Article content

The University of Windsor Lancers closed the 2023-24 campaign and looked brightly towards 2024-25.

With several teams and athletes recognized over the season at the OUA level and U Sports level, the Lancers celebrated those achievements on Tuesday at the school’s annual Evening of Excellence that drew nearly 600 to the St. Clair Centre for the Arts.

Article content

“It’s always exciting to get student-athletes together,” Lancers’ Athletic Director Stephanie White said. “There’s a ton of energy in the room, excitement and for some it’s bittersweet because it might be their last one, but it’s good to celebrate and reminisce.

Advertisement 2

Article content

“It’s an incredible opportunity to highlight and celebrate what our student athletes and coaches have accomplished over the year. It was a year where we were continuing to try and grow and evolve our programs and get ourselves atop the OUA and top 10 in country. For some it was a grind, but that’s what we do and there were lots of exciting moments.”

The excitement began with the start of the first semester as the football team got off to its best start since 1975 and won its first home playoff game in 48 years before falling in the semis after having the game-tying touchdown late in the game called back on a penalty.

Not surprising, two of the big winners at Tuesday’s awards ceremony came from the football team. Defensive end Kolade Amusan was named the Olympic Shield winner as the school’s outstanding male athlete while head coach Jean-Paul Circelli won the Gino Fracas Award as coach of the year.

“It’s never an easy choice at all (to pick a winner), but what Kolade brings to our program is what made our program so good,” White said. “Maybe even a force and one of the reasons the team had its best season in 48 years.”

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

A Minnesota native, Kolade led the country with 11.5 sacks and was named an OUA first-team all-star and a second-team all-Canadian.

Circelli, who was hired in 2019, guided the Lancers to a 6-2 record and a third-place finish in the OUA as the team hosted a playoff game for the first time since 2014.

“Anytime you’re trying to change a culture inside a program, it’s something done over multiple years,” White said of Circelli. “This is an acknowledgement of the work he and his team have put in. Creating overall pride that people have in the Windsor Lancers football team. We’re excited to honour him for he work he’s put in, how far the program’s come and just the precipice of where J.P. will take it.”

Softball’s Megan Lozinski was named the Banner Shield winner as the outstanding female athlete of the year. A Sandwich high school product, Lozinski was named a first-team all-star for the third time and showed herself to be a threat from the pitching circle as well as with the bat.

“An athlete that’s been with our program quite a while,” White said. “It’ll be weird not to have her on our team next year. She’s a leader and a captain and a person that really helped get our program where it was last year.

Advertisement 4

Article content

“She’s someone who has just imposed her will that she was going to be outstanding every day. This award is a great sendoff.”

The DeMarco Award, which is presented to the school’s top student-athletes, went to volleyball’s Darian Koskie, on the men’s side, and soccer’s Kat Campana, on the women’s side. The Lancers also took time to remember Frank DeMarco, who the award was named after. DeMarco, who was the school’s first athletic director, passed away last year at the age of 102.

“The list of  people we can pick on both the men’s and women’s side is outstanding,” White said. “Darian has a strong GPA, was a second-team all-Canadian and first-team OUA all-star. 

“Kat is a captain and two-time OUA first-team all-star and in nursing. Not an easy program and such a high average in such a challenging program. One of the top defenders in the OUA, she managed to balance academics in a rigorous program on top of being a leader in the room.”

Volleyball’s Quintin Greenidge was named male rookie of the year while basketball’s Leah Tate earned the award on the women’s side.

Weagbe Mombo, who competed for football and track and field, won the male super sophomore award while the female award was shared by Harley Martin, from track and field, and volleyball’s Aliah Admans.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Track and field’s Ema Karlik claimed the captain’s award on the women’s side while the men’s winner was hockey’s Mason Kohn.

The Eddi Chittaro assistant coach of the year was went to Andrea Parr, from women’s soccer, and Andrew Foster, from women’s volleyball.

Diane Rawlings won the Richard Peddie Award for contributions to overall success of Lancer athletics. Erin Zonta claimed the A Award for work supporting Lancer athletics. The women’s hockey team claimed the Moriarty academic team of the year while the football team won the IG Cup for combined academic, athletic and volunteer efforts.

Article content

Source link