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North Okanagan curler claims athlete of the year award

Sport BC awards wheelchair curler Ina Forrest of Spallumcheen
Spallumcheen’s Ina Forrest helped Team Canada’s wheelchair curling team win bronze at the Beijing Paralympics in 2022. (Angela Burger Photo)

Spallumcheen’s own Ina Forrest has topped the list as one of the best athletes in all of B.C.

The wheelchair curler has been named in Sport BC’s 55th annual Athlete of the Year Awards, under the athlete with a disability category.

Elsewhere in the Okanagan, the high school male athlete of the year award is going to Kelowna volleyball star Walker Sodaro.

Each are one of five awarded in their category, who will be celebrated at a ceremony March 9 in Vancouver.

Each finalist was nominated by their provincial or multi-sport organization, high school, college, or university. The selection committee, led by long-serving Chair Bernie Pascall, included a diverse group of highly experienced British Columbia sport leaders and media members.

An additional six awards will be presented at the ceremony including the Best of BC, KidSport BC Community Champion, Harry Jerome Comeback, Daryl Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award and In Her Footsteps Honourees.

“The Athlete of the Year Awards is a true celebration of sport in our province. The finalists listed below will be honoured at the event and represent exceptional efforts and accomplishments in 2021 and 2022. We congratulate our finalists and the organizations they represent,” said Sport BC president and CEO Rob Newman. “The finalists represent 29 sports from communities all throughout BC demonstrating the collective strength of our province’s sport sector.”

Athlete with a Disability

Kady Dandeneau - Wheelchair Basketball

Ina Forrest - Curling

Mollie Jepsen - Para Alpine

Mel Pemble - Cycling

Tyler Turner - Wheelchair Snowboard

College Athlete of the Year

Cameron Gay (Vancouver Island University) – Basketball

Yevgeniya (Jane) Lytvynenko (Vancouver Island University) – Volleyball

Vitor Pereira (Camosun College) – Volleyball

Thomas Venos (University of Alabama) – Wheelchair Tennis

Clair Ye (Capilano College) - Soccer

Female Coach of the Year

Malindi Elmore - Athletics

Barb Fraser – Gymnastics

Jane Gumley – Rowing

Bev Priestman – Soccer

Brit Townsend - Athletics

Male Coach of the Year

Trevor Hirschfield – Wheelchair Rugby

Chris MacDonald - Golf

Tommy McLeod – Diving

Laurier Primeau – Athletics

Mostafa Sabeti - Wushu

High School Female Athlete of the Year

Lauren Clements (Terry Fox) – Basketball

Maella Hodgson (Elgin Park) – Athletics

Rupinder Johal (Robert Bateman) – Wrestling

Marina Rodocaj (R.A. McMath) – Volleyball

Rory Rothnie (Claremont) – Lacrosse

High School Male Athlete of the Year

Laon Kim (Gleneagle) – Swimming

Walker Sodaro (Kelowna) – Volleyball

Logan Thiessen (Robert Bateman) – Football

Aidan Turner (South Delta) – Athletics

Jimmy Zaborniak (Burnaby South) - Basketball

Junior Female Athlete of the Year

Renee Batalla – Diving

Oonah Gamboa, Karate

Gracey Hemstreet, Cycling

Lauren Kim, Golf

Alice Zhang, Ultimate

Junior Male Athlete of the Year

Praise Aniamaka – Athletics

Connor Bedard – Ice Hockey

Jackson Gladstone, Cycling

Cooper Humphreys, Golf

Nikola Petrovic – Judo

Senior Female Athlete of the Year

Julia Grosso – Soccer

Camryn Rogers – Athletics

Marielle Thompson – Alpine

Avalon Wasteneys – Rowing

Micah Zandee-Hart – Ice Hockey

Senior Male Athlete of the Year

Jack Crawford – Alpine

Amar Dhesi – Wrestling

Evan Dunfee – Athletics

Brent Hayden – Swimming

Derek Mayson – Softball

University Athlete of the Year

Aaron Ahl (Simon Fraser University) Athletics

Alison Andrews-Paul (Simon Fraser University) Athletics

Derek Epp (Trinity Western University) Volleyball

Kent Johnson (University of Michigan) Ice Hockey

Anna Mollenhauer – (University of Victoria) Field Hockey

Team of the Year

BC Rugby 7s – Women’s Canada Summer Games Team

Langley Rams Football Team

Trinity Western Women’s Volleyball Team

UBC Women’s Golf Team

UVIC Women’s Field Hockey Team

Master Athlete of the Year

Christa Bortignon – Athletics

Uli Mayer – Cycling

Lloyd Polack – Archery

Shelly Stouffer – Golf

Derek Tripp - Triathlon

Official of the Year

Anne Bees – Tennis

Gordon Bennett – Gymnastics

Kevin Bowie – Wheelchair Rugby

Michael Campbell – Ice Hockey

Janice Hunter – Figure Skating

READ MORE: Bronze finish for North Okanagan’s wheelchair curling Paralympian

READ MORE: TRU Wolfpack snare ‘blue chip’ recruit Sodaro of Kelowna Owls


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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