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Soccer star named athlete of the year: Barandica-Hamilton wins top honours alongside sprinter Sharai Siemens

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Award winners (from left) Dalyce Emmerson, Kyle Ross, Sharai Siemens, Jodi Souter, Jordan Arkko, Jerson Barandica-Hamilton.

Jerson Barandica-Hamilton came dressed in his best off-field outfit March 31 at TCU Place to accept the E. Kent Phillips Trophy for male athlete of the year at the annual Huskie Salute.

Barandica-Hamilton led the Canada West conference in scoring last season with eight goals and six assists in 14 games, breaking the previous conference records for goals, assists and points. The engineering student was also crowned Canada West MVP and named a Canadian Interuniversity Sport first team all-Canadian.

“It was very unexpected, but it feels great. Just to be considered with the rest of the nominees is a huge honour,” Barandica-Hamilton said.

On the women’s side, athlete of the year honours went to Sharai Siemens, a sprinter on the track and field squad.

Siemens captured three gold medals and one silver at the Canada West meet. She carried that momentum over to nationals where she won another two silver medals — one in the 300-metre and the other as a member of the 4×400-metre relay team.

The Howard Nixon Trophy for male rookie of the year was awarded to Jordan Arkko of the football team. The first-year offensive lineman started all nine games for the club, becoming only the fourth Huskie football player to do so in their rookie year.

The rookie of the year for women’s sport was awarded to basketball forward Dalyce Emmerson.

She played a pivotal role in her team’s run to nationals and was one of only two players in the nation to average a double-double during the regular season.

“It’s a great night to come and see everyone dressed up and to win the award is the cherry on top of the cake,” Emmerson said.

All-round athlete awards are presented to Huskie athletes who not only perform at a high level in their respective sport but also exhibit qualities of sportsmanship, leadership and academic achievement.

The female all-round award winner was Jodi Souter.

As captain of the women’s track and field team this past season, Souter led the charge for the squad’s third Canada West title in the last four years. She won a gold medal at the Canada West championships in the 3,000-metre race as well as a silver in the 1,500-metre.

Kyle Ross got the nod as the male winner in the all-round category. He captained the men’s hockey team to a Canada West championship and recorded career-best numbers last season with 16 goals and 17 assists in 28 games.

Ross’s coach Dave Adolph won the Colb McEwon award for coach of the year.

In his 19th season as head coach of the men’s hockey team he led the team back to the University Cup tournament for the first time since 2007-08.

The Salute catered to more than 900 athletes, fans and supporters of Huskie Athletics. It also acted as the official Huskie Athletics centennial reunion with plenty of alumni in attendance.

The U of S athletic director Basil Hughton commented on merging the awards banquet with the centennial gala.

“It’s outstanding to celebrate 100 years of Huskie Athletics and to combine that with this event was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” said Hughton.

“The opportunity to have our [current] athletes and our former athletes under the same roof and interacting is beyond words.”

Photo: Raisa Pezderic/The Sheaf

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