With the 2019-20 athletic season coming to a close St. Mary’s University Lightning are excited to recognize the individual athletes and their amazing accomplishments this past season.
The 19-20 season was one of the best in recent history for the Lightning athletes. This season saw the Women’s basketball team earn its longest winning streak in program history, had the highest national ranking than any other team in program history and finished the season with an ACAC bronze medal – the fourth in program history.
The cross-country team featured the largest participation numbers in program history and in a rebuilding year, had great individual performances and results setting the team up for future successes.
The men’s basketball team had its best season ever, winning the most league games in program history and finishing the regular season with the best finish of any other team before them.
The indoor track team saw continued growth in numbers once again and the athletes were performing at their best and ready for a strong championship showing.
We will be highlighting the individual team award winners for the 19-20 season. Each team has a most improved athlete, a Lightning Award winner, and an MVP.
The most improved athlete is the athlete that has demonstrated the most growth in their respective sport from the start to the finish of the season.
The Lightning Award winner is the athlete on the team that best demonstrates what it means to be a Lightning student athlete by being a good citizen in the school community, a great work ethic and a great teammate.
The MVP or the most outstanding runner is the athlete that’s team counts on them day in and day out to perform and lead the team in practices and competitions.
We are excited to announce this years winners
Cross Country Running
Most Improved Runner: Sydney Lockhart
As a first year athlete Sydney was one of the top performers for St. Mary’s at all races. She trained consistently to improve her fitness throughout the season and had her best race of the season at Provincials despite snowy and cold racing conditions.
Lightning Award: Quinn Demers
Although eight-kilometre cross-country may not be Quinn’s favourite race distance, he brought a great attitude and a smile to every workout and race. He supported and encouraged his teammates and participated in all team promotion and fundraising activities.
Most Outstanding Female Runner: Bethany Topping
Bethany was the top performer for St. Mary’s at every cross-country race of the season including Provincials. She trained consistently which led to personal bests at each race and consistently brought focus and determination to every race.
Most Outstanding Male Runner: Isaac Duperreault
Isaac was the most consistent performer for St. Mary’s throughout the cross-country season and improved his time at each race and was the top placed runner for St. Mary’s at the ACAC Championships.
Due to the suspended track season, the team was unable to participate in an Indoor Track Championships making it more difficult to select award winners than usual. However, we would still like to highlight the efforts of the Indoor Track team.
Most Outstanding Male Runner: Donovan Miller
Due to the suspended Indoor Track season, Donovan only had the opportunity to participate in one ACAC track meet. Running his first track races in many years Donovan placed 5th in the 600m in an impressive time and ran a strong anchor leg in the 4 x 400 m relay. His track workouts indicated that he would have placed well at the ACAC Championships and scored team points. He brought a positive hardworking attitude to team workouts.
Most Outstanding Female Runner: Bethany Topping
Bethany participated in three indoor track meets, attended team workouts regularly and completed training on her own. She brought a focused attitude to all workouts and races and had solid performances in every race as a result.
Most Improved Runner: Marissa Seegers
Despite not having a track background Marissa was enthusiastic and consistent about training and steadily improved her speed and fitness throughout the season. She was willing to try a new sport and put in her best effort at all workouts and races.
Lightning Award: Isaac Bignell
In his first year of participating in Cross Country and Indoor Track Isaac was a friendly and enthusiastic member of the team, taking time to connect with and support his teammates at all workouts and races. We look forward to having his positive presence on the team again next year.
Most Improved Player: Caleb Jipp
It is hard not to think about the current Lightning roster and not consider Caleb to be a major impact player. In his rookie season of play consistency was the target, it didn’t take long for the Lightning to know the value Caleb brought to the floor. Taking a few games to get use to pace Caleb had a tremendous second semester of play, ultimately finishing the year as a starter and leading the team in scoring with 297 points scored 15.6 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game and 1. 3 steals per game.
Lightning Award: Coal Clark
Coal showed what it really means to be a Lightning athlete this season. Being asked in his fourth year of play to fulfill a difficult role for the betterment of the team. Coal not only accepted the role but he exceeded all expectations the coaching staff had this year. Coal’s hard work, attitude, energy and leadership became something the team relied on down the stretch. It is no wonder that the Lightning Men’s program had the success they did with the leadership they had from players like Coal.
Most Valuable Player: Jordan Britton
In his fourth year of play Jordan Britton had an impressive positive impact on the team in every game he played. Leading the team this year with a plus-minus rating of +133 over the 19 games he played with an average of +7 per game was the best out of any other Lightning player this year. Jordan is a leader on and off the court with the Lightning and has been part of the building blocks of this program. This year Jordan became the very first male basketball player to ever score 1,000 points for the Lightning. He finished the year scoring 12.5 points-per-game and his 1,077 career points places him as the Lightning all-time leader in points scored.
Most Improved Player: Chayle Clark
Whether injured, healthy, scoring or defending, Chayle was always the hardest working player on the floor. Being an undersized post means nothing to Chayle, as she led the league in field goal percentage this season and therefore was definitely our most improved player this year.
Lightning Award: Hannah Helton
No player worked harder than Hannah. When she wasn’t hitting threes in games or making life difficult for the opposition on offense, Hannah was relentless in her preparation and being the best player she could. She remained positive and always tried to lead by example. Even during occasional struggles, Hannah made sure she never gave up. She ended the season as a 2nd team all-conference player and was one of team’s playoff all-stars.
Most Valuable Player: Juhee Anderson
Juhee was our most consistent player and stepped up on several occasions leading us into the playoffs. From hitting game winning fouls shots, being a threat inside, and taking charges to foul the opponent’s
best player out of the game, Juhee played a significant role throughout the season. She finished as a 2nd team all star and one of our playoff all-stars.
Lightning Major Awards
The final athlete awards are the Lightning major awards. These constitute the Lightning of the Year award, Female Athlete of the Year and the Male Athlete of the Year.
The Lightning of the year is the athlete that best demonstrates the qualities of a Lightning Student Athlete. While the male and female athlete of the year recipients are the athletes that had the most outstanding seasons of all Lightning athletes.
Lightning of the Year: Bethany Topping
Bethany has been a member of Cross Country Running and Indoor Track Teams for three years. She has been a team leader in many ways, providing guidance, support and information to new athletes and encouraging her teammates at all workouts and races. She created a Facebook group to provide information to team members and has promoted the athletics program whenever possible in St. Mary’s communications and social media. She has participated in all team volunteer and fundraising activities. Bethany is a deserving recipient of the Lightning Award as she demonstrates all the best qualities of a student leader.
Male Athlete of the Year: Johnpaul Okodua
Johnpaul had a tremendous impact for the St. Mary’s University Lightning Men’s basketball team but also the league in just his second year of play at St. Mary’s. Okodua finished the season averaging 11.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game resulting in him finishing the season as the league leader in blocks per game and second in rebounds per game, a mere 0.3 behind the leader. He also broke St. Mary’s single season rebounding record, eclipsing the previous single season record of 182 rebounds with an astounding 257 rebounds. The court is not the only place that Okodua has seen success this year, having finished the first semester with a 3.85 GPA and is on track to make the Dean’s list this year for his scholastic achievements.
Female Athlete of the Year: Emily Wagner
Emily Wagner, a fourth-year liberal studies student and team captain of the Lightning Women’s basketball team had a fantastic season in ACAC competition. Wagner led the way for a Lightning team who had another very successful season, finishing the year with an ACAC Bronze medal. This season she eclipsed 1,000 career points and currently sits at 1,343 points, good enough for eighth all-time for the ACAC. Her impressive season of 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.9 steals per game earned her an ACAC first-team all conference vote and with her GPA she has also been awarded a Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Academic All Canadian.
We are especially proud of all our athletes and their accomplishments. As our Lightning continue to strike we are lightning up the stage for another exciting 2020-21 season.