Mike Ward might have been the most surprised person in the gym when he was honoured as the Hunting Hills High School male athlete of the year Thursday.
“I can’t even say right now what this award means to me,” he insisted. “I didn’t even know I was a nominee until now. I’m still in shock, I guess.”
The four-year basketball and volleyball player will graduate this month and has no immediate plans.
“I’m just hoping to travel and see the world,” said Ward, who added that attending RDC and trying out for the Kings basketball team is also on his down-the-road agenda.
“I had a lot of fun here over the four years,” he added. “I come from an athletic family so being involved with sports was a natural for me. I enjoyed my time with every team I played on. I had great coaches and I love them all.”
Rachel Kuz was the recipient of the Hunting Hills female athlete of the year award and immediately thanked her coaches and teammates.
“It’s amazing, awesome,” said Kuz. “All my coaches and teammates . . . everyone worked so hard this year and made it a lot of fun.”
Kuz, a Grade 11 student, has competed in cross-country running, basketball, handball and was co-captain of the Lightning girls soccer team the last two seasons.
“Rachel is an excellent athlete who realizes the importance of commitment,” said her basketball coach, Jill de Jonge. “She’s extremely coachable and dedicated to excellence.”
Kuz returned to the Lightning girls basketball team last season after leaving the sport for a year. She was appreciative of the support she received upon her return.
“To come back after not playing for a year . . . everyone was so supportive and my coaches were just amazing,” she said. “Now I’m just looking forward to coming back next year, playing all the sports again and giving 100 per cent.”
Emily Eisenhawer was the winner of the prestigious Andre Sather Memorial Award, while John and Loree Van Mulligen were the recipients of the Lightning Athletics Advocate of the Year honours.
The Ross Towers Award was presented to Jonna Stewart and Jesse Ross, the girls handball team won the Lightning Pride Award and Travis Derksen was presented with the Stacy Larsen Memorial Bantam Football Award.
The Hunting Hills Grade 9 athletes of the year are Kristen Loney and Parker Booth.
Hunting Hills 2013 athletic awards winners:
Golf — Most valuable player (MVP): Matt Codd. Coaches award (CA): Logan Hill.
Cross country, Grade 9 — MVP female: Myah Cota; CA female: Emma Hope; MVP male: Eric Lutz; CA male: Richard Watt.
Cross country, Grades 10-12 — MVP female: Jordanna Cota; CA female: Michaela Perlau; MVP male: Matt Hope; CA male: Brodie Parker.
Football, bantam — MVP: Cole Layden; CA: Kaden Hall.
Football, senior — MVP: Scott Pearson; CA: Bryce Johnson.
Volleyball, Grade 9 girls — MVP: Jordynn White; CA: Kristen Loney.
Volleyball, Grade 9 boys — MVP: Cody Pratt; CA: Steel McDonald.
Volleyball, junior girls — MVP: Teagan Booth; CA: Erika Pearson.
Volleyball, junior boys — MVP: Blake Thomson; CA: Ky McLachlin.
Volleyball, senior boys — MVP: Ryan Beatson; CA: Bobby Hamilton.
Basketball, Grade 9 girls — MVP: Brooke Vanhantsaeme; CA: Kaylee Lukawiecki.
Basketball, Grade 9 boys — MVP: Jordan Vincent; CA: Ryan Neamtu.
Basketball, junior girls — MVP: Nicole Fischer; CA: Priscilla Mand.
Basketball, junior boys — MVP: Chris Petersen; CA: Ky McLachlin.
Basketball, senior girls — MVP: Wendy Cortes; CA: Maddie Klootwyk.
Basketball, senior boys — MVP: Dallas Hancox; CA: Joel Peterson.
Handball — MVP female: Merissa Mand; CA female: Rida Baig; MVP male: Mike Ward; CA male: Brodie Parker.
Curling — MVP: Kim Hayton; CA: Jesse Baron.
Badminton, Grade 9 — MVP female: Myah Cota; CA female: Jordyn Crawford; MVP male: Bryce Kopec; CA male: Tino Senesouma.
Badminton, Grades 10-12 — MVP female: Kim Hayton; CA female: Brittany Lee; MVP male: Deepan Hazra; CA male: Nathan Frank.
Track and field, Grade 9 — MVP female: Jill Stewart; CA female: Maxine Morgan; MVP male: Eric Lutz; CA male: Carson West.
Track and field, Grades 10-12 — MVP female: Jordanna Cota; CA female: Jessica Van Mulligan; MVP male: Matt Van Mulligan; CA male: Derrick Evans.
Tennis — MVP female: Rachelle Fallis; CA female: Jaden Robinson; MVP male: Ryan Beatson; CA male: Griffin Young.
Rugby, senior girls — MVP: Mackenzie Morisseau; CA: Katelyn Arter.
Rugby, Grade 9 girls — MVP: Shelley Prince; CA: Nadia Harmse.
Rugby, senior boys — MVP: Phil MacNabb; CA: Devin Altheim.
Rugby, Grade 9 boys — MVP: Coby Roberts; CA: Connor Hurlburt.
Soccer, girls — MVP: Merissa Mand; CA: Rachelle Fallis.
Soccer, boys — MVP: Jordan Bottcher; CA: Luke Beasley.