McIver, Wright lead Lightning awards

One of the top young rugby players in the city received two of the major awards at the annual Hunting Hills athletic banquet at Hunting Hills Thursday.

One of the top young rugby players in the city received two of the major awards at the annual Hunting Hills athletic banquet at Hunting Hills Thursday.

Katelyn McIver, who will attend the University of Lethbridge on a rugby scholarship in the fall, was named the female athlete of the year and received the Andre Sather Memorial Award.

McIver shared the night’s spotlight with Connor Wright, who picked up the male athlete of the year award.

McIver was a bit surprised after receiving the top athletic award.

“The other nominees are great athletes and I was just proud to be nominated along with them,” said McIver, who was the only Grade 12 among the five finalists.

The others were Amanda Stonehouse, who is in Grade 10, and Sara Codd, Lexi Kambeitz and Ainsley Wright, all of whom are in Grade 11.

McIver, who also played basketball and volleyball and competed in track and field, knew by the end of her Grade 11 year that rugby would be the way to get her education.

Lindsay Thurber head coach Norm MacDougall, who also recruits for the two-time defending university champion U of L Pronghorns, contacted McIver last season.

“When he talked with me I had an idea that’s what I would be doing,” she said. “I attended their camps and that was a real eye opener. I still have a lot to learn.”

McIver first took up rugby, along with volleyball and basketball, in Grade 6, but quit rugby until she moved to Hunting Hills in Grade 9.

She also didn’t compete in track and field until this year.

The five-foot-10 McIver, who plays No. 8, played four years at Hunting Hills as well as playing with the powerful Red Deer U18 Titans.

She also received the coaches award for both senior girls’ volleyball and basketball.

The Andre Sather award is presented to an athlete who represents themselves, their family and the school with pride, dignity and determination.

Wright edged out Jose Liso, Drew Hamilton, Zach Doan and Cody Bourque for the top male award.

“There was some stiff competition,” said the 18-year-old.

Wright played volleyball, basketball, track and field and badminton with volleyball and basketball his main sports.

He plans on attending Red Deer College in the fall, to continue his framing carpentry, which he’s been involved in for the last year and a half. But he doesn’t plan on playing sports.

“At least for a year, then I’ll see what happens,” he said.

Wright was captain of the senior volleyball team. He played power hitter, but his strength may have been his passing.

“I played libero when I was 16 with the U18 club team, so that’s where I got most of my passing skills,” said Wright, who was MVP of the volleyball team and received the coaches award with the basketball squad.

Meanwhile, Sophie Falls was named the Grade 9 girls’ athlete of the year and Tim Pratt took home the top boys’ award.

Falls edged Jada Wright, Aiden Inkster, Wynn Kusmire and Brittany Blake while Wylie Cunningham and Davis Reykdal were in the running on the boys’ side.

l The night’s other major award, the Advocate of the year award, went to long-time athlete coach and supporter Donna Potts.

The a complete list of Hunting Hills award winners see scoreboard on Page D4.

Contact Danny Rode at drode@bprda.wpengine.com

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