Halstead, Hamilton named York athletes of the year

York University Lions track & field athletes Tyrone Halstead and Heather Hamilton were named male and female athletes of the year March 25 at the 42nd annual York Interuniversity Sport Banquet.

Halstead and Hamilton were named York’s top athletes from among a group of more than 400 student-athletes who finished off a successful 2009-2010 campaign.

Several other student-athletes were also honoured at the banquet.

Tyler Harrison of the men’s hockey team received the Charles Saundercook Memorial Trophy, which is presented to the male athlete who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, enthusiasm for life and the consideration of others, and field hockey player Brittney Blount was named the recipient of the Bryce M. Taylor Award, given to a graduating female athlete who has made outstanding contributions to interuniversity sport at York University.

Basketball player Dejan Kravic and soccer player Nicole Campbell were named the male and female rookie of the year award winners, respectively.

The women’s field hockey team was named the most improved team for the season.

The Spirit Cup, which was donated by President Emerita Lorna Marsden and is presented to the individual or group within York University that best exemplifies the spirit of York and their involvement in sport, was given to football player Steven Reading.

Rounding out the awards was the Sport Council Award, which was won by council president Sara Vitelli of the women’s field hockey team.

Rob Tiffin and York Male Athlete of the Year Tyrone HalsteadRight: Rob Tiffin, vice-president students, with male athlete of the year Tyrone Halstead, track & field

Halstead, a third-year criminology student from Mississauga, won two medals at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) track & field championships – a gold in the men’s 4-by-200-metre relay and a silver in the 60 metres – and was named a CIS all-Canadian in both events. His time of 6.65 seconds in the 60 metres tied a York record. He also won two gold medals at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships in the same two events, setting a new meet record in the relay, to receive OUA all-star honours. Halstead helped the men’s team finish fourth at the OUA championships and fifth at the CIS championships and won 10 medals overall this season.

Rob Tiffin and Healther HamiltonFemale athlete of the year Heather Hamilton, track &field

Hamilton won the gold medal in the pole vault at the CIS championships this season and was named a CIS first-team all-Canadian. Her winning jump of 4.23 metres set a new CIS meet record and was 23 centimetres higher than the silver medallist. The fourth-year business student from Mississauga also won the OUA pole vault gold medal with another meet record jump of 4.20 metres and was named the OUA field events most valuable performer and an OUA first-team all-star. Earlier in the season, she set a new York record with a jump of 4.25 metres.

Charles Saundercook Memorial Trophy: Tyler Harrison, hockey

Harrison capped off a remarkable five-year career as a member of the York Lions men’s hockey team with a 37-point season to finish among York’s all-time top 10 in goals, assists and points. The geography student from Whitby spent four of his five seasons in a leadership role, including the last two as the team captain, and was an OUA West all-star in 2007. Playing for four different coaches in five seasons, he is described by head coach Jim Wells as the glue that kept the team together. Harrison finished his career in style, giving the Lions their first playoff victory since 2004 with an overtime winner against the nationally ranked Lakehead Thunderwolves in the first round of the playoffs.

Bryce M. Taylor Award: Brittney Blount, field hockey

Blount, the captain of the women’s field hockey team, is described by her coach as the heart and soul of the squad. The fifth-year goalkeeper proved to be one of the top netminders in the country over her career with the Lions, being named a CIS all-Canadian and an OUA all-star for the past two seasons. The sociology student from Ottawa backstopped the Lions to an OUA bronze medal in 2008 and qualified for the CIS championships that same year. She is also currently a member of the Canadian national field hockey team.

Male Rookie of the Year: Dejan Kravic, basketball

Kravic, a kinesiology & health science student from London, Ont., was named to the OUA East all-rookie team and was a nominee for the CIS all-rookie team this season. He finished the year ranked first in the OUA and second in the CIS in blocks, as well as fourth in the OUA and fifth in the CIS in rebounds. Kravic averaged 13.2 points per game, second on the team, as the Lions won their final two games against Laurentian to qualify for the playoffs and then upset the Toronto Varsity Blues in the first round of the post-season.

Female Rookie of the Year: Nicole Campbell, soccer

Campbell was the OUA West rookie of the year and named to the OUA West first all-star team this season as the Lions won the OUA championship on home turf at York Stadium in November. The health studies student from Scarborough scored the lone goal in regulation in the Lions’ OUA quarter-final victory and assisted on the winning goal in the OUA semifinal win. She also scored one goal in the regular season.

Most Improved Team: Field Hockey

The women’s field hockey team upset the fourth-ranked Waterloo Warriors in the first round of the playoffs to qualify for the OUA semifinals this season after falling in the quarter-finals last year. One day later, the Lions nearly upset the Western Mustangs to win a bronze medal. In addition, they finished their season with a 6-5-3 record, up from 6-6-2 last year.

Spirit Cup Award: Steven Reading, football

Reading, a third-year linebacker on the football team and also a team captain, was a tremendous supporter of many York Lions interuniversity teams this season. Week after week, he was found on the sidelines cheering hard for his fellow student-athletes, making numerous appearances at basketball and volleyball games. He also travelled to the University of Toronto to support the women’s soccer team at the CIS championships.

In addition to Reading, four other members of the football team were recognized for their passionate support of the York Lions this season: Nick Coutu, Matt Davis, Tyler DeMoel and Justin Kowalewsky.

Sport Council Award: Sara Vitelli, field hockey

Vitelli, the president of the York University Sport Council, the heart and soul of the Sport Council this season. An education and kinesiology & health science student from Woodbridge, she spearheaded a review of the mandate and the constitution as the council looks to focus on community outreach and creating a sense of Lions pride. Among her projects this year was organizing a sporting goods drive to donate equipment to Westview Centennial Secondary School.

Team MVPs

Women’s Badminton – Donna Ho
Men’s Badminton – Kevin Cheng
Women’s Basketball – Brittany Szockyj
Men’s Basketball – David Tyndale
Men’s Cross Country – David Zylberberg
Women’s Cross Country – Kathryn Pistor
Field Hockey – Effie Petrou
Football – Steven Reading
Men’s Hockey – Tyler Harrison
Women’s Hockey – Kelsey Webster
Women’s Rugby – Ashley Holligan-Mytil
Men’s Soccer – Jamaal Smith
Women’s Soccer – Ami Otaki
Men’s Swimming – Viktor Verblac
Men’s Tennis – Tomohiro Ono
Women’s Tennis – Paloma Jimenez
Men’s Track & Field – Tyrone Halstead
Women’s Track & Field – Heather Hamilton
Men’s Volleyball – Reid Hall
Women’s Volleyball – Sarah Sutton
Men’s Water Polo – Jordan Duffield
Women’s Water Polo – Sarah Duffield

Submitted by Alyson Fisher, sport & recreation information officer for Sport York.