Kelowna track and field star Aaron Stroda (middle) was among the local athletes and volunteers recognized at this week's community sports hero awards held at the Mary Irwin Theatre.

Kelowna track and field star Aaron Stroda (middle) was among the local athletes and volunteers recognized at this week's community sports hero awards held at the Mary Irwin Theatre.

Athletes and volunteers honoured at Community Sports Awards

Great stories of triumph, success and countless hours of volunteerism as community awards handed out this week

Community members filled the Mary Irwin Theatre on Tuesday to recognize the 2013 Community Sport Hero Awards Recipients. The City of Kelowna, PacificSport, and Tourism Kelowna recognized local volunteers and athletes for their outstanding contributions to sport within the  community.

Here is a look at each recipient:

Volunteer Awards:

• Jules Morris – Lacrosse

Morris has worn just about every volunteer hat available with the Kelowna Raiders senior lacrosse team: trainer, gate opener, game day organizer, fundraiser, treasurer, general manager and president. During his time with the Raiders the team has won five league championships and two provincial championships.

• Chris Bayne – Rugby

A founding member of the Central Okanagan Rugby Enthusiasts (CORE), Bayne was instrumental in bringing the first-ever Canadian Rugby Championship game to Kelowna in 2011. He has coached hundreds of athletes at Mount Boucherie, Kelowna Christian and Kelowna Secondary schools, helping young men and women alike to appreciate the sport of rugby.

• Trees Beleutz – Speed skating

Beleutz served as vice-chair of the 2011 Canada West Short Track Championship, assistant meet coordinator for the 2011 and 2012 Kelowna Invitational Short Track Meet, and helped organize the club’s annual awards dinner and has been instrumental in the success of speed skating in Kelowna in many roles with the club.

• Kendall Gross – Football

During his five years volunteering with the Kelowna Minor Football Association Gross has coached several teams, sometimes three at the same time. He led the Kelowna Mission atom Lions to two provincial titles in 2012 and also served as Director and Treasurer for Kelowna Minor Football.

• Dineka and Peter Vandeburgt – Tennis

When it comes to volunteering in the Kelowna tennis community, the team of Dineka and Peter Vandeburgt have done it all, helping to deliver successful tennis leagues, tournaments and socials in Kelowna. Last year the pair were involved as volunteers for the ITF Kelowna Tennis Futures Tournament in 2012.

• Mike Erdmann – Tae Kwon Do

A coach and 5th degree black belt with Kelowna Tae Kwon Do Erdmann has achieved his Level 3 coaching certification through the National Coaching Certification Program, has added first aid training and status as an assistant instructor, coach and performance coach with Tae Kwon Do Canada.

• Julie Neville – field hockey

For over three decades, Neville has contributed exceptional and sustained service to field hockey in Kelowna from being a highly skilled field hockey player to a coach and umpire. She has served as the head umpire for high school games and has been a key part to hosting field hockey festivals and provincial playoffs.

• Michael Christian – Badminton

As president of the Kelowna Badminton Club for the past eight years Christian has made it his mission to keep the club healthy and the members happy with a hands-on philosophy that makes every member feel welcome helping to create a happy and fun atmosphere for the growing club.

• Tony Hoft – Swimming

As treasurer and president of the Okanagan Masters Swim Club Hoft has helped the club become one of the biggest and most active in the province and most recently helped the club host the Canadian Masters Swimming Championship, the largest swim meet ever held in Kelowna.

• Hal Hennenfent – Volleyball

As a teacher, athletic director and volleyball coach at Glenrosa Middle School, Hennenfent also puts in time with several other sports groups including the Okanagan Central Schools Athletic Association, Okanagan Valley Sport Athletic Association, Volleyball BC, BC High School Boys Volleyball committee and the Kelowna Volleyball and Okanagan Official’s group.

Athlete Awards

• Jen Woods – Golf

Born and raised in Kelowna, Woods left her mark in the UBCO Heat record books winning seven of 20 tournaments, four consecutive provincial team titles, two national silver team medals, two PACWEST Player of the Year awards, two PACWEST tournament All-Star awards, and three CCAA tournament All-Star awards. Last season she led her team to a CCAA Championships banner and was nominated for the Sport BC College Athlete of the Year.

• Madison Arnold – Gymnastics

Only a few months into competing in the new sport of acrobatic gymnastics, Arnold and her partner Adele Lefevre qualified to compete for Canada at the World Age Group Championships and placed a respectable 29th in the world. After being diagnosed with a very rare disease called Lemierre’s Syndrome her strength and tenacious spirit brought her to a full recovery and she is gearing up for the competitive season and qualifying for the Worlds 2014 in France.

• Rostam Turner – Track and Field

Turner competes in the grueling sport of Octathlon which combines eight different track and field events over two days of competition. Last year at the Legion Track Meet in PEI, he won the Canadian National Championships for Octathlon. His score ranked him number one in Canada in 2012 and 4th in Canadian history as a Youth competitor.

• Eric Neilson – Skeleton

Neilson, got involved in skeleton racing six years ago after Canada was awarded the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and he has developed into one of the country’s top skeleton athletes. Currently ranked 6th in the world, Neilson had his best result yet this past weekend at the 2013 World Championships where he was fourth overall.

• David Dimitrov – Swimming

Fourteen years of hard work has led Dimitrov to be considered one of the best young prospects in Canadian swimming having achieved the honour of Canada West Swimming Male Athlete of the Year with six gold medals to his name as a member of the University of Calgary swim team. Now studying at UBC Okanagan in Health and Exercise Sciences, Dimitrov continues to pursue his athletic aspirations as a member of the Liquid Lightning Team and narrowly missed out on  qualifying for the London Olympic Games.

• Connor Howe – Tae Kwon Do

As a student of Tae Kwon Do for the past 11 years, Howe, 17, has achieved his third degree black belt and has many accolades to his name including, multiple junior titles, provincial championships, national championships, US and International competition titles.

After graduation this June, Connor has his sights set on the Human Kinetics program at UBC and a possible career with the RCMP.

• Will Dean – Rowing

The 6-foot-5, 215 pound Kelowna native, Dean powered his way into the men’s rowing four at the 2012 World Championships in Slovenia, where they finished seventh and qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Rowing the coxless fours Dean and his crew captured third spot in the B final to finish ninth overall.

• Aaron Stroda – Track and Field

In 2012, Stroda catapulted to the top of the Canadian Youth Track and Field rankings in both the discus and shot put. At the Youth National Championships he finished second in both events and will compete in the same age division in 2013. This past year he was selected as the BC Athletics Youth Athlete of the Year and has been awarded Male Athlete of the Year at OKM Secondary for the past three years.

• Chandler Proch – Volleyball

A talented volleyball star Proch has overcome a myriad of challenges and has continued to lead her UBCO Women’s Volleyball team both on and off the court. UBCO’s team captain Proch was met with a life altering diagnosis that revealed a spine misalignment last year. Any wrong movement had the potential to cause her vertebrae to slip and sever her spinal cord. With the help of physiotherapy and careful monitoring and a great attitude, Proch was able to complete the team’s record-breaking season recording more wins than any other post-secondary institution in their first year of competition at the CIS level.

• Malindi Elmore – Track and Field

Born and raised in Kelowna, Elmore has represented Canada at the World Cross Country Championships, World University Games, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games and Olympic Games winning a host of medals over the years in various championships including 14 times at the Canadian National Track and Field Championships, the most recent being her fourth Canadin Championship won last year.

Sport Hosting Award:

• Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association

With over 5,000 athletes the Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association went above and beyond in their commitment to community sport in 2012. COYSA submitted a winning bid and successfully hosted the 48-team Youth Girls B Cup Soccer Provincials in July 2012. The four-day tournament at Mission sports fields featured the best teams in the province competing in divisions from under-13 to under-18. In the words of one volunteer, the event was “quite magical.” In terms of economic impact, Tourism Kelowna classified it at as a “million-dollar event.”





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