Kelsey’s athletic award winners, from left: Junior Athletes of the Year Mackenna Henderson and Simon Stacey, Service to Athletics winner Ashley Grant, Service to Athletics winner and Senior Athlete of the Year Hannah Craig, Senior Athlete of the Year Anna Slang, and Sportspeople of the Year Helen Brancato and Jeremy Stacey. (Submitted)

Kelsey’s athletic award winners, from left: Junior Athletes of the Year Mackenna Henderson and Simon Stacey, Service to Athletics winner Ashley Grant, Service to Athletics winner and Senior Athlete of the Year Hannah Craig, Senior Athlete of the Year Anna Slang, and Sportspeople of the Year Helen Brancato and Jeremy Stacey. (Submitted)

Kelsey honours top sports figures with athletic awards

Craig and Slang share Senior Athlete of the Year award

Two gifted athletes who will play post-secondary sports in the fall were honoured as Frances Kelsey Secondary’s Senior Athletes of the Year.

Anna Slang, who will head to Stony Brook University in New York to play soccer next season, and Hannah Craig, who plans to continue her field hockey career at the University of Victoria, were picked as Kelsey’s top senior athletes for the 2016-17 season.

Both athletes were also among the school’s first to compete in two provincial tournaments in the same school year, reaching the B.C. championships with both the field hockey and senior girls soccer teams.

Slang, who also played basketball for Kelsey, captained the soccer team and also played this year for the Premier League’s Vancouver Island Wave, her fifth season at the high-performance level.

“She’s a super kid, a good leader, very coachable,” Kelsey P.E. teacher and soccer coach Brian Johnston commented.

Craig co-captained the field hockey team that finished an impressive sixth at the provincial tournament in the fall, but Johnston was just as impressed with her play for the soccer team, which placed 13th at the B.C. AA championships last month.

“She was a huge contributing factor in her second sport, which is soccer,” the coach said.

Craig was also presented with the Service to Athletics Award, which she shared with Ashley Grant. Both girls were vital behind the scenes, helping run intramurals, arranging scorekeeping for interschool basketball and volleball games, and lining the field for soccer and rugby, among other contributions. About 15 or more students are involved in helping out, but Craig and Grant lead the way.

“They were definitely the kids at the forefront of that,” Johnston said.

Helen Brancato, the other field hockey co-captain and a strong contender for Athlete of the Year, shared the Sportsperson of the Year award with Jeremy Stacey.

Brancato also captained the senior girls basketball team and was a key member of the girls rugby squad.

“She’s a quiet leader on all those teams,” Johnston said. “And more than that, she is willing to help out the coaches.”

Stacey served as captain of the senior boys soccer team and shares Brancato’s quiet leadership qualities, Johnston said. He also helped out behind the scenes as a coach and referee.

The Junior Athlete of the Year award was shared by Mackenna Henderson and Jeremy Stacey.

A “tall, strong, athletic girl,” in Johnston’s words, Henderson was MVP of the junior girls volleyball team, while also playing rugby and soccer. Outside of school, she plays soccer for the Vancouver Island Wave in the U16 Premier League.

Jeremy Stacey played just one sport at Kelsey, but excelled at it, suiting up for the soccer teamwhile also playing U21 soccer in Victoria.

“He’s a very talented attacking player,” Johnston said. “Very skillful, a natural athlete.”

Unfortunately for the school, this appears to be the end of his time at Kelsey. Stacey was recently invited to join the Montreal Impact’s residency program, although the Vancouver Whitecaps have first right-of-refusal over him as a B.C. player. Regardless of which program he ends up with, Stacey will have to relocate. Johnston, who has coached soccer at a range of levels for nearly four decades, has high praise for Stacey.

“Of all the soccer players I’ve coached, he’s one of the top, if not the top player,” the coach said.