North Shore's best celebrated at annual Sport Awards

Some of the best and brightest stars of the local sports scene gathered for the annual North Shore Sport Awards ceremony Thursday night at West Vancouver Community Centre.

One of the biggest wins of the night went to the Handsworth Secondary field hockey team, which earned the Team award following a 2018 season that saw the Royals win everything in sight, including the pre-season Polar Bear tournament, the prestigious Bridgman Cup, the always tough North Shore AAA title and the B.C. AAA championship. The Royals did not give up a single goal in six games at the provincial championships, defeating Cowichan 2-0 in the final.

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Other big winners on the night included Natasha Wodak claiming the female athlete of the year award and Scott Morgan earning the male athlete of the year title. National team gymnast Morgan topped off an impressive year by earning three medals at the Commonwealth Games, claiming silver in floor exercise and the team competition and bronze on the rings. Distance runner Wodak also did her best work at the Commonwealth Games, finishing fifth in the 10,000-m race. She is the Canadian record holder for that distance.

The youth female award went to soccer player Caitlyn Shaw, a leader for Team Canada as they finished fourth at the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, while the male youth award was claimed by Formula 1600 race car series champion Kellen Ritter.

Mollie Jepsen was also recognized as the para-athlete of the year following a breakout appearance at the 2018 Paralympic Games in South Korea where she won gold, silver and two bronze in para-alpine skiing.

Coach of the year honours went to Richard Wooles, a world-class track cycling coach who recently moved to Switzerland to run the road cycling program for the International Cycling Union.

Other winners included age-group world champion squash player Lauren Wagner in the master athlete category; Sheila Balzer in the community sport volunteer category; swimmer Emily Overholt and basketball player Scott Watson winning the comeback awards; and Marcus Dunn and Sahel Tehrani earning the Jim Martin Youth Leadership awards.       

The North Shore Sport Awards, hosted by B.C. Lions great Sean Millington and national rugby star Andrea Burk, were held in conjunction with the re-launched North Shore Hall of Fame induction ceremony. This year the Hall of Fame welcomed its first new class since 1971.

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