TORONTO, Ont. - The countdown is on for the 17th Annual BLG awards honouring the top Canadian Interuniversity Sport female and male athletes for the 2008-09 season.

After 16 successful years in Calgary, the BLG awards are coming to Toronto for the first time ever. On Mon., April 27, 2009, the eight national nominees will be honoured, with one female and one male winner receiving a $10,000 post-secondary grant in front of more than 1,000 BLG guests at the John Bassett Theatre, in the Toronto Metro Convention Centre.

The awards show will premier on TSN on Sat., May 16, at 2 p.m.

Official website:

CIS will highlight one female and one male finalists daily during the week leading up to the awards gala. Today, the nominees from Ontario University Athletics.

Ontario University Athletics (OUA)

2009 BLG awards: Ontario University Athletics female nominee

Lindsay Carson

University of Guelph
Sports: Cross country & track
Year of eligibility in 2008-09: 2
Academic program: Engineering
Hometown: Cambridge, Ont.

Lindsay Carson burst onto the university scene as an 18-year-old freshman in 2007-08 when she was named CIS athlete of the year and rookie of the year in cross country after she claimed individual gold at the national championships and guided the Guelph women to the team title, and then earned CIS top-rookie honours in track and field after she collected three individual medals – including one gold – and led the Gryphon women to the first banner in team history.

Carson followed up with an exceptional sophomore season in both sports in 2008-09. In cross country, she once again led the Guelph women to the team titles at both the OUA and CIS championships, while in tack and field she guided the Gryphons to OUA gold for the first time ever and to CIS silver, only one point behind Windsor. Individually, she took OUA silver and CIS bronze in cross country, was named MVP of the OUA track and field championships following wins in the 1,500 and 3,000-metre races and a second-place finish in the 1,000m, was named CIS track and field athlete of the year in track events, and won three gold medals at the CIS meet (1,500, 3,000, 4x800 relay). Carson was undefeated all season on 1,500 and 3,000 and posted a time of 9:10.04 on 3,000 at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational, the second fastest time in CIS history and the 11th fastest in Canadian history on the distance.

Her international experience includes competing at the 2005 world youth track and field championships in 2005, the world junior cross country championships in 2006 and 2007, and the 2008 IAAF world cross country championships in Edinburgh, Scotland. A multi-sport athlete, Carson was a competitive speed skater for seven years. Her mother Leslie was also an all-Canadian runner at Guelph and competed at the Francophone Games.

"Lindsay has had a phenomenal year and we've only seen a fraction of what she's capable of doing yet. Her work ethic and drive are incredible and she is fearless in competition - combine those elements with her great ability and you have a true international class athlete emerging," says Guelph head coach Dave Scott Thomas. "She is a excellent team player and a great ambassador for the University if Guelph and the CIS."

Other female nominees:

Atlantic University Sport: Ghislaine Landry (Toronto), rugby, St. Francis Xavier
Quebec Student Sports Federation: Charline Labonté (Boisbriand, Que.), hockey, McGill
Canada West Universities Athletic Association: Annamay Pierse (Edmonton), swimming, UBC

2009 BLG awards: Ontario University Athletics male nominee

Francesco Bruno

York University
Sport: Soccer
Year of eligibility in 2008-09: 3
Academic program: Business and Society
Hometown: Toronto, Ont.

It is safe to say Francesco Bruno probably doesn't have any regrets about transferring from Syracuse University to York in 2007. After being named to the first all-Canadian team and leading the Lions to their first appearance at the national championship in 10 years in his CIS debut, the five-foot-10, 165-pound midfielder and his new teammates had a season to remember in 2008. After tying for second in the country with 10 goals in 14 conference outings – including three game-winners, the Toronto native became the first Lion to receive the Joe Johnson Memorial trophy as CIS MVP since the inception of the award in 1991. He resumed his domination during the OUA playoffs, scoring twice in a quarterfinal victory over Brock and guiding his team to the conference final, before helping York capture a first CIS men's soccer title since 1977 thanks to three straight shutout wins at Nationals, where he was selected as a tournament all-star. The triumph also marked the school's first CIS banner in any sports since 1989-90.

Growing up in an Italian family, the 24-year-old Bruno picked up soccer at a very early age. He realized a dream when he was chosen to represent Canada at the 2003 FIFA Under-20 world championship in the United Arab Emirates, where the team reached the quarterfinals, marking the furthest a Canadian men's squad had ever advanced at a major international competition.

"Francesco is one of the most complete players we have in this country. He can defend, he can pass, he can dribble and he can score," says York head coach Carmine Isacco. "Through his work on and off the field, I think Francesco exemplifies himself as to what a truly elite student-athlete should be."

Other male nominees:

Atlantic University Sport: Marc Rancourt (Gloucester, Ont.), hockey, Saint Mary's
Quebec Student Sports Federation: Étienne Légaré (St-Raymond, Que.), football, Laval
Canada West Universities Athletic Association: Joel Schmuland (Calgary), volleyball, Alberta


2007-08: Laetitia Tchoualack (Montreal - volleyball), Rob Hennigar (UNB - hockey)
2006-07: Jessica Zelinka (Calgary - track & field), Josh Howatson (Trinity Western - volleyball)
2005-06: Marylène Laplante (Laval - volleyball), Osvaldo Jeanty (Carleton - basketball)
2004-05: Adrienne Power (Dalhousie - track & field), Jesse Lumsden (McMaster - football)
2003-04: Joanna Niemczewska (Calgary - volleyball), Adam Ens (Saskatchewan - volleyball)
2002-03: Kim St-Pierre (McGill - hockey), Ryan McKenzie (Windsor - cross country & track)
2001-02: Elizabeth Warden (Toronto - swimming), Brian Johns (UBC - swimming)
2000-01: Leighann Doan (Calgary - basketball), Kojo Aidoo (McMaster - football)
1999-00: Jenny Cartmell (Alberta - volleyball), Michael Potts (Western Ontario - soccer)
1998-99: Corinne Swirsky (Concordia - hockey), Alexandre Marchand (Sherbrooke - track)
1997-98: Foy Williams (Toronto - track & field), Titus Channer (McMaster - basketball)
1996-97: Terri-Lee Johannesson (Manitoba - basketball), Curtis Myden (Calgary - swimming)
1995-96: Justine Ellison (Toronto - basketball), Don Blair (Calgary - football)
1994-95: Linda Thyer (McGill - track & field), Bill Kubas (Wilfrid Laurier - football)
1993-94: Sandra Carroll (Winnipeg - basketball), Tim Tindale (Western Ontario - football)
1992-93: Diane Scott (Winnipeg - volleyball), Andy Cameron (Calgary - volleyball)

About the BLG awards

The BLG awards were established in 1993 to recognize the top female and male athletes from universities affiliated with CIS. The awards are based on athletic accomplishments, outstanding sportsmanship and leadership.

Each of 52 CIS schools selects one female and one male athlete of the year. From these nominees, one female and one male athlete are chosen within each of the four regional associations: Atlantic University Sport, Quebec Student Sports Federation, Ontario University Athletics, and Canada West Universities Athletic Association. To be eligible, a student-athlete must have competed in a CIS sport for a minimum of two years and cannot be a previous recipient of a BLG award.

Nominees receive a commemorative gold ring, and winners are presented with a trophy and a $10,000 scholarship to attend a Canadian University graduate school. Winners are selected by the Canadian Athletic Foundation, a not-for-profit Board established for the purpose of administering the BLG Awards and protecting the integrity of the selection process. The CAF Board of Trustees consists of 23 members from six Canadian cities representing 11 major corporations from across the country who are committed to ensuring that Canadian University athletes receive the recognition they deserve.

About Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

With more than 750 lawyers, intellectual property agents, and other professionals working in six major Canadian cities, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP is the largest Canadian full-service business law firm. BLG provides bilingual legal and intellectual property services in virtually every area of law, and represents a wide range of regional, national and multinational organizations. For further information, visit

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport

Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Fifty-two universities, 10,000 student-athletes and 550 coaches vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, and 32 World University Championships. CIS is proud to support the 2015 Edmonton Summer Universiade bid. For further information, visit

Source: CIS Communications
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