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Casarin and Morton named uOttawa Varsity Athletes of the Year

Davide Casarin and Mikayla Morton

The Gee-Gees announced the varsity award winners on Friday, capping the 2019-2020 season by recognizing student-athletes for their work in athletics, academics, and in the community. Swimmer Davide Casarin and soccer all-star Mikayla Morton were named the Athletes of the Year and women's rugby veteran Tori Wyman was honoured with a career achievement award, among the highlights of the awards presented.

Davide Casarin repeats as the Male Athlete of the Year, having won five national medals this season to set a new program record. The U SPORTS gold medallist in the 400-metre and 1500-metre freestyle events, silver medallist in the 100-metre and 200-metre freestyle, Casarin also led off for the bronze-medal winning 4x200m freestyle relay team. All these results helped the Gee-Gees men's swim team to a best-ever fifth place finish at nationals. Casarin was named the RSEQ Swimmer of the Year after capturing gold in all four individual freestyle events, as well as a gold and silver in the relays. He set a new U SPORTS record in the 1500m and set seven team records this season.

Mikayla Morton was sensational throughout the Gee-Gees soccer season, setting a team record with 17 goals in the regular season. She led U SPORTS in scoring and was named OUA East MVP as well as a First Team All-Canadian while helping the Garnet and Grey to an undefeated regular season. Morton didn't simply score goals in record numbers: she scored timely goals against Ottawa's key rivals and added three more goals in the OUA playoffs. She then scored the biggest goal of her career against Paulista University of Brazil to secure the FISU World Cup for uOttawa while representing Canada at the event.

The finalists for Athlete of the Year honours were Kevin Domingue (hockey), Réshaan Davis (football), Calvin Epistola (basketball), Madison Clarke (track and field), Michaela Haley (rugby), and Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus (basketball).

Tori Wyman was named as the second recipient of the Gee-Gees Career Achievement Award, following Montana Champagne in 2019. Wyman's resumé with women's rugby is unmatched in Gee-Gees history: she is one of four women's rugby program players to win five conference championships in her Gee-Gees career but she is the only student-athlete in any sport to win a national medal in five consecutive seasons. In addition to the team accolades, Wyman has been an Academic All-Canadian throughout her university career and she is the only one of the four five-time conference champions to also be named an All-Canadian. Wyman's leadership role has been largely behind the scenes until now and we are proud to salute her outstanding work.

The President's Awards are given to those student-athletes who best combine academic and athletic excellence. This year's winners are Brendan Jacome from men's hockey and Katherine Bearne from women's soccer.

Jacome previously won the President's Award in his first year, 2016-2017 and is now graduating from his Finance program and recently announced that he has signed with a professional team in France. He was honoured with the OUA East's Randy Gregg Award this season for excellence in the classroom and on the ice, having maintained his status as an Academic All-Canadian since first year and ranking third on the Gee-Gees in points this season. 

Bearne is now a three-time winner of this award as she had another All-Canadian season with Gee-Gees soccer while starting her Master's degree in physics. The Valedictorian for her undergraduate commencement ceremony, Bearne was once again a force at midfield as the Gee-Gees were undefeated in the regular season and ranked number one nationally. Always fantastic in set pieces, the fifth-year from Halifax had the assist on the World Cup winning goal, and was the OUA East Community Service Award winner this season. 

The finalists for the President's Awards were: Judson Nickerson (swimming), Françis Perron (football), James Shaw (rugby), Brigitte Lefevbre-Okankwu (basketball), Meagan McGaughey (hockey), Tori Wyman (rubgy).

The Gee-Gees Rookies of the Year are Louis Bertrand from men's swimming and Aurélie Dubuc from women's hockey. 

Bertrand rose to a new level at the U SPORTS National Championships, swimming a key leg of the bronze medal-winning 4x200 freestyle relay and also earning fifth place finishes with the 4x100 freestyle and 4x100 medley relay teams. Individually he earned seventh and ninth place finishes in 400m and 200m freestyle events, respectively, for a points total of 49.5 at nationals which was third on the team. He also won two RSEQ relay medals, a silver and a bronze.

Dubuc set a pair of team records for goaltenders, including her five straight wins in net for the Garnet and Grey. Her nine total victories this season were the most by any rookie goalie in Gee-Gees history, and her save percentage of .926 also ranks first for Gee-Gees rookies. Her goals against average of .203 ranks second in program history among all goalies and only two players have posted better save percentages. Dubuc's solid play led Ottawa to a six-game win streak which included two wins over the top-ranked team in U SPORTS.

The finalists for the Rookie of the Year awards were: Jamie Armstrong (rugby), Dominic Cormier (hockey), Kevin Victome (football), Trinity Esprit (soccer), Madison Grant (rugby), Natsuki Szczokin (basketball). 

The Garnet and Grey Community Engagement Award recognizes a student-athlete who has gone above and beyond to contribute to their community, whether it be on campus or off. This year's winner is Gordon Forrest from the swim team. The second-year accounting student is a key leader on the swim team who scored big points at the RSEQ championships in the backstroke events and on the relays, narrowly missing qualifying for nationals. He is a Co-Founder of the Ottawa Burger Fest which raised funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association. On campus he volunteers with Telfer International as the External Director, helping to promote diversity in the Telfer School of Management. Last summer he participated in an AIESEC trip to Mexico as an environmental volunteer, participating in the creation and implementation of environmental projects at a local university. Forrest won the RESQ and U SPORTS Community Engagement Awards for men's swimming this season.

The finalists for the Community Engagement Award were: Katherine Bearne (soccer), Meagan McGaughey (hockey), and Meredith Sirrs (rugby). 

The Gee-Gees are also proud to recognize the outstanding work of all our student athletic trainers. Each year the head athletic therapist presents the Student Trainer of the Year award to those who have excelled within their placements. This year's winners are Yannick Beaumont-Stidwill and Brad McCallen.

The graduating class of 2020 includes 23 student-athletes who are now Lifetime Gee-Gees Award winners as they have used all five years of their university eligibility with the Garnet and Grey. Although several are mentioned below this group will be celebrated as a whole next week.

 

The Gee-Gees Most Valuable Players for 2019-2020 are:

Basketball: Calvin Epistola, 5th year – Linguistics - Toronto, Ont. Lifetime Gee-Gee Award Winner

Basketball: Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus, 5th year - International Development and Globalization -  Ottawa, Ont. Lifetime Gee-Gee Award Winner

Cross Country: Nicholas Roberts, 4th year - Human Kinetics - Ottawa, Ont.

Cross Country: Rebecca Brennan, 5th year - Social Science - Ottawa, Ont. Lifetime Gee-Gee Award Winner

Football: Kyle Rodger, 3rd year - General Studies - Gatineau, Que.

Hockey: Kevin Domingue, 4th year – Social Sciences – Laval, Que.

Hockey: Mélodie Bouchard, 5th year – Social Sciences – Sept-Îles, Que. Lifetime Gee-Gee Award Winner

Rowing: Cameron Fynney, 5th year – Common Law – Toronto, Ont.

Rowing: Neri Sungaila, 2nd year – Nursing – Toronto, Ont.

Rugby: Brody Rawding, 1st year – Human Kinetics – Carleton Place, Ont.

Rugby: Michaela Haley, 5th year – Human Kinetics – Ottawa, Ont.

Soccer: Mikayla Morton, 4th year – Psychology – Coutrice, Ont.

Swimming: Will Barrett, 2nd year – Criminology – Guelph, Ont.

Swimming: Delphine Vandal, 5th year – Communication (Master's) – Shelburne, VT. Lifetime Gee-Gee Award Winner.

Track and Field: Kyle Sprague, 2nd year – Physics and Mathematics – Ottawa, Ont.

Track and Field: Madison Clarke, 4th year – Human Kinetics (Master's) – St. Catharines, Ont.

Volleyball: Kara Hayes, 5th year – Psychology – Ottawa, Ont. Lifetime Gee-Gee Award Winner

 

History of Gee-Gees Major Awards