VANCOUVER — How tough was the competition to earn accolades Wednesday evening at UBC’s 91st annual Big Block awards?
How this for starters?
A total of seven athletes were nominated for the two main female awards, and of that group, three were CIS MVPs in their respective sports, two others were NAIA individual champions and one was a World Championship bronze-medal winner.
More than 900 in were attendance at the annual affair. Here’s a look at the winners:
Bobby Gaul Memorial (Outstanding graduating male athlete): Golfer Andrew Robb, who led UBC to the NAIA team title in 2008 and won the individual competition at the Canadian university championships that same year. Robb has been honoured as an NAIA all-American and first team all-Canadian three times.
May Brown Trophy (Outstanding graduating female athlete): Olympic swimmer Martha McCabe and volleyball player Kyle Richey shared the honour.
McCabe, CIS swimmer of the year in 2010, won the 200-metre backstroke at the 2011 World Swimming Championships in Shanghai, and helped UBC win the 2012 CIS title.
(Editor Note: The above is what was reported by TheProvince.com; in actuality, McCabe won bronze in the 200 Breastroke at the 2011 World Championships)
Richey helped UBC win the national title in each of her five seasons with the ‘Birds, including 2012 in which she was named the CIS MVP. Richey and teammate Rayel Quirring are the only non-swimmers to win five national titles in their five seasons at the school.
Marilyn Pomfret Award (Outstanding Female Athlete): Golfer Kylie Barros and field hockey standout Robyn Pendleton shared the honour.
Barros, as a sophomore, won the 2011 NAIA individual championship, the first Canadian to ever capture the association’s national title.
Pendleton cleaned up in her sport nationally in helping her team to the CIS title. She won the Canada West and CIS MVP awards and was then named the MVP of the championship final.
Bus Phillips Award (Outstanding Male Athlete): Football player Billy Greene and swimmer Tommy Gossland were co-winners.
Greene, who led the CIS in passing yards and touchdowns-to-interception ratio, won the Hec Crighton Trophy as Canada’s best university player.
Gossland recently qualified for the London Olympics, as the CIS Male Swimmer of the Year won five golds at the national championships in leading the Birds to a narrow national title win over Toronto.
du Vivier Award (UBC’s Team of the Year): Women’s swimming was the winner, emerging from the school’s pack of four CIS national championship teams. Four Olympians — Savannah King, Tera Van Beilen, McCabe Heather MacLean — were part of the squad and led UBC to a historic team title, winning the crown by the largest margin ever at a CIS championship meet.
Male Rookie of the Year — Men’s volleyball player Jarrid Ireland capped an impressive freshman season in which he was named to the CIS All-Rookie team.
Female Rookie of the Year — Swimmer Van Beilen won two silver medals at the World University Games in China.
Swimmer Hayley Pipher and rower Alexandra Leask shared the Thunderbird Athletic Council Leadership Award, while swimmer King won the TAC’s Performance Award for her season which included two gold, a silver and two bronze at the CIS championships, and qualification for her second straight Olympic Games.
Kevin Johns, former UBC swimmer who was part of five CIS titles during his varsity career, capped 15 years of contribution to the athletics program with the Arthur W. Delamont Service Award. John’s worked for a decade as a promoter, writer, announcer and head statistician for Thunderbirds sports.
The recipient of the Carolyn Dobie-Smith Award for dedication and commitment to the school’s athletes was women’s hockey trainer Carolyn Dobie-Smith, who also volunteered her time to the football and softball teams.
Teams and individuals being inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame were also honoured.
In the team category: The 1960 Olympic rowing champion UBC-VRC men’s eights, and the 1962-63 UBC men’s hockey team.
Builders: Former men’s athletic director Rick Noonan, and former UBC football coach Frank Smith.
Athletes: Joanne Ross, Tom Jones, Tracey Lipp, Barbara Robertson, Pat Onstad