Vernon a BLG Award finalist for U SPORTS Athlete of the Year
TORONTO (U SPORTS) – U SPORTS is proud to announce the eight nominees for the 2018 BLG Awards celebrating the U SPORTS Athletes of the Year for the 2017-18 season.
On the women’s side, the finalists for the Jim Thompson Trophy presented to the U SPORTS Female Athlete of the Year are Calgary Dinos rugby player / wrestler Temitope Ogunjimi, volleyball players Theanna Vernon of the Ryerson Rams and Marie-Alex Bélanger of the Montréal Carabins and Acadia Axewomen basketball player Paloma Anderson.
The 2018 nominees for the Doug Mitchell Trophy presented to the U SPORTS Male Athlete of the year are Alberta Golden Bears football player Ed Ilnicki, Laurentian Voyageurs basketball player Kadre Gray, Concordia Stingers wrestler Francis Carter and UNB Varsity Reds basketball player Javon Masters.
The eight national nominees will be honoured on Monday, June 4 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, B.C., as part of the 2018 U SPORTS Conference and Annual Meeting. It will mark just the second time the BLG Awards have been held in Vancouver and first since 2011.
The BLG Awards were established in 1993 by U SPORTS and national law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP to recognize the top male and female athletes from U SPORTS-affiliated universities. One male and female nominee are chosen to represent each of the four conferences: Canada West (CW), Ontario University Athletics (OUA), Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) and Atlantic University Sport (AUS). All finalists will return home with a commemorative gold ring from Jostens.
The winners will be determined by the Canadian Athletic Foundation, a not-for-profit board chaired by Doug Mitchell, National Co-Chair of BLG.
Theanna Vernon Profile
Year of eligibility: 4
Academic Program: Social Work
Hometown: Scarborough, Ont.
Theanna Vernon has become one of the most dominant middle blockers in OUA and U SPORTS volleyball during her four years with the Ryerson University Rams.
This past season, the Scarborough, Ont., product became the first-ever Ryerson women’s volleyball player to be named a U SPORTS All-Canadian. Vernon’s U SPORTS-leading hitting percentage (.482) made her a force offensively, while her blocking ability (1.29 - first in OUA, third in U SPORTS) single-handedly shut down opponents’ offences.
Vernon led the Rams to the program’s first conference title, a perfect 25-0 season and Ryerson’s first ever national championship in any sport. At the U SPORTS national championship tournament, the team captain was nearly unstoppable at the net, totaling 18.0 blocks in three matches. She also added 31 kills and was named championship MVP.
In her first year at Ryerson, Vernon red-shirted as she completed a course called Spanning the Gaps to help improve her academics. After finishing that year, she entered the social work program and her performance on and off the court has taken off. She is a three-time OUA all-star and former OUA Rookie of the Year.
“It means a lot to me to know that my hard work and dedication to this sport, my team and Ryerson is being recognized. Volleyball is a passion of mine that will always be ignited,” said Vernon. “Although in the far future I would like to be working full time as a social worker in the youth sector with student-athletes being my main interest, my near-future goal is to explore a professional volleyball career. My decade-long relationship with the sport is something I will always cherish. Through good times and bad, volleyball always gave me a way to express myself.”
“Theanna is an intense competitor who is always in control of her emotions. The combination of her size, athleticism, skill and will to win make her a truly dominant volleyball player,” said Rams head coach Dustin Reid. “These abilities are only surpassed by her grace and determination off the court. Her growth as a student, teammate and member of the community are what make me most proud of her as a coach.”