Veronika Fagan and Mitch McCaw are the UBC Okanagan Heat’s outstanding athletes for 2016-17. - Image credit: Ken Reid/Greystoke Photography

Fagan, McCaw claim top Heat honours

Cross country runner and soccer keeper win the female and male athlete of the year awards for UBCO

In varsity sports at UBC Okanagan, Veronika Fagan and Mitch McCaw set the bar high in 2016-17.

On Tuesday night at the Heat’s annual awards banquet, the two were rewarded with the institution’s highest athletic honours.

Fagan, a cross country runner, was named UBCO’s outstanding female athlete of the year, while McCaw, a keeper for the Heat men’s soccer team, earned the outstanding male award.

Fagan, a Mt. Boucherie grad, paced the Heat women’s team to a CCAA cross country title last fall, finishing fourth overall at the national championships.

Fagan, who was also named an all-Canadian, was not only thrilled with the award but encouraged by the rise of the cross country program over the past two seasons.

“The work ethic of my team has brought me to this,” said Fagan, a second-year nursing student. “I think being part of this in general, coming from high school and just knowing this university wasn’t a cross country institution, I really wanted to help push the program here and bring it to its potential.

“I feel so thankful to get this award, and I feel very good competing against such good athletes here.”

A native of Calgary, McCaw transferred to UBC Okanagan in the fall of 2016 from Concordia University in Portland, Ore.

The 6-foot-2 keeper made an immediate impact with the Heat program, posting five shutouts, six wins and earning Canada West first-team all-star honours.

“It’s incredible,” McCaw said of the award. “I couldn’t have done it without the support of not only the teammates and the coaching staff, but the community around UBC Okanagan. The first year has been incredible, I can’t thank the people around me enough.

“Even though it’s an individual award, it’s a tribute to a lot of people in the Okanagan community and UBCO, so I can’t be more grateful,” he said.

The 0ther major award winners were:

• Student Athlete of the Year (male)—Lars Bornemann, men’s volleyball

The fourth-year engineering student led the Heat in kills with 290, and has been named an academic All-Canadian three straight years.

• Student Athlete of the Year (female)—Siobhan Fitzpatrick, women’s volleyball

An academic all-Canadian the past two seasons, Fitzpatrick led the Heat with 256 kills.

• Graduating player of the year (male)—Alex Swiatlowski, men’s volleyball

Swiatlowski played over 300 sets for the Heat during his career, the second most all-time.

• Graduating player of the year (female)—Megan Festival, women’s volleyball

• Rookie of the year (male)—Kyle Hinchey, men’s volleyball

Third in team kills this past season (74), Hinchey was named to the Canada West all-rookie team.

• Rookie of the year (female)—Sara McCreary, women’s volleyball

Finished second on the Heat with 344 assists, while helping the team to a fourth straight Canada West final four appearance.

See all the award winners and finalists here.

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