Photo by Sports Information

Vernon named finalist for Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards

By Andrea Elliott

TORONTO / CALGARY – U SPORTS is proud to announce the eight nominees for the 2019 Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards Presented by Makadiff SPORTS celebrating the U SPORTS Athletes of the Year for the 2018-19 season.

The 2019 nominees for the Doug Mitchell Trophy presented to the U SPORTS Male Athlete of the Year are football players Adam Sinagra from the Calgary Dinos and Mathieu Betts of the Laval Rouge et Or, Guelph Gryphons soccer player Jace Kotsopoulos, and UNB Reds hockey player Christopher Clapperton.

On the women’s side, the finalists for the Jim Thompson Trophy presented to the U SPORTS Female Athlete of the Year are volleyball players Kiera Van Ryk of the UBC Thunderbirds, Theanna Vernon of the Ryerson Rams and Courtney Baker of the Dalhousie Tigers, and Laval Rouge et Or basketball player Sarah-Jane Marois.

Celebrating their 27th year in 2019, the awards are being relaunched and championed once again by His Honour Doug Mitchell and Her Honour, the Honourable Lois Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

This year’s event will take place in Calgary on May 1 and 2, where the eight finalists chosen from 56 U SPORTS universities and four conferences from across the nation will once again vie for the top prize. One male and female nominee are chosen to represent Canada West (CW), Ontario University Athletics (OUA), Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) and Atlantic University Sport (AUS).

The athletes will have the opportunity to participate in a new leadership summit, a formal media conference held at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (May 1 - 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT) and the official awards ceremony at the historic McDougall Centre (May 2 - 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT). All finalists will return home with a commemorative gold ring from Baron Rings, the Exclusive Provider of championship rings and recognition jewelry of U SPORTS.

The winners will be determined by a combined vote of the Canadian Athletic Foundation – a not-for-profit board chaired by His Honour Doug Mitchell – and the public on USPORTS.ca.

Click here to view the All-Time Award Nominees and Winners.

Profiles for all eight finalists can be read here.  

Theanna Vernon
Ryerson University
Sport: Volleyball
Year of Eligibility: 5
Academic Program: Social Work
Hometown: Scarborough, Ont.

Theanna Vernon has put together an incredible career at Ryerson, becoming one of the most dangerous middle hitters and formidable blockers in OUA and U SPORTS volleyball.

In her five seasons as a Ram, Vernon played in 310 regular season sets and graduates as the program’s all-time leader in points, blocks, hitting percentage, and service aces. She became just the second Ram to eclipse the 1,000 point plateau, finishing with 1,236.5 career points, while her 392 career blocks is over 180 blocks clear of the next best Ram.

As impressive as her 4.0 points per set career average is, Vernon was always able to elevate her game in the postseason, scoring an average of 4.5 points per set in the playoffs.

Vernon’s historical career doesn’t end with the record books. She became the first Ryerson women’s volleyball player to earn OUA conference Most Valuable Player honours as well as the first to be recognized as a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian when she accomplished both feats this season.

This year, Vernon set a career-high with 100 total blocks and finished with 187 kills and 272.5 total points. She also led the nation with an efficient .410 hitting percentage.

The social work major was also a key player in Ryerson’s 2017-18 perfect 25-0 season which culminated in the team’s first OUA championship, first U SPORTS national title for Ryerson University in any sport and Vernon’s first of two straight nominations for U SPORTS Female of the Year.

Additionally, through the course of her career, Vernon was an OUA Rookie of the Year, a four-time OUA First-Team All-Star, and two-time U SPORTS All-Canadian. She also earned Tournament MVP honours at the 2017-18 U SPORTS national championship, and is a two-time winner of Ryerson’s H.H. Kerr Female Athlete of the Year award.

Prior to joining the Rams, Vernon played her club volleyball with the Toronto Diamonds where she won a bronze and silver medal at the 17U and 18U national championships, respectively. She was named an all-star at both club national championships.

“Theanna is an intense competitor who is always in control of her emotions,” said Rams head coach Dustin Reid. “The combination of her size, athleticism, skill, and will to win make her a truly dominant volleyball player. 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.”

“Ryerson’s institutions and the athletic department have transformed the way I learn, prepare, perform, and reflect, both in the classroom and on the court. I know my future is very bright because of the foundation I have acquired here,” said Vernon. “As athletes, sometimes we push ourselves and don’t always see results, but to know that my hard work and dedication to volleyball, my team, and to Ryerson is being recognized is amazing. After graduation I would love the opportunity to play volleyball on the international stage. I’ll continue to believe in myself as it builds resilience during challenging times and pushes on to continue moving forward towards greatness. Beginning humbly and working consistently each year towards new goals has changed my outlook for the future.”

Vernon was also named a finalist for this award, previously named the BLG Award, last season.

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