BOW VALLEY – The school year might have been cut short for students, but Bow Valley high schools weren't about to forget their top teen athletes.
Banff Community High School (BCHS), Canmore Collegiate High School (CCHS), and Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy (OLS), notified the 2019-20 male and female athletes of the year using video messages, online streams, and good old-fashioned phone calls over the past few weeks.
For the OLS Avalanche, the senior athletes of the year awards were presented to Justin Hughes and Adrianna Domingo. Finn McLaughlin and Cassie Lang won the junior athlete of the year awards.
Hughes, a multi-time OLS athlete of the year, threatened to drop 25 points every basketball game this year. The Grade 12 athlete was a nucleus of any OLS sports team during his tenure at the school.
Domingo, a leader among her peers, followed in her older brother’s and dad’s footsteps by winning a high school athlete of the year. It was an award that eluded the competitor through her OLS career, which she desired to achieve by the end of her high school run.
“I was just so happy that I cried,” she said. “I was watching it on my couch and I had a feeling I might get it."
Playing as middle in volleyball and centre in basketball, Domingo was named MVP on both teams. She said it was disappointing the sports season ended abruptly due to COVID-19, but is grateful for her coaches and teammates making the calendar year special.
For the BCHS Bears, Catrina Dang and Logan House took home the athletes of the year awards, and Cole Whiteside and Ciara O’Farrell were the winners of the Allen Tollestrup, the school's most prestigious award that honours excellence in athletics, academics and leadership.
Both Whiteside and O’Farrell said they were surprised to win and reminisced about their year in sports.
Whiteside played basketball and volleyball and was training for rugby when the pandemic hit and ended the season.
“I think my favourite part was probably just the bus rides [to games], they just got more and more fun every time,” he said. “I didn’t get to play rugby and that’s kind of my favourite sport and I think that’s the one I was best at as well.”
O’Farrell, who'll remember this year's hard-fouling Bears basketball team, was also in the midst of training for the anticipated rugby season. She was choked the season ended up being axed.
“It was a really fun year,” said O’Farrell. “I was student body president and I had all these events planned and all of those got cancelled and that really sucked and then rugby got cancelled and that sucked even more because I was really excited for this season because Grade 12 season is always the most fun, but can’t really control everything.”
For the CCHS Wolverines, Ryan Brunet and Trinidy Spiess were named the top athletes.
Spiess was a hard-working role model on the pitch and court and a veteran voice for the upcoming Wolverines female athletes. She made her presence felt in soccer, basketball and volleyball.
Brunet, a captain on the CCHS volleyball team and MVP in basketball, felt like he brought a leadership presence and high IQ onto the court. He was a reliable scorer for his teams, whether it was spiking down a crucial point or being trusted with the last shot of the game, Brunet took the veteran role in stride enroute to being named male athlete of the year.
“I wasn’t actually expecting [to win athlete of the year],” Brunet said. “I’ve always wanted to be athlete of the year. Ever since I saw it when I was younger I wanted it really bad.”
The two CCHS athletes received a $500 scholarship from Gary and Kay Anderson.
Other award winners at CCHS included: Tommy Sluka (top golf performer); Issy Hendry (cross-country running); Jaiden Webster (girls soccer MVP); Tait Cassie (football MVP); Ellie Thompson (JV girls volleyball MVP); Teagan Young (JV girls volleyball heart and hustle award); Tanzin King (girls volleyball green MVP); Sierra Forsyth (Grade 9 girls volleyball heart MVP); Lindsay Nunn, Danisen Downer (senior girls volleyball heart and soul award); Jackson Ostman (senior boys volleyball MVP); Carla Galban Espinar, Zoe Whitehead (JV/Grade 9 girls basketball MVP); Maellie Goulet (JV/Grade 9 girls basketball sportsmanship award); Raphael Messier (JV boys basketball MVP); Kai Perron (Grade 9 boys basketball defensive player of the year); Anika Gasser (senior girls basketball MVP).