Whit Hornsberger - Kris Kotarski
When he came to the University of Calgary in September, the Gauntlet's sports pages featured a story entitled "The Great Whit Hype." Month's later, it's safe to say Whit Hornsberger lived up to the hype. His stellar play in his first year as a Dino earned him the Bill Popplewell Rookie of the Year Title, and the respect of
the U of C athletic community.
"We were looking to provide depth," said Vanhooren. "He earned a lot of time for a rookie [and] for the most part he responded very well.
"He's well deserved. We didn't get a chance to watch some of the other athletes, but he certainly made a huge contribution to our team."
His 12 points-per-game were excellent for a point guard, but Hornsberger is quick to look to next season where he hopes to improve on his performance.
"I was pretty honoured to get the award," he said. "But I wasn't that pleased with the season. I could have played a lot better."
"We can't look at him like he's a fifth-year vet," smiled Vanhooren. "If Whit concentrates on listening and learning he will have an unbelievable future in basketball."
Glimpses of that future were evident all year long, as Hornsberger showed ashes of brilliance alongside common rookie mistakes. The Dinos hope he can iron out the creases and lead the team to national prominence. Whit's quick to sing the praises of his young coach who guided him through his first varsity season.
"Dan helped me tonnes," he said. "It's like having an older brother or a really young dad."
The good vibes are mutual, as Vanhooren jokes about his point guards retro-appearance.
"The '70s seem to be coming back in," smiled the coach. "His mullet makes me laugh. I recruited a clean-cut kid, and this is what I got."
"I'm trying to get on That '70s Show," shot back Hornsberger in his own defence.
The Rookie of the Year has some bold predictions for next season.
"If we can stay healthy, we'll be really good. Our goal should be winning the Canada West."
And with Hornsberger leading a healthy team, the sky's the limit. But for now Whit's going back home after finals to take it easy on the mean streets of a Saskatchewan town.
"I'm going to enjoy Regina and all it has to offer."
Kristy Cameron - Ryan Laverty
It is a rarity at the University of Calgary to find a student that hails from any further East than the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border. So when a student athlete arrives from Southern Ontario, it makes you wonder why. The answer seems to be a premier program attracts premier athletes, and those premier athletes in turn keep that program on top. This season was a ne example of a successful cycle when rookie-swimming sensation and Ontario native Kristy Cameron's two gold medals led the Dinos to a solid second-place finish at the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union championship.
On top of her two victories in the 100 and 200 metre breaststroke, Cameron's talent and effort earned her the Bill Popplewell Rookie of the Year award for 2000/2001.
"I was extremely surprised they called my name," she said. "I had a good year, but I also had mono for three months. I didn't get back to competing until the end of the season so I thought it would probably go to one of the other girls."
The fact that she did fight off a virus as brutal as mono and not only made it back to the pool but won two golds at both the Canada West championship and at CIAUs is a true testament to her character and desire. It would have been easy for Cameron to wait a few more weeks to get back into her routine since CIAU competition is more or less a warmup for the team's true competitive season, which runs through the summer. But Cameron had varsity squad on her mind.
"I hope to improve my performance next year. I know I can still do better, and the team can do better," Cameron commented. "We are going to win it all next year. Men and women. 90 per cent of this year's women's team were first year's, so we'll be coming back. Plus we only had 10 girls on our team and we can carry 18. We've got some great recruits coming in next year to fill those other eight spots. Think about it; we finished second overall and we only had 10 swimmers. We're denitely going to beat UBC next year."
With Rookie of the Year Kristy Cameron leading the way, these Dinos could be beating UBC for the next few years and then some.