From provincial standouts to world champions, 2013 marked another remarkable year for Westman athletes.
After much deliberation while considering nominations, this year’s class of candidates has been whittled down to a group of 16 finalists for the Brandon Sun’s 56th annual H.L. (Krug) Crawford Memorial Award — emblematic of sports excellence in southwestern Manitoba. The winner of the award — named after the former Sun sports editor — will be announced in the Jan. 2 edition of the Sun.
To be eligible, candidates must live in the Westman area during the season or return to reside in southwestern Manitoba in the off-season. Players attending university or college while pursuing their athletic careers elsewhere in Canada or the U.S. are also eligible until they graduate.
Here are this year’s 16 finalists, listed in alphabetical order:
The 2009 Krug Crawford Award winner, Barclay’s big season was highlighted by being named a first-team all-Canadian and the most valuable player for the second straight season while leading the UBC Thunderbirds to a record-tying sixth straight CIS women’s volleyball championship. A 6-foot-2 left-side player out of Crocus Plains, Barclay is also a member of Canada’s senior women’s team and competed in the World University Games, Pan-Am Cup and the NORCECA championship. The 21-year-old Brandonite leads the country in kills (185), kills per set (4.30) and points (216.5) this season.
The 18-year-old Brandon native had a year to remember in 2013. First, Brykaliuk helped Canada win a gold medal at the world under-18 women’s hockey championship in Finland, leading the team in goals with five in five games. Then, the Westman Wildcats centre was named the Manitoba Female Midget Hockey League’s MVP after finishing third in league scoring, with 19 goals and 35 points in 27 regular-season games. The Vincent Massey high school graduate also spent the summer with Canada’s under-22 development team before moving on to the NCAA Division 1 ranks on full scholarship and sits fourth in team scoring for the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, with five goals and 13 points in 20 games.
Farough’s final season at Neelin High School was one for the record books, as the 18-year-old was named the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association’s male athlete of the year and AAA player of the year. Farough played six sports in his senior season at Neelin, excelling in basketball, volleyball, football, soccer, badminton and beach volleyball, serving as a team captain and making the provincial graduating all-star teams in both volleyball and basketball. Farough was named tournament MVP, leading the Spartans to the Tier 2 division title in the Brandon Sun Spartan Invitational basketball tournament and helped Neelin win a bronze medal at the AAA provincials, before moving on to suit up for his hometown Brandon University Bobcats men’s basketball team in the fall.
Winning a second straight world under-18 women’s hockey title in Finland in January kicked off another superb year for the 18-year-old from Neepawa. Serving as alternate captain, Krzyzaniak was named the top defenceman at the worlds and made the all-star team. She went on to make Canada’s under-22 team in the summer and then became the youngest skater chosen for a series of intrasquad games with Canada’s Olympic-bound senior women’s hockey team before moving on to her first season on full scholarship at the University of North Dakota. She has played in all 18 games with UND as a freshman, scoring one goal and notching six points with an impressive +12 plus/minus rating that ranks among the top 10 rookies in the nation.
An 18-year-old Crocus Plains graduate, MacGranachan had a remarkable season on the baseball diamond, earning the nod as the Manitoba Senior Baseball League’s rookie of the year after batting .375 and posting an ERA of 3.10 for the Brandon Marlins. He won Manitoba and western Canadian titles with the Brandon Midget Knights, tossing a no-hitter at the provincial championship. MacGranachan was also named to the Brandon Senior AA Baseball League all-star team, winning a provincial title, and was named a Prairie West High School Baseball League all-star. MacGranachan also won a provincial under-18 men’s curling title while tossing third stones for Braden Calvert and will skip his own team in the junior men’s provincials.
After going undefeated at the provincial junior racquetball championships, the 14-year-old member of the Brandon Racquetball Association went on to win a bronze medal in the 14-and-under boys’ singles division and a silver medal in boys’ doubles at the Canadian championships in April in Burlington, Ont. A Vincent Massey High School student, Madill also won the open doubles crown at the Manitoba Open tournament in Winnipeg earlier this month. Madill is currently 126th in men’s national rankings and second in the country among players in the 14-and-under age group.
The Skate Brandon standout added to her impressive career tally by winning her seventh straight title at the provincial figure skating championships in Stonewall in November. The 17-year-old captured the junior women’s singles title by earning scores of 37.25 in the short program and 65.68 in the free skate. McCallum, who also was the top skater at the Manitoba Summer Open competition, qualified for the Skate Canada Challenge in Regina, where she was 35th while in a field of the top junior skaters in the country.
A 25-year-old Deloraine native, Olson capped another superb season by being named Baseball Manitoba’s Senior AAA player of the year. The infielder/pitcher led the Reston Rockets to the Manitoba Senior Baseball League title and a trip to nationals, sharing co-MVP honours with Brandon Marlins pitcher Paul Thompson. Olson hit .354 and was first in the MSBL in home runs (four) and second in RBIs (17). He had a solid senior season for Minot State University, leading the Beavers in batting (.395), hits (51), doubles (16), RBIs (29) and fielding percentage (.989).
The pride of the Brandon Eagles Gymnastics Centre served notice she was is one of the top young gymnasts in the country by making Canada’s junior national team this year and going on to compete internationally for the first time at the Massillia Cup in France. Born in Minnedosa and now living in Brandon, the 15-year-old standout won provincial and western Canadian titles in 2013, and placed fifth all-around in the junior women’s category at the prestigious Elite Canada event. Onyshko went on to finish fourth in the all-around and earn a bronze medal in the bars event final at the Canadian gymnastics championships.
The 19-year-old Wheat Kings captain became the first Brandon blue-liner picked in the first round of the NHL draft since Wade Redden in 1995 as the New York Islanders selected Pulock 15th overall. Despite missing time with facial fractures and a broken hand, the 6-foot-1, 218-pound Grandview native tied centre Tim McGauley for the team scoring lead as Pulock fired 14 goals and posted 45 points in 61 WHL games. Pulock, who was named the Wheat Kings’ team MVP, top defenceman, most inspirational player and top Manitoba-born player, suited up for Canada’s junior team in a summer exhibition series versus the U.S. and the fall Subway Series against the Russians. Already signed by the Islanders, Pulock has 10 goals and 27 points in 30 games this season.
VICTOR ST. PIERRE
The talented 5-foot-9, 170-pound running back with the Crocus Plainsmen led the Winnipeg High School Football League’s Kas Vidruk Division in rushing this season by amassing 1,283 yards on 112 carries (11.5 yards per carry) and scoring a league-leading 20 touchdowns. The 17-year-old senior capped his career season by being named a WHSFL division all-star. St. Pierre was also picked to play in the annual Blue-and-Gold all-star game for the top under-18 players in Manitoba and went on to make the provincial team for the second straight year, competing in the Football Canada Cup, where he helped Manitoba finish fifth.
Neelin’s 2013 female athlete of the year, the 17-year-old Brandonite was a provincial high school all-star in both AAA basketball and AAAA volleyball for the Spartans, while also making Manitoba’s women’s basketball team that won a bronze medal at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que. Thomson, who also competed in softball and badminton, played guard and forward for Neelin’s basketball team and middle for the Spartans’ AAAA silver-medal winning volleyball squad. The 6-foot-1 Thomson also played club volleyball, winning a provincial under-17 title and competing at nationals.
The 24-year-old New Zealand native led the Brandon University Bobcats men’s volleyball team to its first Canada West conference title and a bronze medal at nationals in Quebec City where he was named a second-team CIS all-Canadian. The 6-foot-4 left side player led the conference with 4.34 kills per set and 4.89 points per set last season. Tuivai was named to the tournament all-star team at nationals and capped his 2012-13 campaign by being named BU’s male athlete of the year and team MVP. This season, Tuivai is scoring a little less — averaging 3.54 kills per set — but his attack efficiency is up 2.9 per cent for the Bobcats, who are ranked fifth in the country and have a 7-5 record at the Christmas break.
The Souris School standout led the Sabres to a Westman High School Rugby League title and a berth in the provincial final in 2013, setting team records for most tackles in a season and in a career while serving as team captain. A provincial rugby all-star and team MVP and a provincial all-star in AA varsity girls’ basketball, Tuttosi was named Souris’s female athlete of the year and was a finalist for Manitoba High School Athletic Association AA female athlete of the year. She moved on to captain the provincial under-18 team and was named the top forward. In the fall, the 18-year-old became a starter as a rookie for the University of Calgary Dinos women’s rugby team and capped her season by being named to the Canada West conference all-star team.
MICHAEL VAN DEN HAM
The 21-year-old Brandonite cycled on the national and international stages in 2013. In February, van den Ham competed in the cyclo-cross world championships in Kentucky, racing his bike over man-made and natural obstacles on pavement, grass, mud, sand and snow. After finishing 31st overall at the cyclo-cross worlds, van den Ham switched bikes to race for Manitoba in the Canada Summer Games in Quebec, finishing 13th out of 43 racers in the individual time trial, 19th in the men’s criterium and 21st in the road race. But he saved the best for last, winning the national under-23 title in the Canadian championships last month in Surrey, B.C.
Wytinck was the co-winner of the Manitoba Amateur Golfer of the Year award, his second straight title. The 21-year-old Glenboro native finished fourth in the provincial amateur championship and went on to make the cut at the Canadian amateur where he placed 41st, and also was the runner-up in the provincial match-play qualifier. Wytinck led the University of Manitoba Bisons golf team to four team titles in six tournaments and won three straight individual university tournament titles for the Bisons.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 26, 2013