Tommies Enjoy Remarkable Year of Competition: Nathan Mazurkiewicz and Ashley Bawn of Men’s and Women’s Basketball Named Athletes of the Year
Published: Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012
St. Thomas athletics celebrated an incredible year for the Tommies at its annual athletics awards banquet Tuesday night. The play of both basketball teams rounded out a year in which each athletics program took steps in the right direction. Together, the Tommies captured four conference banners and two national medals.
After being named an all-conference player in the regular season, Nathan Mazurkiewicz elevated his play to an even higher level in the post season and is this year’s male athlete of the year.
“It’s an honour for sure, but most of my thanks go out to my teammates and coaches, they’re the people that helped me get there,” said Mazurkiewicz. “It’s not a personal award at all, being athlete of the year. It means your team was great and are recognized for that.”
Playing on a very deep team, Ashley Bawn stood out as a leader in all aspects for the women’s basketball Tommies. She was named female athlete of the year.
“The banner and the bronze medal at nationals definitely surpasses all the individual awards,” said Bawn. “It’s great to be recognized but I wouldn’t have got these without my teammates.”
Mazurkiewicz, a second-year guard from Fredericton, averaged 19 points in six playoff games, helping the Tommies capture the ACAA conference title and a bronze medal at the national tournament.
A defining moment of his season came on its final day at the CCAA National Championships. Playing two games in one day, the first in the morning against top-seeded UNBC to earn a spot in the bronze medal game, and the second, against Red Deer College, to lead the Tommies to a third place finish nationally. He was player of the game in both and scored the key points when his team needed it.
“It’s all about confidence,” added Mazurkiewicz. “I went through a spell where I was trying too hard to play well, then I got to nationals and I decided, ‘why not just play my game?’ I did that and it worked, I got more confident and it worked even better.”
Bawn, a third-year guard from Quispamsis, New Brunswick was a first team all-conference player in the ACAA and top three in all statistical categories on her 26-1 team. She brought a calm, yet intense focus to every game she played this season. She leads a young team both vocally and by example, logging the most minutes on a team that uses its entire bench in almost every game.
“Coach Connors has a lot of confidence in me, which really helps and I’ve always been a leader by example,” said Bawn. I just play like I always play and try to help my teammates out in any way I can.”
The Future Looks Bright
Aside from the championship victories, each Tommies squad is trending upward. The Cross Country and Track and Field teams got their first taste of competition in the CIS as they continue to grow. Women’s volleyball won 10 out of their final 11 games to finish as ACAA silver medalists. They only lose two players to graduation.
The men’s soccer team finished the regular season second in the conference only to drop a heartbreaker in the ACAA semi-final. A very young women’s team shows promise as they were in contention for the playoffs right up until the last day of the season. Coach Macky Singh remains confident about recruitment of new players.
With a base of young players, similar to women’s soccer, the women’s hockey team is looking forward to hosting the 2013-14 CIS Championships and moving into their new home, the Grant-Harvey Centre. They had a solid year, making it to the AUS playoffs and defeating number one ranked St. FX once, and number two ranked UdeM on two different occasions.
The men’s hockey Tommies underwent significant changes in 2011-2012. With a new coach and eight rookies, the team competed with every team in the tough AUS conference. Nearly all of their losses were by one goal. The program will continue its rebuild next season in the Grant-Harvey Centre and are confident about their direction.
Full List of Team Awards:
Top Golfer: Ryan Cooke
Rookie of the year: Brittany Jenkins
Unsung hero: Alisha Benedict
MVP: Thomas Wardell
Rookie of the year: Alex Fredericks
Unsung hero: Ryan Boyce
Leadership award: Liam Clarke
MVP: Mike Corby
Rookie of the year: Jamie Logan
Most improved player: Shawn Mather
MVP: Dylan Marche
Women’s cross country
Rookie of the year: Jenna Hamilton
Most improved athlete: Katie Hamilton
MVA: Kyla Tanner
Men’s cross country
Rookie of the year: Jeff Amos
Most improved athlete: Brendan Bannister
MVA: Nathan Paton
Rookie of the year: Danielle Miller
Most improved: Carly Critch
Top defensive player: Courtney Fox
MVP: Kayla Blackmore
Rookies of the year: Steve Sanza and Jonathan Bonneau.
Best defenceman: Felix-Antoine Poulin
Most sportsmanlike player: John MacDonald
Unsung hero: Robert Zandbeek
MVP: Charlie Lavigne
Rookie of the year: Nicole Munro
Most improved player: Chelsea Bringloe
MVP: Ashley Jordan
Rookie of the year: Kaela Grant
Most Improved: Mary Galvin
Heather Leonard Memorial Award: Rosalynn Alessi
MVP: Emily Nearing
Rookie of the year: Thomas Tremblay
Most improved: Colin Briggs
MVP: Francis Sirois
Rookie of the year: Brittany Gilliss
Most improved: Hillary Goodine
Top defensive player: Laura Anderson
MVP: Ashley Bawn
Rookie of the year: Richie Wilkins
Most improved: Will Kowalsky
Top defensive player: Mackenzie Washburn
MVP: Nathan Mazurkiewicz
CCAA Academic All-Canadians 2011-2012 (Conference all-star and National Scholar)
Ashley Bawn (women’s basketball)
Dylan Hughes (men’s soccer)
Francis Sirois (men’s volleyball)
Kelsey Knowles (women’s volleyball)