Mom said everybody’s a winner

By Sean Nyilassy

Take the University of Calgary’s finest athletes, add a plate of free Alberta beef, a table full of awards and a bar stacked with booze, mix well for what they call the Night of the Dino. On Thu., Apr. 7, this epic event celebrated its 38th year with festivities taking place at the Red and White Club in McMahon Stadium.

Although the main event was obviously the Gauntlet Extra Effort Award won by Cory Bekkering and Sandy Brar, there was an engorgement of other awards given out at the dinner. All of the Dinos teams were well represented at the event, and dang did they clean up well.

The climax was the announcement of the Dr. Dennis Kadatz Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards. The recipients for 2005 were Richard Yalowsky of the football program and Joanna Niemczewska of the volleyball squad.

Yalowsky had an outstanding year at his position of offensive lineman. He received Canada West and Canadian Interuniversity Sport All-Star honours as well as earning Academic All-Canadian status for his exquisite marks in his electrical engineering degree. In addition, Yalowsky was the recipient of the J.P. Metras CW Lineman of the Year award.

Niemczewska adds her trophy to a shelf that is already brimming with awards including this year’s CW and CIS Female Volleyball Athlete of the Year decorations. She won all three awards last year as well. The sultry fourth-year returns for another season of domination next year.

Finalists for the Athlete of the Year award include wrestler Brit Laverdure, runner Shannon Slater, soccer player Erin Ramsay, volleyball player Natalie Schwartz and swimmer Emma Spooner on the women’s side; swimmer Richard Cormack, runner Geoff Kerr and wrestler Huy Nyugen for the men. All finalists received an Athletic Award of Merit.

The Calgary Booster Club Scholar Athletes of the Year were Cormack and Jessica Zelinka. The two excelled not only in their respective sports this year, but in the classroom as well–a challenging feat considering the training schedules athletes endure.

Cormack was this year’s gold medallist at the CIS championship in 400m freestyle and was a part of the gold medal winning 4X200m relay troop. His performance qualified him for the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey in August. Cormack also managed to acquire a grade point average better than 3.65 in his demanding major of biochemistry.

Zelinka came to the U of C after competing for the University of Western Ontario Mustangs, where she earned her first of three CIS Female Track Athlete of the Year awards. This year at CW championship, she procured an astounding three gold and three silver medals, earning a big chunk of the points that won her team the event. While she excels in the 60m hurdle, 60m sprint and long jump, her calling is the pentathlon. This year she broke her own CIS record, obtaining 4,326 points–the world’s eighth best total.

The Bill Popplewell Rookie of the Year awards went to Scott Talbot of the hockey team and Lauren Perry of the volleysaurs. Both athletes had spectacular first years as Dinos.

Talbot earned a record of 6-5-3 while in the Dinos net this season. His saved 90.7 per cent of the shots directed his way, putting the Dinos at ease on the ice. There’s no telling what sort of success he can bring the team over the next four years.

Perry is a six-foot knockout who knocked out many of her competitors from her position of outside hitter. Along with being a killer, Perry excelled with blocks as well. She received a number of starts on a team that didn’t even need any new help. Her talents secured her CW Rookie of the Year honours as well as a spot on the CIS All-Rookie Team.

Finalists for the award were wrestler Justine Bouchard, CW Track and Field Rookie of the Year Rachelle Nelson, slotback Adam Ford and the basketball team’s only true rookie, Dalbir Dosanjh.

The Margaret Southern Award for maximal contributions to interuniversity sports by a female went to Lesley Hathaway while Josh Ballem picked up the male version, the Dr. Lou Goodwin Award. Robyn Martin, Gable Gross and Beamer Comfort received Murray Fraser awards for being outstanding student-volunteers.

These athletes, and all of the others who looked just as good are what make the Dinos what they are: a proud, talented, ambitious and sometimes rambunctious bunch. Congratulations to all the award recipients. But in our books, all of our Dinos are winners.

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