Duncan Christian School 2019-20 senior athletic award winners Kristine Williams, Jaymie Brandsma, Anne Kempe, Morgan Nederlof, Nathan Powell and Andrew Young. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Duncan Christian School hands out hardware

Repeat winner of Senior Girls Athlete of the Year award joined by a grateful first-time recipient

A repeat winner of the Senior Girls Athlete of the Year award was joined by a grateful first-time recipient, and Grade 11 teammates shared the Senior Boys Athlete of the Year honour as Duncan Christian School marked the end of a shortened sports year by handing out athletic awards last week.

Morgan Nederlof was named Senior Girls Athlete of the Year for the second time, sharing it with Kristine Williams, who received her first top-level athletic award in four years of high school.

“Academic awards are not my jam,” Nederlof laughed. “It’s nice to get another chance to win something.”

“It’s very rewarding to get this, finally, even though I didn’t get to play as many sports,” said Williams, who missed out on the track and field season because spring sports were cancelled due to COVID-19.

It wasn’t the first award shared by the two athletes, who were also co-MVPs for the senior girls basketball team, and also played senior girls volleyball together.

For Nederlof, who will head to King’s University in Edmonton next year to study sociology and art, the best part of her last season at DCS was having a leadership role.

“I’ve been on the senior teams since Grade 9,” she noted. “It’s really nice to be one of the Grade 12s on the team after looking up to them for so long. I felt I did a good job as a Grade 12.”

For Williams, who will study criminology at Vancouver Island University, the highlight of the year was the entire basketball season.

“It felt like the team got closer and played well together,” she said.

Senior Boys Athlete of the Year co-winners Nathan Powell and Andrew Young were also co-MVPs on the senior boys soccer team and took home separate MVP honours as well: Powell in senior boys basketball and Young in senior boys volleyball.

“It’s encouraging to see your efforts being recognized,” said Young, whose highlight of the season was “seeing how far all the different sports teams came throughout the season and how much they improved.”

Powell, meanwhile, liked the competitiveness shown by his basketball teammates.

“We had injuries, but we pulled through,” he recalled. “We were surprised with how good we did.”

The senior boys basketball team finished second to Glenlyon Norfolk at the Island championships, and it is Powell’s goal for his Grade 12 year to come back and beat GNS. Young, who will also be in Grade 12 next year, wants to make provincials in both volleyball and soccer.

The junior Girls Athlete of the Year award was shared by Candice Bennett and Julianna Kapteyn, Grade 10 athletes who were key members of the senior girls volleyball team that qualified for provincials, and also played significant roles on the senior girls basketball team for the second year in a row.

The junior Boys Athletes of the Year were Connor Hengstler and Parker Terpstra, who both played important roles on the junior boys volleyball and basketball teams, while also playing for the senior boys soccer team.

The students who shared Sportsperson of the Year for 2019-20 were teammates on the senior girls volleyball team, which won the Island championship and competed at the provincial tournament.

Anne Kempe was the Most Improved Player on the volleyball team, and also became a certified referee, officiating countless matches and tournaments, then served as a minor official for basketball, keeping score for the majority of the 93 basketball games DCS hosted this year. Academic director Tom Veenstra describes her as a “keen servant leader in all areas of the athletic program.”

“I enjoy it,” Kempe said with a shrug.

Jaymie Brandsma was named team MVP as well as MVP of the Island championship before her athletic year came to a halt when she underwent scheduled back surgery in December. That kept her off the court during the basketball season, but didn’t prevent her from contributing. Brandsma helped coach the junior girls basketball team, and was on the bench for nearly every game of the senior season, while also doing some minor officiating.

Brandsma welcomed the acknowledgment that comes with the Sportsperson of the Year award.

“It means that I’m still an athlete, even though I couldn’t be on the team,” she said. “It’s good to know I was appreciated.”

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