May 28th, 2024

Helton, Stewart take home Athlete of the Year awards


By Lethbridge Herald on April 18, 2024.

LETHBRIGE COLLEGE PHOTO Hannah Helton and Owen Stewart were the recipients of the Tim Tollestrup Leadership/ Athlete of the Year awards on Wednesday night at the Kodi Awards.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge College Kodiaks officially wrapped up the 2023-2024 college athletic season with their annual Kodi awards on Wednesday night.

Local indoor track and cross country athlete, Owen Stewart, won the Tim Tollestrup Leadership/ Athlete of the Year for male athletes.

“Honestly, I’m really grateful to be awarded this award,” said Stewart.

“I think it’s something that has kind of been on my mind. I remember last year I had just the track season, just one semester and I saw my friend Cooper (Williams) win it and I just look up to him. And so, really, just everything came together with the races, and training and just being able to do what I felt like I could do and it all came together.”

The award ends the year of many accolades gained by Stewart including being named to ACAC (Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference) All-Conference Team for both cross country and indoor track,  Indoor Track Men’s Runner of the Year, CCAA (Canadian Colleges Athletic Association) Academic All-Canadian and the Kodiak cross country and indoor track’s MVP ,co-sharing with Katrina Smith the Gerry and Brian Stewart Memorial Award for cross-country  and winning bronze  in the team’s ACAC conference win for cross country and winning gold for indoor track,

“I think just really grateful,” said Stewart.

“I really was blessed, I was healthy most of the year, lots of thanks to the training staff at the college, my coaches, I had great teammates as well that helped kind of  push me in practice and allowed me to improve quite a bit.”

Kodiak women’s basketball player, Hannah Helton, capped off her collegiate career with the  Tim Tollestrup Leadership/ Athlete of the Year award  for female players in her only season at the college after playing at SAIT and St. Mary’s University in prior years.

“It actually felt really special,” said Helton.

“It was kind of emotional for me because the only other time I was recognized as  Athlete of the Year was my first year (of) basketball  … in Grade 8. And so it was kind of like (a) full-circle moment and I knew I was nominated but I wasn’t too sure if I was going to get it or not.”

Helton thought her lone season with the Kodiaks was by far her best in her college career.

“I’m glad  that I ended there because the community, the sport community, the coaches, the teammates, like it was all just like a phenomenal experience,” she said.

Helton was named to the  ACAC All-Conference First Team and a CCAA All-Canadian and won outstanding player for the women’s basketball team.

“I’ve gotten recognized before as a First Team All-Star … and that was still overly special to get that my last year,” said Helton.

“But to be an All-Canadian was surprising to say the least because I have never received that award and it’s a very prestigious, high level award. So it just meant a lot. It made me feel grateful for all the hours I’ve put in and being recognized for that (in) my last year of basketball.”

Other major awards include indoor track and cross country coach, Simon Schaerz, winning Coach of the Year after lead the men’s indoor team to an ACAC championship and breaking records in the process and he led the women’s indoor team to a silver medal, which was the highest finish in the college’s history.

Schaerz also won the ACAC Indoor Track Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year.

The women’s futsal/ soccer team was named  Team of the Year.

The Calgary Flames Foundation Leadership Scholarships went to Rayanne Hoeflicher and Gunnarr Gibb and those recipients are considered the “unsung heroes of Kodiaks Athletics.

The awards night also recognized what was a strong season for the Kodiaks, which saw 50 individual or team awards for either ACAC or  CCAA come the programs way.

“What an amazing way to bring to a close another good season for the Kodiaks,” says Todd Caughlin, athletics and recreation services director, in a press release.

“The fact that the ACAC conference won four national championships this year which shows the competitiveness of our conference and that we continually have our teams in the hunt for conference titles says a lot about the culture of Kodiaks Athletics. Proud to say I’m a part of it and proud of the student-athletes and coaches commitment to that culture.”

A full list of award winners can be viewed in the online story  at https://www.lethbridgeherald.com.

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