By BEN STODDARD
Michael De Fante and Caitlin Martin received well-deserved applause and cheers after being named Conestoga’s athletes of the year April 4.
More than 30 awards were handed out at the 44th annual Varsity Athletic Awards Banquet that took place at Conestoga Place, 110 Manitou Dr. in Kitchener.
Del Fante, a student in Conestoga’s advanced care paramedic program, played badminton and earned silver at the OCAA Provincial Singles Championships.
“He only lost to one guy all year,” badminton coach Tony Purkis said. “Michael earned silver in both the western regionals and the provincials.”
Del Fante previously graduated from Cambrian College and this was his first year at Conestoga.
Martin, a student in the environmental applications post-graduate program, played on the women’s rugby team. She was third overall in OCAA scoring and the team earned the OCAA silver medal. This was the first year there was a women’s rugby team at Conestoga College. Before coming to the college, Martin earned a chemical engineering degree from the University of Waterloo.
Matija Elez, a player on the men’s outdoor soccer team, was named the OCAA overall rookie of the year. The team won the OCAA bronze medal.
Paul Osborne, director of athletics and recreation at Conestoga College, kicked off the banquet with a speech and a video/slide show.
After dinner, the trophies were handed out. Teams cheered as their teammates won awards. The first ones presented were 19 athletic scholarships. The scholarships were chosen by the coaches for athletes who showed leadership and skill in their respective sports and academic potential.
Next up, varsity team coaches handed out an MVP award and a coach’s awards.
The MVP winners were Lauren Armstrong (women’s fastball), Brendan Hancock and Stephanie Mason (cross-country), Lucas Mclvor (men’s rugby), Caitlin Martin (women’s rugby), Nathan Greene (men’s outdoor soccer), Felipe Da Conceicao (men’s indoor soccer), Heather Buckie (women’s outdoor soccer), Amanda John (women’s indoor soccer), Jon Mowser (men’s volleyball), Tiffany Pinksen (women’s volleyball) and Michael De Fante (badminton.)
Academic awards, given to athletes who also maintained a 3.75 GPA or higher in the fall semester, were given to 23 students this year.