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Ryerson athletics swept the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) awards ceremony last week, as many of the school’s athletes were awarded some of the highest honours possible.

Ryerson athletes from the men’s and women’s soccer teams, as well as the rowing team, were recognized by the OUA with individual awards and accolades.

The men’s soccer team took home three of the top four awards as well as all-star honours, while two players of the women’s soccer team were named all-stars.

Two rowing team members were named all-stars as the OUA recognized rowers for the first time.

“The OUA awards help market our program to prospective high schools. It sets the message that [the sports programs] are something that’s important to us,” said Ivan Joseph, director of athletics.

“When you’re winning the major awards, it says you’re not just there to have a team, you’re there to compete on a bigger scale and win.”

Alex Braletic, a midfielder who played in his first year with the Rams, won OUA East Most Valuable Player honours. This was the first time the award has gone to a Ryerson player.

Winning the top three out of four awards is an exciting thing for this young team captain, who netted a team-high three goals this season.

“That’s an honour in itself. There’s been a lot of bad press about Ryerson athletics, not just soccer,” said Braletic.

“So the fact that we were able to win those individual awards was just a bonus on top of finishing the season so well.”

For shadow striker Andrea Raso, allstar on the women’s soccer team, the first team all-star award was her third nomination and win over three consecutive years. But she still feels the need to push herself to earn the award.

“If I end up thinking that I’ll just get it, I’m not contributing to the team as much as I should be and that’s not a good way of playing your season. I always try to do more and fight for that position and not expect that I’ll just get the award,” said Raso.

Calaigh Copland, in her rookie year with the Rams, was named a second team all-star. Following Ryerson’s first-ever gold medal in rowing, the OUA named Ryerson rowers Matt Buie and Philippe Roy all-stars.

These awards have led to a strong sense of pride and bright hopes for the future of Ryerson athletics.

“We won three of the major awards in men’s soccer and we were one of the middle row teams,” said Joseph.

“For the women’s soccer team, it’s a great accomplishment to not make the playoffs and still have two people win awards.

“Having rookies win awards bodes well for our future. The OUA awards set a great start to the season and really help to give a kick start to our winter sports.

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