Hammer thrower Sultana Frizell has earned a number of titles over her career – Olympian, Commonwealth Champion, Canadian Record Holder – and following last night’s Athletics Ontario award banquet she can add Athlete of the Year to her resume. She shared the title with high jumper Derek Drouin who cleared a Canadian record height of 2.40m this year.
The Perth native was rewarded for the best season of her career which included such highlights as a Canadian record throw of 75.73m that ranked her fourth globally and a second straight Commonwealth Games victory. Frizell also captured her fifth national title in a championship record 73.78m. She was also awarded the senior female thrower of the year award.
Frizell wasn’t the only Lion rewarded for their efforts in 2014. Erinn Steanman-Fahey received the Youth Distance Award for her outstanding season in the 800m. In addition to finishing second at the Canadian Youth Championships over the distance, Stenman-Fahey also captured the silver medal at the national junior championships prior to being named to the World Junior Championship team. It was at those championships in Eugene, Oregon where the grade 12 Canterbury student had her most impressive performance – running a lifetime best 2:06.97 to qualify for the semi-finals.
Keira Christie-Galloway was recognized for her successes at both the provincial and national level, taking home the award for top female midget jumper. The St. Matthews student was a provincial champion in the long jump before using some late round heroics to leap to a personal best 5.38m to capture a silver medal at the national championships. C
In addition the annual awards, two Lions were recognized for the body of their work as long time javelin coach Bill Heikkila and former champion race walker Ann Peel. Both individuals had previously been inducted to the Ottawa Lions Hall of Fame – Heikkila in 2003 and Peel in 2009.
As evidence of Heikkila’s impact on the club, 9 of the 10 best javelin throwers in Lions history have all excelled under his tutelage. In addition, he has also served as coach on numerous Canadian teams, including the inaugural IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland. Before putting on his coaching hat Heikkila was a highly successful javelin thrower himself, as he was an All-American thrower at the University of Oregon before competing for Canada at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
Peel was a dominant force in Canadian women’s race walking during the 1980’s, winning 11 national championships during that time over 5000m, and 10km. For her success, she was named to represent Canada on multiple occasions, winning two bronze medals at the IAAF World Indoor Championships as well as a World University Games bronze and two Pan American Cup of Walking championships. She also held the Canadian indoor 3000m walk record from 1989 until just this past winter.