A year's worth of rucking and mauling paid off for the Capilano Rugby Club's elite men's team as they were rewarded with two of the biggest prizes of the night at the North Shore Sport Awards held March 12 at Park Royal Shopping Centre.
The big boys, standing out from the crowd with their matching yellow ties and broad shoulders, took home the team of the year award to close out the ceremony. The Caps won the Rounsefell Cup in 2012, defeating James Bay Athletics Association 22-21 in a thrilling provincial championship final.
Capilano also contributed the North Shore's coach of the year as bench boss Tom Larisch earned that honour for his work in turning the rugby team around following a disappointing 2011 campaign. Larisch also scored high for his work with the rugby and wrestling teams at Carson Graham secondary.
Another highlight of the night came in the open women's category. The North Shore Sport Awards are always held during training season and it's often hard for our elite athletes, practicing their crafts around the world, to make it back to the Shore for the ceremony. All three open female nominees, however, were on hand to grace the stage this year.
Towering over event MC Don Rutherford, the power trio of Olympic silver-medal rower Lauren Wilkinson, Olympic runner Jessica Smith and Capilano University basketball star Jenna Ralston made for quite a sight. Smith, who in 2012 became only the fourth Canadian woman to crack the two-minute barrier in the 800-metre race, came away with the award in what was likely a very tight race.
Other winners on the evening included former Gonzaga University basketball star and current Los Angeles Laker Robert Sacré in the open male category, double Grand Slam tennis phenom Filip Peliwo in the youth male category, UBC field hockey star Hannah Haughn in the youth female category and the world-record-setting duo of marathoner B.J. McHugh and track star Christa Bortignon as co-winners in the master athlete category.
Other special honours included the Community Sport Dedication award given posthumously to soccer volunteer Mark Steven, the Outstanding Community Sport Organization award to the North Shore Girls Soccer Club, the Lifetime Coaching Achievement award to high school legend Gordie Scott, Spirit of 2010 awards to Olympians Zac Plavsic and Lauren Wilkinson, Comeback awards to basketball star Lauren Seabrook and skier Georgia Simmerling, Special Olympian award to basketball player Nick Kellof and Fair Play awards to ultimate coach Carla Keffer and soccer coach Michael Mutsaerts.
Jim Martin Youth Leadership awards were given to Argyle's Lucy Fox, Howe Sound secondary's Rryla McIntosh and Sutherland's Mitchell Merilees. Community Sport Volunteer awards went to curling co-ordinators Jeanna Douglas and Lisa Gamble, Handsworth basketball and photography wizard Blair Shier and West Vancouver Field Hockey Club maestro Margi Spooner.