Karla Godinez Gonzalez, Brad Hildenbrandt and Daniel Campbell were the big winners as the University of the Fraser Valley athletic department handed out its 2017-18 awards on Wednesday evening at the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre.
Sophomore wrestler Godinez Gonzalez was named the Cascades’ female athlete of the year, while wrestler Hildenbrandt and golfer Campbell were co-winners of the male athlete of the year award.
It was a big night all around for the Cascades wrestling program, which collected two other major trophies. Parker McBride and Ana Godinez Gonzalez earned the male and female rookie of the year awards, respectively.
Other winners included Taylor Claggett of the women’s basketball team (Shea Stewart-Hall Memorial Community Leadership Award) and Michelle Olive of the women’s rowing team (Jen Simpson Memorial Leadership Award).
Further details on the Cascades’ major award winners are as follows.
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Finalists: Karla Godinez Gonzalez (wrestling), Maddie Kapchinsky (golf), Shayna Litman (basketball), Karlee Pedersen (soccer)
Godinez Gonzalez dominated the competition in Canada West this season. After winning three medals at conference regular-season tournaments, she rolled through the 55 kilogram draw at the Canada West championships without surrendering a single point on her way to the gold medal. The Surrey, B.C. product was named the Canada West female wrestler of the year, and went on to win a silver medal at the U SPORTS national championships.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Finalists: Daniel Campbell (golf), Brad Hildenbrandt (wrestling), Nick Bruce (volleyball), Mark Johnson (basketball)
Choosing between Campbell and Hildenbrandt proved a difficult task after both won national championships in 2017-18.
Campbell, in his first year at UFV after transferring from Skagit Valley College, thoroughly dominated the men’s golf scene at both the PACWEST conference and CCAA national levels. The Bellingham, Wash. product won two of the PACWEST’s four tournaments, earning the overall individual title by nine strokes. At the CCAA national championships, he crushed the field, winning by a whopping eight strokes. With Campbell leading the way, the Cascades men’s team swept the conference and national titles. Earlier this week, he was named the PACWEST’s male athlete of the year across all sports.
Coming off a historic 2017 season which saw him become the first Cascade to win a U SPORTS national gold medal, heavyweight wrestler Hildenbrandt built on his success by defending his titles at both the Canada West and U SPORTS levels. He dominated his weight class at the national championships, winning his first three matches by a combined score of 30-5 before pinning his opponent in the final, Richard DesChatelets of the Brock Badgers, to secure his second straight national crown and U SPORTS All-Canadian honours.
FEMALE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Finalists: Ana Godinez Gonzalez (wrestling), Harneet Dadrao (soccer), Amanda Matsui (volleyball)
Ana Godinez Gonzalez is following closely in older sister Karla’s footsteps – Karla was the Cascades’ female rookie of the year for 2016-17. Ana missed the start of her rookie season with the Cascades wrestling program due to a broken leg, but she returned with a vengeance. The Surrey product went undefeated in Canada West competition, highlighted by a gold medal at the conference championships, and was named Canada West female rookie of the year. At the U SPORTS national championships, she posted a 3-1 record and won the silver medal in the 63 kilogram weight class.
MALE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Finalists: Parker McBride (wrestling), Ben Whiton (golf), Vick Toor (basketball)
McBride, who hails from Duvall, Wash., carved out a slice of Cascades history in 2017-18, as he was named the U SPORTS national rookie of the year for men’s wrestling. He’s the first national rookie of the year for UFV at the U SPORTS level. His season featured four podium finishes at Canada West tournaments, including a silver medal at the conference championships. He would go on to win gold in the 54 kg weight class at U SPORTS nationals, defeating Jordan Wong of the Alberta Golden Bears in the final.
SHEA STEWART-HALL MEMORIAL COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AWARD
Finalists: Taylor Claggett (women’s basketball), Elyssa Phillipson (women’s rugby sevens), Evan Bell-Foley (men’s volleyball)
This year, for the first time, the Cascades’ community leadership honour is named after Shea Stewart-Hall, and comes with a $750 financial award. This award is in memory of UFV Vice President Students and Enrolment Management Jody Gordon’s cousin Stewart-Hall, a lifelong athlete who lost her battle to cancer.
Claggett is involved in the community in a number of facets. In October 2017, she and her UFV teammates organized a basketball camp for high school girls in order to raise money to buy sports equipment for kids in Tecate, Mexico. They raised over $1,000. The Mission, B.C. product also hosted a team Christmas party where the Cascades filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, and she was the co-lead organizer of the UFV women’s basketball team’s annual Shoot for the Cure breast cancer fundraiser. Claggett participates in the Cascades’ Halloween Walk and Knock food drive for the Abbotsford Food Bank, and serves as a basketball coach in the community, working with kids at W.J. Mouat Secondary and BC Bounce basketball club.
JEN SIMPSON MEMORIAL LEADERSHIP AWARD
For the second consecutive year, Michelle Olive is the recipient of the Jen Simpson Award, which recognizes leadership in three areas: on an athletic team, in the community, and in academics and involvement at UFV. The award honours the memory of Cascades rower Jen Simpson, who died tragically in a car accident in 2008 at the age of 20. Her parents and friends have established this annual award in her name.
Olive, who hails from Abbotsford, is a dependable and kind leader to newer people on the Cascades rowing team. She’s a dedicated athlete who made huge strides as a rower this season. Olive approaches the sport with a serious mindset, and brings a “go hard or go home” mentality to her training.
As part of awards night, the Cascades honoured team MVPs. They are as follows.
Men’s basketball: Mark Johnson
Women’s basketball: Shayna Litman
Men’s soccer: David Hicks
Women’s soccer: Karlee Pedersen
Men’s wrestling: Brad Hildenbrandt
Women’s wrestling: Karla Godinez Gonzalez
Men’s golf: Daniel Campbell
Women’s golf: Maddie Kapchinsky
Men’s volleyball: Nick Bruce
Women’s volleyball: Kim Bauder
Men’s rowing: Mitchell Wierks
Women’s rowing: Erin Steele
Women’s rugby sevens: Elyssa Phillipson
Men’s baseball: Riley Jepson