It was a year of growth for the Collège Boréal Vipères varsity sports teams, and nowhere was that growth more evidenced than at the year-end banquet last week.
A pair of athletes who demonstrated considerable progress were among the top athletes honoured on the evening, as members of both the varsity and extramural sports teams were feted.
Not only was Emilie Roy the only member of the Vipères badminton team who advanced to the OCAA Championships, but she came within a match of earning a provincial medal in the process. Not at all bad for someone who tackled a whole new challenge in her third year with the team, capturing Female Athlete of the Year honours along the way.
"It was my first year playing singles," said Roy, a 3rd year student in the Animation program. "The fact that this was my first time in singles and this was the furthest I've ever gotten, well, it was a challenge, but at the same time, I'm super proud of how things turned out. It was probably my best year."
While her plans for September remain somewhat up in the air - Roy is leaning towards returning for one more year - the native of Sturgeon Falls will find some time, either way, to enjoy court time with some friends.
"There's a badminton club here, every Tuesday and Thursday, so even if I wasn't a student, I would still see myself coming to play," she said. "It's not something I am planning on dropping any time soon."
Though Roy's passion for badminton dates back to her high school days, Boréal Male Rookie of the Year Michel Ayotte is still only touching the tip of the iceberg in terms of his potential in volleyball.
"I only had one year of volleyball at Horizon," noted the 21 year-old student in the Electrical program. "My English teacher, Monsieur Gervais, was trying to convince me to give it a try. I tried it and loved it."
Blessed with the size for volleyball, Ayotte had always spent the bulk of his gym time taking to that "other" favourite sporting pastime of many kids his size. "Basketball came to me really quick," he said. "It was a sport I got really good at really quick, not to brag."
"Volleyball was something I struggled with. I could never get the technique right, I could never get nothing right. But I like a challenge." After spending the past two years at Laurentian University, Ayotte crossed over to Boréal, where he latched on to a very keen mentor.
"When I met (Boréal men's volleyball coach) Jamie (Erven) this year, I knew that this was something I just needed to do," Ayotte recalled. The guidance he received from the long-time court coach was as much about mindset as it was about skill development.
"At the beginning of the year, I was really hot-headed," confessed Ayotte. "Once I learned how to control my anger, I realized how much better of a player I could become, not just for me, but for the team as a whole."
His teammate, Adam Martelli, was recognized as Male Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive time, while Caroline Pellerin (women's volleyball) earned Female Rookie of the Year recognition.
Following is a complete breakdown of the awards that were doled out at the home of the Vipères:
- Most Improved: Myriam Bouffard
- Highest Performance: Maurissa Ducharme
- Best Recruit: Caroline Pellerin
- Most Valuable: Zoé Gagné
- Most Improved: Darian Dechaine
- Highest Performance: Clayton Geddes
- Best Recruit: Michel Ayotte
- Most Valuable: Adam Martelli
- Most Improved: Emilie Roy
- Most Valuable: Fabien Martel
- Most Valuable: Josée Emond
- Team Spirit: Maxime Demeules
- Most Valuable: Justin Roy
- Team Spirit: Raphael Ramsay
- Most Valuable: Cletus Nelson Djiteu
- Team Spirit: David KJambala Kausa
- Most Valuable: Philippe Mian
- Team Spirit: John Eric Nimbery Baa
Dennis Dionne Award
- Emilie Roy
- Gilles Thibault
Student Life Recognition Award
- Danièle Gervais (Optimum Health Center)