Griffins women’s soccer player Jamie Erickson and men’s volleyball player Max Vriend have won MacEwan’s 2019/20 Female and Male Athlete of the Year honours.
Jamie, who also won the award in 2018-19, became the first back-to-back Female Athlete of the Year winner in 22 years – the first since women’s volleyball star and Griffins’ Wall of Fame member Lana Common won it in both the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.
“It's a remarkable accomplishment," says women’s soccer head coach Dean Cordeiro. "For someone who doesn't like all the attention that comes with it, what she's been able to do over her five-year career is unbelievable and I know she's going to look back fondly on it.”
Jamie won a vote by athletics staff and coaches over finalists Morgan Casson (hockey) and Haley Gilfillan (volleyball).
The honour capped a prolific season at the awards table for the women’s soccer centre back, who became the first Griffin in any sport to make a U SPORTS first all-star team and repeated as a Canada West first team all-star, while being recognized as the conference’s top defensive player.
Max, who was voted Male Athlete of the Year ahead of finalists Justin Berget (golf) and Cam Gotaas (hockey), had a season for the ages, breaking or matching seven program records, as he earned the first Canada West all-star award in the men’s volleyball program history (second team).
“To be recognized as a Canada West all-star, that means it’s not just his teammates or coaches that see the value,” says men’s volleyball head coach Brad Poplawski. “It shows that’s how respected he is amongst the Canada West coaches.”
Max became the first Griffin to lead Canada West in kills (317), kills per set (4.17) and points per set (4.8) and accounted for 41.7 per cent of MacEwan’s offensive production in 2019-20 – by far the highest among any single player in the conference.
“As a man, as a person and as a student-athlete, I think he’s the pinnacle for what a MacEwan student-athlete should be,” says Brad. “When we talk about our three pillars of academics, community and athletics, he doesn’t just check the boxes, he surpasses them.”
Other major awards for the season include women’s soccer player Sofia DiGiacomo capturing the Female Rookie of the Year, men’s hockey player Jordan Taupert winning Male Rookie of the Year, women’s volleyball earning the Team of the Year award and women’s cross-country receiving Academic Team of the Year honours.
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