Durham College’s rugby teams swept the annual athletic awards this year following undefeated seasons from both the women’s and men’s teams.
Both squads were named Team of the Year at this year’s ceremony and banquet on Wednesday, April 6.
The teams dominated their regular seasons and went undefeated to win gold. The enthusiasm from both groups of young athletes at the banquet was electric. The men’s team also won the DC4DC award for continually going out to other Lords games to show support.
That wasn’t all for the rugby teams. Athlete of the Year awards were given to Shay Morris and Brendyn Beck of the women’s and men’s rugby teams. Additionally, the Male and Female Freshman Athlete of the Year awards went to rugby’s Tyler Janes and Emily Cooper.
2023 saw the annual banquet’s largest turnout in DC’s history. They arrived at Sikorski Hall for a Polish dinner and to celebrate their achievements after a series of exciting seasons.
Athletes were greeted at the door by game day coordinator DK Ketheesparan, who interviewed them as they arrived. Ketheesparan also prepared a video segment welcoming the guests, showing off some dance moves, and kicking off the night of dinner and awards.
“If we could give awards to every athlete here, we would. They absolutely deserve it,” he said.
The Lords athletics program also honoured outgoing athletic director Ken Babcock, who has been with Durham College for 36 years and oversaw the varsity program as they won 116 OCAA medals and 16 national medals, making the Lords the most decorated college program in Ontario.
Going forward, the Athletic Director’s Award of Excellence will be named the Ken Babcock Award of Excellence in his honour. Babcock will be succeeded by Scott Dennis, who has worked with the Durham and Ontario Tech athletics departments since 2007.
Durham College president Don Lovisa was in attendance and spoke to the athletes, offering congratulations and encouragement for the future.
“What a wonderful year we’ve had, all the gold medals,” he said. “The DC Lords (organization) is just phenomenal.” He added that he looks forward to more gold medals in the future for the Lords.
For a glimpse at who may be winning those future golds, look no further than this year’s list of Rookie of the Year recipients:
- Chase Plain (golf)
- Erika Bjorgum (women’s soccer)
- Evan Amaraal (men’s soccer)
- Jocelyn Shelton (softball)
- Eddie Borutskie (baseball)
- Samantha Payne (women’s volleyball)
- Nador Gallo (men’s volleyball)
- Emily Cooper (women’s rugby)
- Tyler Janes (men’s rugby)
- Hannah Heimonen (women’s basketball)
- Kanskie Simon (men’s basketball)
Meanwhile, Samantha Payne of the women’s volleyball team was awarded the ETS Commitment award, for not only getting herself to training, but encouraging her teammates as well.