RYERSON TOP 10 ATHLETES 2004

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10: Igor Bakovic Men’s Basketball
Position: Centre Age: 19 Height: 6-foot-11 Program: Business Management, 2nd year Birthplace: Sarajevo, Yugoslavia Home town:Toronto

Athletic achievements: – Leads team in blocks, field goal percentage, rebounding (6.5 per game) and is second in scoring (11 points/game) – 3rd in the OUA in blocks as a rookie – All-star at Eric Garland Tournament in New Brunswick – Won Toronto championship gold with North Toronto Huskies (2003)

Igor on Igor: “I really wasn’t much of a tough player before I came here.I had to adjust to playing inside.I’m playing a lot tougher now, trying to play more physical and demand a presence by using my strength.I’m expected to have big games almost every night now, and I try to do everything I can do to make the team better.”

Why he’s top 10: While he still has a lot of developing to do, Bakovic is no longer a raw rookie and has already put together some strong performances this season.The OUAs tallest player is the man head coach Patrick Williams is building his program around.Bakovic is a force defensively and on the glass every night.

Bottom line: Bakovic has an incredible upside. Players of his size and fluidity don’t appear on the Canadian basketball scene very often.If he continues to improve, Ryerson’s stay in the OUA’s cellar may be short-lived.

9: Radu Melnic Men’s Soccer
Position: Striker Age: 21 Height: 6-foot-0 Program: Information Technology, 3rd year Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania Home town:North York, ON

Athletic achievements: – Led Ryerson in goal scoring with seven goals (most ever for a Ram), – finished 2nd in scoring in the OUA (11th in the CIS) – OUA second-team all-star – Won three consecutive NYSSAA Jr. championships in high school

Radu on Radu: “To be considered as a true leader you must lead by example and work hard every time, something I have had trouble doing this year at times.”

Why he’s top 10: Not one to toot his own horn, Radu lists his personal athletic accomplishments as “nothing big worth noting.” We disagree. Recruited from a recreational soccer league last summer, Radu netted seven goals in his first five games to lead the country in goals before suffering an ankle injury which may have been the difference between the Rams making the playoffs or not. It should be noted, however, that Radu finished with as many goals as the rest of his entire team.

Bottom line: In a school starved for superstars, Radu generated more interest in Ryerson soccer than ever before. He took a lot of heat for the team’s collapse down the stretch, but Radu wasn’t the only one not scoring. He should be a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year.

8: James Byck Men’s Hockey
Position: Defence Age: 25 Height: 6-foot-0 Program: Architectural Science, 4th Year Birthplace: Sudbury, ON Home town: Sudbury, ON

Athletic achievements: – Ryerson team captain the past two seasons – Nominated for Greatest Contribution to Ryerson Athletics (2004) – Member of President’s Advisory Council on Sports and Recreation – Helped train and coach athletes for the Special Olympics (1999-2001)

James on James: “I try to lead by example. If the team is able to see my dedication and work ethic, I want it to challenge others to do the same.”

Why he’s top 10: As a defensive defender on a struggling Rams team, James’s numbers won’t blow anyone away, but he is as dedicated and hardworking as any Ryerson athlete. Byck is a tireless campaigner for Ryerson athletics and is a consummate good guy as evidenced by his work with the Special Olympics and other worthy causes.

Bottom line: James personifies the hardworking Canadian hockey player, with his hard-nosed, never-say-die approach to the game. Byck never misses practice, plays when he’s hurt and is on the ice for the big plays in every game. His team may not win, but he is a winner in our books.

7: Tamara Alleyne-Gittens Women’s Basketball
Position: Forward Age: 23 Height: 5-foot-11 Program: Public Admin, 1st year Birthplace: Montreal Home town: Montreal

Athletic achievements: – 16th in the OUA scoring race, 7th in rebounds -Leads team in scoring, rebounds, steals and blocks -Nominated for the Greatest Contribution to Ryerson Athletics (2004) – OUA second-team all-star (2002)

Tamara on Tamara: “My team respects me. I lead by example, and my teammates often look to me for ways they can improve their skills.”

Why she’s top 10: After four years with the Rams, Tamara has proven time and again that she is one of the hardest working and dedicated athletes at Ryerson.

Bottom line: Now in her final year of eligibility, Tamara isn’t letting up in her quest for the Rams to get back to the playoffs. A Greatest Contribution to Athletics award is in the future.

6: Anjela Wilson Women’s Volleyball
Position: Libero Age: 21 Height: 5-foot-7 Program: Journalism, 3rd year Birthplace: Calgary, AB Home town: Odessa, ON

Athletic achievements: – Currently 13th in the CIS in total digs – 2004 Ryerson Female Athlete of the Year – 1st in the CIS in digs/game (2004) – Team MVP (2003, 2004) – High school athlete of the year (2001)

Anjela on Anjela: “I’m a team leader because I always try to set a good example for others by working hard, bringing intensity and supporting my teammates.”

Why she’s top 10: Even playing libero-a defensive position where you’re not always on the court-Anjela is a star on this team. She won the Ryerson Female Athlete of the Year award as a 20 year old last season and still has three remaining years of eligibility. Her team would be on the wrong end of a lot of short sets without her ability to make key digs on opposition smashes.

Bottom line: One of the top players in the CIS at her position, Anjela will be a huge part of any success her team has this season. We might take some heat for putting last year’s Female Athlete of the year behind less-acclaimed team mate Erin Gallagher, but a slot at spot No. 6 is by no means a sleight amongst this talented bunch.

5: Erin Gallagher Women’s Volleyball
Position: Left-side Age: 21 Height: 5-foot-7 Program: Radio and Television Arts, 3rd year Birthplace: Toronto Home town: Toronto

Athletic achievements: – Nominated for Ryerson Female Athlete of the Year (2003, 2004) – OUA all-star (2003, 2004) – Cycled from Vancouver to Toronto – Captain of prov. champion Gaelic Football club

Erin on Erin: “As team captain, I lead with enthusiasm. I am able to push not only myself but my team to perform their best.”

Why she’s top 10: That Erin was nominated for Female Athlete of the Year as a rookie tells you all you need to know about her talents. An excellent example of an all-around athlete, she excels at every sport she plays: fastball, basketball, track and field, Gaelic football, snowboarding and cycling.

Bottom line: Being a 5-foot-7 female volleyball player is not unusual, but being that size and playing a front of the net position is remarkable. An amazing athlete, there’s no question that Erin will at some point take home the Athlete of the Year award that has eluded her so far.

4: Lukas Porosa Men’s Volleyball
Position: Libero/setter Age: 22 Height: 5-foot-11 Program: Chemistry and Biology, 4th year Birthplace: Poznan, Poland Home town:Scarborough, ON

Athletic achievements: – Currently 4th in the CIS in total digs – OUA second-team all-star (2003) – Nominated for Ryerson Athlete of the Year (2003) – OUA East Rookie of the Year (2002) – Under-20 National beach champion (2002) – Beach gold medalist in the youth Olympics (2000)

Lukas on Lukas: “Having been around volleyball all my life, I have an extra sense for the game.”

Why he’s top 10: It can’t be easy being the coach’s son, but you wouldn’t know it talking to Porosa. Coming off a serious thumb surgery which caused him to miss all of last year, Lukas has excelled in a new position.

Bottom line: Lukas is the quintessential technical volleyball player. Even at 5-foot-11 in a big man’s game, he can fill any role on the team.

3: Anton Hauser Men’s Volleyball
Position: Left-side Age: 28 Height: 6-foot-2 Program: Arts and Contemporary Studies, 1st year Birthplace: Toronto Home town:Toronto

Athletic achievements: – Won bronze at the 2004 National Beach Volleyball championships – Won silver at the 2004 National Indoor Volleyball championships – Ryerson Male Athlete of the Year nominee (2002, 2003) – 2nd in CIS in kills, 6th in points/game (2003) – OUA leader in kills/game (2002)

Anton on Anton: “Being 28 years old, I have a lot of experience to offer. Off the court I am a person who is easily approachable, eager to listen and foremost I am a team player.”

Why he’s top 10: On the beach, Hauser is an Olympic-calibre talent. On the court, he just plain scares the opposition. Despite the ribbing he takes from teammates for being an old man, Hauser’s experience and dedication to the game are unparalleled. Bottom line: Anyone and everyone in volleyball know the name Anton Hauser. An iconic figure of Ryerson sports, the only thing Hauser needs to cement his stock as one of the all-time greats is a championship banner.

2: Ryan Vandenburg Men’s Volleyball
Position: Right-side Age: 21 Height: 6-foot-10 Program: Urban & Regional Planning, 3rd year Birthplace: Cambridge, ON Home town: Wooler, ON

Athletic achievements: – Currently leads CIS in points, kills, kills/game, and is 3rd in aces – 2004 Ryerson Male Athlete of the Year – OUA first-team all-star (2004) – Led country in kills/game (2004) – OUA all-rookie team (2003)

Snake on Snake: “I try to be a team leader. I try to lead by example on the court by playing to the best of my abilities in both practice and games, helping people with their game if I can.”

Why he’s top 10: Vandenburg’s numbers tell you all you need to know. He’s the top volleyball player in Canada right now; he could have an achievements list three pages long.

Bottom line: Snake is downright dominant on the court. Very few players in the CIS can match his blend of size, power and agility. Ryerson is damn lucky to have him.

1: Joycelyn Ko Badminton
Age: 18 Height: 5-foot-5 Program: Interior Design, 1st year Birthplace: Scarborough Home town: Scarborough

Athletic achievements: – Represented Canada at 2004 World Jr. Championships – Current Under-19 National champion – 2004 OUA Rookie of the Year – Named to the OUA all-star team – Undefeated in singles play this year with Ryerson – 2004 James Worrall Award for excellence in sport – Won bronze (singles) and silver (doubles) at the Jr. Pan-American Games in the Under-19 category at the age of 16 – Under-16 National champion (singles and doubles) – Has won six provincial titles

Joycelyn on Joycelyn: “What makes me such a strong athlete is my dedication, confidence and my love for the sport. Without those three, I would not be where I am today.”

Why she’s top 10: The top female in the OUA, Joycelyn’s presence on the Ryerson team meant guaranteed wins when she stepped on the court. She’s been considered one of the top female badminton players for almost as long as she’s been able to hold a racket. Bottom line: At just 18 years old, she’s one of the best in the country at her sport. The sky is the limit for this world-class talent.

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