Franco Kouagnia and Sidney Roy were recognized at this years male and female athlete of the year at the Timberwolves annual athletic banquet on Friday evening. The two graduating players helped make UNBC history in one way or another.
The UNBC Timberwolves presented their year end awards on Friday night at the Hart Crown Banquet Hall. Four student-athletes were recognized for their athletic achievements within the department, with additional awards for athletic achievement within each team.
The rookie of the year award is presented annually to the female and male athlete who stands above in their athletic achievements over the past year, they must also be in their first year of eligibility.
This year’s female rookie of the year was awarded to women’s basketball player Vasiliki Louka. Louka came to the Timberwolves from Athens, Greece and made the most of her debut year. The 6-foot-1 forward averaged 11.4 points per game and ranked fifth in Canada West with 8.4 rebounds per game. She also proved to be quite valuable to the T’wolves, starting 19 of 20 games and averaging 30 plus minutes per game.
Francesco Bartolillo was named male rookie of the year after his stand-out performance for the Timberwolves men’s soccer team. Bartolillo came to UNBC as a player who had excelled in the Alberta Provincial Team Program and as part of the Prairies National Training Centre for the Canadian Soccer Association. The Calgary native is respected for his technique and ability to manipulate the ball in the midfield. Bartolillo’s season was highlighted by a free kick which gave his team a 1-0 victory over Trinity Western in the men’s first six-point weekend.
Both the male and female athlete of the year awards are geared towards recognizing a student-athlete who was gone above and beyond to succeed in their sport, and typically receives Canada West or CIS recognition for their performance. This year the UNBC female athlete of the year was awarded to women’s soccer player Sidney Roy (Burnaby) whose ability to score has placed her among the best in Canada West and the history of the UNBC program. Roy, who was named rookie of the year in 2013, set a new women’s soccer and university record for goals in a season when she scored her second of the game against Thompson Rivers University in October. Her six-goal performance ranked her sixth in Canada West for goals in a season, and seventh in Canada West in goals per game. Roy is also the all-time goal scorer for the Timberwolves women’s soccer program with 13 goals in just three seasons.
Male athlete of the year was awarded to UNBC’s first ever Canada West all-star. Franco Kouagnia (Yaounde, Cameroon) was named a Canada West Second Team All-Star after he helped lead the Timberwolves to a 12-8 regular season record, good for second place in the Explorer division (fifth place in Canada West), and UNBC’s first playoff appearance since joining Canada West in 2012. Kouagnia was a dominating force in the paint for the Twolves, averaging 16.4 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game. Kouagnia was regarded as one of the best in the conference.
In addition to the awards given out, the Timberwolves also recognized assistant coach for the men’s soccer program Sonny Pawar. Pawar has been a part of the men’s soccer program since its debut in the college league. After six years at the helm of the T’wolves, Pawar agreed to stay on as an assistant to help with the transition to Canada West. For his nine years of dedication to help build and grow the Timberwolves men’s soccer program, Pawar was presented with a jersey signed by alumni of the program and current players.
The next event for the Timberwolves will be their annual golf tournament geared at raising funds to help UNBC student-athletes reach their academic and athletic goals. The tournament will take place on Wednesday, May 27. More information can be found at unbc.ca/timberwolves.