It was a packed house Wednesday night for the 62nd annual Ottawa Sports Awards banquet at Algonquin College. As the local community gathered to celebrate the best of amateur sport in the nation’s capital, the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club was once again front and center, with current and former athletes being recognized more than half a dozen times throughout the ceremony.
Commonwealth Games champion and Canadian record holder in the hammer throw, Sultana Frizell took home the title of top athlete in athletics for 2014. The Perth native was rewarded for the best season of her career, which included finishing the season as the fourth best hammer thrower globally. For her efforts, Frizell was also one of six females nominated for female athlete of the year.
Distance runner Claire Smith was recognized twice on the evening for both her individual success as well as the leader of her high school cross country team at Glebe Collegiate. Smith was named the top cross country athlete for the second year in a row following her success on the international stage in 2014 where she captured a bronze medal at the North American, Central American and Caribbean championships as well as helping Canada to team gold. In addition, Smith and her Glebe teammates were recognized for their senior girls and overall girls team titles at the OFSAA XC Championships this past November.
On the road, Tommy Des Brisay was the star of the city in 2014. Among Tommy’s many accomplishments this past year included his debut in the marathon where he finished 28th overall in Ottawa Race Weekend Marathon with a time of 2 hours 39 minutes 21.1 seconds. Other notable performances for which he was recognized for included winning the Goode Run 10km, the Wakefield 10 mile, and the 9 run run half marathon.
The final current athlete to win an individual award was Joshua Cassidy, named top parasport athlete for 2014. Cassidy’s year included a top six performance in the T54 1500m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as well as top 20 international rankings in the 1500m, 5000m, and 10,000m. Cassidy was also the Canadian T54 5000m champion for 2014.
Also recognized Wednesday night were Cody Sorensen, Jonah Shaffer and Angelo Gavillucci. Sorensen, a former sprint hurdler, was honoured for his exploits in bobsled which included multiple top 10 finishes on the world cup circuit as well a birth in the Olympic Games. Jonah Shaffer, a long time member of the club’s Speed for Sport program, took home the title of Ottawa’s top water skier. Jonah finished the year as the world’s 4th-ranked U21 following many top-10 finishes both nationally and internationally. For the former para thrower, Gavillucci, it was his body of work that was recognized. Angelo received a special recognition award for his more than two decades of work in sledge hockey. His involvement has included participation in two Paralympic Games, and many World Championships.