Huckin' Eh's inaugural Canadian D1 College awards celebrating the best of the best in 2022.
November 24, 2022 by Theo Wan and Danie Proby in Awards with 0 comments
Guest author Sarah Pledge-Dickson also contributed to reporting.
The dust has settled and a new university champion was crowned this past fall. McMaster has been trending upwards for years and realized their potential, winning their first ever national title.
In an effort to continue to shine a spotlight on the upcoming talent in Canada, the Huckin’ Eh D1 College Awards were born. Every team in Division 1 nominated a player in each category before the awards were then voted on by the other teams in the division. We couldn’t be more proud to honor these award winners.
Expect a lot of these players to be making an impact for a club team near you.
Player of the Year
Lianne Campbell (McGill)
Without a doubt, Lianne Campbell is MUT’s poster child. The moment the roster was released, teams across the country scrambled to think up defensive sets to shut her down. But try as they might, Campbell is unstoppable in the face of any defender. The incessant “shooter” and “lefty” calls never deter her from winding up to unleash a devastating 60 yard backhand. Her pulls may even be some of the longest in the division. On top of that, her perpetually sunny disposition on the field wins her every single spirit MVP award. The lefty handler also gained experience this past summer, playing with Colombian mixed outfit, Macondo, at the World Ultimate Club Championships while also being a key piece for Venus, the fourth place finishers at the Canadian Ultimate Championships. She is everything you’d ever want in a player, teammate, and leader all wrapped up in one. A multi-year captain, Campbell meshes both talent and passion into a ferocious package that many teams just cannot stop.
Katie Sciborski (Queen’s)
Katie Sciborski was a real rock this season. Sciborski was the team’s main handler who both punished defenses with her handler strikes and was always keen to help her teammates with extra time and advice. Those fortunate enough to either to play with or witness Sciborski will agree that she has monster pulls and throws with or without the wind. In CUUC’s Friday Qualifier, Sciborski was a key component in keeping the disc moving against atrocious weather and played a huge role in helping Queen’s defeat Guelph and move on to the Division 1 championship. A leader both on and off the field, this field general leaves an unforgettable legacy that inspires others.
Jessica Gao (McMaster)
Gao has truly been the epitome of a role model this season for McMaster, balancing her role as a captain, high caliber player and graduate student. On the field, she controls play, directs traffic, and communicates with her players. Being the main handler on an upwind line speaks volumes in itself – she’s able to get the disc off the sideline when trapped, breaking any mark to swing the disc. A versatile player with an arsenal of throws, she finds holes in an opposing zone to throw sneaky IOs that lead to the defense’s eventual disintegration. Gao makes every effort to keep possession by putting her body on the line with continuous layouts while her vert punishes those who underestimate her height. Her dedication and unwavering efforts on the field are inspiring to all.
Offensive Player of the Year
Jocelyn Li (Toronto)
Jocelyn Li was a star for Toronto’s O-line this year, whether she was initiating the offense with her speedy cutting or shredding through zones. Her experience with Western and the bronze medal winning mixed squad, Danger Noodle shone through in her consistent throws despite intense wind and will to catch any disc that came her way, whether she had to lay out or sky someone a foot taller than her. A rock-solid player who makes life easier for her teammates? Pencil her right in as the 2022 offensive player of the year.
Zoe Dyck & Taya Neissen (Manitoba)
This duo was inseparable as the key drivers to Manitoba’s success and eventual silver-medal finish. Dyck and Neissen have been playing together for years and are the epitome of reading your cutters and anticipating their next move. They were the highest scoring players for their team, with each point usually ending with a pass from to the other. They live rent free in each other’s heads and always seem to know what the other will do next. Incredibly valuable individually, together…they are lethal.
Tess Wittmann (Queen’s)
Tess Wittmann is the definition of small and mighty (though don’t underestimate her hops because she gets up). She will run you to the ground with her speed and break your ankles. As if that’s not enough, she’s also capable of amazing breaks and hucks. And watch out if there’s a turn: Witmann will get at least one hand or foot block per game to go with multiple run-through Ds. She was a key component to the Queen’s O-line this year and helped them continue to be one of the top achieving programs in the division.
Defensive Player of the Year
Nyna Prevost (McGill)
Nyna Prevost is living proof that contrary to popular belief, maybe you really can teach height. As the literal embodiment of “clutch,” she is consistently able to shut down any match up thrown at her, no matter if they’re a foot taller than her or not. Seriously, it has been documented that she has skied someone double her size. Prevost has the unique ability to defend you in all spaces at once, then layout block you, then score on you, then give you a high five and a compliment, all with a smile on her face. She is a worldly talent on the field as made evident by numerous Team Canada experiences. Prevost was able to bring a high-energy and veteran defensive presence in just her first year with McGill.
Emily Cho (Manitoba)
Emily Cho is a massive presence on the field, physically and verbally. She is the type of teammate that can make you laugh so hard that you cry, pump you up so you’re playing your best, and do whatever is asked of her on the field. She takes the other team’s toughest matchups and works harder than anyone, always running at 100%. And she will do anything to get the disc back in her team’s possession. Not only can she force turnovers like no tomorrow, but she capitalizes on any turn and often strikes for the score or sends it deep to ensure the D is rewarded. This goofball is unassuming at first but look out, because she will block you then sky you for the break.
Emilie Beausoleil (Ottawa)
Emilie Beausoleil had a phenomenal fall. She has great speed, proactive defense, and overall sense of the game translates to on-point defensive positioning and you can always trust her to win in a sky battle, no matter the odds. Her mark is fantastic as well, generating turnovers through forced bad throws or just straight-up hand blocks. Beausoleil was an incredibly dependable defender who Ottawa relied on to get block after block and then be willing to go out and do it all again.
Rookie of the Year
Naomi Peterson (Ottawa)
A rookie who has top level club experience with Stella, Naomi Peterson will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come for this uOttawa squad. A graduate from the Wicked program in Ottawa, she spent her first year in Guelph (Division 2) before transferring over to uOttawa, and the team is pretty thankful to have her back in her home city. Peterson has great poise on the field and can read a disc like nobody’s business. She’s also got fantastic hucks: while uOttawa usually tried to keep to a disciplined zone offense rather than huck-and-pin, Peterson was often able to get them out of sticky situations with her un-markable backhands. She’s easygoing on the field and the sideline and is always willing to play whatever role the team needs.
Alicia Zhang (Toronto)
Fresh off a junior women’s gold medal with Eclipse and a bronze with Team Canada this summer, Alicia had a huge impact in her first year with Toronto. Zhang always came up clutch in tight games and fit into the offensive system flawlessly. She can get open anywhere on the field and, when she gets the disc, will not hesitate to throw a picture-perfect huck. Her game IQ is on another level: she’s not the tallest player on the field but she makes up for it by out-reading, out-cutting, and out-smarting those around her. Her decision-making is also that of an elite offensive player on a club team. Her O-line campaign at U20 worlds left her with only one turnover compared to 140 completions over the entire tournament. This young star had already made a name for herself in BC but now the rest of the country is taking notice.
Millie Wright (Manitoba)
In her first year on the team, Millie Wright was on the starting O-line as a central handler for Manitoba and demanded her opponent’s respect. At some points, teams would put one-on-one matchups on Wright just to try to stop her from tearing through their cup. Not only that, but she will also bail people out by making big skies and layouts. It is incredible to see such strong fundamentals in such a young player. Wright’s first year saw the further development of some of the skills she first displayed at U20 Worlds and she’s just getting started.
Huckin’ Heart Award
Roxanne Goderre (Laval)
The Huckin’ Heart Award recognizes players who show heart and passion for the sport of ultimate, and Goderre’s passion is remarkable. No matter what game her team ends up in, the goal is always the same: playing the best ultimate possible as a team by working hard and being proud of herself and her teammates. Through her young but impressive career – which includes an appearance for Team Canada U20 as well as suiting for top women’s outfit, Iris – Goderre continuously strives to get better and won’t stop until she reaches the top. She plays with her heart all the time, no matter who she’s playing with. Goderre is one of the most dedicated players you will ever see and for this she is the recipient of the first-ever Huckin’ Heart award.
Gwany Patenaude (McGill)
Gwany Patenaude plays ultimate with the wisdom of a player beyond her years. Not only is she a leader on the field with her vocal callouts and buttery throws, she is also a rock for the team’s energy on the sideline. As the most articulate captain on the team, she always takes time to explain drills, emphasize focuses, and help her teammates fix mistakes on the spot. There isn’t a practice where Patenaude isn’t telling the team exactly how to improve. From juggling school, work, and ultimate, it is a wonder how she manages to balance it all. A testament to a strong work ethic, Patenaude sets an example for other players on MUT to follow.
Caitlin Cho (Manitoba)
Not only was Caitlin Cho a captain for the team this year, but she is the reason why Manitoba was at CUUC. As a club team, student-athletes are responsible for charting attendance, practice planning, scheduling, field booking and planning. The team exists because Cho is the brains behind all the organization and planning. She loves ultimate to her core and gained great experiences playing for Winnipeg Fusion at WUCC 2022 and U20 Team Canada this past summer. She is an incredible athlete and truly embodies playing hard and playing with spirit.
Coach of the Year
Sam Burrage (Manitoba)
Sam Burrage’s true strength as a coach lies in her care for the Manitoba team. She managed to successfully balance a positive vibe for the squad with serious goals and a team-oriented mindset. Burrage helped to keep heads in the game when needed and quickly made adjustments when it was required. Her help extended beyond the field, covering every detail such as securing sponsorships, organizing last minute jerseys, and booking hotels and cars so her team could focus on playing. Burrage’s passion for the team was clear from day one and her leadership helped the Manitoba side move up from their fifth place finish in 2021 to a silver medal in 2022.
Alex Lemieux (McGill)
Alex Lemieux has truly gone above and beyond to bring the McGill team to where it is today. Drawing from his experiences coaching Volt (a Montreal women’s team) this summer and other sports in the past, he leads the team with passion and integrity and motivates players to work hard. Lemieux embodies all the qualities MUT seeks to represent and the team feels lucky to have him as a coach and leader for their squad. Lemieux’s stated goal is to help his players grow in order to reach their full potential. With that mindset from your coach, it’s safe to say McGill is in safe hands with him at the helm.
Jordan Meron and Reve Chan (Toronto)
Meron and Chan bring a ton of playing experience to the young Toronto squad, having both played major roles for the Toronto 6ixers team. In Meron’s third season as the coach of Tula, she has helped the team achieve two gold medals (2019 and 2021) and brings not only a veteran presence but high ultimate IQ to the table. Chan, meanwhile, is a former captain of Tula who fit seamlessly into a coaching role this past season. Their collective experience provided a fount of knowledge for new players and they were always encouraging players to compete and develop their skills outside of the university system. Despite their busy schedules, they made time for the 7 AM practices and tournament weekends and will deal with whatever wacky weather CUUC forces them to coach in.