April 2, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 97  

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Western’s Athletes of the Year honoured at banquet
Havaris and Heffernan top Mustangs

By Ian Denomme
Gazette Staff

Bela Nizami and Joyce Wang/Gazette
THIS IS WAY BETTER THAN THOSE PARTICIPATION RIBBONS I GOT IN GRADE SCHOOL. Eva Havaris and Christian Heffernan receive their trophies for best female and male athlete, respectively.

Western athletics held its annual athletic awards banquet Tuesday night at the Greek Canadian Club to cap off another year of Mustangs’ sports.

While the dapper event had a party atmosphere — shown by the raucous crowd of student athletes — there was also serious business at hand. The night was an opportunity to recognize the best Western has to offer by announcing all of the major award winners.

Each team presented an MVP award and the Bronze “W” awards were also handed out. Arguably the most important part of the night was the presentation of the Dr. Claude Brown Memorial Trophy and the F.W.P. Jones Trophy to the male and female Athletes of the Year.

The male Athlete of the Year award went to football and track star Christian Heffernan, while all-Canadian soccer player Eva Havaris was selected as female Athlete of the Year.

Havaris enjoyed numerous accomplishments over her time at Western. This season she was co-winner of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Player of the Year award, becoming the first Mustang ever to win. She also received the Ontario University Athletics Golden Boot award for leading the OUA in scoring. In 12 games, she had 11 goals and 20 assists. She is a two-time OUA Most Valuable Player and two-time All-Canadian.

Despite all her accolades, she was not expecting the award.

“I’m definitely surprised. It’s quite an honour; I’m very flattered,” Havaris said. “Being in the audience the last few years made me aspire to want to win it. It’s just my competitive nature.”

Heffernan is a two-sport star who also has his share of accomplishments. He was the captain of the football team this season and currently sits sixth in Western history in all-time receiving yards. On the track, he is a six-time all-star and five-time All-Canadian. He is a member of the CIS record- holding 4x400 metre relay team and also won an OUA gold medal in the 600m.

“I’m shocked; I really didn’t think about it,” Heffernan said. “To be in the same league as [Jimmy] Grozelle and [Andy] Kwiatkowski is quite an honour. It won’t really hit me for a few days.”

Both Havaris and Heffernan will continue to be essential parts of their teams next season, albeit in different capacities. Havaris will still be in school finishing her masters in sport management, and hopes to help out with the team. Heffernan will be back with both the football and track teams next year and finishing school as he promised his dad before pursuing a career in the CFL.

Dan Smith, Western’s director of Sport & Recreation Services, felt that both athletes were deserving of their awards.

“When we make the decision, we look at athletes who have made outstanding contributions over their career. Eva is a CIS MVP and certainly meets all the criteria. Christian is an exceptional two-sport athlete, and is an example of what’s great about Western athletics,” he said.

The decision on the winner is made each year by a selection committee that selects the Purple Blanket winners and the Athletes of the Year. The committee is made up of senior administration from the kinesiology department and athletic alumni groups. The coaches submit nominations and the selection committee reviews them to determine who is most deserving.

Both awards are very prestigious and winning puts the athletes into an elite and select class. Havaris is only the second soccer player to have won the award, and Heffernan joins Jack Parry (1947-48) and Robert McFarlane (1949-50) as both football and track athletes to have won.



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