Ottawa’s Wendel named OUA MVP, nominated for Hec Crighton Trophy

Ottawa’s Wendel named OUA MVP, nominated for Hec Crighton Trophy

BURLINGTON, Ont. – In his fifth and final season, uOttawa Gee-Gees quarterback Derek Wendel (Belleville, Ont.) has been named Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Most Valuable Player and the conference nominee for U Sports Hec Crighton Trophy.

Wendel, a fifth-year philosophy major, for a second consecutive season set new OUA single season attempts and completions records, completing 232 of 347 attempts for 2936 yards, which ranks seventh all-time on the U Sports single season passing yards list.

Starting all eight games for uOttawa, the Belleville, Ont. native also finished first in the conference in completion percentage (66.9), yards per game (367) and touchdowns (22).  With Wendel under centre, the Gee-Gees led OUA with a red zone percentage of 91%, while passing for 135 1st downs during the regular season.

After throwing 8863 yards over his five seasons in the garnet and grey, Wendel ends his career as the Gee-Gees second leading passer of all-time, trailing only former uOttawa quarterback Josh Sacobie, while his 67 career touchdown passes ranks him fourth all-time in OUA history.

Wendel, who earlier this week was named an OUA first-team all-star for the first time in his career, is the first Gee-Gees player to be named Most Valuable Player since former quarterback turned Ottawa REDBLACKS receiver Brad Sinopoli earned the honours following the 2010 season.  He also becomes only the fourth different Gee-Gees player to win the award, joining the aforementioned Sinopoli (2010) and Sacobie (2007), as well as running back Mike Murphy (1976) and three-time MVP Neil Lumdsen (1972-1973, 1975).

The Russ Jackson Nominee is a name put forward by OUA for the award presented annually by U Sports to the player who best exemplifies the attributes of academic achievement, football skill, and citizenship.

This year, Ontario University Athletics is proud to nominate McMaster Marauders defensive end Mark Mackie (London, Ont.) for this award.

Mackie, a fourth-year kinesiology major, doesn't let his commitments on the field interfere with the time he has to give back on campus and in the local community. 

This past summer, Mackie volunteered his time to coordinate a Marauders kids football camp for over 300 local children aged 7-13.  Always more than generous with his time, the London, Ont. native also participates in the Marauders school visit program, where members of the team visit local Hamilton schools to speak about the positive benefits of sport. 

Mackie, who is a three-time (2013-2015) Dean's Honour List, Marauder Scholar and Academic All-Canadian recipient, was the facilitator of the team's study hall in just his second-year in the program.  This past year, he was awarded the Alma & Will Rice Memorial Scholarship which is presented to a kinesiology student who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement.

When his playing days are over, Mackie, who is eligible for the 2017 CFL Draft, has aspirations of becoming a medical doctor in the area of sports injuries.           

Laurier linebacker Nakas Onyeka (Brampton, Ont.) was a force to be reckoned with all-season for a Golden Hawks defensive unit that led the conference in defensive touchdowns (6) and sacks (36) and is this year's recipient of the President's Trophy for OUA Stand-up Defensive Player of the Year.

Onyeka, a fourth-year communications studies student-athlete, led OUA with 51 solo tackles, while he ranked fourth in several defensive categories, including: total tackles (59.5), tackles per game (7.4), sacks (5.5) and sack yards (40), all of which are career highs the dynamic 6'0", 210 lbs linebacker.

Earlier this season, Onyeka was ranked 16th on the Canadian Football League Scouting Bureau's list of prospects eligible for the 2017 CFL Draft.

A season after being selected to the OUA second-team, Onyeka was recently named a first-team all-star and is the first Golden Hawks player since former Laurier standout Giancarlo Rapanaro in 2010 to win the President's Trophy. 

Long known for their strong defence, Onyeka becomes the 10th Golden Hawks player to win the award since 1980, the most by any program in the conference over that time period.

Coming off a tremendous 2016 season, Western Mustangs offensive lineman Sean Jamieson (Winnipeg, Man.) takes home the J.P Metras Award for OUA Lineman of the Year.

In his final season with Western, Jamieson, a fifth-year kinesiology major was a stalwart on the line for the Mustangs as one of the best run blockers and pass protectors in OUA.  Not only does the Winnipeg, Man. native have a dominant physical presence and tenacious work-ethic, but as team captain and a leader both on and off the field for Western, Jamieson is a major reason for the Mustangs success this season.

Jamieson, who was selected 20th overall by the Montreal Alouettes in the 2016 CFL Draft, was named an OUA first-team all-star for a third straight season on Wednesday and becomes the first Mustangs player to win the J.P Metras Award for OUA Lineman of the Year since Roger Dunbrack earned the honours back in 1997.

Should Jamieson be recognized with the J.P Metras Award at the national level, he would become just the second Mustangs player to win the award, joining former Mustang Pierre Verchavel who was recognized following the 1987 season.

In just his first season in the conference, McMaster Marauders kicker Adam Preocanin (Burlington, Ont.) is this year's recipient of the Norm Marshall Trophy for OUA Rookie of the Year.

Appearing in all eight games for the Marauders in his rookie year, Preocanin, a first-year humanities major, finished first in the conference in both fields goals made (25) and attempts (33), while finishing second with 101 points, just two points back of first place.

On Oct. 7 at home against the visiting Queen's Gaels, the 6'0, 175 lbs kicker was a perfect 7-for-7, tying the OUA record for most field goals in a game, originally set by University of Toronto Varity Blues kicker Lance Chomyc on Oct. 6, 1982 against the York Lions. 

Preocanin, who played for Nelson High School in Burlington, Ont. before joining the Marauders, was a perfect 24-for-24 on PATs this season for McMaster.  He also had 59 punts for 2263 yards to go along with 35 kickoffs for 2089 yards.

Preocanin becomes the third McMaster player in the past four seasons to be win the Norm Marshall Trophy for OUA Rookie of the Year, joining receivers Dan Petermann (2014) and Dan Vandervoort (2013).

Coming off a second place regular season finish for the first time since 2009, Laurier Golden Hawks head coach Michael Faulds has been honoured with the Dave 'Tuffy' Knight Award as OUA Coach of the Year, presented by Centaur Products.

Three years removed from a 1-7 finish, Faulds' Golden Hawks went 7-1 in 2016 and were one of the top ranked teams on both sides of the ball this season, leading the league in rushing yards (2251) and defensive touchdowns (6).  Under Faulds, the Golden Hawks also scored the most touchdowns (43) and the second most points (341) in program history.

Prior to making the jump to his first full-time career coaching job with the Golden Hawks, Faulds was two-time Yates Cup champion and MVP with Western, leading the Mustangs to back-to-back championships in 2007 and 2008.

Faulds is the first Golden Hawks coach to be win the Dave 'Tuffy' Knight Award as OUA Coach of the Year since longtime Laurier bench boss Gary Jeffries was recognized in 2009.  Faulds becomes the fourth Golden Hawks head coach to win the award, joining Rich Newbrough (1985), Dave Knight (1972, 1979-80), along with the aforementioned Jeffries (2003-2005, 2009).

For his continued contributions on the sidelines, Queen's Gaels Special Teams Coordinator / Linebacker Coach Phil Roberts is this year's recipient of the Volunteer Coach of the Year Award.

Roberts is about as committed as you'll find as a volunteer coach in Canadian football, as over the course of the past four seasons, the Ottawa, Ont. resident has commuted three times per week to Kingston to help coach the Gaels.  Roberts, a retired teacher, worked for the PSBGM in Montreal for 12 years as well as 19 years in the Ottawa-Carleton Public School Board.

Prior to joining the Queen's coaching staff, Roberts was the head coach at Vanier College from 1987-91 and was a part-time assistant coach with the Ottawa Renegades (2003) and Hamilton Tigercats (2004) before joining the Gaels in 2013.

The Volunteer Coach of the Year Award is a fitting send off for the longtime volunteer coach as the 2016 season marked the final season on the sidelines for the Gaels.

The 2016 Officials Award of Merit goes to Kevin Baird who has been involved in OUA football since 2010.

Baird has been officiating football as a member of the Burlington, Ont. based Lakeshore Football Officials' Association since 2003.  In 2010, Baird began officiating OUA football and has been the Line Umpire on five Yates Cups.  Later this month, he is scheduled to be the Line Umpire in the Uteck Bowl.

Baird is continuously involved with refereeing both within his local officiating organization in Burlington and elsewhere throughout the province.  Beginning with the start of football season in May, Baird can be found officiating somewhere in the province of Ontario.

He is also heavily involved off the field in an administrative role as he is currently the President and Assigner of the Lakeshore Football Officials' Association and is the Referee-in-Chief and Assigner of the Ontario's senior men's league, the Northern Football Conference.

Outside of football officiating, Baird has been a member of the Halton Regional Police since 1989 and currently holds the rank of Detective and is assigned to the Burlington Criminal Investigation Bureau.

2016 OUA FOOTBALL MAJOR AWARDS

Most Valuable Player – Derek Wendel – uOttawa Gee-Gees
President's Trophy (Outstanding Stand-up Defensive Player) – Nakas Onyeka – Laurier Golden Hawks
J.P. Metras Trophy (Lineman of the Year) – Sean Jamieson – Western Mustangs
Norm Marshall Trophy (Rookie of the Year) – Adam Preocanin – McMaster Marauders
Dave 'Tuffy' Knight Award (Coach of the Year) – Michael Faulds – Laurier Golden Hawks
Russ Jackson Award Nominee – Mark Mackie – McMaster Marauders
Volunteer Coach of the Year – Phil Roberts – Queen's Gaels
Officials Award of Merit – Kevin Baird

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