Once a Raider, always a Raider.
That was a common phrase echoed throughout the Lindsay Thurber Raiders Athletic Banquet Wednesday.
Several Lindsay Thurber alumni, now teachers at the school turned the tables and honoured athletes for their various accomplishments over the course of the high school season.
Senior Hayley Lalor was named the Female Athlete of the Year for the second straight year, this time along with teammate and friend Emma Holmes.
“Emma is one of my best friends, it’s awesome to share it with her,” Lalor said.
“People say Thurber is like my second home and Thurber Athletics specifically has been such a big part of my life and everybody in it is kind of like family. I have really appreciated it a lot. I’m really thankful for it, but I’m also sad it’s over.”
Lalor and Holmes were teammates on the Raiders volleyball team that finally climbed to the peak of their sport this fall when they earned an Alberta Schools Athletic Association 4A Volleyball Championship gold medal.
Holmes, a co-MVP for the volleyball team with Journey Flewell, said winning that medal in her final season at Lindsay Thurber was a dream come true.
“That was an amazing experience, to celebrate with my team afterward and the whole season coming to a close,” she said.
“Obviously competing in the individual sports was a cool achievement, but being able to share it with your teammates is awesome.”
She added sharing the Athlete of the Year Award with Lalor was icing on the cake to end her high school career.
“It’s super cool because me and Hayley are such good friends, we’ve been teammates for countless years and to win it with her is amazing,” Holmes said.
“We’ve shared a lot of wins and celebrations and to finally get rewarded for the work is great.”
Lalor was MVP for senior basketball, badminton and Track and Field. She wrapped her high school athletic career with a three-medal performance on her home track last Saturday at the ASAA Track and Field Championships.
Also the Lindsay Thurber Valedictorian, Lalor is set to join the basketball team at McEwan University next year and is looking forward to the challenge the next level will bring.
“I’m just really excited to play at the next level and get a chance to see where that next level is and prove that I can play there,” she said.
Holmes will stay home and compete for the RDC Queens volleyball team in the fall.
Other nominees included Flewell, Jamie Lalor, Lauren Pasiuk and Heather Ritchie.
Pasiuk received the Curtis McKee Award.
Sean Vandervlis was the Male Athlete of the Year and said the other nominees pushed him to be better all year.
Kade Best, Josh Campbell, Jared Lower, Reid Petrosenko and Andy Reed were all in the running for the award.
“It was good to win against the guys I was competing against. They were all very good athletes and it feels good. Last year at the school, good feeling overall,” Vandervlis said.
A quarterback for the Raiders football team, Vandervlis earned the MVP nod and was a menace to opponents on the gridiron all season long.
He said while football stands out as his best memory, getting into rugby and learning the game this season was also a highlight.
He added that looking back, it was a privilege to represent the Raiders as an athlete.
“It’s a great school and a great group of people that are around. All the coaches want what’s best for you and it’s obvious as soon as you play here. They do everything they can to bring out the best in your ability,” Vandervlis said.
Vandervlis was leaning towards playing junior football next season, but is still considering his next step.
The Grade 9 Female Athlete of the Year was Corbynn Fujimoto. She was the MVP in Basketball, Handball and Track and Field. The other nominees were Tommie Charles, Gwen Ferguson, Jillyn Haldorson, Kyre Rawlusyk, Natasha Tillstra and Abbi Wilson.
Brett Lower earned the Grade 9 Male Athlete of the Year honour. He was the MVP for the volleyball team and most improved player in cross-country. Others in the running were, Jaden DeBruijn, Riley King, Jory Lodewyk, Chase Pack, Spencer Purdie and Komalle Abdel Salam.