It was an evening of celebration on Thursday, June 2 as close to 250 student-athletes, staff coaches, community members and friends and family of athletes showed up to celebrate another successful year of athletics at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary.
The school is way beyond noting how well it is doing for a “new” school and is now firmly entrenched as a competitive athletic program at multiple sports and levels. Once again Isfeld was able to offer 35 teams for students in Grades 8-12 ranging in activities from aquatics, volleyball, cross-country running, wrestling, girls field hockey, football, soccer, basketball, track and field, wrestling, golf, gymnastics, rugby, skiing, snowboarding and badminton.
“Most notable this year may have been the number of Junior teams that made it to Island championships which has our teams competing against the biggest schools on the Island,” noted athletic director Colin Cunningham.
“Some notable results were our Junior girls soccer team coached by Claudia Hurworth and Will Bakker which defeated South #1 Reynolds while hosting the Island championships and finishing 6th; Junior boys (coached by Stace Hagel) and girls basketball (comprised of all Grade 9s competing at the Grade 10 level and coached by Grant Ashlee) which both finished an amazing 5th on the Island. The future looks even brighter for the whole athletic program and the Grade 9 girls were honoured as the Inspirational Team of the Year.”
A fun tradition continued as four senior students were honoured for giving back and helping to coach at the Grade 8 or Junior levels. Following the national anthem, the evening got underway with a fully catered dinner as always provided by Plates Catering. Students were given an opportunity to socialize with teammates and coaches. Many honoured guests were in attendance including SD 71 Superintendent Sherry Elwood.
The awards portion began with a slideshow entitled “The Year in Pictures” by senior girls basketball coach Jouska Lockquell. Placemats with every student athlete and coach as well as past award winners was prepared by senior girls coach Jonathan Bos and many were taken home as a souvenir. The gym was transformed as decorating was once again orchestrated by Claudia Hurworth.
The awards began with principal Bill Village acknowledging and thanking coaches and sponsors with an “Isfeld Athletics” stainless steel water bottle. He noted that between 25 and 30 teachers at Isfeld are involved in athletics, a most impressive number for a staff of only 55.
Next up were the Big Bear Award Winners, an elite group of athletes at each level who were evaluated by their coaches on more than one school team to be among the top two or three players on their sport. Athletes are strictly evaluated on criteria such as coachability, attitude toward teammates, practice attendance, dedication, skill level and intensity… being picked as a Big Bear Award winner has become a very prestigious ranking amongst Isfeld student-athletes, noted Cunningham.
Last but not least, Major Athletic Award winners were presented by coaches individually. Winners receive their name on a permanent trophy which goes on display in the gymnasium foyer, their name on a sign in the gym and they also receive a handmade Isfeld Athletic Bear Trophy designed each year by valued Royston community member Frank Leigh.
Perhaps the highlight of the night was when senior girls basketball coach Jouska Lockquell came in fully bandaged and on a stretcher to present the Senior Female Athlete of the Year Award to Kim Robertson who won the award despite having a number of injuries to deal with this year. All 225-plus people who came to the banquet were entered to win a variety of draw prizes and each person took home an Isfeld Athletics static window decal for their vehicle. “All in all, it was a very successful night to recognize some amazing athletes and their contribution to Isfeld Athletics,” Cunningham said.
Inspirational Team of the Year members were:
Yasmine Boilard, Danielle Poirier, Robin Jaknke, Michaela Ashlee, Avery Snider, Kayla Gargus, Chelsea Nuez, Malia Irvine, Danielle Vanbergen, Jessica Drummond, Leah Cicon, Camille Bourget, Mackenzie Kirk, Hanna Kirk, coaches Grant Ashlee and Hugh MacKinnon.