Snyder, Chan named Waterloo Athletes of the Year

Snyder, Chan named Waterloo Athletes of the Year

WATERLOO, Ont. – The Department of Athletics and Recreation handed out their year-end hardware at the 55th annual Athletics Banquet on Friday evening.  Stephanie Snyder (Waterloo) of the field hockey team and Vincent Chan (Markham) earned the top honours as athletes of the year.

Snyder was awarded the Marsden Trophy as female athlete of the year after a stellar season as a member of the Warrior field hockey team. 

In her rookie season, Snyder made an immediate impact helping the Warriors win the OUA bronze medal with a 2-1 win over Western.  She continued to impress in her sophomore year but it was in 2013 when Snyder began to emerge as one of the top players in the country. 

Waterloo was up against the Toronto Varsity Blues in the 2013 OUA semifinal match and the black and gold had gone 0-for-2 against Toronto their two previous meetings that season, losing by a combined score of 12-0.  On top of that, the Warriors had not beaten the Varsity Blues in 10 years but Snyder stepped up scoring both goals as Waterloo upset the Blues 2-0 to advance to the OUA championship game and to Nationals in Victoria.  It's no surprise she was named an OUA all-star that season.

Snyder continued her strong play in 2014 scoring 9 of Waterloo's 13 goals while being named an OUA all-star for the second straight year and also received the highest honour with national recognition earning a spot as a CIS all-Canadian.  This sparked the interest of the National Field Hockey program and she now trains with team Canada out west.

Chan collected the Totzke Trophy as Waterloo's male athlete of the year thanks to his consistent success since joining the Warriors in 2010 being named an OUA all-star all five years of competition.

In his first year, Chan ran through the competition as the no. 1 singles player in the province and did not drop a set the entire 2010 OUA Championship en-route to the men's singles title.  For his incredible performance he was named the OUA rookie of the year that season as well as an OUA all-star.

In 2011, Chan continued his dominance on the court repeating as the singles champion and picking up another all-star nod.  He also found success in doubles winning the OUA gold medal.

Chan continued his on-court success throughout the next three years of competition winning three more doubles titles and capping off his tremendous OUA career with one more singles title this past season.  With his strong performance, the Warriors captured the OUA team silver medal and Chan was named the MVP of the championship tournament while appearing on the OUA all-star list for a fifth straight year.

Other hardware handed out included the annual Warrior Shield of Excellence award recognizing outstanding accomplishments by a graduating student-athlete in their sport, academics and community service. 

Snyder and Chan were both double-award winners receiving the shields while three other standout student-athletes were also recipients of the prestigious award.
Jordan Dyck (St. Catharines) received a shield for his tremendous five year career with the men's volleyball team.  In 2015, he received the highest provincial honour with a spot on the first-team all-star list after leading the OUA in blocks per set (1.24).  Dyck was a big part of the Warriors run to Nationals this year held in Saskatoon.  He has also been a two-time OUA second-team all-star and was a member of the OUA all-rookie team in 2011.

Men's hockey player Justin Larson (Buckhorn) was awarded a shield of excellence thanks to his on-ice production with the Warriors.  In 2013, Larson led the nation in scoring with 45 points and was named a CIS second-team all-Canadian and OUA west first-team all-star.  Larson currently sits seventh in scoring on Waterloo's all-time points list with 132 in 110 regular season games.

The final Shield of Excellence was collected by Surabhi Kadam (Woodbridge) of the badminton team.  Kadam capped off the season with a gold medal in both women's singles and mixed doubles while leading the Warriors to the OUA championship banner.  She was also named the OUA women's badminton player of the year.  Kadam has also been an OUA all-star in 2013 and was the OUA rookie of the year in 2011.  On the national stage, Kadam represented Canada at the 2011 National Badminton Championship winning gold in doubles and silver in singles and has five junior national titles and nine junior provincial titles.

The Imprint Coach of the Year award was collected by head coach of the squash program, Vinit Kudva.

Kudva won his second straight OUA coach of the year award as voted by his peers and was an instrumental part of the organizing committee that put together the 2015 OUA Squash Championship at the Northfield Racquet Club in Waterloo.  Kudva was the go-to person for the entire championship weekend and on top of coaching the men's team to an OUA silver medal he ran a very smooth and well-organized tournament

Kudva has now been the head coach of the squash program for three years and has had the privilege of coaching some of the top players in the country including Micaala Seth who was the 2013 Waterloo Female Athlete of the Year and her brother Cameron Seth (Fergus) who has now won back-to-back individual titles at the OUA Championship.

The Federation of Students Rookies of the Year went to Stephanie Sluys (Clinton) of the women's hockey team and Joe Zeng (Markham) of the men's tennis team.

Sluys had one of the best OUA and CIS careers as a rookie posting an incredible seven shutouts in only 14 starts, leading the nation in that category.  She posted a 1.68 goals against average and .933 save percentage, the fourth-best in the province in both of those categories.  The kinesiology student was also named the Waterloo athlete of the week four times this season and was the OUA athlete of the week back on November 17. Sluys has excelled in the classroom with an average above 90% and is a true role model student-athlete at the University of Waterloo.

Zeng came onto a team that was comprised of four other rookies but he was able to separate himself as one of the leaders on the team.  In men's singles, he was undefeated throughout the entire season until losing in the OUA semifinals to a tough opponent from Western.  In the doubles events Zeng beat some of the best pairs in the province throughout the season.  For his stellar rookie campaign the first year math student was recognized by the OUA tennis coaches as the Rookie of the Year.  With so much untapped potential, Zeng has a lot to look forward to in his OUA career.

The J.O. Hemphill and Director's awards were won by In-Ting Ho (Mississauga, Ont.) and Amanda Bird (Brighton ).  The awards are presented annually in recognition of students who provide an outstanding administrative contribution to interuniversity athletics.
In-Ting Ho has done it all for the Warriors since joining as a member of the staff last season.  Ho's main duties were public announcer for the women's hockey team and statistics for the men's hockey team but he has gone well beyond those duties.  Ho also helps tutor many of our student-athlete to ensure they are keeping up with their academics.  He also stepped up as the PA announcer for Warrior basketball games and has become known for his in-game puns that kept the players and fans entertained.  Ho was also a key piece to hosting team China in women's hockey this season helping overcome the language barrier and making the Chinese National Team feel at home in the CIF arena.  Finally, Ho played an integral part as announcer at the 2014 OUA badminton championship hosted by Waterloo last spring in the PAC.

Amanda Bird, a member of the figure skating team played a huge part in the organization and execution of the 2014-15 figure skating season.  She stepped up to play an administrative role for the team all season long which made for a smooth transition for head coach Kim Biddiscombe.  Bird helped set-up team practices and organized all of the team's on and off ice activity and coordinated all of the travel and accommodation schedules for the season.  On top of her administrative duties, Bird assisted with athlete academic schedules throughout the year and played a key role in fundraising to help student-athletes pay for their team fees to attend invitational's and the OUA Championship.

The final award was the Brian Farrance award presented to a student therapist who has demonstrated excellence, commitment and dedication throughout his/her service to varsity athletics.  This year's recipient was Jonathan Stevens who was the student therapist with the women's volleyball team.  Stevens has been a model student trainer, tirelessly attending practices, games, and therapy sessions to ensure all women's volleyball players are ready for competition.

Thank you to all who attended the banquet and to our dedicated student-athletes for wearing the Warrior shield with pride all season long!
Note: At the beginning of the banquet, Director of Athletics, Roly Webster announced that $2.4 million has been approved for facility upgrades with focus on the Physical Activities Complex (PAC).