Heat volleyball players Preston Tucker (pictured) and Caitlyn Nyhus are UBC Okanagan's student athletes of the year.

Heat volleyball players Preston Tucker (pictured) and Caitlyn Nyhus are UBC Okanagan's student athletes of the year.

Tucker, Nyhus land top Heat awards

With the exception of winning a national championship with their Heat teammates, there wasn’t much more Preston Tucker or Caitlin Nyhus could have possibly accomplished during the 2010-11 B.C. Colleges Athletics Association season.

On Monday night, the UBC Okanagan athletics department honoured the exploits of the two volleyball standouts at the Heat’s third annual awards ceremony.

Tucker, the fourth-year setter from Vernon, was named winner of the UBC Okanagan’s Male Student Athlete of the Year Award.

Nyhus, a graduating setter from the Heat women’s squad, was presented with the Female Student Athlete of the Year Award.

Tucker, who helped pace the UBCO men to a provincial title in 2011, was one of  most decorated athletes in Canadian collegiate athletics, capping the season by being named winner of the CCAA national player of the year across all sports.

He also won the CCAA and BCCAA player of the year awards, and earned all-star honours at both the Canadian and provincial championship tournaments.

Safe to say, it’s a season Tucker will never forget.

“It’s been unbelievable from start to finish, the team, the coaches, the support from everybody has been unreal,” said Tucker. “I’ve been here for four years now and I couldn’t imagine a better place to be than UBC Okanagan.”

As for Nyhus, the product of Penticton and five-year veteran was named a CCAA all-Canadian, a CCAA academic all-Canadian, the provincial player of the year across all sports, the BCCAA women’s volleyball Player of the Year and the BCCAA provincial championship tournament MVP.

She was also instrumental in leading the Heat to their third consecutive provincial crown.

“Cait deserves all the recognition that she is now receiving,” said Heat coach Steve Manuel. “She has worked extremely hard to develop her game and to become the player that she currently is.  I am extremely proud of her, to say that she has come a long way would be a huge understatement. With five provincial and three national medals, Cait is one of the most successful players in the history of the BCCAA and the CCAA.”

For Nyhus, the award caps an unforgettable five-year career with the Heat.

“It’s personally been an amazing time for me,” said Nyhus. “I’ve met a lot of amazing people along with way.”

The women’s finalists along with Nyhus were Jenna Kantz (women’s basketball), Jen Woods (women’s golf) and Sabrina Gasparic (women’s soccer).

The other finalists for the men’s award were Alex Roth (basketball), Keith Martin (golf) and Nicholas Johanson (men’s soccer).

Each team handed out its individual awards and the winners were:

• Men’s soccer

Coaches’ award—Sanjesh Mudaliar and Sean Petersen

MVP—Spencer Brown

• Women’s soccer

Rookie of the year—Madeleine Greig

MVP/Leadership—Sabrina Gasparac

Golden Boot/MVP Award—Alexa Kennedy

• Men’s basketball

Most improved player—Mack Roth

Best defensive player—Steve Morrison

Coaches’ award—Iain Con

• Women’s basketball

Leadership award—Melissa Irish

Coaches’ award—Roz Huber

MVP—Jenna Kantz

• Men’s volleyball

MVP—Nate Speijer

Coaches’ award—Aleks Bergen and Spencer Brown

Rob Sivacoe Award—Greg Niemantsverdriet

• Women’s volleyball

Most improved—Myrte Schön

Coaches’ award—Kendra Wayling

Dedication award—Kirsten Lawson

• Golf

Women’s MVP—Jen Woods

Men’s MVP—Keith Martin

Leadership—Alana Kent

The awards banquet also signified the end of an era as four Heat teams officially bid farewell to competition in the BCCAA.

The men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball squads will take to the floor in the fall of 2011-12 in the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) as members of the Canada West University Athletics Association.


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