Panthers reap Rotary awards
Vernon’s elite high school athletes had their shoes shined and their hair curled and the W.L. Seaton jazz band rocked the house.
The inaugural Rotary North Okanagan Athletic Awards went Wednesday night at the Best Western Vernon Lodge.
“We are here to recognize the discipline and commitment of these athletes to excel in sports they love as they represented their school in competitions all over the province,” said the emcee Keith Johnston of Silver Star Rotary.
Members of the four rotary clubs were on hand along with former B.C. Lion Angus Reid and A.J. Eathorne, a former professional golfer, now teaching at Predator Ridge.
Eathorne moved the crowd with an inspirational speech at the start of the night.
“To be a good athlete and successful in life is to have goals and to work hard to achieve them,” said Eathorne, who earned more than $1 million on the LPGA Tour after starring for the New Mexico State Aggies. “If you’re smart and a good athlete, you can go far.”
Karley Fugel accomplished her goals this season as she swept the top awards on the night. She won the Top Academic and Most Outstanding Female Athlete awards.
“I was a little surprised, I wasn’t expecting any of this, but I’m really thrilled to receive these awards,” said Fugel.
Fugel dominated the volleyball and basketball court this season for VSS. She was named MVP in every tournament she played, including the North Zone and Valley Basketball Championships where she led her team to titles.
“I am really grateful for all the support I have got from my teachers, coaches and parents. I could not have done it without all their help,” said Fugel.
John Garvie was named Most Outstanding Male Athlete.
Garvie, a junior, captained the football and basketball teams for the Panthers.
He led the Panthers to the provincial quarterfinals in football, he was named a Valley all-star defensive back, he led the Cats in scoring on the hard court and was one of the top golfers at VSS.
“I was pretty nervous sitting there, listening to all the other nominees and how good of a year they had. I was in awe walking up to the stage, I couldn’t stop smiling,” said Garvie.
Recently retired Lions’ centre Reid handled a football for 13 years, but had trouble handling the mic, dropping it at the beginning of his speech. Unphased and in true Reid fashion, he made light of the situation and gave himself a hard time to the crowd’s amusement.
Reid, 37, took some time to thank the coaches for all their help throughout the years.
“Coaches, what you do to give students a platform to play sports is fantastic. But what you do within the platform is life changing, and I couldn’t thank you enough,” said Reid, who played more than 200 regular-season games and won two Grey Cups with the Lions.
Dave Tetrault was then named Coach of the Year for his work with the Panthers. Tetrault was the head coach with the Grade 8 girls volleyball team, head coach of the junior boys football team and assistant coach on the senior boys football team.
“We have a lot of good coaches here in Vernon doing a lot of good things. To win the award was quite an honour,” said Tetrault.
The banquet took a minor break to serenade flustered Fulton basketball coach Dale Olson, who celebrated his 50th birthday.
The Panthers continued their dominance on the podium as the senior boys basketball crew, coached by Glenn Garvie, was named team of the year.
The hoopsters went 35-8 this season, a remarkable turn around from a six-win season the year before. Zac Kronbauer won the Top Academic Athlete for the Panthers.
Cam Nikolic of VSS, who helps the football team, won the KISS FM Patrick Nicol Booster award, drawing a standing ovation.
Other award winners were: Most Outstanding Football Player, Karson Patommel of VSS, Most Outstanding Boys Cross Country, Mackenzie Moody of PVSS, Most Outstanding Girls Cross Country, Hannah Bennison of VSS, Most Outstanding Boys Volleyball Player, Kristian Currie of Fulton, Most Outstanding Girls Volleyball Player, Searra Becker of VSS, Most Outstanding Boys Basketball Player, Michael Rouault of Fulton, Most Outstanding Girls Basketball Player, Karley Fugel of VSS, Most Outstanding Rugby Player, Davron Polok of Fulton, Most Outstanding Boys Track and Field, Joey Kohut of Fulton, Most Outstanding Girls Track and Field, Tyra Gilbert of PVSS, Most Outstanding Boys Soccer Player, Lendrit Ademi of Seaton, Most Outstanding Girls Soccer Player, Vicki Schley of Kalamalka, Most Outstanding Golfer, Matthew McEachran-Law of Seaton, Boys Teammate of the Year, Travis Hoogland of Vernon Christian, Girls Teammate of the Year, Brianne Robertson of Charles Bloom, Boys Newcomer of the Year, Jared Sexsmith of Charles Bloom and Girls Newcomer of the Year was Megan Rouault of Fulton.