2017 Athlete of the Month Awards

OCTOBER
Shelby Newkirk

Shelby Newkirk of Saskatoon is the recipient of the Sask Sport Inc. October Athlete of the Month Award. She was nominated by Swim Saskatchewan.

At the Para-Swimming Canadian Open Championships in Toronto, Newkirk finished first in the S7 100 metre backstroke and set a world record with a time of 1 minute 21.43 seconds. Newkirk, competing in her first event as part of the national team, earned the top carding level from Sport Canada as a result of this performance. Her performance has also put her in contention for a spot on the 2018 Commonwealth Games Team.

The other outstanding nominee for this month was:

  • Marsha Hudey, White City, Saskatchewan Amateur Speed Skating Association - placed first in the 500m and fourth in the 1,000m at the Fall World Cup Selections Meet. She qualified to compete in the 500m at the Fall ISU World Cup series. She is working toward earning a spot on Canada's long track speed skating team for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.

SEPTEMBER
Brooke Hill

Brooke Hill of Regina is the recipient of the Sask Sport Inc. September Athlete of the Month Award. She was nominated by Golf Saskatchewan.

Hill won a silver medal as an individual and a gold with her team at the Dan Salisbury Memorial, a university golf event in Illinois. She shot the tournament best overall score with an opening round 73 and followed that up with a 78 in the final round. Hill was also part of the 11th place team at the Indy Fall Invitational, a university golf event in Indiana; and she finished eighth on the Saskatchewan Women's Order of Merit Tour this season after playing in just one event.

AUGUST
Brennen Smith

Brennen Smith of Regina is the recipient of the Sask Sport Inc. August Athlete of the Month Award. He was nominated by Triathlon Saskatchewan.

Smith won a gold medal in the under-23 division and finished third in the elite category at the World Aquathlon Championships in Penticton, B.C. Smith, who was 19 years old at the time of his competition, just completed junior racing.

The other outstanding nominees were:

  • Julie Labach, Saskatoon, Athletics - won a gold medal in the 800 metre and silver medal in the 1,500m at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg. Is currently ranked 28th in Canada among women in the 800m and 33rd in the 1,500m.

  • Julee Stewart, Regina, Baton Twirling - at the International Cup in Croatia, she finished fifth in elite artistic twirl, seventh in elite artistic pair (along with her partner Jasmine Runge), and seventh in elite solo. She was also part of the eight-member team "Black Ice" that placed fourth at the competition and she earned a silver medal in the A Level 3 baton event. Stewart won a bronze at the Grand Prix and placed 10th in solo and two-baton.

  • Shelby Newkirk, Saskatoon, Para-Swimming - took home gold in the 50m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke and 200m individual medley at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg. Also won silver in the 100m freestyle and 50m fly. As a result of her performance, she was chosen as the flag bearer for Team Sask at the closing ceremonies.

JULY
Janice Boucher

Janice Boucher of Prince Albert is the recipient of the Sask Sport Inc. July Athlete of the Month Award. She was nominated by the Saskatchewan Horse Federation.

Boucher won two gold medals at the World Para Reining International Championships in Ermelo, Netherlands. She won one in the Two-Man Para Reining Team Division and the other in the Individual Member Division as part of Team Canada. She also won the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Highest Scoring Riding Award. Her accomplishments were even more remarkable since she rode a borrowed horse at the competition due to the high cost of shipping horses internationally. Team Canada was also the only team to have two scores in the 200s during the team event, which placed them on the podium for gold.

The other outstanding nominees were:

  • Vaughn Taylor, Regina, Saskatchewan Athletics - won a silver medal in the 400 metres at the Commonwealth Youth Under 18 Games and set a Saskatchewan Athletics Youth record.

  • Jessica Frotten, Regina, Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports Association - placed first in the 200m and 800m; and second in the 400m and 1500m at the Canadian Track and Field Championships. She followed that with 6th in the 200m, 7th in 800m, and 9th in the 100m at the World Para Athletic Championships.

  • Ryan Rousell, Asquith, Saskatchewan Fencing Association - won bronze in the Men's Individual Sabre A Division at the U23 Wheelchair World Cup, which was the country's first-ever medal at these championships.

JUNE
Jarret Kenke

Jarret Kenke of Saskatoon is the recipient of the Sask Sport Inc. June Athlete of the Month Award. He was nominated by Canoe Kayak Saskatchewan.

At the National Team Trials in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Kenke and teammate Marshall Hughes finished first in the K2 1000 metres. Their time secured them a position on Team Canada at the Senior World Championships. Kenke was also selected to the U23 World Team in the singles events. This is the first time a Saskatchewan athlete has been nominated to race at both World Championship events in the same year. It also marks the first time in recent memory that Saskatchewan has had a male kayak athlete finish first in both the singles and doubles events in the same season at the National Team Trials.

The other outstanding nominees were:

  • Jessica Frotten, Regina, Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports Association - placed third in the 200m, fifth in the 100m, sixth in 400m, and seventh in 800m at the Daniela Jutzeler Memorial Meet in Switzerland. She competed in the T53 category and set a Canadian record in the 800m.

  • Sam Fisher, Bruno, Special Olympics Saskatchewan - At the Special Olympics Saskatchewan Provincial Summer Games, Fisher finished first in the 25m freestyle, 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 25m backstroke, 50m backstroke, and second in the 100m backstroke.

MAY
Ashley Baerg

Ashley Baerg of Dalmeny is the recipient of the Sask Sport Inc. May Athlete of the Month Award. She was nominated by Water Ski and Wakeboard Saskatchewan.

Baerg was seeded as the top female seated disabled water skier in the jump competition at the World Disabled Water Ski Championships in Australia. She landed 17.4 metres on her third attempt, beating the standing world record of 17.3m. The International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation record committee ratified her jump as a new world and Canadian record.

The other outstanding nominees for this month were:

  • Denelle Pedrick, Wilcox, Gymnastics Saskatchewan - finished first in the vault, floor and all-around categories; third in beam and sixth on bars at the Canadian Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Montreal. Became the first Saskatchewan All-Around Canadian Champion in women's artistic gymnastics since Rochelle Yelland won in the high performance novice category in 1999.

  • Alana Hargreaves, Saskatoon, Synchro Saskatchewan - placed sixth in the junior duet event and 14th in the national figure event at Open Nationals and the FINA World Series in Toronto. Qualified for the Junior Canadian National Team Trials and after three phases of National Team Trials was named to the Junior Canadian National Team. She will attend a training camp with the top 16 athletes in Canada with the hopes of qualifying for Junior Worlds located in Australia in 2018.

APRIL
Joel Gagnon

Joel Gagnon of Saskatoon is the recipient of the Sask Sport Inc. April Athlete of the Month Award. He was nominated by Gymnastics Saskatchewan.

During the 2016 World Cup Challenge in Hungary, Gagnon successfully executed an element on the parallel bars that no other gymnast has executed. On April 4, 2017, the World Gymnastics Federation (FIG) selected Gagnon's element as one of eight to be added to the Men's Gymnastics Code of Points. The Gagnon element is a skill on parallel bars that is described as a basket roll backwards, with tuck salto half to upper arm hang and recognized as a C element. FIG has named this element "the Gagnon".

The other outstanding nominees were:

  • Shelby Newkirk, Saskatoon, Swimming - at the 2017 Speedo Can Am Para Swimming Championships in Ontario, competed in the S7 classification and won gold in the 50m and 100m freestyles and 50m and 100m backstroke. Set Canadian and Americas records in both backstroke events and was named to the Canadian Para Swimming Team for the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City;

  • Team Syrota Curling Team, Elfros - defeated Ontario 11-1 to win the 2017 Canadian Masters Curling Championship in Ontario. It's the second-straight gold medal Team Syrota has secured for Saskatchewan. The team consists of Delores Syrota (Skip), Bev Krasowski (Third), Donna Liebrecht (Second) and Sylvia Broad (Lead);

  • Daegan Wall, Regina, Golf - placed first with an average of 77.7 strokes through 18 rounds at the Mercyhurst Spring Invitational Golf Championships in Pennsylvania, which featured five U.S. colleges. Qualified to compete in the NCAA Division 11 Atlantic/East Regional Championships;

  • Team Saskatchewan, Water Polo - won gold at the Senior National Championships in Ontario. Three team members also received individual recognition: Cyril Dorgigne (Most Valuable Coach), Rae Leckness (Most Valuable Player) and Blarre McDowell (Most Valuable Defensive Player);

  • Cassie Prentice, Macrorie, Racquetball - won gold in both the U16 singles and U18 doubles at the Junior National Racquetball Championships in Ontario and qualified for the Junior World Championships in Minneapolis;

  • Thomas Gordon, Pasqua First Nation, Boxing - took home a silver medal at the National Boxing Championships in Quebec City. Defeated boxers from Quebec and B.C.;

  • Micaiah Besler, Saskatoon, Cycling - at the Junior Track Nationals in Ontario, was part of the team that won gold in the first ever Junior Women Madison race and bronze in the Junior Women Sprint. Also gold as a composite team member for Team Saskatchewan, silver in the points race and bronze in the elimination race.

MARCH
Terry Livingstone

Terry Livingstone of Regina is the recipient of the Sask Sport Inc. March Athlete of the Month Award. He was nominated by Special Olympics Saskatchewan.

Livingstone won a gold medal in the 777 metre speed skating event at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. He also placed fourth in the 500m speed skating category.

The other outstanding nominees were:

  • Sherry Anderson's Canadian Senior Women's Curling Team, Saskatoon - represented Saskatchewan at the Everest Canadian Senior Men's and Women's Curling Championships in Fredericton, NB, defeating Ontario 7-3 in the final. The team - consisting of Sherry Anderson (skip), Patricia Hersikorn (third), Brenda Goertzen (second) and Anita Silvernagle (lead) - will represent Canada at the 2018 World Senior Curling Championships.

  • Michael McGillivray, Regina, Swimming - placed first in the 800m freestyle (14-15 boys) and broke the provincial record by more than 10 seconds at the Long Course Prairie Championships in Saskatoon, while also winning gold in the 1500m freestyle. He qualified for the Canadian World Trials in both events.

  • Julee Stewart, Regina, Baton Twirling - finished second overall at the Congressional Cup in Maryland. Her second-place finish is the highest placing by a Canadian woman since the 2001World Champion in 2001.

  • Astrid Nyame, Saskatoon, Athletics - won a gold medal in the 60m hurdles at the USPORT Track and Field Championship in Edmonton while competing for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Was awarded the Diane Jones Award at the Huskie Track and Field Gala (most outstanding female athlete) and the Mary Ethel Cartwright Award (female athlete of the year) at the Huskie Athletics Banquet.

  • Bon Lowe, Saskatoon, Speed Skating - was the overall champion at the Canada West Short Track Championships in Saskatoon. Finished first in the 400m, 1500m and 2000m and second in the 200m.

  • Adam Nazarali, Saskatoon, Fencing - won a silver medal with Team Canada at the Junior Pan American Championships in Cuba. It's the highest that Canada has finished in the men's foil event at the championships.

FEBRUARY
Graeme Fish

Graeme Fish of Moose Jaw is the recipient of the Sask Sport Inc. February Athlete of the Month Award. He was nominated by the Saskatchewan Amateur Speed Skating Association.

Fish won a bronze medal in the 5,000 metre and placed fourth in team pursuit at the World Junior Long Track Championships in Helsinki, Finland. It was his first international medal and there were 60 participants in his category.

The other outstanding nominees for this month were:

  • Kenzie Priddell, Regina, Synchro - won gold medals in the solo, duet and trio events at the Canadian University Synchronized Swimming League Western Championships in B.C. Won a bronze medal in the duo and trio event while finishing fourth in the solo event at the Canadian University Synchronized Swimming League National Championships in Montreal, Q.C.

  • Thomas Hasal, Saskatoon, Soccer - competed with Team Canada at the CONCACAF U20 Men's Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica, recording one shut out. He is the first Saskatchewan youth male player to be called up to the national team in nearly 10 years. Started in all three of Canada's Classification Phase matches, posting a shut out during the team's 2-0 win against Antigua and Barbuda.

JANUARY
Kurt Oatway

Kurt Oatway of Regina is the recipient of the Sask Sport Inc. January Athlete of the Month Award. He was nominated by Alpine Saskatchewan.

Oatway was competing for Team Canada as part of the National Para-Alpine Ski Team at the World Cup in Innerkrems, Austria, where he won silver and bronze medals. The event featured 17 competitors from nine countries.

The other outstanding nominees were:

  • Maximum Litzenberger, Saskatoon, Judo. He won gold at the National Elite U18 Championships despite competing as a 16-year-old. He was named to the Canadian team that will now compete and train at a major competition in Bremen, Germany.

  • Graeme Fish, Moose Jaw, Speed Skating. He finished first in the 5000m, fourth in the 1500m, and fifth in the 1000m to place third overall at the Canadian Junior Long Track Championships. He also set a new Saskatoon oval junior track record in the 5000m and qualified to represent Canada at the Junior World Long Track Championships in Finland.