Baker, Guthrie named athletes of the year

Matt Gutsch

Jordan Baker, of Golden Bears basketball, was named the winner of the Wilson Challenge Trophy as the University of Alberta’s 2013-14 Male Athlete of the Year, and Pandas rugby star Chelsea Guthrie won the Bakewell Trophy as the U of A’s Female Athlete of the Year for the 2013-14 season. The honours were bestowed at the annual Green and Gold Athletic Awards held April 10 at the Shaw Conference Centre.

Other Green and Gold winners included Mariah Walsh (Pandas volleyball) as the Female Rookie of the Year, and Nick Kostiuk (Golden Bears swimming) as the Male Rookie of the Year. Garry Coderre (Pandas curling) and Mike Noble (Pandas volleyball) were winners of the R.G. Glassford Award in coaching, and Matt McCreary (Golden Bears volleyball), Jarron Mueller (Golden Bears volleyball), Sean Ringrose (Golden Bears hockey), Scott Stewart (Golden Bears swimming) and Courtney Wilkes (Pandas track and field) were each presented with a Block A ring.

The Wilson Challenge Trophy, which has been awarded to the top male student-athlete at the U of A since 1934-35, went to fifth-year Golden Bears basketball star Baker. While working towards a master’s degree, the Edmonton-born Baker had a spectacular campaign in 2013-14, leading the Golden Bears to the Canada West championship as well as a CIS bronze medal. He led Alberta in points and rebounds, and was named the Canada West MVP, a CIS First Team All-Canadian and a CIS national championship tournament all-star. He also broke the Golden Bears basketball all-time conference scoring record this past season—one of 10 team records he holds—and finished third in Canada West rebounds and sixth in scoring.

He is the 14th member of the Golden Bears basketball program to win the trophy, but the first since Stephen Parker won in 2002.

Since its inception in 1948, the Bakewell Trophy has been awarded to the top female student-athlete who exhibits athletic prowess, leadership, character and academic ability at the University of Alberta. Guthrie, who is from Edmonton, took home the award for her great 2013-14 season, which included leading the Pandas to their second consecutive Canada West championship, as well as the CIS championship trophy. Alberta was dominant this season, winning all seven regular season or playoff games they played, and Guthrie was at the forefront of that dominance. She was named a Canada West All-Star this season, as well as a CIS All-Canadian and a CIS championship tournament all-star and MVP. The fourth-year physical education and recreation student scored the second-most tries in Canada West this season, and also helped Team Canada to a bronze medal at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Russia, where she was Canada’s leading scorer.

She is just the third member of Pandas rugby to win the Bakewell Trophy, following Maria Gallo (2003) and Heather Denkhaus (2001).

Mariah Walsh, setter for the Pandas volleyball team, was selected as the Outstanding Female Rookie of the Year. Originally from Calgary, the arts student was named to the Canada West All-Rookie team this year, despite missing half of the season with an injury sustained before the regular season began. When she returned to the Pandas lineup, she recorded 9.72 assists per set and helped the Pandas to the Canada West playoffs.

The Outstanding Male Rookie of the Year award went to Golden Bears swimmer Nick Kostiuk. A former member of the Edmonton Keyano swim club, Kostiuk swam to a CIS silver medal in the 100-metre breaststroke and a bronze in the 400-metre medley relay. He also picked up two gold medals at the Canada West championship meet, as well as one silver and one bronze. He also broke four individual U of A Golden Bears swimming records this year and helped the 400-metre medley relay team break the U of A record as well.

Matt McCreary, Jarron Mueller, Sean Ringrose, Scott Stewart and Courtney Wilkes all received a Block A ring for demonstrating an exceptional contribution to interuniversity sport in the areas of athletics, academics, community support and leadership. Block A recipients must have completed a minimum of four years at the U of A and have also previously received their Block A sweater.

The R.G. Glassford Award went to a pair of longtime assistant coaches in Garry Coderre of Pandas curling and Mike Noble of Pandas volleyball. The award is given annually to a coach who has demonstrated long-standing coaching excellence in teaching ability, knowledge of sport, and the ability to motivate athletes. The award, named after Gerry Glassford, former dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, is presented to an assistant coach of a Golden Bears or Pandas team or to a coach outside the U of A system who has contributed significantly to the university’s programs.

Coderre has been coaching with the U of A curling program for the past eight years, particularly with the Pandas. In that time, he has coached the Pandas to two CIS/CCA silver medals in 2013 and 2014, as well as a CIS/CCA Western Canadian championship in 2013. He served as Canada’s coach at the 2014 World Junior Championship in Switzerland, which Canada won for the first time in 11 years, and he coached teams to gold medals at the Alberta and Canadian junior championships. He also guided the Canadian women’s team at the 2013 Winter Universiade.

Noble has been the Pandas volleyball video and statistics coach since 1999. His dedication and technological expertise has provided the Pandas volleyball program with a significant advantage, as his video work is used to break down the play of the Pandas—as well as that of their opponents—during games, practices and out-of-town competitions. Since 1999, the Pandas have won two national championships and six Canada West championships.