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Bisons women's volleyball athletes hug after winning a bronze medal at the 2024 U Sports Championship

Bisons women's volleyball athletes Light Uchechukwu and Brenna Bedosky embrace at the 2024 U Sports National Championship

The Brown and Gold awards banquet celebrate Bisons success

The annual event highlights more than just season wins

April 8, 2024 — 

On Saturday, April 6, Bisons Sports hosted its annual Brown and Gold banquet, which celebrates the accomplishments of its student-athletes during the 2023-2024 season.

The event is the conclusion of a historic season for the Bisons, which included milestones like Maya Turner becoming the first woman to score points in a U Sports regular season football game, a first-ever Canada West Championship title for the women’s volleyball team (and a bronze medal finish at the U Sports National Championship) and a U Sports silver medal for the men’s track and field team.

Gene Muller, director of athletics and recreation, said the event is more than just recognizing the season’s highlights.

“Brown and Gold is about bringing all our student-athletes together and recognizing what it means to be a Bison,” said Muller. “Celebrating their commitment, passion and hard work throughout the year is an amazing opportunity.”

Muller said the athletes’ ability to achieve such high levels of success in their athletic pursuits and education is inspiring. In the 2022-2023 season the Bisons had 134 U Sports Academic All-Canadians, a title awarded for averaging at least 80 per cent or higher over the academic year.

The event saw many accolades given to athletes and coaches, including male and female athletes of the year, coach of the year, teammate of the year and male and female leadership and community development awards.

Muller said the event is also an opportunity to build excitement among returning athletes as they prepare for 2024-2025.

“We had such a great showing of athletes supporting athletes across sports this season and we are so excited to see that grow as we prepare to return in the fall,” said Muller.

While the next season seems far away, many Bisons student-athletes are preparing for summer competitions and camps and the start of the football and soccer seasons in August. The Bisons women’s volleyball team is set to host the 2025 U Sports Volleyball National Championship next year.

Brown and Gold award recipients

Female athlete of the year: Raya Surinx

Male athlete of the year: Max Speiser

Female rookie of the year: Lena Klassen

Male rookie of the year: Sean Rowe

Coach of year: Claude Berube

Assistant coach of the year: Michelle Sawatzky-Koop

Teammate of the year: Wyatt Tait

Spirit of the bison: Lara Denbow

Female leadership and community development: Lily Francis

Male leadership and community development: Mark Rauhaus

Pat Gil legacy award: Wayne McMahon


Head coaches Claude Berube, Ken Bentley, Vlastik Cerny and Brian Dobie received special recognition for their many years of commitment to the Bisons program with special block M sweaters. The four coaches were the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh people to receive block M sweaters who were not current Bisons student-athletes since the tradition started in 2012.

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