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Laval’s Betts, UBC’s Van Ryk capture inaugural Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards

Laval’s Betts, UBC’s Van Ryk capture inaugural Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards

Winners announced for 2019 Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards Presented by Makadiff SPORTS.

Tigers women's volleyball player Courtney Baker was nominated for the award. Baker appeared in 18 matches for the Tigers this year, leading them to a first-place finish in the regular season standings with an 18-2 record. She led them to their seventh straight AUS championship title, earning AUS championship MVP and all-star honours in the process. In addition to being selected as the AUS MVP for the second year in a row, Baker earned a place as an AUS First Team All-Star for the fourth consecutive year. Her career accomplishments also include having been named to the 2015-16 AUS All-Rookie team in her first season with Dalhousie.

CALGARY – Mathieu Betts a football player from the Laval Rouge et Or, and Kiera Van Ryk, a volleyball player from the UBC Thunderbirds, were named the winners of the inaugural Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards Presented by Makadiff Sports, as U SPORTS Athletes of the Year for the 2018-19 season.

The recipients were announced Thursday afternoon at the historic McDougall Centre in Calgary.

All eight nominees – one male and one female – from each of the four U SPORTS conferences received a commemorative gold ring from Baron Championship Rings, the Exclusive Provider of championship rings and recognition jewelry for U SPORTS. Betts and Van Ryk were also presented with a unique custom-made sculptured fossil-stone trophy and took home a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship to attend a Canadian university accredited by Universities Canada for a doctorate, master’s degree, first professional degree, or graduate level certificate and diploma (as classified by Universities Canada).

Celebrating their 27th year in 2019, the awards were relaunched this year as the Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards Presented by Makadiff SPORTS, and championed once again by His Honour Doug Mitchell and Her Honour, the Honourable Lois Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

Formerly known as the Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) and Howard Mackie Awards, the event has been a staple celebration in the national sport community since 1993, recognizing Canada’s top athletes competing in university athletics within U SPORTS.

The winners were selected by a combined vote of the Canadian Athletic Foundation, a not-for-profit board chaired by His Honour Doug Mitchell – BLG national co-chair, philanthropist and UBC Thunderbird football alumnus – and the public on The Canadian Athletic Foundation was established for the purpose of administering the Awards and protecting the integrity of the selection process.

“On behalf of the Canadian Athletic Foundation trustees, I would like to congratulate Mathieu Betts and Kiera Van Ryk, the winners of the 2019 Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards,” said Doug Mitchell. “This event has evolved into a national showcase for outstanding performance by inspiring young leaders. We are thrilled to share their outstanding accomplishments with you as we congratulate the eight finalists on their impressive achievements.”

“As Her Majesty the Queen’s representative, I congratulate Mathieu Betts and Kiera Van Ryk and offer each of the nominees my very best wishes for every success in your upcoming careers,” said Lieutenant Governor Mitchell. “I commend you for your dedication and hard work which has brought you to where you are today. I also very much appreciate and admire the passion, drive and determination that you pour into making a long lasting impact for all Canadians. Thank you, as well, to the many supporters of our athletes, including families, coaches, athletic directors and administrators, and the team at U SPORTS. Your collective efforts are truly helping these athletes realize their endless potential.”

“The Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards represent the highest honour for our student-athletes in Canada. This year’s nominees are not only outstanding athletes, but they are also glowing ambassadors for the entire U SPORTS membership,” said Graham Brown, President and CEO of U SPORTS. “On behalf of U SPORTS, I would like to extend our sincerest congratulations to both Mathieu Betts and Kiera Van Ryk. I would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to Doug and Lois Mitchell, for their support over the last 27 years and continued commitment to university sport in Canada.”