Kodiaks athletes excel academically
Nine Lethbridge College Kodiaks athletes mastered the balancing act of scoresheets and school books this past year and were named Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Academic All-Canadians. The award is the most prestigious student-athlete honour in the conference and the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) saw 41 athletes recognized, with the Kodiaks leading the pack.
“Having our student-athletes recognized not only for their agility and athletic prowess but their dedication to their studies shows that Lethbridge College is producing well-rounded and industry-ready students,” says Samantha Lenci, Lethbridge College Provost and Vice President Academic.
“The Kodiaks operate on three core-concept pillars, of academic accountability, athletic excellence and student-athlete experience,” says Todd Caughlin, manager of Athletics, Residence and Recreation Services. “There is a reason student comes before athlete when we refer to student-athletes.”
The 2017-18 CCAA Academic All-Canadian award recipients are: Keanu Funa, basketball; Michael Clemons, basketball; Amy Arbon, basketball; Sophia Nowicki, cross country; Emily Spencer, cross country; Braydon Jetten, soccer; Kohl Wandyka, soccer; Kristine Ward, volleyball; and Matthew Primrose, volleyball, who says this will likely be the most notable award he will receive during his time at the college.
Additionally, 40 athletes from Lethbridge College received recognition from the ACAC for participating in collegiate athletics and maintaining a 3.3 GPA in the 2017-2018 academic year. “It is our job as a learning establishment to set young people up for the rest of their lives, not just countdown their five years of athletic eligibility and send them out with no industry skills,” said Lenci. “It’s not enough to slap a Kodiak on their shirt and tell them they’re an athlete. We also need to put a pen in their hands and tell them they’re extraordinary.”
Ward, Whitehead named top student-athletes
A pair of volleyball veterans soared above the crowd to earn top student-athlete honours for the Lethbridge College Kodiaks. Kristine Ward won female honours for the 2017-18 season, while Dax Whitehead earned the nod on the men’s side at the KODI Awards in April. Whitehead and Ward each earned the Tim Tollestrup Leadership/Athlete of the Year award. Named after long-time Lethbridge College athletic director Tim Tollestrup, the awards honour the student-athletes who best combine the three pillars of Kodiaks athletics: academic accountability, athletic excellence and the student-athlete experience.
The KODIs celebrated all aspects of another very successful Kodiaks season, which saw the program earn 34 conference or national athletic and academic honours. Other major KODI awards included:
- Outstanding team – Men’s volleyball
- Coach of the year – Greg Gibos (men’s volleyball)
- Best championships performance – Women’s futsal silver medal at ACAC championships
- Best upset - Men’s basketball beating undefeated and nationally top-ranked SAIT on the Trojans’ home court
- Best comeback – Men’s volleyball rallying from down 0-2 to beat King’s University in the ACAC quarterfinals
Kodiaks Association supports student-athletes with $50,000
The Kodiaks Association has long been Lethbridge College Kodiaks Athletics’ largest fan club, but the group’s cheering has often been done silently. Now the association is making more noise with a $50,000 multifaceted gift to support student-athletes.
“The Kodiaks Association has been involved every year but haven’t really been properly noticed, acknowledged or recognized for the work they do,” says Todd Caughlin, manager of Athletics, Residence and Recreation Services. “To take this step, which is so student-athlete focused, you really couldn’t ask for a better show of support. The student-athletes are the ones who will benefit from this the most, which is crucial for us to get better as an entire department.”
The largest portion of the gift is the purchase of new athletic therapy equipment that will benefit all Kodiaks student-athletes. This includes a therapy tub, two Game Ready therapy systems that help with injury rehabilitation and a variety of smaller pieces of equipment. Combined with the installation of a full-time athletic therapist beginning in the 2018-19 season, Lethbridge College can now offer a therapy program that Caughlin believes is as good as any institution in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC).