Three Langley student-athletes were among 14 recognized for their leadership at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) annual Cascades Awards during the week of June 14.
Langley’s Jessica Phan, a member of the Cascades rowing program who is studying kinesiology at UFV, was awarded the Jen Simpson Memorial Leadership award.
The award, which recognizes leadership in three areas: on an athletic team, in the community, and in academics and involvement on campus, honours the memory of Cascades rower Jen Simpson, who died tragically in a car accident in 2008 at the age of 20.
“Jessica has served as the rowing team’s media rep for the past two years while attending university full-time and working two part-time jobs,” Phan’s rowing teammates said in a group statement.
“Her community involvement and positive enthusiasm on and off the dock embodies what it means to be a model Cascades student-athlete. Her contributions to team morale and peer-to-peer communication are foundationally valued by our team.”
Two local were among 11 to receive Cascades Leadership Awards honouring athletes who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in team settings, whether on the court, in the weight room, or in the community, in a highly challenging year amidst COVID-19.
Aldergrove’s Cheye Gustafson, a player with the UFV Women’s Rugby Sevens, battled a chronic ankle problem “with a determination and work ethic that inspired those around her,” said Jen Ross, women’s rugby sevens head coach.
“Her unfailing commitment during training sessions set the standard for her teammates. Her passion and belief in our program is evident in all she does. Cheye applies this same work ethic to her academic studies as well.”
Congrats Cheye! https://t.co/D0aozHJH2c
— Steve Tuckwood (@ST_UFVCascades) June 12, 2021
Langley’s Caleb Kastelein, a member of UFV Men’s Volleyball, did a “great job this year in leading by example in the weight room, on the court, in the classroom, and in extra volunteer activities,” Nathan Bennett, men’s volleyball head coach, said.
“He was focused on the task at hand while being vigilant of his teammates around him and how he can help. Our program is proud to have a person like Caleb, with his character, athleticism, and drive to win. We are looking for great things to come.”
Steve Tuckwood, UFV director of athletics and campus said all the athletes cited displayed a “drive to continue to develop their athletic gifts, the gains they made in the weight room, their achievements in the classroom, and their community contributions are all tributes to their endurance and persistence. We’re proud to honour some of our best and brightest, and we look forward to seeing them in action on their respective fields of play as we continue to work toward a return to Canada West competition this fall.”
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