Lighting stars shine bright at annual awards banquet

It was a night of celebration for all of the student athletes on the St. Mary’s University Lightning athletics teams at the annual awards banquet on Thursday April 4, where athletes were honoured for their ongoing commitment to excellence both on the field of competition and in the class room.

Rebecca Johnson of the Cross Country and Indoor Track teams was one of the big winners on the night, taking home three awards including being named recipient of St. Mary’s University Female Athlete of the Year.

“Rebecca had one of the most decorated and successful seasons in the history of Lightning Athletics,” said St. Mary’s University Sports Manager Nathan Ruff. “Competing in her second year of competition, Rebecca will leave St. Mary’s as the most successful athlete in their sport. With two trips to the National Championships, a First Team All-Conference Award and a CCAA Academic All Canadian award in town.”

Male athlete of the year was presented to fifth-year senior Cordell Minnifee of the men’s basketball program, who will leave St. Mary’s with an enduring legacy.

In his final year of collegiate eligibility, Minnifee solidified his name in various record books, finishing his career as St. Mary’s leading scorer, assist leader, and steals leader. He also finished his five-year career ranked No. 23 all-time in scoring in the Alberta Collegiate Athletics Conference (ACAC) with 1150 career points.

“Cordell had such a foundational impact on the men’s basketball program during his time at St. Mary’s,” said Ruff. “He helped to establish a culture here that we will continue forward. His impact on the court was invaluable but it was perhaps overshadowed by the impact that he made in the locker room and with his teammates that played the largest role.”

On hand to present the awards to Johnson and Minnifee was ACAC President and Calgary Booster Club Board Members Mark Kosak and Alexis Peters, who also announced a partnership with St. Mary’s to provide scholarships to the athletes of the year.

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Team Awards

Cross Country

Most Improved Runner – Kim McEwan
Lightning Award – Karen Vandenborre
Outstanding Female Runner – Rebecca Johnson
Outstanding Male Runner – Isaac Amsing

Women’s Basketball

Most Improved Player – Hannah Helton
Lightning Award – Chayle Clark
Most Valuable Player – Emily Wagner

Men’s Basketball

Most Improved Player – John Paul Okodua
Lightning Award – Josh Matosevic
Most Valuable Player – Cordell Minnifee

Indoor Track

Most Improved Runner – Bethany Topping
Lightning Award – Quinn Demers
Outstanding Female Runner – Rebecca Johnson
Outstanding Male Runner – Tim Evans

Academic team of the year – Cross Country

Lightning of the year – Sydney Deighton
Female Athlete of the Year – Rebecca Johnson
Male Athlete of the Year – Cordell Minnifee