Best and Pingue-Giles named Athletes of the Year at 68th Annual Athletic Awards

Best and Pingue-Giles named Athletes of the Year at 68th Annual Athletic Awards

(Photo: Alex D'Addese)

TORONTO – The Ryerson Rams celebrated the most successful season in school history at the 68th Annual Athletic Awards Celebration on Saturday night at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel. Basketball players Keneca Pingue-Giles (Winnipeg, Man.) and Aaron Best (Scarborough, Ont.) took home the top prize as athletes of the year.

Pingue-Giles repeated as the H.H. Kerr Female Athlete of the Year after winning last year's award and leading the women’s basketball team to unchartered territory this season. The fifth year guard became the first female athlete in any sport at Ryerson to be named the CIS Player of the Year and was also a CIS First-Team All-Canadian, the OUA Player of the Year, OUA Defensive Player of the Year, and OUA First-Team All-Star. Pingue-Giles led the Rams to their first ever OUA championship and to the first CIS silver medal in school history. Badminton player Vivian Kwok (Stouffville, Ont.) and volleyball players Veronica Livingston (Kelowna, B.C.) and Theanna Vernon (Scarborough, Ont.) were the other finalists for the award.

Fifth year guard Aaron Best took home the Ryersonian Male Athlete of the Year award for the second time in his career following one of his best seasons as a Ram which culminated in the team's first OUA championship and second consecutive CIS bronze medal. Best was named an OUA First-Team All-Star and CIS Second-Team All-Canadian after averaging 17.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, both career highs. Best also finishes his career third all-time in scoring and sixth all-time in rebounding at Ryerson. Also nominated for this award this season was Lucas Coleman (Brooklin, Ont.) of the volleyball team, Michael Fine (Toronto) from the hockey team, and Raheem Rose (Etobicoke, Ont.) from the soccer team.

First year figure skater Taylor Smith (Georgetown, Ont.) was named the RSU Female Rookie of the Year. In her first season, Smith skated in three events at her first OUA championship. In her individual event, Smith won the OUA bronze medal in the novice short program. She also helped the synchro team earn points contributing to the overall team total where the Rams placed fifth. Also nominated for the award this season was Kate McIlmoyle (London, Ont.) from the volleyball team and Maria Poveda (Mississauga, Ont.) from the soccer team.

This year’s Eyeopener Male Rookie of the Year award went to Brandon Devlin (Brampton, Ont.), a first year defenceman with the hockey team. In his first season in the Rams uniform, Devlin was named to the OUA West All-Rookie team after finishing third in the division among defencemen with six goals. Devlin finished with 13 points while playing in all 28 regular season games. He then averaged nearly 1.5 points per game in the playoffs, posting seven points in five games. Also a finalist for the award this season was figure skater Chris Berneck (Barrie, Ont.) and soccer player Nathaniel Tambakis (Toronto).

Women’s volleyball player Erica Naccarato (Pickering, Ont.) won this year’s G.L. Dobson Outstanding Contribution to Interuniversity Sport, Campus and Community Life Award. Naccarato has developed one of the most successful community student-athlete driven initiatives over the course of her career as a Ram. For the past three years Naccarato has spearheaded a blood donor clinic in partnership with Canadian Blood Services. This year the project expanded to include stem cell donations as part of the OneMatch program. Naccarato’s event has garnered support throughout the Ryerson campus and this year a faculty member and alumni reached out to dedicate these events to specific individuals in need. Also nominated for this award this year was women's hockey player Jessica Hartwick (Brampton, Ont.) and fencer Tess Sutherland (Ottawa, Ont.).

Men's soccer player Kyle Stewart (Kingston, Jamaica) took home this year’s D.H. Craighead Outstanding Contribution to Interuniversity Sport, Campus and Community Life Award. Stewart was involved in as many community initiatives as his schedule could allow, including Rams in Training and Rising Rams where he attends three sessions per week. He was a major fundraiser in all of the Movember, Think Pink, and Do It For Daron (DIFD) initiatives and is currently fundraising for the humanitarian trip to Peru. Stewart organized a soccer clinic for Church Street P.S. where kids were able to develop their soccer and teamwork skills, and he set the framework for a new program for next season, the Rising Rams Fan Squad. Also nominated for this award this year was Brodie Barrick (Welland, Ont.) from the hockey team, Wesley Kosiba (Toronto) from the volleyball team, and Adika Peter-McNeilly (Scarborough, Ont.) from the basketball team.

See below for a full list of this year’s award winners.

H.H. Kerr Female Athlete of the Year
Keneca Pingue-Giles

Ryersonian Male Athlete of the Year
Aaron Best

RSU Female Rookie of the Year
Taylor Smith

Eyeopener Male Rookie of the Year
Brandon Devlin

G.L. Dobson Female Outstanding Contribution
Erica Naccarato

D.H. Craighead Male Outstanding Contribution
Kyle Stewart

Gold ‘R’ Recipients
Aaron Best (men's basketball)
Martin Dabrowski (men's soccer)
Jessica Hartwick (women's hockey)
Silvana Jez (women's basketball)
Vivian Kwok (badminton)
Emily Nicholishen (women's volleyball)
Mariah Nunes (women's basketball)
Jacob O'Connor (men's soccer)

Claude LaJeunesse Award (Academics)
Kristine Yan (Women’s Volleyball)

Jim Peffers Award (Staff)
Dustin Reid

CIS President’s Team Award
Women’s Basketball

OUA President’s Team Award
Figure Skating

Team MVPs
Badminton: David Chan & Vivian Kwok
Women’s Basketball: Keneca Pingue-Giles
Men’s Basketball: Aaron Best
Fencing: Samuel Hardwicke & Sukie Ma
Figure Skating: Chris Berneck
Women’s Hockey: Jessica Hartwick
Men’s Hockey: Michael Fine
Women’s Soccer: Maria Poveda
Men’s Soccer: Martin Dabrowski
Women’s Volleyball: Theanna Vernon
Men’s Volleyball: Lucas Coleman

Athletic Therapy Awards
Men’s Basketball: Darren Noriel
Women’s Basketball: Laura Gini
Men’s Hockey: Caden Allingham
Women’s Hockey: Justine Branco
Women’s Soccer/Volleyball: Erika Busk
Men’s Soccer/Volleyball: Adrian Huynh