There may not have been a formal banquet where the plaques and trophies were presented this year, but that took nothing away from the achievements of winners at the Cowichan Secondary School Athletic Awards.
Field hockey phenom Stefanie Langkammer and basketball star Josh Charles were named Athletes of the Year.
Langkammer, a Grade 12, claimed the honour in a stacked field of her accomplished peers.
"It’s a great honour," she said.
"There are so many awesome nominees up against me."
It was a return to the big stage for Langkammer, who two years ago was named Junior Athlete of the Year.
"That makes winning in Grade 12 so much better," she said. "Winning it two years felt awesome." Langkammer led the Thunderbirds field hockey team to first place at the Bridgman Cup tournament in Victoria at Thanksgiving, something Cowichan hadn’t done for more than a decade, and to a fourth-place result at provincials.
"It was a fun year, and a great group of girls," Langkammer said. "Being captain meant a lot."
In the fall, Langkammer will head to the University of Victoria, where she will try out for the Vikes field hockey team. She has few regrets as she moves on.
"I played field hockey for four years, and each year was so great," she said. "This year topped it off. I’m excited to see what the team does next year."
Charles admitted that he was hoping to be recognized, but thought one of his fellow nominees had the inside track.
"Brock Gowanlock, I thought he was going to get it," Charles said.
Charles led the T-Birds to the provincial tournament, and has cracked the roster for the U17 provincial team that will play throughout the summer.
"I’ll be back here for Grade 12 and see where that takes me," he said. "It looks like we’ll have a strong team next year."
One of Charles’s teammates will be his younger brother, Noah, who was named Junior Male Athlete of the Year. Noah wasn’t available when the award winners met with the media, but Josh was proud to represent the family. An older brother, Jordan, currently plays for UVic.
"It’s pretty good," he said. "It shows that we have a lot of athletes in our family."
The other Junior Athlete of the Year was Sophia Murray, who shone for the school’s field hockey and rugby teams.
"It’s pretty gratifying, knowing that good things come if you work hard, and I definitely worked hard all year. This means a lot to me."
Playing in multiple sports meant there were a lot of high points for Murray. In field hockey, it was winning the Bridgman Cup.
"In rugby, it was the first time stepping on the field with the senior team," she said. "Even the first time on the field at all, I knew I would love it."
Murray wouldn’t mind following in Langkammer’s footsteps by winning the senior award in 2016.
"It would be nice to win again," she said. "That would be cool."
Sarah St. Cyr was named Sportsperson of the Year for her hard work on and off the court. St. Cyr was captain of both the volleyball and basketball teams, but did a lot more, as a member of Leadership and Grad Council.
"It means a lot to be named Sportsperson of the Year," she said. "I’m glad I received it."
The entire volleyball season was the highlight of St. Cyr’s year in athletics.
"The team got along really well," she said. It was a close group. We had a lot of fun."
St. Cyr plans to take courses at VIU next year before plunging into full-time post-secondary.
Combining success in athletics and academics, Michelle Pewarchuk was named the G.D. Corsan Scholar Athlete of the Year.
"I guess all my time and dedication paid off," she said.
With a 94.83 average in school, while also playing field hockey, Pewarchuk, who is bound for UVic, struck a perfect balance between sports and school.
"Take extra time when you need it," she said. "If that means missing a practice once, take it if you need to."
It helps that Cow High coaches are understanding of the situation.
"School always comes first when you’re on a team," she said. "They don’t want you to be behind. Sports comes next."