A Langley runner, turning coach, was among those honoured for her academic and athletic prowess this past weekend.
At the end of her five-year chapter of studies and sports at Trinity Western University, Langley’s Jen Kits was one of three students presented during the Spartans annual awards event Sunday night.
TWU handed out its annual awards in a virtual Spartan awards show, with three Spartan student-athletes being honoured with the most prestigious award of the night – the Complete Champion Award.
In addition to Kits, who was honoured for her contributions as a women’s cross country and track and field middle distance runner, this special accolades were also given to men’s hockey forward Jarrett Fontaine of Humboldt, Sask., as well as women’s volleyball player Hilary Howe, from Calgary.
Shane Wiebe, the director of track and field and cross country, recounted how Kits joined the program during a time when several student athletes were accomplishing great things on the track.
“Year one here, she’s shy, she’s timid, she barely said a word. Year two, something clicked. Something happened. She realized that she had something to offer,” Wiebe said.
“And, by year four, five, she’s developed into a leader, a leader who has done many challengable things that has not only helped shape the culture of our program, she’s also a top performer one the women’s side – without a hint of arrogance or superiority,” Wiebe said, anxious to see what lies ahead in her next chapter.
“She’s the very stuff that makes great coaches,” he added, noting they’re bringing her on staff this fall “to continue her stellar leadership.”
The virtual event was livestreamed and can be viewed on the Spartans YouTube channel.
Numerous athletes honoured
The evening was capped off with the Complete Champion Awards, which are given to senior student-athletes who are “outstanding in athletic achievements, who advance to the edge of their abilities both academically and personally, and who also demonstrate leadership and a desire to grow spiritually,” explained emcee Jesse Elser, a four-year student volleyball athlete.
This year’s Bahta Melles awards for servant leadership went to former women’s basketball student-athlete Grace Guderyan (Calgary), who was an assistant coach and therapist with her team this year, as well as second-year women’s rugby athlete Tausani Levale (Abbotsford).
The Spartans scholar athlete awards went to fifth-year women’s soccer defender Kristen Sakaki (Surrey) and fifth-year men’s hockey defenceman Kenny Batke (Vernon).
The Murray Hall leadership legacy awards went to fourth-year women’s soccer defender Aliya Coy (Calgary) and second-year men’s hockey goalie Isaac Labelle (Saskatoon).
The School of human kinetics Spartan athlete of the year awards also went to Sakaki and fifth-year men’s soccer defender Caleb Johnson (Strathmore, Alta.).
The school of business Spartan athlete of the year awards went to fourth-year men’s volleyball setter Derek Epp (Saskatoon) and fourth-year women’s soccer forward Kathryn Harvey (Coquitlam).
The athletic trainers room senior therapist of the year award went to Grace Guderyan, who worked with the women’s basketball team.
The junior therapist of the year awards went to Cole Beeksma, who worked with the women’s soccer team, and Courtney Pearce, who was with the women’s and men’s rugby teams.
The Andrew Heming Shield (strength and conditioning coach of the year award) went to third-year women’s cross country and track and field middle distance runner Jouen Chang (Langley).
The female strength and conditioning athlete of the year award was given to third-year women’s volleyball middle Mikayla Benterud (Sherwood Park, Alta.) while the male strength and conditioning athlete of the year award went to third-year men’s rugby hooker Scott Bowers (New Westminster).
The strength and conditioning team of the year award was handed out to the women’s basketball team for the second year in a row.
The Spartans also honoured its graduating seniors Saturday.
Graduating senior athletes
• Men’s Basketball
Aaron Paetkau | 2016-2021
• Women’s Basketball
Teanna Bradshaw | 2016-2021
Grace Guderyan | 2016-2021
• Men’s Hockey
Kenny Batke | 2016-2021
Jarrett Fontaine | 2016-2021
Lucas Mills | 2016-2021
Spencer Roberts | 2018-2021
Joseph Sylvain | 2016-2021
• Women’s Hockey
Kiki Richardson | 2019-2021
• Men’s Soccer
Caleb Johnson | 2016-2021
Caleb Jemmott | 2016-2021
Jordan Kasian | 2016-2021
Scott Poffenroth | 2016-2021
• Women’s Soccer
• Men’s Track & Field
Zach Augenstein | 2018-2021
• Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country
Rachel Jerome | 2016-2021
Jennifer Kits | 2016-2021
Tosha Moore | 2016-2021
Brennen Gardner | 2018-2021
Kaden Gamache | 2016-2021
Hilary Howe | 2016-2021
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