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Athletes win awards after standout seasons
The city's sports heroes and heroines were honoured for standout seasons.
The eighth annual Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards were held Saturday at the Coast Bastion Inn, recognizing athletes, coaches, officials and sport administrators with 17 awards.
Receiving top honours this year were Team Athlete of the Year winners Scott Ranger and Dani Smith and Individual Athlete of the Year winners Steve Smith and Erin Burrett.
Ranger, captain of the Nanaimo Timbermen, led the Western Lacrosse Association in goals and points, while Dani Smith was an all-Canadian as her Vancouver Island University Mariners won a national championship. Steve Smith was third at the downhill mountain biking world championships and Burrett placed eighth at the national half marathon championship.
Cyclocross racer Janna Gillick won Masters Athlete of the Year as she won her division at nationals.
The Junior Athlete of the Year winners were baseball player Brendan McCarthy and runner Jenaya Pynn. McCarthy, of the Nanaimo Pirates, finished second in the league in batting average; Pynn won gold in the 800-metre distance at the B.C. Summer Games.
Beach volleyball provincial champions Victoria Behie and Brooke Shouldice won Partners of the Year.
The VIU Mariners women's volleyball team is Team of the Year, while curling skip Kesa Van Osch and her sisters Kalia Van Osch and Marika Van Osch accepted the Junior Team of the Year award after teaming with Brooklyn Leitch and reaching the semifinals at nationals last year.
VIU volleyball coach Shane Hyde was honoured as High-Performance Coach of the Year while South Side Minor Football Association coach Randy Cooper got Grassroots Coach of the Year.
Sport Administrator of the Year was cycling organizer Peter McCaffery. The B.C. Special Olympics Nanaimo Tigers floor hockey team, national gold medallists, received Sports Story of the Year.
Two referees were honoured, with hockey ref Kevin Robillard winning Official of the Year and lacrosse ref Jim Turley being presented with the Hero In You award.
Barry Creswell, longtime coach at the Nanaimo Boxing Club, received the Michael Rhode Award for dedication.