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Excellence on menu at UVic sports awards banquet

It is assumed that a rower good enough to sit in the pivotal stroke seat for fifth-place Canada in the women’s eight at the 2016 Rio Olympics, would be good enough to rip it up in varsity competition.
UVic Vikes rookie.jpg
UVic Vikes rookies of the year Brandon Vail (cross-country running) and Brea Christie (soccer) show off their plaque at the banquet.

It is assumed that a rower good enough to sit in the pivotal stroke seat for fifth-place Canada in the women’s eight at the 2016 Rio Olympics, would be good enough to rip it up in varsity competition.

That’s what Caileigh Filmer did in her rookie season, winning three gold medals at the Western Canadian university championships and two gold medals at the Canadian finals.

The science major, a Mount Douglas Secondary graduate, was named co-winner of the female athlete of the year award at the annual University of Victoria sports awards banquet Wednesday night at the Conference Centre.

Filmer shared the award with rookie UVic Vikes goalkeeper Puck Louwes. Don’t let her name fool you. This humanities major is all about soccer, not hockey. The native of Utrecht, Netherlands, simply shut the door this season. She allowed only six goals in 14 regular-season games and recorded 10 clean sheets to tie the Canada West record in leading the Vikes to runner-up in the conference and top five in the U Sports national championship tournament. Also a star in the classroom as an academic all-Canadian, Louwes allowed 11 goals in 20 regular-season and playoff games.

National-team rower Patrick Keane was named UVic’s male athlete of the year to continue a strong night for his sport. The social sciences major won six medals for the Vikes this season, while also placing fourth at the world U-23 championships in Bulgaria and representing Canada at the senior world championships in Florida.

Emily Lieuwen was awarded the prestigious President’s Cup for combining scholastic and academic achievement. The fourth-year Vikes soccer central-midfielder from Ladner, studying to become a veterinarian, sported an 8.75 GPA (out of nine) while being named Canada West first-team all-star.

Chris Lee from men’s field hockey won the Provost Award for the Vikes athlete with the best GPA. The third-year science major out of Mount Douglas Secondary recorded a spotless 9.0, the highest grade-point average possible.

The Vikes’ strong season in soccer was again acknowledged with attacking defender Brea Christie, out of Royal Bay Secondary, named Vikes female top rookie.

Brandon Vail from cross-country, an engineering major from Edmonton and Canadian junior national team runner, was named the Vikes male rookie of the year. Vail was also Canada West rookie of the year and named to the conference first all-star team. He clocked the second-fastest time in the nation by a freshman.

The Chancellor’s award, for outstanding contributions to a Vikes team in and out of competition, went to Claremont Secondary graduate Adam Donaldson from rowing.

Publisher Dave Obee presented the Times Colonist Publisher’s Award, which recognizes community contributions to UVic sports, to the Vikes Cross-Country Alumni Committee. The committee has raised nearly $250,000 for the UVic track and cross-country programs.

Meanwhile, the Class of 2018 was inducted into the UVic Sports Hall of Fame as part of the evening’s celebrations.

Swimmer MacKenzie Downing, a determined battler in the pool, came down from Whitehorse, Yukon, to win 22 Canada West and 21 CIS national medals for UVic. She represented Canada at three World University Games, as flag-bearer in 2011, two Pan-Pacific championships, the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and 2007 FINA world aquatics championships in Melbourne.

The star-laden 1987 UVic women’s cross-country team, with 1996 Atlanta Olympian Robyn Meagher and fellow Canadian internationals Trish Fougner, Brenda Shackleton, Cathy Dargie, Liz Jones, Ulla Hansen and Beth Tarasuk, swept to the national title with a record-setting score that was as near to perfection as it is possible to get within the sport’s scoring system.

Also enshrined into the Hall of Fame with the Class of 2018 was the UVic men’s cross-country dynasty, which won four straight national championships from 1994 to 1997. Graham Cocksedge ran on all four of those Vikes teams.

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