On Friday evening, Ryerson athletes and coaches traded in their jerseys and whistles for button-up shirts and colourful dresses for Ryerson’s 65th Annual Athletic Awards ceremony. Over 50 awards were given out at the celebration, held at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Early on in the ceremony, Parvinder Sachdeva won the Claude Lajeunesse Award, given for achieving a level of academic success along with sportsmanship and leadership. He delivered the Athlete’s Address and highlighted the close-knit feeling that exists among the players.
“To me and to a lot of other athletes in this room, being a Ryerson Ram means a lot more than just going out there and playing the sport we love — it means being part of a family that truly cares about each other, that helps each other overcome their fears and that gives us the confidence to achieve great things,” he said.
Top honours of the night were given out to Aaron Best, Juwon Ogunnaike-Grannum, Cassandra Nofuente and Joanna Kolbe.
Best was named The Ryersonian Male Athlete of the Year. Best averaged 15.3 points per game, and seven rebounds during the season. He was named an OUA East first-team all-star.
Last year Best took home The Eyeopener Male Rookie of the Year. This year that title was passed on to his teammate, Ogunnaike-Grannum.
Ogunnaike-Grannum averaged 5.5 points per game and four rebounds per game. He played in all 20 conference games, starting in eight of them. Ogunnaike-Grannum was named on the OUA East division all-rookie team.
Patrick Tatham, an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team, said it felt good knowing two of their players won some of the biggest awards of the night.
“Juwon is a very good upcoming leader, we are very happy to have him. And his three-point shooting is going to make him very effective in the league,” Tatham said. “Aaron is a very good talent that is going to probably help carry the team as long as he is at Ryerson.”
Roy Rana, the head coach of the men’s basketball team, said it’s always nice to see players recognized, but it is a reflection of a collective effort.
“I take a lot of pride in the whole team, not just one or two players,” said Rana.
Best and Ogunnaike-Grannum weren’t the only basketball players to receive prestigious awards that night. On their sister team, Cassandra Nofuente won the Ryerson Student Union Female Rookie of the Year.
Nofuente was on the court in all 20 games in her first season. She was named the OUA East division Rookie of the Year, a second-team all-star, and was placed on the OUA all-rookie team.
She led in time on the hardwood with an average of 30.1 minutes per game. She finished second on the team, scoring an average of 12.6 points per game.
Nofuente said that for her this basketball season involved a transition period where she had to adjust to university, but the coaching staff and her team helped her with that. She said the competition increases at this level, and the practices become more intense. The team practised four times a week and had games on Friday and Saturday, so during the season they normally only had one day off.
The final award of the night was the H.H. Kerr Female Athlete of the Year, which was given to Joanna Kolbe.
Kolbe won three gold medals in the individual épée competition at the OUA women’s fencing championship, and was an OUA all-star for the third consecutive year.
But the night was not just about the awards, it was about celebrating what athletics means to the Ryerson community and the people involved.
Sachdeva said it best in his address. “We know that we don’t need to be related to each other by blood to call ourselves a family. We are all family. We are the Ramily.”