Rightly so, the two-time provincial champion Cowichan Secondary senior girls field hockey team sent several players to the podium to receive major awards at the school’s annual athletic banquet last Tuesday.
Sara Goodman beat out a strong field of nominees, including two of her field hockey teammates, to repeat as Senior Female Athlete of the year, while Goodman’s co-captain Ashtom Aumen was named Sportsperson of the Year, and another member of the team, Melanie Robertson, was one of two Junior Female Athletes of the Year.
“Back-to-back championships was amazing,” Goodman said. “The team — I’ve never been part of something so close. We were honestly a family. I’ll miss it so much.”
The other nominees for Senior Female Athlete of the Year included two other field hockey players: Emma Dame and goalie Robin Fleming, as well as Emma Dewit, Brigitte Reid and Desirae Ridenour.
“It’s such an honour [to be named Athlete of the Year] at Cow High,” Goodman said. “There are so many amazing athletes, in so many sports too.”
Goodman was also named MVP of the T-Birds soccer team and shared field hockey MVP honours with Dame. Outside of school, she is part of Field Hockey Canada’s junior development squad, and has already represented the country internationally, which influenced her decision to attend the University of British Columbia next year, where she hopes to play for the varsity Thunderbirds.
“I chose UBC so I can train with the national team [in Vancouver],” Goodman explained. “That’s my goal, to play for Canada at the senior level.”
Goodman was named Junior Female Athlete of the Year in 2015, and the male winner from that year was also recognized again last week as Zach Waddington was named 2017 Senior Male Athlete of the Year, topping a group of nominees that included his basketball teammates Matthew Miller and Eston Unrau, and rugby standouts Haele Ferguson and John-Henry Morten.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be nominated and selected among all the great athletes in the school,” Waddington said. “Haele, Johnny, all those guys are great athletes.”
In addition to being one of the top players on the Cow High basketball team, Waddington played volleyball for the T-Birds, and plays Premier League baseball outside the school for the senior Parksville Royals. Baseball is Waddington’s main focus, and he is aiming to play post-secondary ball in the U.S.
“Hopefully next year I’ll sign with a collegiate team,” he said. “That’s always been one of my biggest goals.”
The support Cow High athletes get from the school is what Waddington will cherish as he moves along to other pursuits.
“The fan base — no matter what sport you go to, it’s unreal,” he said. “The support from this school is something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”
Sportsperson of the Year Aumen played field hockey and soccer for Cow High this year, but also served as president of the Athletic Council, where she was involved in “just doing the little things” like scorekeeping and helping plan the awards banquet. She didn’t play basketball this year, as she has in the past, but did help coach the junior girls team.
“I love to do all the things I do for the school,” Aumen said.
Aumen does it all to show her appreciation for the teachers that run the sports programs.
“I feel they give us so much, it’s nice to help them when they need it,” she related. “It’s good to give back. And it’s fun; I like it. It’s part of my thing.”
Aumen is going to UVic in the fall, where she will try out for the Vikes field hockey team. She will also play for B.C. at the national championships this summer. Her teammates are what she will remember best from her time at Cowichan Secondary — “everyone that helped me get through my Cow High years and made it really amazing,”
Ridenour won gold in the 1500m and 3000m at the track and field provincials for the second year in a row and led Cow High’s cross-country team, in addition to being an international competitor and Canadian junior national champion in triathlon. All while having enough academic success to be named the G.D. Corsan Scholar Athlete of the Year.
“I think I knew I’d be nominated, but I wasn’t sure if I’d win or not,” Ridenour said. “I knew there’d be a chance.”
Fresh off her track and field wins, Ridenour is just getting into the summer triathlon season, which includes a trip to Ottawa for the national championships this month. She will head to UVic next year, to compete in cross-country and possibly track and field. Her best memories from Cow High will include “the people.”
“They really encourage you to follow your dreams and aspirations,” she explained.
Joining Robertson — who played rugby in addition to field hockey — as Junior Female Athlete of the Year was Jazmine Charles, who was rookie of the year for senior girls basketball, MVP for junior girls volleyball and the top Grade 10 girl for track and field, while also playing senior girls volleyball.
The Junior Male Athlete of the Year was climber Aidan Doyle, who won the national junior championship this year and was a contender at the national senior championship.