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Kesley Wog Gold Medal 2019

2018-19 Female Athlete of the Year Kelsey Wog (middle).

Bisons recognized for success and leadership at annual Brown and Gold banquet

Kelsey Wog and Simon Berubé selected as the 2018-19 Bison Sports Athletes of the Year

April 1, 2019 — 

As reported at – the University of Manitoba Bisons handed out end-of-year hardware on Saturday at the annual Brown and Gold Banquet held at the Fort Garry campus and hosted by Trevor Alexander of 101.5 UMFM.

Kelsey Wog and Simon Berubé were named as Bison Sports Female and Male Athletes of the Year for the 2018-19 season. Track and field and cross-country head coach Claude Berubé was selected as the 2018-19 Coach of the Year, while Markus Rurangirwa (track and field) and Nicole Davis (women’s soccer) picked up the Bison Sports Rookies of the Year award.

Simon Berubé

2018-19 Male Athlete of the Year Simon Berubé

In addition, the seventh annual Pat Gill Legacy Award was presented to track and field speed and power coach Alex Gardiner. Track and field assistant coach Mingpu Wu was named the Assistant Coach of the Year.

The Leadership and Community Development Awards went to football’s Jayden McKoy on the men’s side, while Naomi Kirshenblatt from swimming and Amanda Wong from soccer shared the honours on the women’s side.

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In the 56-year history of the Bison Female Athlete of the Year award, Wog’s selection is only the fourth for a Bison female swimmer and the first since Kimberly Moors in 2015-16 — who presented Wog with the award on Saturday.

In her third year of eligibility with Manitoba, Wog had her best season in the pool to date, winning four gold medals at the national level, four golds at the conference level, and breaking records along the way.

Wog’s season began with an appearance at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo with Team Canada and finished with four gold medals at the 2019 U SPORTS Championships. She won in the 50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke, 200m individual medley, and broke a U SPORTS record in the 200m breaststroke. Wog also broke the 200m breaststroke record in short course at the Canada West Championships, where she won three other gold medals — the 100m breaststroke, 50m breaststroke, and 200m freestyle.

Wog was selected as a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian and was named the Canada West Female Swimmer of the Meet for the second straight year.

In the 60-year history of the Bison Male Athlete of the Year award, Berubé’s selection is the eighth overall for track and field and the first since Quin Ferguson in 2008-09.

Berubé’s excellent year in both cross country and track and field culminated with earning a gold medal in the 4x800mrelay at the 2019 U SPORTS Track and Field Championships, hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Berubé was also a double gold winner at the 2019 Canada West Championships, surprising in the 1000m race with a fast closing lap and enjoying another 4x800m relay win with teammates Connor Boyd, Matt Van Schepdael, and Jack Taylor.

Berubé also won bronze in the 600m at the Canada West Championships. He earned U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian and Canada West First Team All-Star honours in 2018-19.

Earlier in the season, Berubé won the St. Olaf Invitational in cross-country and was the second-place Bison at four other meets, including the U SPORTS Cross Country Championships, where he finished 45th (14th among Canada West runners). Berubé earned a Canada West Second Team All-Star nod in cross-country.

Along with the Athletes of the Year, Claude Berubé was selected for the fourth time (2003-04; 2004-05; 2008-09) as Bison Sports Coach of the Year in the 18-year history of the award.

Berubé’s highlights included coaching the men’s track and field team to a third-place finish at home at the 2019 U SPORTS Track and Field Championships, the team’s best finish since 1996. The men also finished second at the Canada West Championships, racking up 121.5 points — a 20.5-point improvement over 2018.

Berubé also coached the Bison women to a ninth-place finish at nationals, an improvement from tenth, and sixth-place at Canada West.

In cross country, the Bison men had three top three finishes and the women had three top four finishes during their 2018 season. Bison cross-country athletes won two events (Simon Berubé – St. Olaf Invitational; Hailey Sharpe – Chris McCubbins Provincial Championships).

At the 2018 U SPORTS Championships, Berubé coached the men to a 10th place finish (fourth in Canada West) and the women to 20th (seventh in Canada West).

The Female Rookie of the Year Award came from women’s soccer, as forward Nicole Davis is honoured. It’s the second Rookie of the Year selection for the program.

During the 2018 soccer season, Davis scored three goals and two assists for Manitoba, including one game-winner. She started all 14 matches for the Bisons, becoming a consistent threat with her speed. Davis was named to the Canada West All-Rookie Team and the U SPORTS All-Rookie Team, the first time a Bison women’s soccer player has been recognized at the national level since two-time Olympic bronze medallist Desiree Scott.

Davis also competed in track and field in the spring, putting her speed to use in sprinting events. She was a qualifier for the 2019 U SPORTS Championships at Manitoba, serving as an alternate for the Bison women’s 4x200m relay team — where the four starters eventually won bronze.

The Male Rookie of the Year is Markus Rurangirwa from men’s track and field, the third selection for the program.

Rurangirwa burst onto the jumping scene with the Bisons during the 2018-19 season. At the Bison Classic, he posted the sixth longest triple jump in U SPORTS this season at 14.48-metres. Rurangirwa used that mark to make a rare first-year qualification for the 2019 U SPORTS Championships, where he finished just off the podium in the men’s triple jump in fourth.

Rurangirwa also won a bronze medal in the triple jump at the Canada West Championships.

The Student-Athlete Leadership and Community Development Awards were distributed for the 13th year to one male and two female recipients, highlighting their leadership skills, community involvement, and academics.

Fifth-year Jayden McKoy (football), fifth-year Naomi Kirshenblatt (swimming), and fourth-year Amanda Wong (soccer) were the selections.

McKoy, a fifth-year football player, was named the Canada West recipient of the Student-Athlete Community Service Award in football, and has been recognized as a leader within the program.

McKoy volunteers with numerous initiatives, including Sam’s Christmas, Israel Idonije’s Inner City Youth Football Programs and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ “Crunchers” Football Camps. He also travels 800 kilometres to Thompson every season to help run football camps as part of suicide prevention programming, and is involved with UMAC initiatives like Bisons Against Bullying, Bison Book Buddies, and work at Siloam Mission.

Kirshenblatt, a fifth-year swimmer, is heavily involved in the community, including organizing a school-wide campaign to raise funds for feminine hygiene products for Siloam Mission. Additionally, she provides support to Swim Manitoba’s Blind Swim Program to help visually impaired children develop basic swimming skills. Kirshenblatt also supports incoming U of M students with the student peer mentorship program and was a co-chair of UMAC this season.

Wong, a fourth-year women’s soccer player, displayed leadership through coaching and teamwork, becoming a captain in her second year. She has a great passion for coaching, contributing to Junior Bison training sessions, ID camps, and high performance summer camps since 2015. She has coached at the U10 level, the U14 provincial level, at her former high school, and took a main leadership role in organizing her program’s outdoor fundraising tournament. She has been a member of UMAC since 2015 and has been the UMAC executive assistant since 2016.

The seventh-year of the Pat Gill Legacy Award was handed to track and field speed and power coach Alex Gardiner. The award is presented in the spirit of Pat Gill, a dedicated, long-serving staff member and volunteer who served as the Bison Football Team Manager for over 40 years before his passing in December 2011.

In its second year, the Bison Sports Assistant Coach of the Year award went to Mingpu Wu of track and field. Among other contributions, Wu coached the Bison men’s high jump team to a dynamic showing at the 2019 U SPORTS Championships, where Alhaji Mansaray won gold, Oyinko Akinola won silver, and Sidiki Sow finished fifth.

Along with the major awards, Bison Sports recognized an MVP from each team for the season.

Women’s Basketball – Claire Harvey
Men’s Basketball – Rashawn Browne
Women’s Cross Country – Janine Zajac
Men’s Cross Country – Daniel Heschuk
Football – Dylan Schrot
Men’s Golf – Devon Schade
Women’s Golf – Marissa Naylor
Women’s Hockey – Erica Rieder
Men’s Hockey – Byron Spriggs
Women’s Soccer – Madison Wilford
Women’s Swimming – Kelsey Wog
Men’s Swimming – Anthony Iliouchetchev
Women’s Track and Field – Tegan Turner
Men’s Track and Field – Simon Berube
Women’s Volleyball – Cassie Bujan
Men’s Volleyball – Dustin Spiring

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