As the University of Ottawa gathered tonight to celebrate the best in Gee-Gee athletics from the past eight months, four Lions athletes were honoured for their performances across cross country and track and field. The winners were as follows:
MATHIEU VIERULA – Men’s Cross Country
A third year medical student, this was Mathieu’s third time being named team MVP, having previously captured the award in 2008 and 2010. During his seven years as a student at the University of Ottawa, Mathieu has balanced his team cross country participation with outstanding academics and international team triathlon representation for Canada. In what was a slow but consistently improving 2014 season, Vierula was the top runner for the Gee Gees at the OUA Championships with his life-time best individual finish and led the team to its best men’s team finish since 2006.
ISABELLE KANZ – Women’s Cross Country
This marks the fourth consecutive year Isabelle has been selected as the women’s cross country team MVP. This year’s selection was without a doubt, the most significant and hardest earned of her Gee-Gee career. After backing up the team all season as the team’s number two scorer in pre-championship meets, Isabelle surged to the top team position at the OUA Championships and led her team to its best finish in 17 year! It was through Isabelle’s season long presence and competitive consistencies that the Gee Gee women would then go on to the CIS Championships for the school’s first appearance since 2002 where they would place ninth in the country.
NELSON CECEREU – Men’s Track and Field
A fourth year business major from Bainsville, ON, Nelson came on strong in 2015, establishing six life-time bests in the pole vault en route to capturing an OUA bronze medal and qualifying for his first-ever CIS Championships. Cecereu would finish seventh in the nation while establishing yet another lifetime best by clearing 4.72m. The mark moved him to second on the University of Ottawa’s all-time rankings. Nelson is the first pole vaulter in Gee-Gee history to be named team MVP.
DEVYANI BISWAL – Women’s Track and Field
Devyani Biswal becomes the first women’s hurdler in Gee-Gees history to be named team MVP honour. The fourth year math and economics major and team academic mentor from Ottawa’s Sir Robert Borden H.S. captured OUA Bronze in the 60m Hurdles and was a part of the University of Ottawa record setting women’s 4 x 200m Relay. In addition, Biswal also established life bests at all four sprint distances from 60 to 400 metres this season. Despite entering the CIS Championships ranked 12th nationally, Devyani fought hard to qualify for the national final with a seasonal best
In addition to team MVP awards, two other Gee-Gees were recognized for their efforts with on and off the field of play.
Andrew Heffernan – President’s Award for commitment to athletics, academics, and community service
Heffernan is completing his Master’s in Public and International Affairs while also serving as a guide runner for Canada’s Paralympic Track and Field Team. After serving as a guide runner at the London 2012 Games, Heffernan will be aiming to return to the international stage at this summer’s Para-Pan Am Games in Toronto. The Peterborough native has also dedicated time to the Liberal Party of Canada over the last two and a half years as a volunteer in Justin Trudeau’s office.
KATIE PHILLIPS – Director’s Award for success on the national stage
Hailing from Kleinberg, Ontario, Katie Phillips was recognized for being named CIS Cross Country Rookie of the Year. The redshirt freshman was the team’s second scorer at the national championships, finishing on the heels of Ruth Burrows. Finishing 27th overall, Phillips was the top finishing rookie in the field. Prior to her success on the national stage, Katie had also been named OUA Rookie of the Year, helping the Gee-Gee women to a fifth place overall finish – the team’s highest placing since 1997.