Four years ago, Jeremy Lucio and Jill Giesbrecht were labelled as up-and-coming athletes to watch at Vincent Massey. It proved to be more than just a little prophetic.
Lucio and Giesbrecht have been named Vincent Massey’s male and female athletes of the year, capping four years of involvement in Vikings sports.
For both players, it’s an award they will certainly cherish.
"It’s a big honour," said Lucio, an 18-year-old Vikings standout who played football, basketball, soccer and badminton in his senior season. "When I looked back at my Grade 9 year in the yearbook, they nominated me and Jill as the up-and-coming athletes of the year, so I feel like I accomplished a lot through my high school years."
For Giesbrecht, it’s the culmination of four years of proudly wearing Viking colours, although serious concussion issues limited her to playing only volleyball and badminton in her senior season.
"Since Grade 9, it’s kind of been my goal to be the athlete of the year for Massey and even though this year I wasn’t able to compete in some sports, I still wanted to stay involved in them," said the 17-year-old Giesbrecht, who turned to coaching and serving as a referee in basketball and soccer this season to stay involved after multiple concussions kept her from taking part in those sports in her Grade 12 year.
"Just looking at the people who have won (female athlete of the year) in past years, it’s a great honour. Last year, my friend and teammate Kristelle Harper got it and Jen Dixon got it in my Grade 9 year, so they were all really good athletes and also good people. So it’s definitely an honour to be chosen from Massey."
A team captain in volleyball for the Vikings, who advanced to the provincial quarter-finals, Giesbrecht first turned heads four years ago when she made the Vikings’ varsity girls basketball team as a Grade 9 freshman.
It began four fine seasons at Massey — albeit with her final year cut short — and experiences that Giesbrecht will treasure for a lifetime.
"All four years, I have had amazing coaches and great teammates and you learn a lot more than just about the sport," said Giesbrecht, who graduates with a 93 per cent academic average and plans to attend Brandon University this fall before entering law school, and also hopes to continue coaching at Vincent Massey while she attends university. "I think I have definitely become a stronger person from sports and I am blessed to have been able to play sports, even though it was kind of cut short this year."
Like Giesbrecht, sports at Massey has been an integral part of the high school experience for Lucio.
"I was really busy, but I like being busy and active, that’s my thing," said Lucio, who was quick to share the credit for his award with his Viking teammates.
"Some of my teammates in football are my teammates in basketball and soccer, too, so we developed a lot of chemistry with each other. In football, it felt like we were a family because we were together for three years."
Lucio was a starter at forward and named team MVP in basketball and also started at defensive end for the Vikings football team, which made it to the semifinals in the Winnipeg High School Football League. Lucio also helped the Vikings win the city title and advance to provincials in soccer, and was a city champion in badminton for the fourth straight year, finishing fifth overall at the provincial championships.
He plans to continue his athletic career next season in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference, playing basketball for the Assiniboine Community College Cougars.
"My plans for next year is to go to ACC and play basketball there," said the 6-foot-0 Lucio, who would like to take a shot at university basketball one day. "I want to get the experience here first, because it’s a big jump."