Mohawk athletes share the year-end spotlight

Mohawk's top award winners Rachelle Abella, Aminu Bello, Justin Scapinello (Photo: Elia Koolsbergen)

Fifth-year guard Aminu Bello of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Associations champion men’s basketball team is this year’s recipient of the highest honour in Mohawk College athletics – the Dr. Sam Mitminger Award. The honour goes to a graduating athlete, who achieves consistent academic and athletic excellence. Bello received the award as Mohawk celebrated its 2011-12 athletic programme at the 45th Annual Athletics Awards Banquet at Michelangelos on March 31.

Bello was a CCAA All-Canadian, OCAA tournament All-Star, OCAA West First Team All-Star, West scoring champion, and Male Basketball Athlete of the Week in the OCAA in February. His 24.4 points per game was third best in all of Canada as Bello also was a CCAA All-Academic, averaging approximately 89 percent.

Bello was also the recipient of the SIRC- CCAA Academic All Canadian Award, which is the CCAA’s most prestigious student-athlete award, epitomizing its mandate of recognizing excellence in academics and athletics. To achieve this honour, a student-athlete must be named to his or her province’s all star team (1st or 2nd), or have won an OCAA provincial gold or silver in a CCAA sport, and must have achieved honours at their institution.

Volleyball star Justin Scapinello was named winner of the Wes Hicks Outstanding Male Athlete Award. Scapinello averaged 4.4 points per game, which was second in the West and fourth in the OCAA. He became a CCAA All-Canadian and an OCAA First Team league All-Star while leading Mohawk to an OCAA Bronze medal.

Basketball standout Rachelle Abella was selected the Outstanding Female Athlete. She was the OCAA West’s best defensive player and an OCAA first team league all-star. She was second in OCAA and West Region scoring with 20.2 points per game. She also led the Mountaineers with 67 steals and 49 assists and had 110 rebounds.

Teammate Megan Campbell won the Female Freshman Award. In 18 games, the centre averaged 4.9 points per game for the Mountaineers and despite being a first year player, was one of the captains of a much improved Mohawk squad which finished the season with an 8-10 record.

The top Male Freshman was 6-6 basketball forward Andrew Cicuttini. A member of Mohawk’s OCAA and CCAA champions, Cicuttini was the most Valuable Player in the national tournament. He was third in team scoring with 10.2 points per game in the regular season and had 143 rebounds, just six behind the team leader.

Ashley Hagen was named the All Round Female Athlete. The award goes to an athlete for excellence in participating in more than one varsity sport. Hagen was the OCAA women’s soccer scoring champion with 12 goals and was named to the West All-Star Team. In volleyball she had 44 kills, five aces, eight blocks and 63 digs.

Each year the OCAA Coaches within the varsity sports that lead to national championships select OCAA all stars at the end of the season. Only two of the top Ontario All Stars are selected and named a CCAA All Canadian. This year Mohawk College had two athletes named to the All Canadian team: Scapinello from the men’s volleyball team and Bello from the men’s basketball team.

Each year colleges across Ontario have the opportunity to submit names of athletes, who, while achieving athletic excellence, are also able to obtain a high academic standing. Mohawk College took pride in announcing that 33 of its athletes were chosen to the All Academic team in Ontario. They are:

Cross Country: Jeremy Connell, Michael Marshall, John Miles, and Jonathan Redfearn.

Women’s Fastball: Amber Silversmith, Melanie White, and Sybel El Kareh.

Golf: Andrew Horner and Brandon Taylor.

Men’s Rugby: Tyler Brunke.

Women’s Rugby : Danika Faucon, Julie Hill, and Jessica Ramsay.

Men’s Soccer : Vipusan Karvannathasan, Ioannis Simatis, and Mark Vanduyvenvoorde.

Women’s Soccer : Nicole Roberts, Kailey Swaving, Melanie Wong, and Fabrizia Leuzzi.

Badminton: Kien Tran.

Men’s Basketball: Aminu Bello and Mike Dzikic.

Women’s Basketball: Lindsay Bokor, Joanna Brown, Megan Campbell, Marina Ciannavei, and Cynthia Mosca.

Curling: Christine Moore, Wesley Steen, and Sandy Toole.

Men’s Volleyball: Kyle Hussey and Philip Youngblut.

Mohawk’s coaches awards went to:

Badminton: Most Valuable Players – Chris Hong and Mohammed Nazimuddin. Coach’s Award – Kien Tran.

Men’s Basketball: Most Valuable Player – Bello. Defensive Player of the Year – Taylor Dowhaniuk. Coach’s ’ Award – Manny Campbell.

Women’s Basketball: Most Valuable Player – Abella. Rookie of the Year – Megan Campbell; Coach’s Award – Marina Ciannavei.

Cross Country: Most Valuable Player – Jonathan Redfearn; Rookie of the Year – John Miles.

Curling: Most Valuable Player – Sandy Toole; Most Improved Player – Sarah McFarlane; Coach’s Award – Jordan Crockett.

Women’s Fastball: Most Valuable Player – Nicole Leitch; Most Improved Player – Sybel El Kareh – Coach’s Award- Stephanie Duffin.

Golf: Most Valuable Player – Curtis Henshaw; Most Improved Player – Heather Brouwer.

Men’s Rugby: Most Valuable Player – Phil Jackson; Most Improved Player – Nathan Lemstra; Coach’s Award – Eric Moyer.

Women’s Rugby: Most Valuable Player – Raquel Rose; Most Improved Player – Reyanna Sangestino; Coach’s Award – Rebecca Halliwell.

Men’s Soccer: Rookie of the Year Player – Alex Mickeloff; “Tom Bell” Coach’s Award – Momo Veljko and Davis MacLeod.

Women’s Soccer: Most Valuable Player – Ashley Hagen; Coach’s Award – Shelby Dawdy and Jaclyn Halliday.

Men’s Volleyball: Most Valuable Player – Scapinello; Coach’s Award – Justin DesRoche and Andrew Ross.

Women’s Volleyball: Most Valuable Player – Kristin VanHartingsveldt; Rookie of the Year- Chi Chi Chuks-Mady; Coaches Award – Julie Gagnon.

Other awards and recipients included:

The Department of Athletics & Recreation Award, in recognition of Outstanding Participation in both the Varsity and Campus Recreation Programs: Jordan Crockett. He was very active in the campus rec program, participating in co-ed soccer and volleyball, Ultimate frisbee, touch football and was the leader in the active living challenge. The third-year business student was the lead on the varsity men’s curling team which won the Ron Fearon Fair Play Award.

The Hap Holman Business Award went to Nicolaas VanGemert. The award recognizes outstanding participation in varsity athletics and academic excellence in a business program by a second or third year student. The award is named after Mohawk and OCAA hall of famer Hap Holman, who coached Mohawk Curling for 27 years and was a Professor in Business Studies for 25 years.

VanGemert averaged 81% in the fall semester while participating on his varsity team. He made it to the semi finals in West Regional badminton and participated in a number of invitational tournaments this year.

The Dr. Keith McIntyre Athletic Leadership Award, given to recognize outstanding leadership qualities that have contributed toward the enrichment, support, development and enhancement of student life at Mohawk College, went to Daniel Clark, Mohawk Student Association president and Jamie-Leigh Haughn, MSA vice president of Athletics and SAC Chair.

With the college set to break ground on a $35 million Recreation Centre, featuring full size courts, a triple gymnasium, a fitness centre approximately five times the size of the current one and a health and wellness clinic, the two student leaders passionately lobbied support for a new facility. Thanks to their presentations and support at the MSA table the association voted to support moving forward with a building fee to be charged once the facility is open without going to referendum.

The Barb Moore Spirit of Athletics Award went to Elia Koolsbergen. The award honours a student involved in athletics as a non-participant who demonstrated dedication and the true spirit of student life in support of athletics.

Elia attended most home games and a number of road games taking photos for the Athletics Department. He initiated the Mohawk Mountaineers’ Facebook page, posting stories and photos after every game. He is renowned for his photo shoots with athletes and his never ending need for sports pictures. His passion for sports photography won him first place in the Sweat magazine photo contest this winter.