After careful consideration and many difficult decisions, the Brandon Sun has whittled down this season’s class of candidates to 15 finalists for Westman’s sports star of the year.
For the 55th consecutive year, the Sun will determine the winner of the H.L. (Krug) Crawford Memorial Award — emblematic of sports excellence in southwestern Manitoba — from a long list of worthy nominees. The winner will be announced in the Jan. 2 edition of the Brandon Sun.
To be eligible, candidates must live in the Westman region during the season, or return home in the off-season if they are playing professionally. Players attending college or university while pursuing their athletic careers elsewhere in Canada or the United States are also eligible until they graduate. As always, both outstanding individual seasons and lifetime achievement are taken into consideration.
Here are this year’s 15 finalists, in alphabetical order:
The 2009 Krug Crawford Award winner, Barclay just keeps getting better and better. The 6-foot-2 left side, a graduate of Crocus Plains high school, not only made the Canadian senior women’s volleyball team for the first time this season, but was also named the most valuable player while leading the UBC Thunderbirds to the CIS national championship last spring. At the age of 20, Barclay suited up for Canada at the Women’s Pan-American Cup in Mexico, starting four of eight matches. Barclay is also having a terrific third season with the T-Birds, currently leading her team in kills (137) and sitting fourth in the Canada West conference in kills (3.51 per set) and third in points (4.10 per set) while guiding UBC to an 11-1 record at the Christmas break.
The dynamic Brandon University Bobcats point guard capped a superb rookie season by being named the Canada West conference’s rookie of the year, while also making the CIS men’s basketball all-rookie team. Bonhomme averaged 12.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in the 2011-12 season and finished second in the conference with 119 assists and 10th in the league in minutes played, averaging 32.2 per game. A 5-foot-11, 175-pound native of Washington, D.C., Bonhomme is averaging 10.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in 2012-13, is fifth in the conference with 48 assists and eighth in minutes played, averaging 32.9 per game.
After helping lead Canada to a gold medal in the 2012 world women’s under-18 hockey championship in the Czech Republic, the 5-foot-7 centre from Brandon has been picked to play for Canada again in the 2013 worlds that begin Saturday in Finland. Brykaliuk, who has accepted an NCAA scholarship to play Division I hockey at Minnesota-Duluth, also helped Manitoba earn a silver medal at the Canadian under-18 women’s championship last month in Dawson Creek, B.C. The 17-year-old Vincent Massey student also had the series-clinching shootout winner to help Canada beat the United States in a best-of-three summer series. Brykaliuk currently has 22 goals and 42 points in 38 games for the midget female Westman Wildcats.
A 15-year-old budding star, Burgess was named Baseball Manitoba’s Bantam Player of the Year, two years after earning the nod as the province’s Peewee Player of the Year. Among his accomplishments, Burgess became one of the youngest players from Westman to ever make Manitoba’s youth (17-and-under) baseball team. Burgess also hit. 650 and stole 11 bases at the provincial Bantam AAA championship and helped lead the Brandon Bantam AAA Knights win the Western Canadian title. Burgess, who also plays club volleyball, pitched a complete-game no-hitter in the annual Canada Day Classic tournament and helped lead the Vincent Massey Vikings to a berth in the provincial high school baseball championship.
After competing in three Briers in 2007, 2009 and 2010 as Jeff Stoughton’s second, Fowler skipped his own team to a provincial men’s curling title in 2012 and a bronze medal at the Canadian championship. Backed by third Allan Lyburn of Brandon and Winnipeggers Richard Daneault and Derek Samagalski, Fowler’s foursome beat former Brandonite Mike McEwen 10-6 in the Safeway Championship final to become the first Westman team to advance to the Brier in 22 years. The 36-year-old Fowler, who also was the first Brandon skip to win the provincial men’s title in 25 years, went on to curl 90 per cent in an 8-7 extra-end win over Jamie Koe’s Yukon/NWT team in the Brier’s bronze-medal game after posting an 8-3 round-robin record.
With one gold medal already in her trophy case, Krzyzaniak will join Brykaliuk again on Team Canada at the world women’s under-18 hockey championship in Finland this week. The 5-foot-9 defenceman, who recently accepted a full scholarship to play NCAA Division I hockey at UND next season, also helped lead Manitoba to a silver medal — its best-ever finish — at the Canadian under-18 women’s hockey championship last month in Dawson Creek, B.C., where Krzyzaniak was named the tournament’s most valuable player. The 17-year-old Neepawa native also helped Canada beat the U.S. in a summer exhibition series and currently has five goals and 14 points in 20 games for the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, B.C.
Brandon-born and Dauphin-raised, Love recently capped her four-year NCAA women’s volleyball career by being named a first-team All-American on Dec. 14 in Louisville, Ky. A former Canadian junior team member, Love led the UCLA Bruins in kills (4.51) and points (4.94) per set this season, with the senior surpassing the 20-kill mark nine times in 31 matches. The 6-foot-5 left side, who began her NCAA career at the University of Minnesota before transferring to UCLA, also hit double figures in kills in 29 of the 31 matches she played in.
Tossing third stones, Allan Lyburn played a key role in helping fellow Brandonite Rob Fowler’s team win the Safeway Championship and then the bronze medal at the Brier in 2012. A former Scottish junior champion who moved to Canada in 1992, Lyburn was named the all-star third at the provincial men’s curling championship and was named the second-team all-star third at the Canadian men’s curling championship. Lyburn, 40, curled 86 per cent in the bronze medal game for the Fowler foursome.
The 6-foot-3 Crocus Plainsmen wide receiver led the Kas Vidruk Division in receiving and finished second overall among all Winnipeg High School Football League players with 34 catches for 743 yards. Taylor averaged 21.9 yards per catch and scored four touchdowns and was named to the all-star team for the second straight season. An offensive dynamo, the Grade 12 student also handled the placekicking and punting duties for the Plainsmen and returned kicks and punts. With football over, the 17-year-old Maloney is now pulling double duty as a member of the Plainsmen varsity boys basketball team and hockey team, and has five goals and 12 points in 11 games for Crocus (8-2-1) in the Westman High School Hockey League.
The Neelin Spartans running back etched his name into the record books in the Winnipeg High School Football League this season. Minshull set a new Andy Currie Division mark by rushing for 1,430 yards on 160 carries while helping lead his team to the division final. Minshull, who also plays varsity basketball for Neelin, capped his season by being named the Andy Currie Division’s offensive player of the year and a league all-star. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior scored 11 touchdowns and helped Neelin post an overall record of 8-2 this season.
The 2011 Krug Crawford Memorial Award winner, Stone wrapped up his Brandon Wheat Kings career by being named the WHL’s most sportsmanlike player after finishing second in the league with 123 points, including 41 goals in 66 games, while earning only 22 penalty minutes. The Wheat Kings captain, who was named an Eastern Conference all-star, also led Canada to a bronze medal at the 2012 world junior hockey championship. Stone, who led Canada in scoring with seven goals and three assists in six games, went on to earn his first NHL point in his first NHL playoff game with the Ottawa Senators. Now 20, Stone had three goals and eight points in 18 AHL games in his first full season as a pro hockey player.
The 13-year-old Skate Brandon member was a double winner at this year’s provincial figure skating championships, capturing the pre-novice girls singles crown with a score of 70.99 points and also winning the prestigious Merit Award for her outstanding performance at provincials. Coached by Tammy McKay, Thiessen gave Skate Brandon a pair of provincial titles, joining novice champion Madison McCallum. Thiessen, who has won three provincial titles in the past four years, went on to finish 29th in the country out of 56 skaters at the Skate Canada Challenge in Regina earlier this month.
It’s been quite the year for the 22-year-old Brandonite. Thornborough made Canada’s senior women’s sevens rugby team, competing in the North American-Caribbean Rugby Association championship in the summer and the prestigious Dubai Sevens Tournament in the United Arab Emirates where she helped lead Canada’s development team to a 7-0 record. The 5-foot-6 winger, a graduate of the Vincent Massey and Brandon Barbarians rugby programs, was also named a CIS all-Canadian after helping lead St. FX University to the national title and a perfect 12-0 season. An all-star at CIS nationals, Thornborough is now moving to B.C. to train full-time with the national team program and hopes to play for Canada in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Crocus Plains’ 2012 female athlete of the year, Wiebe competed in basketball, soccer, track and field and volleyball — advancing to the provincial AAAA high school final — in her senior season. A Manitoba graduating all-star, Wiebe closed out her high school basketball career by scoring 34 points in her final game in a first-round loss at the provincial AAAA championship. The 18-year-old then became only the second Brandon girl to earn a full-ride NCAA women’s basketball scholarship when she joined fellow Wheat City native Danielle DeGagne at North Dakota State University where she is currently red-shirting in her first season.
The Glenboro native wrapped up his most successful golf season by being named Golf Manitoba’s amateur player of the year in October. A member of the University of Manitoba Bisons golf team, Wytinck became the first golfer from Westman to win the Manitoba Men’s Amateur title in July. Wytinck served as captain of the Bisons golf team and led them to five top-five finishes in university events this season. The 20-year-old also competed as an amateur in the Canadian Tour’s Players Cup in Winnipeg in July and played in the Canadian Men’s Amateur Golf Championship in Ottawa in August.
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