Photo by Bob Frid

Vernon's BLG Award nomination tops off all-star season

By Jessica Pincente

TORONTO - Ryerson’s Female Athlete of the Year and all-star middle blocker, Theanna Vernon (Scarborough, Ont.), closed a jaw-dropping season with a prestigious nomination for the BLG U SPORTS Athlete of the Year award.

One of four female nominees, Vernon stood alongside fellow volleyball player Marie-Alex Bélanger from the Montreal Carabins, as well as Acadia Axewomen basketball star Paloma Anderson and rugby player/wrestler, Temitope Ogunjimi, from the Calgary Dinos.

The 26th annual BLG Awards were held on June 4, 2018, in Vancouver, B.C., and the RSEQ’s Bélanger was presented with the Jim Thompson trophy for the U SPORTS Female Athlete of the Year.

Despite the outcome, Vernon’s nomination marked the first time in Ryerson history that a Rams athlete was named a finalist for the prestigious award.

“Being the first Ryerson athlete to be nominated for a BLG is surreal,” says Vernon. “I am just so thankful that the program has given me an opportunity to represent them at such a high level.”

The nomination was warranted, of course. On the court, Vernon’s .482 hitting percentage led the country for the third consecutive season, while her blocks per set (1.29) and points per set (4.2) numbers ranked her within the U SPORTS top five in both categories. Vernon’s domination did not end in the regular season, either; she posted 10 blocks, 12 kills, and a .435 attack efficiency in the OUA’s Quigley Cup finals on March 10, 2018, leading her team to their first OUA banner.

At the 2018 U SPORTS National Championship, Vernon further asserted herself as one of the top players in the country. Yet another dominant showing in the national gold medal final on March 18, 2018, saw Vernon register 11 kills and 13 blocks while hitting at .375% efficiency, propelling her team to Ryerson’s first ever national title.

Vernon’s accomplishments this season have made her one of the most successful Rams in recent memory. She was named an OUA First-Team All-Star for the third year in a row and a Second-Team All-Canadian for the first time in her career, and a great showing at the U SPORTS National Championship earned her tournament MVP honours. She was later named U SPORTS’ March Athlete of the Month, and the OUA’s Athlete of the Week.

Despite her numerous accolades, Vernon has remained humble and credits her success to her teammates and coaches.

“Being recognized on any level is always great,” says Vernon. “However, awards and accolades aren’t my focus. Being a great teammate and student is what matters to me most.”

Vernon will return to the Rams next year to compete in the fifth and final year of her university eligibility with the hopes of defending Ryerson’s provincial and national title.  

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