History was made back in March as for the first time the Trinity Western Spartans women’s volleyball program celebrated winning the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship title.

History was made back in March as for the first time the Trinity Western Spartans women’s volleyball program celebrated winning the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship title.

A look back at 2015

Stories from the Langley sports scene this past year

A look back at some of the top sporting stories and accomplishments on the Langley sports scene in 2015.

January

Aldergrove’s Shea Theodore helped Canada win the gold medal on home soil at the IIHF world junior hockey championships. The tournament was held in Montreal and Toronto, with the latter city hosting the championship game at the Air Canada Centre.

Theodore called it “a surreal moment” when the final whistle had sounded in Canada’s 5-4 victory over the Russian squad.

Following the tournament, Theodore returned to the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds, capturing the league’s top defenceman award at season’s end.

Theodore, now a first-year pro hockey player also had a great end to 2015, making his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 29 in a 1-0 victory over the Calgary Flames.

Kurt Langmann Black Press

Aldergrove’s Shea Theodore does the ceremonial puck drop prior to an Aldergrove Kodiaks hockey game.

February

Rhys Duch became the all-time leader in points for the Vancouver Stealth National Lacrosse League franchise, passing former Stealth player Gary Rosyski. By season’s end that spring, Duch had set franchise marks for goals (265), assists (358) and point (623).

The Langley U16 and U19 field lacrosse teams winning silver medals at their respective provincial championships.

• Emmanuel Bussani won silver at the B.C. cadet provincial biathlon championships.

• And John Park won gold and two silver medals to lead the Langley Olympians Swim Club at the provincial short course AA championships. Luke Stewart-Beinder won gold and bronze and Sarah Buckingham also won bronze for the LOSC.

Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Vancouver Stealth’s Rhys Duch set new franchise records in goals, assists and points in 2015.

March

For the first time in program history, the Trinity Western Spartans women’s volleyball team was crowned national champions. The Spartans were down two sets to none and on the brink of elimination in the five-set match against the Alberta Pandas at Toronto’s Goldring Centre.

But the Spartans won the final three sets to lay claim to the gold medal.

Head coach Ryan Hofer said he could not believe how much effort and energy it took to win the big prize.

“I have a new respect for anyone who has done it before me,” he said.

It was the team’s fifth straight appearance at the CIS national championships, with their previous best finish a pair of bronze medals in 2011 and 2-013.

And the TWU men’s volleyball team very nearly made it a double-gold performance, ultimately falling short to the Alberta Golden Bears in the CIS championship final.

• A trio of Langley high schools — the Brookswood Bobcats (senior girls 3A), the Langley Christian Lightning (senior girls 1A) and the Walnut Grove Gators (Grade 8 girls) — won their respective provincial basketball championship trophies. For the Bobcats, it was their second straight provincial crown while the Lightning won their title for the first time in program history.

The Gators Grade 8 girls team capped off a dominant season which saw them go 45-0 en route to the gold medal. And the Gators junior boys basketball team placed third at their provincial tournament.

• At the Canada Winter Games, Langley athletes won four bronze medals. Langley Rod and Gun Club’s Jessica Auton won bronze in the junior ladies’ air pistol competition while Brian Ng teamed with Surrey’s Dakota Donavon to win bronze in the junior men’s competition. In the U60-kg division for judo, Leo Goldberg (Abbotsford Judo Club) took the bronze medal and Langley Curling Club’s Team Tardi — Tyler Tardi, Nicholas Umbach, Timothy Henderson and Sterling Middleton — also won bronze.

• Langley Secondary’s Kamil Golowko became the first-ever member of the Langley United Wrestling Club to find the podium at the B.C. provincial high school wrestling championships after placing third in the 110-kg division.

• A pair of Langley Minor Hockey Association teams returned from their respective provincial championships with a gold and silver medal, respectively. The Langley Eagles won the peewee tier 4 title and the Eagles got silver at the juvenile A1 championships after losing the gold-medal game in overtime.

• Hugh McNeill had a dominating performance for the LOSC at the provincial AAA short course championships. The swimmer won five gold and two silver medals. Other swimmers to find the podium were Joshua Kim (two gold), Chelsea Borrowdale (one gold, two silver, bronze), Renae Ledoux (two gold, one silver), Bailey Herbert (two bronze) and Brayden Kells (silver) also found the podium.

Submitted picture

The Walnut Grove Gators Grade 8 girls basketball team capped off a perfect season with the provincial basketball trophy.

April

“She is quiet, she is unassuming, she is humble,” said R.E. Mountain Secondary school counsellor Cora Pickering.

“She just gets things done.”

Those the words she used to describe Sumara Stroshein-Blagborne, the 2015 recipient of the TOL’s Pete Swensson Outstanding Community Youth Award.

• It was a historic victory for a team of curlers from Langley and Cloverdale as they became the first-ever B.C. women’s team to win the Canadian masters crown. The team consisted of Karen Lepine, Susan Beuk, Donna Christian and Agnes Signurdson.

• Josh Monk helped Providence College win the NCAA Frozen Four national hockey title.

• Brookswood Bobcats’ Tayla Jackson was named Basketball BC’s top graduating female high school player.

Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Brookswood Bobcats’ Tayla Jackson was named Basketball BC’s top graduating female high school player.

May

At 11-years-old, Langley’s Leah Pells informed her coach that one day she would run in the Olympics. And she would go on to do that three times as one of Canada’s premier middle distance runners.

From her start with the Langley Sports (which would become the Langley Mustangs Track and Field Club years later) to a long and illustrious international career, Pells overcame adversity along the way to carve out a name for herself. And her accomplishments earned Pells a place in the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.

• Brendan Budy, Luke Zazula, Brodi Stuart and Bobby Russell were all selected in the WHL’s annual bantam draft for 14 and 15-year-old hockey players.

The quartet were products of the Langley Minor Hockey Association.

Two other Langley teens — Sean Gulka and Baxter Anderson— as well as Aldergrove’s Jonathan Rees, was also selected. Gulka and Anderson played for the Burnaby Winter Club.

• Former Langley Rams junior football players Adam Konar and Daniel English were selected in the CFL draft.

• Adam Masse won bronze at the Canadian senior men’s weightlifting championships, setting a new provincial record in the process.

• Walnut Grove’s Robyn Buckingham won the silver medal in the heptathlon at B.C. high school track and field championships.

Leah Pells Collection/BC Sports Hall of Fame

Leah Pells was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.

June

Langley athletes won eight gold, 14 silver and eight bronze medals at the B.C. high school track and field championships.

Leading the way was Brooke Mussche, who won gold in the Grade 8 girls 800m and 1500m events and Megan Champoux, who won gold in the senior girls 400m hurdles and bronze in the 100m hurdles.

Alex Savage, Lauryn Cheung. Natalia Monro and Elia Farag Alla also won gold. Monro also won a silver.

Other medal winners were: Kiana Bekar (two silvers), Louise Forsyth (silver, bronze), Will Riley (silver), Nick Colyn (silver), Hannah Rolfe (silver), Adrianna Klassen (bronze), Jaclyn Pauley (bronze), Chelsea Borrowdale (silver), Paul Buckingham (silver), Tanika Dolfo (bronze), Ian Vandergugten (silver) and Will Dykstra (bronze). Will Riley, Michael McKay, Joel Harrison and Paul Buckingham won silver in their relay while Tavia Rowell, Yilian Zhao, Jordan Jacobs and Samantha Mathewman also won silver.

• Both Langley Secondary and R.E. Mountain/Yorkson Creek were granted approval to operate hockey academies.

• Louise Forsyth helped Canada win gold at the FIBA U19 world basketball championships.

Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Langley Fundamental’s Megan Champoux won a gold and bronze medal, respectively, in a pair of races at the B.C. high school track and field championships.

July

Legendary wrestler Don Leo Heaton was among the All Star Wrestling honourees at Cloverdale Fairground.

Heaton followed his father into the ring, making his debut at age 19, and wrestling 30 years later in 1980.

“He was considered by many to be the original giant of professional wrestling,” said

Vance Nevada, a wrestling promoter and author of the 2009 book Wrestling in the Canadian West.

“In his era, he was one of the biggest acts there was.”

• The Force U16 Volleyball Club capped off club season by winning AAU boys junior national volleyball event in Florida. The team had won both the club provincials and national championships earlier in the season.

• Langley Rivermen forward  Marcus Vela taken in round 7 of NHL entry draft by San Jose.

• A team of eight swimmers from the Langley Olympians Swim Club combined to win six gold, four silver and five bronze medals at the B.C. long course AA championships.

Bryce Dong (two gold, silver, two bronze) and Dylan Thomas (gold, bronze), Reagan Bedard (two gold), Reese Blunden (two silver), Brooklyn Swaan (bronze) all won individual medals. Bedard and Blunden, along with Milana Solar and Danika Bedard won gold and silver in a pair of relay events.

• Gary Vollhoffer was crowned the national bodybuilding champion in the men’s grandmaster (55+) division. This came on the heels of winning a pair of provincial titles (grandmaster 50+) and master’s (40+) the month before.

• Members of the Langley Mustangs Track and Field Club had a strong showing at the Canadian track and field championships.

Braedon Dolfo won two gold and a silver, while Dustin Walsh won silver in the paralympics division.

Fiona Benson, Teagan Rasche and Brent Reston won gold, silver and bronze, respectively.

• Dean Ellenwood wins bronze in Colombia (July 22) at world youth track and field championships.

• Led by coach John Stuart, Canada’s men’s softball team wins double gold in the month of July, taking top spot at both the world championships in Saskatoon and then again at the Pan American Games in Toronto.

• Langley and North Langley girls fastpitch teams combine to win four bronze medals at various age groups at the B.C. provincial championships (July 31).

• The Valley Ball Hockey Association’s Valley Gold Rush won bronze at the U11 Western Challenge Cup.

• The Langley midget A1 Thunder won bronze at the provincial midget box lacrosse championships (July 31).

• Langley’s Raachel Beaulieu and Natalie Rahler helped Team BC’s midget squad win gold  at the Canadian minor box lacrosse national championships while Hailegh Robertson (bantam female) and Cooper Gettel (bantam boys) helped BC win silver.

• The Fort Langley Canoe Club’s senior C Dragonboat team won bronze at the Canadian championships, qualifying for the world club crew championships for 2016.

Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Langley’s Don Leo Heaton was honoured by All Star Wrestling at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.

August

Langley’s Joshua Low was the first Canadian athlete to win gold at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Low, a swimmer, set a new personal best in the 25m backstroke to claim the gold medal at the Games.

He was one of two Langley athletes to find the podium as Karl Anderson helped Canada win bronze in softball.

• Tessa Popoff helped Canada win bronze in women’s sitting volleyball at the Parapan Games in Toronto. The result also qualified the team for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

• The Langley senior Blaze won the B.C. senior men’s provincial baseball championship. The team went 5-0, allowing just three runs over the course of the tournament.

• Langley’s Cal Slade helped Team BC win bronze at Canadian midget national box lacrosse championships. Dawson Calfa was alternate on the team.

• LOSC’s Renae Ledoux won a pair of gold medals and a bronze at the Canadian age group championships. Bailey Herbert won three silver and a bronze while Hillary Metcalfe (two bronze) and Joshua Kim (one bronze) also found the podium.

• Jesse Unger was named the top catcher in helping Team BC win gold at Baseball Canada’s U18 Canada Cup tournament. Also on the team were Yi-Fan Pan, Yi-An Pan, Jake Polancic and Michael Stovman.

• Langley athletes helped Team BC win the medal race at the Western Canada Summer Games. Emma Harrison (two gold, bronze), Meghan Cheung (gold, bronze), Lauryn Cheung (gold, two bronze), Hannah Rolfe (gold), Pritpaul Johal (gold), Leo Goldberg (two gold), Victor Blaine (gold, silver), Adam Marshall (bronze), Nick Colyn (bronze), Robyn Buckingham (bronze), Renae Ledoux (three bronze), Brett Christensen (gold), Rhys Cratty (gold), Colby Ring (gold), Wesley Moore (gold), Jayden Knight (gold), Abbey Fortin (gold), Julia Wright (gold), Avery Heppell (gold), Katie MacEwen (gold), Will Bundy (silver), Mike Savage Jr. (three gold), Abigale Calvert (three bronze) all won medals.

• Langley Thunder’s Anthony Malcom was co-recipient of WLA’s Ed Bailey Award as rookie of the year while Brett Mydske won Gord Nicholson Award as league’s top defender (Aug. 19).

• Langley Mustangs’ Dean Ellenwood won a pair of bronze medals while Alex Savage and Tanika Dolfo won one bronze apiece at the Canadian Legion track and field championships.

Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Langley’s Joshua Low was the first Canadian to win a gold medal at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

September

• James Rahe capped off his junior career by winning the Minto Cup as a member of the Six Nations Arrows.

• Fort Langley Canoe Club’s Jonathan Wilkins helped the Canadian senior men’s C team win a trio of gold medals at the world championships.

Ward Laforme Jr.

Langley’s James Rahe capped off his junior lacrosse career by helping the Six Nations Arrows win the Minto Cup.

October

The Vancouver Stealth acquired Langley’s Garrett Billings via trade.

Billings is the first player in National Lacrosse League history to post three consecutive 100-point seasons.

• The Langley Events Centre was announced as the site of the 2019 world indoor lacrosse championships.

• Vancouver Stealth’s Joel McCready announced as the recipient of the NLL’s top teammate award.

• Members of the Triple M Vaulting Club capped off their season with a strong showing at the provincial equestrian vaulting championships. Hailey Besse and Danae Shuttlewood each won gold while Devon Wrayton and Julia Thul won silver and bronze, respectively. Shuttlewood, Wrayton, Tauren Deluca, Cassidy Smith and Abigail Old won gold in a team competition.

• TWU’s Sarah Inglis won the B.C. provincial cross country championships in the women’s division while Declan White was second in the men’s division.

TWU Athletics

Sarah Ingis had an outstanding 2015, winning all four cross country races she entered. She capped the season off with a victory at the CIS national championships.

November

The Mountain Eagles junior boys cross country team won the provincial banner for the first time in school history. Langley Christian’s Broooke Mussche was third in the girls individual race.

• The Credo Christian senior boys soccer team won bronze at the B.C. provincial 1A championships.

• Langley’s Madison Guy opened the scoring and helped the UBC Thunderbirds win the CIS women’s soccer championship at the expense of the Trinity Western Spartans, who took home the silver medal.

• TWU’s Sarah Inglis made school history, winning the CIS women’s cross country national title. As a team, the Spartans women’s runners came second.

Richard Lam UBC Athletics

Langley’s Madison Guy was all smiles after helping the UBC Thunderbirds defeat the TWU Spartans in the CIS women’s soccer championship final. Guy  opened the scoring in a 3-0 victory.

December

The Langley Christian junior boys volleyball team capped off a perfect season by winning the B.C. junior boys provincial volleyball championship. The team wound up going 52-0.

• A trio of Langley men helped the UBC Thunderbirds football team win the school’s first Vanier Cup since 1997. Second-year offensive lineman Shawn Mellesmoen and first-year defensive lineman Connor Griffiths were players on the team while Josh Collins served as the T-Birds kicking coach.

• The Langley Fundamental Titans took the silver medal at the B.C. 2A senior boys provincial volleyball championships.

• The Langley Stampeders were crowned champions after winning the B.C. provincial midget football title.

• Brett Lawrie was traded by the Oakland Athletics to the Chicago White Sox.

• A trio of Langley hockey players helped Canada West win gold at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge. Langley’s Dennis Cholowski — a defenceman for the Chilliwack Chiefs — as well as Langley Rivermen forward Justin Fregona and goaltender Bo Didur were on the squad.

Submitted photo

A perfect season of 52-0 came to a close with the Langley Christian Lightning junior boys volleyball team winning the provincial title.