Photo by Alex D'Addese

Rams celebrate historic season at Awards Banquet

By Andrea Elliott

TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams celebrated another memorable season at the 70th Annual Athletic Awards Celebration on Saturday night at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel. Volleyball standout Theanna Vernon and basketball player Ammanuel Diressa took home the top prize as the athletes of the year.


Athletic Banquet Opening Highlight Video:

Video

H.H. Kerr Female Athlete of the Year - Theanna Vernon, Volleyball
Vernon received the H.H. Kerr Award after the strongest season of her four-year career at Ryerson. Vernon set new personal bests in five different statistical categories en route to being named an OUA First-Team All-Star. She made history when she became the first Rams women's volleyball player to be named a U SPORTS All-Canadian. Vernon's strong season helped lead the Rams to their first OUA and U SPORTS championship titles and earned her the most valuable player award at the national tournament.


Hockey player Ailish Forfar and basketball player Sofia Paska were the other finalists for the award.



Ryersonian Male Athlete of the Year - Ammanuel Diressa, Basketball
Diressa won the Ryersonian Male Athlete of the Year award after a strong year of play. Known around the league as one of the purest scorers, Diressa did not disappoint in his final season as a Ram. Named an OUA First-Team All-Star, Diressa finished with 21.8 points per game to rank third in the conference. Able to connect from just about anywhere on the floor, Diressa also ranked fifth in made three-pointers this season. An OUA and U SPORTS silver medalist, Diressa was named a U SPORTS First-Team All-Canadian and to the national championship all-star squad after scoring 27.0 points per game at the Final 8.


Hockey player Alex Basso and volleyball player Lucas Coleman were the other finalists for the award.



RSU Female Rookie of the Year - Victoria Watson, Soccer
Watson was named the top female rookie this season after delivering the scoring touch the Rams needed. Her nine regular season goals ranked her ninth in the OUA and helped her earn the OUA East Rookie of the Year award. Watson helped the Rams return to the postseason for the first time in six years and was also recognized nationally with a U SPORTS All-Rookie Team selection.


Volleyball player Janelle Albert, hockey player Brooklyn Gemmill, and basketball player Marin Scotten were also finalists for the award.

Eyeopener Male Rookie of the Year - Mateusz Kozak, Fencing
Kozak took home the award after becoming a double medalist at his first OUA championship this season. The OUA all-star won the gold medal in the men's individual foil competition before helping the foil relay team to a bronze medal finish. Kozak helped the Rams to a fourth place result overall, tying Ryerson's best result at the OUA championship.


Hockey player Cavin Leth, basketball player Tanor Ngom, and volleyball player Navreet Suhan were the other finalists for the award.


G.L. Dobson Female Community Contribution - Ailish Forfar, Hockey
Forfar took home the award following a season dedicated to community events. This year Forfar won the OUA and U SPORTS Marion Hilliard Award that combines success in athletics, academics and community service. The captain of the hockey team was a participant in the Big Sister, Little Sister program, helped with the Blind Hockey event at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, assisted in the Do It For Daron annual fundraiser for youth mental health, and is the lead for the humanitarian trip to Ghana later this year.

Volleyball players Julie Longman and Christie Robertson, and soccer player Gillian Rossi were the other finalists for the award.


D.H. Craighead Male Community Contribution - Aaron Armstrong, Hockey & Kyle Stewart, Soccer

Co-winners were needed this year as Armstrong and Stewart both made outstanding contributions to the community throughout the year. Armstrong created his own hockey school and used the registration fees to send orphans he met last summer in Cambodia to school for the year. Additionally, Armstrong is a school visit leader and Jays Care Big Sports Day leader as part of the Rams Care program. Armstrong leads and hosts a bible study group for fellow student-athletes and also assists the homeless in the local community as part of the Light Patrol initiative.

Stewart, a winner of Ryerson's SLC Student Leader Award this year, donates his time to both the Rams and greater Ryerson community. He is a Rams Care program leader on school visits, at the Nike Basketball Academy, and at Jays Care Big Sports Days, and also volunteers to support other student-athlete initiatives such as the blood donor clinic and Do It For Daron. Stewart will also be participating in this year's humanitarian trip to Ghana.


Hockey player Brodie Barrick and fencer Andy Mok were also finalists for this award.


See below for a full list of this year's award winners.

H.H. Kerr Female Athlete of the Year
Theanna Vernon

Ryersonian Male Athlete of the Year
Ammanuel Diressa

RSU Female Rookie of the Year
Victoria Watson

Eyeopener Male Rookie of the Year
Mateusz Kozak

G.L. Dobson Female Community Contribution
Ailish Forfar

D.H. Craighead Male Community Contribution
Aaron Armstrong & Kyle Stewart

Gold 'R' Recipients
Adam Anagnostopoulos (volleyball)
Aaron Armstrong (hockey)
Alex Basso (hockey)
Lucas Coleman (volleyball)
Ammanuel Diressa (basketball)
Jade Griffiths (volleyball)
Julie Longman (volleyball)
Sofia Paska (basketball)
Kyle Stewart (soccer)

Claude LaJeunesse Award (Academics)
Jade Griffiths

Jim Peffers Award (Staff)
Brian Withers & Heather Adam

U SPORTS President's Team Award
Women's Volleyball

OUA President's Team Award
Men's Fencing

Team MVPs
Badminton: Oscar Thompson & Renee Wong
Women's Basketball: Sofia Paska
Men's Basketball: Ammanuel Diressa
Fencing: Mateusz Kozak & Amalia Tadevosyan
Figure Skating: Rebecca Bourgeois
Women's Hockey: Ailish Forfar
Men's Hockey: Alex Basso
Women's Soccer: Katie Joyce
Men's Soccer: Greg Wise
Women's Volleyball: Julie Longman
Men's Volleyball: Lucas Coleman

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