Duncan Christian School might be a small school, but that doesn’t make it any easier to pick the top athletes.
In three of the school’s Athlete of the Year categories, the decision-makers shared the honours between two deserving winners. The senior girls award was shared by Danielle Groenendijk and Juliet King, the senior boys award was shared by Adam Kapteyn and Mike Brandsma, and the junior girls award went to Zoey Alyward and Jenna Bakker.
In the remaining categories, it was possible to settle on one winner: Matt Brandsma as the top junior boys athlete, and Morgan Nederlof as the Grade 8 Athlete of the Year.
Of all the Athlete of the Year winners, King is the only one who won’t be back to vie for an award next year as she moves on to Trinity Western University where she will study human kinetics, with the goal of becoming a P.E. teacher, while playing basketball for the Spartans.
This past year, King was the DCS team MVP, Island championship MVP and a provincial second-team all-star in basketball, and team MVP and an Island championship all-star in volleyball.
“It means a lot [to be Athlete of the Year],” King said. “I wanted it last year and the year before, so I knew I had to work hard to get it.”
Groenendijk was a team MVP in volleyball, bowling, track and field and beach volleyball, MVP of the Island volleyball championship for the third year in a row, and a provincial all-star in volleyball and basketball, as well as a provincial all-star in club volleyball and a key member of the DCS badminton team.
“It’s an honour,” she said of the Athlete of the Year award. “I really enjoy sports; they’re a big part of my life, so it means a lot.”
Kapteyn was a provincial all-star in basketball and volleyball, and team MVP and Island championship MVP in volleyball, as well as playing badminton and ball hockey for the Chargers.
“It means I worked hard on my game and it paid off,” he said. “It wasn’t my top goal, but I’ll take it. My top goal is to win championships with the team, not so much single-player awards.”
Mike Brandsma was MVP and most sportsmanlike player for the DCS senior boys basketball team, and MVP at the Island championships, as well as an all-star at the Island volleyball tournament. He also represented the school in ball hockey and beach volleyball.
“It’s a great honour just to know I worked hard enough to be considered,” he said. “Every year I try to achieve an award like this.”
Next year, Mike Brandsma will have to contend with his brother Matt for that honour. This year, however, Matt had to be content with the junior boys award.
Matt Brandsma was the Chargers’ team MVP in beach volleyball, and an Island championship all-star in volleyball, as well as being named the team’s most improved player, as well as a key member of the Chargers’ senior boys basketball, badminton and ball hockey teams.
“It was definitely a goal [to be an Athlete of the Year],” he said. “Last year I missed out. It’s a Grade 9 and 10 award, so this year I’m at the top of the age group.”
Alyward was an outstanding goalkeeper and most sportsmanlike player on the senior girls soccer team, as well as playing for the senior girls basketball and junior girls volleyball teams. Her co-winner, Bakker, was a key player on the senior girls volleyball, basketball and soccer teams.
The Grade 8 Athlete of the Year, Nederlof was Grade 8 MVP on the junior girls basketball team, most improved player on the track and midget girls volleyball teams, and a member of the badminton team.
DCS also handed out the Sportsperson of the Year Award, which is not presented every year, but only when a qualified candidate is nominated.
Emily Harder was a member of the senior girls volleyball team, but has also spent years volunteering countless hours at the basketball score table, including at the B.C. Christian schools junior girls championship that DCS hosted, and at the provincial championships.
It’s all part of a commitment to service for Harder, who is headed to Vancouver Island University next year to start work on a B.A. in sport, health and physical education.
“I was in rec leadership in Grade 8 or 9, and when I wasn’t in the class anymore, I still wanted to help out,” she said. “I really enjoy that sort of thing.”