It was a true evening of excellence Saturday as the Ottawa Lions hosted their annual awards banquet at Ottawa City Hall. With nearly 200 club members and family in attendance, the club paid honour to both the past and present with yearly awards and the induction of three new members into the club hall of fame.
Heptathlete Alison Doherty (nee Armstrong), middle distance runner Stephen Agar and distance runner Sean Kaley become the fifth, sixth and seventh athletes inducted into the hall of fame, joining Glenroy Gilbert, Leslie Estwick, Grace Verbeek and Ann Peel. Combined, all three new inductees hold six club records and are featured 13 times on the club’s all time top ten list.
Doherty, known in the record books by her maiden name of Armstrong, was a perennial medalist on the national stage for a period of eight years in the 1980’s, that included one Canadian championship, one Commonwealth Games appearance, and two performances at the World University Games. She finished her career with a best performance of 5601w pts, which ranks her tenth best all-time in Canada.
Agar, a dual citizen of both Canada and Dominica, is arguably the best middle distance runner in club history featuring in the club’s top ten in all events for 800m through 5000m. Running for the Ottawa Lions, Agar represented Dominica at the 1993 World Indoor Championships, the 1994 Commonwealth Games and 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta before donning the red and white of Canada at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
For Sean Kaley, he joined the Ottawa Lions in high school after moving to the city from Sudbury. He would quickly make a name for himself within the club, running for Canada at consecutive IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in 1993 and 1994 before receiving a scholarship to study at the University of Arkansas. After great success in the NCAA, would go on to make numerous national teams, including the Sydney Olympics in 2000, the Pan American and Commonwealth Games, the 1999 IAAF World Championships in Sevilla, Spain, as well as an impressive five appearances at the World Cross Country Championships.
Among the annual award winners, there were a few familiar names called out. For the 9th year in a row, hammer thrower Sultana Frizell took home the Glenroy Gilbert Award for top female athlete in a field event. Frizell, ranked 24th on the world all-time list, had a successful campaign in 2013 that included a Canadian championship and a 16th place finish at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
Frizell’s male counterpart, Patrick Arbour, took home the Gilbert for top male field event athlete for the fifth straight year as the former thrower turned decathlete broke the club’s 36 year old discus record. As evidence of his dominance in the field, Arbour was the top ranked Lion in three of the six field events he competed in and ranked no lower than third in the other three. Arbour was also name the top combined events athlete after annihilating the club record in the decathlon, scoring 7592 points this season to ranked 10th all-time in Canada. He also finished the season ranked 35th in the IAAF World Combined Events Challenge standings.
On the track, Melissa Bishop was recognized for the third time in four years as she again lowered the club and provincial 800m record, running 1:59.76 on her way to competing at the World Championships and winning bronze and silver medals at the Francophone Games.
Taking home the Gilbert award for men, on the track, was Oluwasegun Makinde who was a double gold medalist at the Francophone Games, winning both the 200m and 4x100m relay. Makinde was also an alternate on the World Championship relay team, and finished fourth over 200m at the World University Games.
Other winners on the evening included:
Most Outstanding Athlete: uOttawa X-Country / Track & Field
· Male: Devin Biocchi
· Female: Emma Galbraith
Most Outstanding Junior Athlete
· Male: Adam Palamar
· Female: Ashley Connell
Most Outstanding Youth Athlete
· Male: Matt Bedard
· Female: Erinn Stenman-Fahey
Most Outstanding Midget Athlete
· Male: Owen Day
· Female: Olivia Gaudet
Most Outstanding Bantam Athlete
· Male: Samuel Cheff
· Female: Lauren Gale
Most Outstanding Para-Athlete
· Curtis Thom
Most Outstanding XC
· Mickey Day
Most Outstanding Masters Athlete
· Wendy Alexis
· Joe Boland
Most Outstanding Athlete: Road Racer
· Josh Cassidy
Sean Cole: Dedication to Club Service
· Ryan Rowat
· Mike McIntyre