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Graduating student-athletes reflect on year without sports

“In the absent of team sports, it really makes you grateful for the opportunities that you’ve had throughout the years."

BOW VALLEY ­– The past year-and-a-half has looked much different than any era before for student athletes.

In Grade 12, it’s a final chance to score a big bucket of a championship game or be on the field with the teammates you’ve grown with for the past four years.

“In the absence of team sports, it really makes you grateful for the opportunities that you’ve had throughout the years,” said Anika Gasser, a graduating student-athlete from Canmore Collegiate High School (CCHS).

“I just like to say a big thank you and shout out to all the coaching staff, parents and teammates for really enriching our lives through sport ‘cause that’s definitely something I missed this year.”

Despite a year without sports, local high schools have honoured student athletes who are truly deserving of high praise and awards.

In a virtual ceremony in June, Gasser received CCHS’ female athlete of the year award for her contributions to soccer, basketball, badminton, track and cross-country running programs.

A team leader on the basketball court and soccer field, Gasser previously won MVP for senior and JV basketball, the hustle award for Grade 9 basketball, and rookie of the year in soccer when the team won bronze at zones.

“I was really hopeful we would be able to have some team sports, but as the year progressed we just realized that, you know, it might not be a possibility so I think that my peers and I came to that realization and that really allowed us to find different ways to be active so whether exploring our own backyards or working out in our makeshift gyms, we definitely made an effort to adapt,” said Gasser. “And that was definitely a silver lining that came out of the whole no sports in our final year of high school.”

Adam Weatherhog received CCHS’ male athlete of the year award.

As a staple of the Wolverines’ volleyball, basketball, and soccer teams, Weatherhog won two league banners and one zone banner in soccer. He also helped CCHS win a curling championship in Grade 9.

He said it is awesome to have won the award because it's a little bit of normalcy without sports.

“It’s definitely not as fun and [the school year] definitely feels longer, I find, without sports,” he said. “This year, most days you just come home and don’t do much. I know it’s been tough for all my friends who just love playing sports all year.”

In addition, Ellie Thompson was the inaugural winner of the Wolverines Athletics Leadership Award. The new award is given to a Grade 12 student showing outstanding leadership qualities on and off the field or court and who gives back to sport through volunteering or officiating.

Raphael Messier and Jessica Hill were recipients of the Wolverine Honour Award, which is given to athletes leading by example through work ethic and a positive attitude. This year, the Grade 12 winners were presented with the Spencer Postman Memorial Scholarship, a new scholarship sponsored by Gary and Kay Anderson.

This past April, Spencer Postman tragically died in a backcountry ski accident near Lake Louise. He was a former CCHS student and previous winner of the honour award.

"Spencer was one of our very favourite young men that I ever had the privilege to coach on the high school boys soccer team," said Gary Anderson in a video tribute. "His passion and contagious leadership was some of the reasons we selected him as captain of our team his senior year."

At Banff Community High School (BCHS), the school held its own virtual ceremony, which honoured two of its top athletes.

Grade 12 students Madison Carr and William Chisholm won the Allen Tollestrup Memorial Award for displaying high standards in academics, athletics and leadership.

“The graduating class has a great depth of leaders, academics and athletes and our recipients of this year’s award have been demonstrating these qualities since their early days of Grade 7,” said Ian Higginbottom, BCHS’ athletic director. “They both are well deserving recipients.”


Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

Jordan Small joined the Outlook in 2014 and covers the vast world of sports in the Bow Valley. A Barrie, Ont. native, he also wrote for RMO's Mountain Guide section and the MD of Bighorn beat.
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