2016 Olympic bronze medalist Kylie Masse and U SPORTS national heptathlon champion Rostam Turner were named the 2017 T-Holders’ female and male athletes of the year during the University of Toronto’s annual athletic banquet awards ceremony on Saturday, April 1 at Chestnut Residence.
Badminton players Jonathan Lai and Bethany So earned the third annual Frank Pindar male and female athlete of the year awards, which is given annually to athletes competing in a sport whose official season concludes with either an OUA or other university recognized championship event.
The Blues also honoured fencing graduating senior Paul Godin as the George M. Biggs Trophy award winner, as well as 2017 U SPORTS women’s high jump champion Danielle Delage, who was awarded the Dr. Clara Benson Honour award, for their outstanding athletic achievement, scholarship and community service during their tenure at the University of Toronto.
In addition, men’s volleyball setter Jordan Figueira and women’s track and field phenom Lucia Stafford took home the seventh annual Varsity Blues male and female rookie of the year awards.
To say that Kylie Masse had an outstanding season would be an understatement. After claiming the 2016 Olympic bronze medal in the 100 backstroke, Masse followed that up with two silver medals on the world stage, placing second in the 100 backstroke and 400 medley relay at the 2016 FINA world short course championships.
Masse was named the U SPORTS swimmer of the year for the second consecutive season, leading Toronto to the national bronze medal. The first team all-Canadian swept the backstroke events, all in U SPORTS record time, while earning the 200 IM silver medal and three relay bronze medals at the national championships.
Also named the OUA female swimmer of the year for the third time in as many seasons, Masse won six gold medals and broke for records as the Blues won their fourth straight OUA banner at Varsity Pool. She also earned the Dr. Jeno Tihanyi Award for individual medley excellence at the provincial championships.
Rostam Turner won the men’s heptathlon in leading the Varsity Blues men’s track and field team to a fifth-place finish at the 2017 U SPORTS championships this season. Turner won the men’s heptathlon, finishing the two-day, seven-discipline event with 5,368 points.
The Kelowna, B.C., native and first team all-Canadian finished first in the shot put (13.80m) and 1000m (2:47.62), second in the 60m (7.20), pole vault (4.50m) and long jump (6.86m), third in the high jump (1.90m) and fifth in the 60m hurdles (8.79).
He teamed up with Jack Berkshire, Rayshaun Franklin and Charles Sutton to claim the national bronze medal in the 4×400 relay in in time of 3:18.28. Turner also claimed gold in the decathlon at the 2016 North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association championships in July.
Fourth-year veteran Bethany So was named the OUA female most valuable performer in leading the Varsity Blues badminton team to their second straight provincial title this season.
So, who was also named an OUA all-star, went 6-0 at the OUA championship, winning four women’s singles and two women’s doubles matches. She dominated the competition, outscoring her opponents 168-53 in the four singles matches, including a 21-7, 21-5 triumph over Western’s Claudia Tai in the championship match.
Jonathan Lai went 5-0 to help the Varsity Blues badminton team to their second straight OUA banner this season.
Lai was named the OUA rookie of the year and earned OUA all-star honours after going 3-0 in mixed doubles action and 2-0 in men’s singles matches at the provincial championship.
Danielle Delage has enjoyed an illustrious career both academically and athletically with the Varsity Blues track and field program. The team co-captain was named a U SPORTS academic all-Canadian in 2015-16.
Delage is a three-time U SPORTS all-Canadian. After earning silver-medal finishes in the pentathlon (2014-15) and high jump (2015-16), the kinesiology major capped off her five-year career with a national gold-medal finish in the high jump at the 2016-17 national championships. She is also a three-time OUA all-star, the OUA record holder in the pentathlon and helped the Blues to the 2014-15 OUA championship title and three consecutive U SPORTS national banners (2014-17).
Away from athletics, Delage organized the U of T track & field trick-or-eat campaign, collecting canned goods and donations on Halloween to give to the U of T student food bank. She is the U of T Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative (SAMHI) member and champion, while also serving as a mentor for Big Brothers, Big Sisters Toronto. Delage has volunteered with the Blues Buddy Up program, the Home First Society of Toronto and the Karma Food Co-Op.
Paul Godin has been an integral member of the Varsity Blues fencing team for six seasons, captaining the squad for the past two years.
Academically, the three-time OUA Academic Achievement Award recipient has received the J.G. Steele Fellowship, Cray Fellowship and U of T Fellowship Awards. In the past five years, he has been a member of two OUA championships, two OUA silver and one bronze medal-winning teams and is currently ranked 27th in Canada in the men’s foil.
Away from the piste, Godin has been the team’s Varsity Board representative for four seasons, serving as co-chair and Ex-Officio of the Council of Athletics and Recreation for two years. He helped create the inaugural Varsity Blues movie night in conjunction with the Athlete Ally committee and volunteered as a press supervisor at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
First-year phenom Lucia Stafford placed second overall at the OUA cross country championships and earned 2016 OUA rookie of the year and OUA first team all-star honours. She followed that up with a sixth-place individual finish at the national championships, claiming 2016 U SPORTS rookie of the year and first team all-Canadian laurels.
Stafford didn’t slow down once track and field season hit. The Toronto native was named the OUA female rookie of the year and an OUA first team all-star after claiming two gold medals in the 1000m and 4×800 relay and the 1500m silver medal at the provincial championships. She went onto to be named the U SPORTS female performer of the meet after leading Toronto to their third straight national banner in Edmonton. There, Stafford won three gold medals in the 1000m, 4×400 relay and 4×800 relay, as well as one silver medal in the 15000m.
A first-year setter from Oakville, Ont., Jordan Figueira was named the OUA East rookie of the year, as well as a member of the OUA East and U SPORTS all-rookie teams this season.
He led Toronto’s offence throughout the 2016-17 season, ranking sixth among OUA setters with 9.12 assists per set, while also finishing in the OUA Top 10 in digs per set with 1.87 per set. Figueira also topped the team in sets played (68) and serving aces (18) in only his first season as a Varsity Blue.
He tallied a season-high 54 assists in Toronto’s 3-2 victory at RMC on Nov. 4. Figureira recorded 30+ assists in 12 of Toronto’s 18 matches this season.
2016-17 Varsity Blues Major Award Winners
T-Holders’ Athletes of the Year
Presented annually to the male and female student T-Holder – the U of T Athlete of the Year – for exhibiting the highest degree of excellence in athletics.
Male – Rostam Turner (Track & Field)
Female – Kylie Masse (Swimming)
Frank Pindar Athletes of the Year
Presented annually to a male and female varsity athlete competing in a sport whose official season concludes with either an OUA or other university recognized championship event, who exhibits the highest degree of excellence while representing the University of Toronto at competitions during the team’s intercollegiate schedule for the current academic year.
Male – Jonathan Lai (Badminton)
Female – Bethany So (Badminton)
George M. Biggs Trophy
Awarded to the graduating male student-athlete who has contributed most to university athletics from the standpoint of leadership, sportsmanship and performance.
Paul Godin (Fencing)
Benson Honour Award
Awarded to the female student-athlete in her graduating year for outstanding ability in athletics and scholarship.
Danielle Delage (Track & Field)
Rookie of the Year Award
Awarded to a male and female Varsity athlete in their first year of post-secondary eligibility that exhibit outstanding athletic performance.
Male – Jordan Figueira (Volleyball)
Female – Lucia Stafford (Track & Field)
News courtesy: University of Toronto Athletics