NC cheers on its top student athletes


Pictured above are Niagara College Knights Female and Male Athletes of the Year Marieka Ouimette (Women’s Volleyball) and Alex Campbell (Men’s Basketball).

The top Niagara College Knights student-athletes were recognized at the 43rd Annual Athletic Awards Banquet that took place on Saturday, March 31st at the Welland Lions Hall. Over 80 awards were handed out during the evening.

The banquet honoured the top student-athletes for their performances on the court or field of play, and especially in the classroom. The night was an opportunity to highlight team successes and recognize individual accomplishments from the 2011/2012 season.

Brampton native Alex Campbell, and Marieka Ouimette of Spencerville, Ontario won the top athletic awards at the banquet, taking home the Male and Female Athletes of the Year awards. Campbell is a member of the Niagara Knights Basketball Team and Ouimette competed for the women’s volleyball team.

Campbell won another major award, as he was also named the top male Rookie of the Year. Nicole Schoonderwoerd of Tavistock, Ontario took home the Female Rookie of the Year award.

Brandon Halchuk (Hamilton, Ont.) and Melissa Borowski (Welland, Ont.) won Male and Female Tournament Sport Player of the Year. Both Halchuk and Borowski are members of the Knights curling team. Borowski is a graduate of Centennial Secondary School in Welland.

The male and female Leadership awards were presented to Men’s Soccer striker Jordan Arnott (London, Ont.), and Women’s Volleyball setter, Ava Sarkis (Welland, Ont.). Sarkis is a graduate of Notre Dame College School in Welland.

Tracy Carreau (Welland, Ont.) from the Women’s Curling team won the Female Top Scholastic Award for the second consecutive year for having a 94.20 percent GPA. Like Sarkis, she is also a graduate of Notre Dame College School in Welland. Men’s Soccer player Josh Giancola (St. Catharines, Ont.) was the recipient of the Top Male Scholastic Award. The Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School graduate had a 94.33 percent GPA 

Student-athletes within each team were chosen for MVP, Team-by-Team Rookie Awards, Team-by-Team Leadership, Team-by-Team top Scholastic Awards and the Athlete of Distinction awards.

Team-by-team Rookie Awards

Ivan Ojvan (Men’s Soccer), Brittany Johnston (Women’s Soccer), Cody Connor (Men’s Golf), Matt Service (Men’s Curling), Katie Spanton (Women’s Curling), Yousef Zaid (Men’s Volleyball), Kaitlyn McPherson (Women’s Basketball), and Alex Campbell (Men’s Basketball).

Team-by-team Top Leadership Awards

Jordan Arnott (Men’s Soccer), Sarah Paton (Women’s Soccer), Chris Hargest (Men’s Golf), Brandon Halchuk (Men’s Curling),  Melissa Borowski (Women’s Curling), Lauren Brush (Mixed Curling), Jimmy Bilenga (Men’s Basketball), Shelby Johnston (Women’s Basketball),  Millar Galbraith (Men’s Volleyball), and Ava Sarkis (Women’s Soccer).

Team-by-team Top Scholastic Awards

Brandon Halchuk (Men’s Curling), Tracy Carreau (Women’s Curling), Brent Gay (Golf), Kahame Msiska (Men’s Basketball),lia Boekestyn (Women’s Basketball), Josh Giancola (Men’s Soccer), Nicole McMullin (Women’s Soccer), Mark Kiers (Men’s Volleyball), and Lindsay Murray (Women’s Volleyball.

Team-by-Team MVP Awards

Travis McGowan (Men’s Soccer), Justine Kelle (Women’s Soccer), Ryan Curran (Men’s Golf), Matt Service (Men’s Curling), Melissa Borowski (Women’s Curling), James Holloway (Mixed Curling), Alex Campbell (Men’s Basketball), Allana Arundell (Women’s Basketball) Brad Wall (Men’s Volleyball), and Marieka Ouimette (Women’s Volleyball).

Athlete of Distinction Awards

Justine Keller (Women’s Soccer), Cassie Gilmore (Women’s Soccer), Amanda Pepin (Women’s Basketball), Marieka Ouimette (Women’s Volleyball), Brandon Halchuk (Men’s Curling),and A lex Shah (Men’s Basketball).


Niagara College also presented a total of 27 Ontario College Athletic Association (OCAA) All-Academic awards, recognizing their academic and athletic excellence.

Three athletes were recipients of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Academic All-Canadian award. This award is presented to athletes who are recognized as OCAA 1st or 2nd team league all-stars and also achieved academic honours.  

Male Athlete and Rookie of the Year Award

“Alex Campbell is a very rare individual. He is exceptional and special, and is one of the most receptive players to constructive criticism that I have ever seen. In fact, he seeks out constructive criticism and advice. In his first year with the Knights, he led by example. Alex is extremely hard working, day in and day out. He is eager to learn, listens , and makes adjustments immediately; improving daily. He has a burning desire to excel and win. The extra work he puts in outside of practice demonstrates his disciplined and driven nature. His positive and easy going temperament makes him an absolute pleasure to work with. We really look forward to seeing him progress in our program, and would like to congratulate him on a remarkable, ground breaking year!”

– Steve Atkin, Head Coach Men’s Basketball

First-year guard Alex Campbell, who was the Knights leading scorer this season, was honoured with three OCAA awards. He was named OCAA West Region Rookie of the Year, an OCAA West Region Second-Team All-Star, and a member of the OCAA West Region All-Rookie Team.

Campbell scored 326 points (18.1 ppg) this season which put him in 5th place amongst leading scorers in the OCAA West (7th in the OCAA). He was a 78.9% free-throw shooter, good enough for 7th place in the OCAA West (10th in the OCAA).

Besides being the Knights leading scorer, he was tied for first on the team in steals (1.61 spg), and second on the team in assists (2.17) and rebounding (5.17 rpg). He is enrolled in Graphic Design program at Niagara.

Female Athlete of the Year Award

Marieka has been an instrumental part of the success to our volleyball team. As one of our team captains, she led through example on the court, and was amongst the top players on our team in points per game.

As a student-athlete, who never played Club Level Volleyball, she was able to excel at the collegiate level. This year she was recognized by other coaches in the league as she was named a 1st Team OCAA League All-Star. She was a major threat offensively in her attack and defensively with her blocking capabilities. With Marieka leading the way, our team finished the season in fourth-place in the OCAA West Region with a record of 10-8 and a berth in the OCAA Championships a first in five years. She was one of the most dominating middles in the OCAA and finished fourth overall in blocking with 48, and a career high 146 in only three years. She is currently fifth overall in the OCAA career statistics standings in blocking. On offence, she finished the season with 131 kills, 22 aces, and 48 blocks for a total of 201 points (2.8 ppg).

Marieka opened the eyes of many peop le around the league this year. Her strong season also captured the attention of coaches from Syracuse University, who are interested in having Marieka attend their NCAA Division I school.

In my opinion Most Valuable Players aren’t just leaders on the court, they are also leaders off the court. Marieka has instilled her trust into all of the girls on the team, and is a constant help to her teammates.

As a graduating player it will not be easy to fill her shoes. We wish Marieka the best of luck in her future endeavours. Thank you Marieka for your contributions to our program, and congratulations.”

– Joey Martins, Head Coach, Women’s Volleyball

Female Rookie Athlete of the Year Award

“One of the top first-year players in the Province, Nicole proved that she can be successful at numerous positions on the court. Many times this season she was called on to play out of position. The outside hitter filled in as middle and setter when her teammates were injured. Although she played multiple positions on the court, she still was one of our top scorers with 74 kills, 32 aces and 17 blocks. She was one of the top defensive back court players in the OCAA west accumulating a total of 151 digs.

Nicole had one of the biggest challenges in the Quarter-Final match at the OCAA Championships. Her task was to contain Cambrian College’s All-Canadian Shawn Metcalf, who averaged four kills- per set. In the Knights four-set match against Cambrian, Nicole held her to a total of seven .

She has been an instrumental player to the success of our team. We can all look at stats and see that Nicole is amongst the top rookies across the league, but what stats do not show is the transformation that she has gone through over the past season. Nicole always looked at the “glass as half empty”. As the season progressed, her personality and attitude started to change, and her play dramatically improved. In the second semester, it was almost as if it was an entirely new person. Now looking at the ‘glass as half full’, Nicole has the coaching staff excited to see how far she will take herself not only in volleyball, but also in life.

– Joey Martins, Head Coach, Women’s Volleyball

Female Top Leadership Award

“A coaches favourite award to give out, the leadership award exemplifies why coaches coach the game they love, for players like this. When asked to do something, there was never a complaint and no questions asked. She did it because she knew there was a reason for it, and in the end she would be better because of it.

The Leadership Award is defined as Outstanding Commitment, Dedication and Leadership.

Ava is true to these three definitions. One thing that the award does not indicate, but what sets her apart is her heart. No matter where the ball was, no matter how fast the ball was coming at her, she would sacrifice her body for the team. After being sidelined with a quad strain for two matches, she was called on to play in a must win match against Sheridan College when her team was down a set. Despite not being completely healthy, she answered the call and directed her team to a victory – a true leader by example.

The quote that best exemplifies Ava is ‘It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, it’s about the size of the fight in the dog.’ No matter the circumstances, she doesn’t stop fighting.”

– Joey Martins, Head Coach, Women’s Volleyball

Male Top Leadership Award

“Jordan Arnott played in his second season at Niagara College. Despite being physically smaller than most, Jordan possesses great speed and skill. He was often providing words of encouragement to his teammates even in tough times. Consistently present at practice, Jordan demonstrated a tremendous work ethic that drove his peers to perform at a higher level to match him. Jordan is a dangerous offensive player, who also makes himself accountable defensively which is a quality that is revered by his coaching staff. There was no reason to doubt making Jordan a co-captain for the 2011 season.”

– Anthony Ventresca, Head Coach, Men’s Soccer

Male Tournament Sport Player of the Year

“This was Brandon’s third year on the team, and his first year as Skip. Brandon was always looking for ways to improve the team. He was involved in the decision making of selecting the team. He was always involved in assisting his team during practices to make sure the team was on the “same page”. During the Provincial Championships, Brandon was able to keep the team focused on the task at hand and never was upset when a shot would not work. He was constantly talking to his teammates trying to keep them upbeat. Opposing coaches and players all commented on how calm Brandon was during games, even when things did not go our way. This allowed the other players on our team to realize that even though they were playing to win, it is still only a game at the end of the day. This kept them relaxed throughout the entire Championships.

His actions during practices and at the Provincial Championships made him worthy of the Leadership Award.”

– Scott Brown, Head Coach, Curling

Female Tournament Sport Player of the Year

“As a rookie on a team, there are times when one individual comes to the forefront. This was the case with Melissa. During our practices she always wanted to ensure the team worked on delivery, releases, and sweeping in order to make the team better. She was vocal at key times, which is why I feel she is very worthy of receiving this award. She also was very helpful when deciding on shots the team was facing during the Provincial Championships. As Vice of the team, she not only assisted in making calls, but swept when the Skip made her shots. Melissa is a very strong sweeper and has an excellent judge of “weight” (speed of the rock).

Because of her strong commitment to the success of the team, and her willingness to assume a different role at the Provincials, Melissa was awarded the Women’s Curling team Leadership Award.”

-Scott Brown, Head Coach, Curling



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