By Amit Shilton
After being named Ryerson’s male Athlete of the Year for a record-setting fourth consecutive year, Ryan Vandenburg has undoubtedly become Ryerson’s greatest athlete. Vandenburg picked up the award last Wednesday at the Ryerson Interuniversity Sports Awards.
“It’s an accomplishment. Absolutely, it’s something I’m proud of,” Vandenburg said, adding that he felt honoured to join a list of several other great athletes that have graduated from the university.
The volleyball star finished second in the nation in kills and points this year, earning him a nod on the Canadian Interuniversity Sport All-Canadian second team. In his five years at Ryerson, he has been named an All-Canadian three times and an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) all-star four times.
Joycelyn Ko was named Ryerson’s female Athlete of the Year after taking a year off. The badminton star was named an OUA all-star this year after finishing with an 8-2 record. On the national level, Ko won a pair of gold medals while representing Ontario at the Canada Winter Games.
Before the ceremony, award winners and coaches were told they would not be allowed to say a speech due to time restrictions. Vandenburg then sent an e-mail to Ryerson President Sheldon Levy, interim head of athletic Marion Creery and several Ryerson coaches, requesting to speak after receiving his award. Before the event, administration granted him his wish.
“If you win an award, and you want to speak, I think you should be given that opportunity,” Vandenburg said. “People should be publicly acknowledged for what they’ve done.”
Women’s soccer head coach Peyvand Mossavat broke the ice when he was first to mention former athletic director David Dubois and interuniversity sport manager Terry Haggerty in his speech. He told those in attendance that while it’s okay to miss them, everyone must keep moving forward. Vandenburg also thanked the pair, who were notably absent after being fired just over a month ago.
“Those are the things you listen to, I am happy people are supportive, that’s always encouraging,” Haggerty said.
Not being able to attend the banquet, a marker of the end of the athletics season, and not being able to see the student athletes get their recognition was disappointing, Haggerty said. He is now searching the job market, and is trying to stay optimistic that a job will open up.
“There’s nothing really out there at this moment but sometimes jobs start opening up around this time of the year,” Haggerty said. “It’s hard to say, I could be looking for years, who the hell knows.”
Other award winners on the night included Tessa Dimitrakopoulos and Boris Bakovic who won female and male Rookie of the Year honours.