Omar Langford accepts his Gauntlet extra effort award.
the Gauntlet

We're all winners, really

Night of the Dino honours U of C athletes

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The 41st Annual Night of the Dino commandeered MacEwan Hall for a night of shiny awards and smiling faces Tue., Apr. 1.

The Dinos celebrated their various achievements this year, including CIS gold and silver in men's and women's swimming, CIS bronze in women's volleyball, CW gold in cross country, ACAC silver in women's hockey, CIS silver and CW gold for men's and women's track and field and CIS silver in women's wrestling.

Graduating athletes and fifth-years were honoured for their continued dedication to Dinos athletics and continued success in balancing their varsity careers and scholastic endeavours. In addition to the teams' laurels, the athletes came together to recognize their peers' various individual achievements.

Awards of merit were given to outstanding Dinos athletes Jared Aulin for men's hockey, Justine Bouchard for women's wrestling, Courtney Coyle for women's basketball Mark Dewit for football and men's wrestling, Sam Effah for men's track and field, Chad Hankewich for men's swimming, Amonn Nelson for women's track and field, Anthony Woodson for football and Julie Young for women's volleyball. All of these Dinos were also considered for the Dr. Dennis Kadatz athletes of the year.

Tyler Fidler from men's basketball and Breanna Hendriks from women's swimming took home Bill Popplewell rookie of the year honours. Fidler made a much-noticed contribution to his team averaging 22 minutes of play and 9.9 points per game and was considered the sixth man for most of the year. In addition to his newly awarded title, he was named to the CIS all-rookie team and holds CW rookie of the year. Hendriks followed the tradition of female swimmers named as CIS rookie of the year, following teammates Katy Murdoch and Kevyn Peterson. She was awarded two CIS silver medals and made the CIS second all-Canadian team.

Another honour was given on behalf of the Calgary Booster Club to give credit to students who excel both athletically and academically. Dewit made another appearance accepting this award after playing double-duty on the football and wrestling teams. His involvement garnered him both a trip to the CFL combine in Mar. as well as capturing the CIS heavyweight title. Tessa Gray represented the women's side for the scholarship when she was recognized after her participation in the CIS gold medal-achieving 4x400 metre relay team as well as CW bronze individual medal.

The Dinos also took time in the ceremony to honour some individuals and groups that, while not athletes, heartily contributed to the teams' success this season.

The Murray Fraser student volunteer awards, given in the name of the former university president, were presented to event volunteer Shubham Tiwari and the NUTV Live! crew for their work during Dinos events and promoting awareness for the program. The Dr. Lou Goodwin award was presented to Tony Spoletini and Spolumbo's Deli for their continued support and hosting of Dinos football hour every week during the team's season. CIS 2008 wrestling championships volunteer chair Irene Buchan received the Marg Southern award, recognizing her achievements in bringing attention and acclaim to the tournament, held at the U of C Feb. 28 to Mar. 1. The Vereburn Athletic Therapy awards were bestowed upon Sarah Robinson and Tiffany Toombs for the excellent care and physical therapy they provided for Dinos athletes all year in the field and clinically.

Gauntlet sports editor Amanda Hu had the pleasure of presenting this year's Gauntlet extra effort award to women's soccer player Morena Ianniello and men's volleyballer Omar Langford. The extra effort award is given to one male and female athlete to recognize their perseverance and dedication to the pursuit of athletic excellence for the Dinos.

The last awards of the night, the Dr. Dennis Kadatz athletes of the year, found themselves in the hands of Young and Effah. Young captained the women's volleyball team to another CIS bronze even in the wake of their coach, Kevin Boyles, taking on the role of interim athletic director. Individually, she tackled the roles of left side and libero and was named a first-team Canada West all-star and second-team all-Canadian. Young was surprised by the award and cited her win as a team and coaching triumph. Looking towards next year, with Boyles' role as IAD taking up all his time and the team working with a new coach, she sees the transition as a positive thing for the team.

"We really don't want to see Kevin leave, but we know it's the perfect opportunity for him," she said. "We're really happy with the new coach that's coming in, so I think it's going to be a really good and smooth transition."

Effah blew everyone away at CW and CIS this year, grabbing four gold medals at nationals and taking the titles of CIS championship MVP, CIS track athlete of the year and CW track athlete of the year. Though caught off-guard by the honour as well, he said that he sees next year as having even greater potential for individual and team success.

"It's been sort of a down year and it's been sort of competitive because a lot of fifth-year athletes graduated and then it was just me and the younger athletes," he said. "The team came second at Canada West championships [this year], so definitely going for the gold [is a goal]. We just need a lot more field guys. [On an individual level,] I'd just like to break a record or two."