The Cougars proved the critics wrong on almost every level this season, except when it came to the playoffs.
After finishing 10-10 last season, critics were predicting around eight wins this season for the Cougars. Regina ended up nearly doubling this with 14 victories. However, the Cougars still could not advance out of the Canada West semifinals, getting swept by the Huskies in a best-of-three series.
Regina was led by Paul Gareau, who returned to the team after being suspended during the 2008-09 season with an academic suspension. He led the team with 18.7 ppg, 20 blocks and also pulled down 6.4 rpg. Jeff Lukomski, who plays both football and basketball, averaged 15.1 ppg and 3.5 assists per game while breaking the U of R’s all-time scoring record. Marek Downarowicz (10.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Kris Heshka (10.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg) also stepped up their game.
Unfortunately, with many key seniors graduating, it could be a transition year for the Cougars next season.
MVP: Dillon Johnstone
Where is the offence?
That was the major question the plagued the Cougars this season. Regina finished dead last in the CIS with 1.86 gpg and none of Regina’s players came close to cracking the top 50 scoring list. Because of this lack of offence, the Cougars finished last in Canada West at 8-18-2.
Regina’s goaltenders did all they could: Adam Ward posted a 4.25 goal-against average and a .901 save percentage while facing 26 shots a game and A.J. Whiffen had a 3.43 GAA and recorded a .909 save percentage while dealing with 27 shots a game. The offensive leaders for the Cougars were Dillon Johnstone (nine goals, 17 points), Terrance DeLaronde (eight assists, 14 points) and Cody Thoring (10 assists, 11 points).
With few players graduating, and five fifth-year players next season, Regina will hope that more experience will be beneficial to them.
MVP: Jamie Wilkins
After finishing 0-18 last season, things could only go up for the Cougars this year.
While the Cougars did pick up two wins, they still finished tied for last in Canada West, sporting an identical 2-16 record with the Winnipeg Wesmen. Not only did Regina struggle to win games, they only won nine sets all season.
Jamie Wilkins tallied 177 kills, 82 digs and 27 blocks for the Cougars, while Leon Dyck had 127 kills, 61 digs, and 38 blocks, Brody Waddell registered 111 kills, 77 digs, and 20 blocks, Joel Colter piled up 90 kills and 72 blocks, Caleb Eschbach and Matt Hender teamed up for 531 assists, and Lindsey Isaak notched 125 digs.
It is hard to be too optimistic for next season, because these losing seasons unfortunately seem to be a reoccurring theme for the organization.
MVP: Michelle Anderson
The Cougars finished 5-7-2 in Canada West this season, easily missed the playoffs and failed to reach the six-game win total they had aspired for.
However, it is hard to view the season as a complete failure.
The Cougars easily shattered their previous victory total in a season of two games and at times played like a team destined for the playoffs.
A big reason for Regina’s improvement this season was the play of goalkeeper Michelle Anderson. This season, Anderson boasted 98 saves (conference-best), a .845 save percentage (conference-best) and a 1.29 goals-against average.
Instead of getting focusing on her personal accolades, however, Anderson insisted that the Cougars will be a much more competitive team next year with few players graduating.
MVP: Shirrae Muhr
Coming off a season in which they were named the Alberta Intercollegiate Women’s Fastball Association champions and competed at nationals, the Cougars were looking to build off the success.
This season, the team finished third in the division at 11-6, rattling off an eight-game winning streak to finish off the season. In the conference playoffs, the Cougars lost 5-1 to Saskatchewan in the final. Then, at the Canadian collegiate softball championships in Saskatoon, Regina lost 2-1 to Saskatchewan in the final.
All season long, the Cougars were led by the stellar pitching of Shirrae Muhr and the hitting of Jillian Huber, who was named league’s top offensive player and a first-team national and conference all-star. Kelsey Gullickson was also named a conference first-team all-star for Regina, while Amanda Foraie and Tory Gillis earned second-team conference nods. Muhr received the Claude Deschamps Memorial Award, which recognizes female softball athletes who have achieved excellence in the sport, helped out in the community, and maintained a high academic standing.
MVP: Jessica Winter
Taking over as the head coach of the Cougars this season, Sylvain Pineau knew he had to work hard to change the attitude of the historically struggling program.
Through a lot of hard work, the team has taken strides becoming a successful program.
Regina ended up sending three women (Jessica Winter, Maggi Pettit and Erika Brown) and two men (Hector Fukushi and Craig Soutar) to the Canada West championships. Winter’s best finish at the meet was ninth, Brown’s best was 11th, and Pettit’s best was 14th.
Winter was the only swimmer at the U of R to compete at the CIS championships. Her best finish in an event was 10th, but she had bigger meets on her mind. The impressive rookie is still to compete at the World Aquatic Trials in Victoria this April and the Olympic trials next year.
Track and Field
Men’s MVP: Jeremy Eckert
Women’s MVP: Chelsea Valois
The Cougars track team put up some amazing individual and team performances this season.
The men picked up their second Canada West title ever. It was also their second consecutive victory. At the CIS championships, they finished third. The women’s team, more in the developing stage, placed fourth at the conference meet and 12th in nationals.
On the individual level, Chelsea Valois picked up a national gold medal in pentathlon and Jeremy Eckert took home silver in the same event. When all was said and done, Regina took home three national medals and 18 conference medals.
During the season, the Cougars broke a number of records and had numerous first-place finishes.
MVP: Joanna Zalesiak
It is an odd thing to see at the University of Regina: the women’s basketball team not competing at nationals.
However, after losing to the Huskies in the Canada West championships, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks in a regional final and failing to earn an at-large berth, the Cougars did not make it to the dance.
Though, seeing as all-star post Brittany Read fell to an injury before the season started, the success of the organization is amazing. Regina finished third in the conference at 19-5.
Joanna Zalesiak really stepped into a leadership role this season, averaging 16.3 ppg and 6.5 rpg. She was named a first-team conference all-star. Lindsay Ledingham, who was named a conference second-team all-star, stepped up with 14 ppg and 7.6 rpg.
With Read back next season, expect a more dominant performance from the Cougars.
MVP: Lisa Urban
After starting off the season with four wins in six games, it all went downhill for the Cougars.
Regina ended up finishing the season 9-13-2, fifth in Canada West, and missed the playoffs.
The Cougars got offensive firepower this season from three main players: Paige Wheeler had 16 assists and 26 points, Rianne Wight had 16 goals and 25 points, and Kelcie McCutcheon earned 15 assists and 19 points. Wight was named a conference second-team all-star.
Lisa Urban was stellar in net for the Cougars, sporting a 3-6-0 record, a 3.99 GAA and a .876 save percentage. She faced nearly 30 shots a game.
Next season, Regina will need to work on maintaining their early season momentum throughout the season.
MVP: Meagan Onstad
The Cougars had to wait until the last week of the season to determine their playoff fate.
Tied with the Winnipeg Wesmen at 6-10 in Canada West heading into the final week of play, Regina had to better Winnipeg’s performance. The Wesmen ended up being swept in its two games, while Regina won twice against Saskatchewan to make it to the finals.
Unfortunately, they had to face the top-ranked Trinity Western Spartans in a best-of-three quarterfinal. Trinity Western swept the Cougars. Despite the loss, it was still impressive that Regina managed to make it into the playoffs.
The well-rounded play of the Meagan Onstad guided the Cougars this season. Onstad had 188 kills, 173 digs, and 14 assists. Michelle Sweeting recorded 127 kills, 54 blocks, and 31 digs, while Tiffany Herman had 642 assists.
Men’s MVP: Connor Malloy
Women’s MVP: Trisha Elliott
Regina’s men’s team picked up a long-awaited victory this season.
The team finished first at the Canada West championships, picking up its first title since 2002. They were able to do so thanks to five gold medalists, three silver medalists, and two bronze medalists, while head coach Leo McGee was named the conference’s male coach of the year.
Then, at the CIS championships, Connor Malloy picked up the lone gold medal of the meet for the Cougars in the 76-kg division. Regina had three second-place finishes at the meet and finished third as a team. The women’s team, who had injury problems all season and were inexperienced, finished fourth at the conference meet with four medals. Trisha Elliott, the conference female rookie of the year, picked up the gold in the 48-kg division. The women’s team had no medalists at nationals and finished 11th.
To view the athletes finishing up their eligibility, see “Time to say goodbye.”