Western honours its Mustangs at annual gala

Men’s football player Will Finch and women’s track and field athlete Robin Bone were recognized for their outstanding careers on Tuesday night as the Western Mustangs held the 2015-16 Athletic Awards Gala at the London Convention Centre.

Finch finished his four years at Western by becoming the 77th winner of the Dr. Claude Brown Memorial Trophy, while Bone wrapped up her four-year Mustangs career as the 60th F.W.P. Jones Trophy winner. Both awards are presented to an athlete judged to have made the greatest contribution to intercollegiate athletics within the university during their time at Western.

In his four seasons with the Mustangs, Finch established himself as one of the greatest players in Western football history. Leading the Purple and White to the 30th Yates Cup in program history in 2013, he also guided the Mustangs to a pair of undefeated regular seasons in both 2013 and 2015.

A two-time OUA MVP, three-time OUA All-Star, and two-time CIS All-Canadian, Finch ends his career in third place on the Mustangs all-time passing list with 8,243 yards in 30 regular season games. His 3,047 yards from 2013 and 2,616 yards from 2015 are the first and fourth highest single season totals in Western football history.

Other nominees for the Dr. Claude Brown Memorial Trophy were rower Brent Duncan and basketball player Greg Morrow.

For the past four seasons no one has dominated the OUA and CIS pole vaulting ranks like Robin Bone. The London native captured gold at the OUA Championship in each of her four seasons, while also taking silver at the CIS Championship in 2013 before claiming CIS gold in each of the past three years.

Owner of 19 meet records, Bone holds the OUA and CIS in-season and championship records, as well as the Thompson Arena pole vault record. Along with her OUA and CIS success, Bone has competed on the international stage, representing Canada on the World Youth team, Pan Am Junior team, U23 National team and at the FISU Universiade.

Also nominated for the F.W.P. Jones Trophy were swimming’s Paulina Bond, and hockey’s Kelly Campbell.

Along with the Brown and Jones trophies two Mustangs were selected as the Male and Female Athletes of the Year.

Receiving the fourth-ever Male Athlete of the Year Award was track and field athlete Riley Bell. Bell posted his best season to date in 2015-16, starting the season ranked first in the CIS in long jump and finishing it in the same spot, winning gold at the CIS Championship. He also took the top spot at the OUA Championship, posting a personal best of 7.49m, as well as earning a silver medal in triple jump. For his efforts he was recognized as the OUA Male Field Event MVP.

Basketball player Greg Morrow, football player Alex Taylor and swimmer Gamal Assaad were also nominated for the Male Athlete of the Year Award.

Paulina Bond claimed the fourth Female Athlete of the Year Award after an outstanding final season in purple and white. The fifth-year senior earned a Graduating Athlete Award of Distinction at the OUA Championships after winning three gold and three silver medals, along with setting an OUA record in the 50m butterfly. She continued her success at the CIS Championship, winning the Sprinter’s Cup after taking the top spot in both the 50m and 100m freestyle, while also winning gold in the 50m butterfly.

Other nominees for Female Athlete of the Year were volleyball’s Kelsey Veltman, as well as Robin Bone and Joy Spear Chief-Morris from the track and field team.

Also presented on Tuesday night were the prestigious Purple Blanket awards, which are given to student-athletes, usually in their graduating year, that are judged to have made an outstanding contribution to Western athletics.

This year, 14 Purple Blankets were handed out with five going to major award nominees Robin Bone, Paulina Bond, Brent Duncan, Will Finch, and Greg Morrow. Other winners included women’s hockey’s Katelyn Gosling, women’s lacrosse’s Tenyka Snider, women’s rowing’s Jill Moffatt, women’s swimming’s Jennifer McNaughton, football’s Ricky Osei-Kusi, women’s badminton’s Adrianna Giuffre, women’s soccer’s Tori Edgar, men’s track and field’s Isoken Ogieva and softball’s Shannon Davidson.

Team MVPs were honoured as well, with the full list of winners outlined below:

  • Men’s Badminton: Bryan Jok and Daniel Paulson (co-MVPs);
  • Women’s Badminton: Karissa Chan;
  • Baseball: Nolan Anderson;
  • Men’s Basketball: Greg Morrow;
  • Women’s Basketball: Mackenzie Puklicz;
  • Men’s Cross Country: Chris Balestrini;
  • Women’s Cross Country: Kristina Popadich;
  • Men’s Curling: Aaron Chapman;
  • Women’s Curling: Kaitlyn Poirier;
  • Men’s Fencing: Connor Wilson;
  • Women’s Fencing: Marie Lecoq;
  • Field Hockey: Emily Cozens;
  • Figure Skating: Jessica Reid;
  • Football: Will Finch;
  • Men’s Golf: Joshua Zhang;
  • Women’s Golf: Sara Holland;
  • Men’s Hockey: David Corrente and Stephen Gaskin (co-MVPs);
  • Women’s Hockey: Katelyn Gosling;
  • Men’s Lacrosse: Jordan Jones-Smith;
  • Women’s Lacrosse: Sheehan Mulholland and Jacqueline Owens (co-MVPs);
  • Ringette: Amanda Storie;
  • Men’s Rowing: Aaron Kirkey (Heavyweight);
  • Men’s Rowing: Matthew Christie (Lightweight);
  • Women’s Rowing: Genevieve Favreau (Heavyweight);
  • Women’s Rowing: Larissa Werbicki (Lightweight);
  • Men’s Rugby: Mike Turnbull;
  • Women’s Rugby: Andrea Bowra;
  • Men’s Soccer: Parker Seymour;
  • Women’s Soccer: Angelika Mihalopulos;
  • Softball: Melanie Smith and Shannon Davidson (co-MVPs);
  • Men’s Squash: Stefan Houbtchev;
  • Women’s Squash: Holly Delavigne;
  • Men’s Swimming: Gamal Assaad;
  • Women’s Swimming: Paulina Bond;
  • Table Tennis: Changjing Zhu and Rongge Zhang (co-MVPs);
  • Men’s Tennis: Vahagn Tonakanian;
  • Women’s Tennis: Helen He;
  • Men’s Track and Field: Riley Bell;
  • Women’s Track and Field: Kaleigh Hole;
  • Men’s Ultimate Frisbee: Wesley Tin;
  • Women’s Ultimate Frisbee: Jacqueline Man;
  • Men’s Volleyball: Matt Hooker;
  • Women’s Volleyball: Kat Tsiofas;
  • Water Polo: Jared Webster;
  • Men’s Wrestling: Kyle Bonk-Dann; and
  • Women’s Wrestling: Alyssa Medeiros and Julie Steffler.