UOIT recently held its 12th annual awards gala, where student-athletes were recognized for their outstanding achievements. To cap off the celebration, Ben Blasko (Kingston, Ont.) and Cassandra Sribny (Pickering, Ont.) were named athletes of the year.
It will be somewhat of a fairy tale ending for the two student-athletes as both Blasko and Sribny are graduating when the 2017-18 academic year comes to an end.
Blasko finished off his OUA hockey career recording a season-high 35 points, breaking the Ridgeback single-season record, helping him to also earn the men’s hockey MVP award. In his Ridgeback career he finished with 23 goals, 58 assists for 81 points, ranking him sixth in all-time scoring with just three seasons under his belt. The Ridgebacks also qualified for the postseason in every year he played.
Sribny led the women’s soccer team to their first undefeated regular season, as the Ridgebacks earned the right to host the OUA championship for the first time in program history. She started in all 16 games and recorded nine goals and two assists. Over her five-year career, she managed to score 34 goals, the most by any Ridgeback. Along with athlete of the year, Sribny took home the women’s soccer leadership award and was named her team’s MVP.
Women's soccer defender Alexis Kirton (Pickering, Ont.) and men's badminton player Zhiyi Chen (Newmarket, Ont.) were named the freshman athletes of the year just prior to the final awards of the night.
Kirton had an unbelievable freshman campaign as was named an OUA second-team all-star and was key to the Ridgebacks defensive core that allowed only nine goals against.
Chen helped write a piece of history for the UOIT badminton team as he was the first player in program history to reach an “A flight” final while leading the team to their first victory at the OUA championship. He was also part of a trio of athletes that represented UOIT at the national championship.
Other major award winners included Hafsa Hoda-Sher (Oshawa, Ont. – Women’s Rowing) and Nik Vantfoort (London, Ont. – Men’s Rowing) who were named the Dr. Gary Polonsky Leadership Award recipients. Both student-athletes were pivotal members of the inaugural Ridgeback Leadership Council.
The Rob Millikin Award was given to Jim Jack (Orillia, Ont.) for exemplifying academic success, passion and heart throughout the rowing season.
Chelsea Ball (Maple, Ont.) and Jack Patterson (Bedford, N.S.) were the recipients of James-Baun Cup, which is presented to a student on the men's and women's hockey teams who shows commitment, dedication, perseverance, academic responsibility, leadership and is a great teammate in the pursuit of excellence. The Cup is named after Bobby Baun and his long-time friend Don James.
The women’s soccer team was awarded the UOIT Team of the Year award for the second consecutive year after posting a 14-0-2 record and hosting the OUA final four.
Prior to the awards presentation, the Ridgebacks welcomed back members of the alumni association where the “Ridgeback Ring” was introduced.