Ike Olson and Claire Oordt-Bosman are dynamic game-changers in multiple high school sports. They are blessed with ultra-athleticism and leadership skills which often parlay into victory.
Both Grade 12 students were rewarded with Top Athlete-of-the-Year plaques at the fifth-annual Rotary North Okanagan Athletic Awards Tuesday night at the Vernon Lodge & Conference Centre.
Olson excelled in rugby, football and basketball for the Fulton Maroons, earning a provincial all-star at defensive end in football and all-star at the Okanagan Valley playdowns in basketball. The towering captain of the rugby Maroons was named MVP of the provincial sevens. He also won Rotary’s Most Outstanding Male Rugby Player award.
“Rugby was a lot of fun this year,” said Olson, who is talking to the University of Victoria Vikings and the UBC Thunderbirds about playing CIS rugby next season. “We had a great group of guys and it was just easy to be good and we had a great season.”
His father, Dale, a basketball star at UVic back in the day, was his basketball coach for five years. Ike had no problem with the father-son sport alliance and gave props to his parents (mother Jacqueline) for being active role models.
“Not as bad as people think,” he said when asked about the relationship with his father. “I didn’t get in his way and he didn’t get in mine. He’d yell at me when I did something wrong and I’d listen. It was pretty easy.”
Olson, who turns 18 on Canada Day, never left the field in football, where he was the starting quarterback and captain. A volunteer coach and leader, Olson trains like a Navy Seal and studies hard, making numerous Honour Rolls.
“I think I’m pretty crafty,” he said about his strengths as an athlete. “I know where to be at the right time and know what to do physically. I think that’s what sets me apart.
Oordt-Bosman, whose father, Henk, is a powerhouse striker/defender in the Okanagan 45+ soccer league, also pocketed the Most Outstanding Female Volleyball Player plaque. She used a strong vision and understanding of strategy to spark the Vernon Christian School Royals, ringing up the most kills and blocks while leading the team in passing and recording a clutch ace here and there.
“We had a goal to make the provincial championships without doing the dreaded challenge match,” said Oordt-Bosman, who just celebrated her 18th birthday. “We accomplished that goal and did much more by getting second at the Valley championships. It was a total team effort at the Valleys where we just poured everything, our heart and soul, into one game. We came out with a loss but I was really proud of how we all played.”
In hoops, Oordt-Bosman averaged a dozen points and eight rebounds as the best athlete on the team. She said a close bond and superior coaching gave the volleyball team success.
“We had really good teammates and Jason Reedyk and Leanne Botterill were great coaches. So committed and they wanted the best for us on the court and as teammates. They wanted us to love and wanted us to show love.”
A scholar academically, Oordt-Bosman has to make a decision soon on post-secondary plans in Victoria. She will either play volleyball for the Camosun Chargers or attend the University of Victoria and study education. UVic doesn’t have a women’s varsity volleyball team.
Vernon minor hockey grad Brent Gilchrist, who spent 15 seasons in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup ring with the Detroit Red Wings, was the keynote speaker.
Now president of an energy and mining company and living in Kelowna, Gilchrist stressed the importance of reaching and your potential as an athlete while being accountable to your teammates, especially when times get tough.
“Keeping your focus can be an obstacle,” said Gilchrist, a father of two sons. “We’re always the enemy, not somebody else. Ask yourself what’s holding you back? I urge you to become really honest with yourself real fast.”
Teams of the Year honours went to the Vernon (VSS) Panthers senior football and the Fulton senior girls volleyball, while Coach of the Year was presented to Sean Smith of VSS.
Braden Kersey, a cross-country runner with the Seaton Sonics, and Anica Haberstock, a three-sport athlete at Vernon Christian, were the top academic athletes.
Keith Johnston, who jumpstarted the awards five years ago, announced a special recognition award for retiring Seaton volleyball coaching legend Doug Kozak. Johnston, Shirley Fowler, Jim Ferguson, Leigh Hewer, Russell Short, Bev Rundell, Jerry Tellier and Jacqueline Rivard served on the Rotary athletic awards committee.
Football: Caden Doyle, Fulton.
Volleyball: Ben Molitwenik, Vernon Christian.
Basketball: Leon Schenker, VSS.
Soccer: Kenzel Aarts-Roman, Seaton.
Golfer: Braeden Cooper, VSS.
Top Teammate: Noah Schneider, Seaton.
Top Newcomer: Devin Hofsink, Vernon Christian.
Cross Country: Kersey.
Volleyball: Kalli Hamilton-Gee, Seaton.
Cross Country: Annika Ariano, Seaton.
Basketball: Kelsey Falk, VSS.
Top Teammate: Alyssa Racine, Seaton.
Top Newcomer: Maisa Orosz, Seaton.
Soccer: Madison Taylor Overend, Vernon Christian.
Track and Field: Megan Loland, Seaton.
Tennis: Jessica Kruger, Pleasant Valley Saints.