Two student athletes are graduating this year after several successful seasons with the UOIT Ridgebacks.
Ben Blasko of the men’s hockey team and Cassandra Sribny were named male and female athlete of the year at the annual awards gala.
Sribny of the women’s soccer team led the team to its first undefeated season with 14 wins and 2 draws, earning them the chance to host the OUA championship for the first time in program history.
Sribny scored nine goals and had two assists this season. In her five year career she finished with 34 goals, which is the most by any Ridgeback ever.
Sribny received the Female Athlete of the Year award, as well as the women’s soccer team leadership award and her team’s MVP award.
Defender Alexis Kirton, who received a female Freshman of the Year award and the Rookie of the Year award, also earned a spot on OUA Second Team All-Star for her amazing defensive work. She was the reason the team allowed only nine goals.
Two other players from the women’s soccer team also received awards: Alyssa Nikel (Overall GPA award) and Shynice Williams (Top Cumulative GPA award).
It was the UOIT women’s soccer team’s night because they were also awarded the UOIT Team of the Year award for a second consecutive year.
Blasko finished off his OUA hockey career with a season high 35 points, which is a single season record for the Ridgebacks. Because of that, he earned the men’s hockey MVP award. In his UOIT career he had 23 goals, 58 assists for 81 points, ranking him sixth in all-time scoring.
Blasko’s effect on the team has been proven every season he played. The team never missed the playoffs during his time. The UOIT men’s hockey team coach gave some praise to Blasko.
“Ben was just a great leader, he lead by example. He’s not a rah-rah guy but he was very creative on the ice, very skilled and he earned his points this year and he was a big part of our team,” said head coach Curtis Hodgins.
Blasko wasn’t the only player from the men’s hockey team to receive an award. Brendan O’Neill received the leadership award and Josh Maguire was named the Rookie of the Year.
Men’s badminton player Zhiyi Chen was named Freshman Athlete of the Year, as he was the first player in program history to reach an “A Flight” final while helping the team to get its first win at the OUA championship. He also got a chance to represent UOIT at the national championship.
Hafsah Hoda-Sher of the women’s rowing team and Nik Vantfoort of the men’s rowing team were named the Dr. Gary Polonsky Leadership award recipients, both being important members of the inaugural Ridgeback Leadership Council.
Finally, Chelsea Ball of the women’s hockey team and Jack Patterson of the men’s hockey team were the recipients of the James Baun Cup, which is earned by a student that shows commitment, dedication, perserverance, academic responsibility, leadership and support as a teammate.