Surrey-raised volleyball player Kiera Van Ryk is the female winner of the inaugural Lieutenant Governor Athletic Award as U SPORTS Athlete of the Year for the 2018-19 season.
The national award was given to Van Ryk, a standout with UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver, during a ceremony at Calgary’s McDougall Centre on Thursday (May 2).
The male award winner was Mathieu Betts, a football player with Laval University in Quebec City.
In addition to a commemorative gold ring, Van Ryk and Betts were each presented with a sculptured fossil-stone trophy and took home a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship to attend a Canadian university accredited by Universities Canada.
🏐 WVB | Kiera Van Ryk reflects on winning the 2019 Jim Thompson Trophy as @USPORTSca's Female Athlete of the Year, presented at today's Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards presented by Makadiff Sports #LGAthleticsAwards @ubcwvb1 @VBallCanada pic.twitter.com/joYbcIFHvn
— UBC Thunderbirds / @UBCTBirds (@ubctbirds) May 2, 2019
Van Ryk, a second-year outside hitter, was dominant again for UBC this season. The Surrey Christian school grad, a Canadian national team member, topped the Canada West conference in kills with 398, and points with 489, while also ranking eighth in hitting percentage at .263.
“After being named the conference’s top rookie a year ago, Van Ryk was named the CW Player of the Year in 2018-19, before claiming the U SPORTS Player of the Year award, as she guided the T-Birds to the program’s 12th national title,” says a bio posted to Canada West website.
Formerly known as the Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) and Howard Mackie Awards, Thursday’s award event in Calgary, presented by Makadiff Sports, has been “a staple celebration” since 1993, in recognizing Canada’s top athletes competing in university athletics within U SPORTS.
“The winners were selected by a combined vote of the Canadian Athletic Foundation, a not-for-profit board chaired by His Honour Doug Mitchell – BLG national co-chair, philanthropist and UBC Thunderbird football alumnus – and the public on USPORTS.ca,” according to a post at gothunderbirds.ca. “The Canadian Athletic Foundation was established for the purpose of administering the Awards and protecting the integrity of the selection process.”