TORONTO (U SPORTS) – U SPORTS proudly announced Tuesday the student-athletes selected as Top 8 Academic All-Canadians for the 2017-18 season, a group that is highlighted by Toronto Varsity Blues women's volleyball player Alina Dormann and former Western Mustangs football player Nick Vanin.
The elite group will be honoured on Jan. 29 at Rideau Hall in the nation’s capital by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada.
The Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation was founded by the Right Honourable David Johnston, former Governor General of Canada, who first honoured Canada’s Top 8 student-athletes in 2013.
U SPORTS student-athletes achieve Academic All-Canadian status having maintained an average of 80 per cent or better over the academic year while competing for one - or more - of their university’s varsity teams.
Among these outstanding individuals, one female and one male student-athlete from each of the four U SPORTS conferences are selected annually to make up the Top 8.
“The list of Academic All-Canadians continues to grow each year,” said Graham Brown, President and CEO of U SPORTS. “The success of the Top 8 is a testament to the dedication of our student-athletes on the field of play, in the classroom and as leaders in their communities across the country.”
Complete bios on the Ontario University Athletics nominees are below:
Name: Nick Vanin
Hometown: London, Ont.
School: Western University
Faculty: Schulich Medicine & Dentistry
Program: Doctor of Medicine
Eligibility in 2017-18: 4th
Nick Vanin is an incredible example of what a student-athlete at Western University looks like.
Balancing playing football for an eventual Vanier cup championship winning roster, studying for his medical science degree and community work, Vanin finished out the 2017 season as the U SPORTS Russ Jackson Award winner - recognizing a player that best exemplifying the attributes of academic achievement, football skill, and citizenship.
Vanin not only became the first Western student-athlete to win the Russ Jackson Award, he was also the school’s first-ever nominee for the prestigious trophy, which was first presented in 1986.
The fifth-year linebacker from London, Ont., was once again brilliant on the field in the 2017 capaign, earning first-team OUA all-star honours for the second straight year thanks in large part to his 34 tackles in eight league games, good for second on the team.
Off the field, Vanin graduated from Western’s physiology program with a 91.3% average and was offered admission to the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.
A dean’s honor roll student every year of his undergrad, he has continued that path of academic excellence receiving the PCCM Award (Medical school), awarded for exemplary performance in Patient-Centered Clinical Methods (Year 1). He is also a researcher at the Victoria Research Laboratories, Centre for Critical Illness Research.
In the community, Nick continues to be involved with the Junior Mustangs football club, the Western Football Mentorship Program (an initiative he created), the Women’s Community House and Sexual Assault Center, Ronald McDonald House and the Andrew Legacy Fundraiser.
"Nick is an outstanding young man and was a very well-respected member of our football team. Nick gained the respect of all coaches and teammates with his positive personality, great work ethic and generous spirit,” said Mustangs football head coach Greg Marshall. “I am always amazed at how Nick can balance the demands of being a student-athlete and still find the time and energy to volunteer in so many ways. His generous and caring attitude is a reflection of his loving and supportive family."
Name: Alina Dormann
Hometown: Ottawa, Ont.
School: University of Toronto
Faculty: Arts & Science (Victoria College)
Program: Biology/Health & Disease
Eligibility in 2017-18: 3rd
Alina Dormann entered the 2017-18 intercollegiate season in fine form, having spent the summer of 2017 with the Canadian senior women’s national team. Dormann represented Canada at the 2017 FISU Summer Universiade in Taipei and went onto have another dominant season for the Blues on the court.
The Ottawa native led the OUA with 3.66 kills per set - good for seventh in the nation - and ranked second in the province and fourth nationally with 4.6 points per set through 18 matches in 2017-18. She also topped Toronto in total attacks (617) and serving aces (32), while ranking second in digs per set (2.49) and third in blocks per set (0.55). Dormann was named the OUA East player of the year for the third consecutive season, while also earning her third career U SPORTS all-Canadian nod. She led Toronto to a 15-4 regular season record and notched a season-high 27.5 points as Toronto topped the Guelph Gryphons, 3-2, to advance to their seventh straight OUA Final Four.
What’s more impressive is that she achieved all of this while pursuing a double major in biology and health & disease at the University of Toronto. The three-time U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian is a highly decorated student of U of T’s Victoria College, having won three of their major academic awards: the Regents Performance Award, given to a student who has excelled academically and who has distinguished themselves through their achievements in the creative or performing arts or athletics; the Helen Mae Woodliffe Scholarship, given to students with outstanding overall A standing; and the John David Steward Scholarship, given to students achieving excellence in the course of their studies.
In addition to her excellence on the court and in the classroom, Dormann makes time to give back to the volleyball community. She volunteered as an assistant coach with the Ontario Volleyball Association (OVA) for the 2018 Ontario Summer Games and served an assistant coach with Volleyball Position Camp (VPC). Dormann also coaches recreational house league, competitive beach and skills clinics within the Leaside Volleyball Club in Toronto.
“Alina embodies excellence both on and off the court,” said Kristine Drakich, who is in her 30th season as Varsity Blues head coach in 2018-19. “She is an amazing student and athlete. Not only has she been an outstanding player, including representing Canada at the FISU Games in 2017 and being named an All-Canadian, but she has also maintained one of the highest grade point averages in the history of the our program.”