WolfPack recognizes its best at Athletic Awards

Annual banquet seeks to reward TRU's best athletes for their commitment

Rachel Windhorst and Mitch Popadynetz, the WolfPack’s players of the year, stand with vice president administration and finance Matt Milovick after receiving their awards. (TRU Athletics)

The annual sports banquet has become a tradition at TRU, a tradition that recognizes the excellence of some of the program’s best student athletes.

For one night each year, athletes, coaches and faculty dress formally to honour athletes that have distinguished themselves in the sports arena and in the classroom.

This year the TRU men’s soccer program, which has improved by leaps and bounds, got strong recognition for their performances which led to them winning a bronze medal at nationals.

Mitchell Popadynetz, (fourth year, midfield, Nelson, B.C.), was named the athlete of the year.

Popadynetz was the Canada West player of the year, a Canada West first team all-star, USPORTS first team all-star and an All-star at the USPORTS nationals at Hillside Stadium.

Popadynetz was also the leading goal scorer in Canada West and third overall in USPORTS.

Popadynetz was chosen over volleyball player Tim Dobbert, (fourth year, outside hitter, Aichelberg, Germany) and basketball player Luke Morris, (fifth year, forward, Mission, B.C.).

“This award is well deserved and icing on the cake for the season that Mitch has had for our program,” said head coach John Antulov to TRU athletics.

“This season has been a culmination of the work that Mitch has put in the last four years at TRU and it’s great to see him reap the rewards for the time and effort he has put in to become the player that he is today,” added Antulov. “His performance this season helped put TRU men’s soccer on the map and shows that outstanding players will come to Thompson Rivers and excel in USPORTS athletics and potentially the highest levels.”

Rachel Windhorst played two seasons with the WolfPack women’s volleyball team after transferring from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was also named player of the year.

She finished sixth in the Canada West in total kills (327) and eighth in kills per set (3.41).

Windhorst finished in the top 20 in digs (238), good for 2.43 per set while playing in all 24 matches for the WolfPack this season.

“Her willingness to put in the time in the off season and her high level of competition were great additions to our program and she will be missed as we move forward,” stated coach Chad Grimm to TRU athletics.

Runners up were basketball player Michelle Bos (fourth year, forward, Surrey, B.C.) and Marisa Mendonca (third year, midfield, Penticton, B.C.).

Ryan Glanville (fifth year, midfield, Williams Lake, B.C.) and Kendra Finch (third year, outside hitter, North Vancouver, B.C.) both won the Doctor Roger H. Barnsley Scholar Athlete award.

Glanville is a multi-winner of the USPORTS Academic All Canadian award.

“Ryan was and is the standard bearer for TRU men’s soccer,” said head coach Antulov to TRU athletics.

“As a three-time all-star and three time Academic All Canadian, he has led the way for our current and future student athletes in men’s soccer to understand what it means to play for our program and what the standard is to achieve,” Antulov told TRU athletics.

“Ryan really helped set the tone three years ago for what we wanted to achieve in this program. We were a new USPORTS team and finding our way, but with his leadership and will to win, it brought the players to the standard that we were looking for as a program that we’ll challenge in the upcoming year,” Antulov said.“This award is the pinnacle for Ryan on what he has accomplished and I could not be more pleased that he has completed his fifth year with this award.”

The WolfPack also recognized the Corryn Brown Foursome: Samantha Fisher, Dezaray Hawes, Pincott and Brown for winning a third USPORTS silver medal earlier this week at nationals.